Ayurveda introduction

Ayurveda, a word usually miss-understood as a branch of medicine, is infect, a much broader study of life itself. It is a combination of two Sanskrit words, ayuh, meaning life, and Veda, meaning knowledge.

In this article, we are going to look at the sages who pioneered this science, various books written by them, and the chapters they cover. great sages of the past who delved into the science of life. Charaka, Sushruta, Vagbhata, Madhava and Sharngadhara were some of them. I mention these names, because their works in Sanskrit are still available to this day, and are easily accessible, if only one has the knowledge of Sanskrit.

 These books are used even today, as the guiding text books for all ayurvedic programs across the world. Let's look at some of these text books, and the contents that they cover.

The first of these, is Acharya Charka’s  Charaka Samhita. With Over 8,400 shlokas that are rhythmic and easy to memorize, Charaka Samhita is divided, into 8 Sections, with a total of 120Chapters. Charaka Samhita is extremely detailed with causes of various diseases, how to identify them, how find and make appropriate medication, and various ways of applying it. It describes embryology, and anatomy, of both humans, and animals. People today, will be surprised to know, that this book has a dedicated chapter on alcoholism, various properties of alcohol, and even guidance, on how to get high, without a hangover !

Then, there is Acharya Sushruta's sushruta samhita. Acharya Sushruta, is considered to be a pioneer of surgical methods. There are verses describing how to treat accidents to the nose, with skin taken from thigh grafts. There are also verses that describe how to get trained with surgery on various vegetables, leather bags, and dead animals, before performing surgery on humans. Sushruta samhita has over 7,000 shlokas, divided into 186 chapters, with descriptions of over a 1,000 different diseases, 700 medicinal plants, and more than a 100 different ayurvedic medical preparations.

Ashtanga Hridaya, written by Vagbhata, is still the reference book for 100s of ayurvedic medicines, that are still being used to cure various types of illnesses. If you look closely on any of the ayurvedic medicine bottles, you will find their source textbook mentioned on them.

There are many more textbooks, by other eminent authors, that serve as user manuals on how to conduct life, at various levels. Some of them, are Sharngdhar Samhita, Madhav Nidan, Kashyapa Samhita, Bhavprakash and Bhaisajya Ratnavali Each one of them gives us profound insights into how to keep the human faculties, of body, mind and soul free of diseases and full of potency, vibrancy and health.

Sanskrit Language, has a vast treasure of invaluable wisdom in every field of life.