Charaka Samhita: The Strongest Root of Ayurveda



Ayurveda is a spiritual science with scintillating sources and is the ancient holistic healing methodology. It focuses on prevention and cure of all illnesses and is considered as the most realistic gifts of undying values to mankind. This spiritual science is believed to be of more than 5000 years of age with its attributes described in three major sources namely Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya & Ashtanga Sangraha. Good books are forever the best friends of mankind. For sure, encyclopedias are like eternal teachers to humanity with a great source of immense values. Charaka Samhita is one such Ayurvedic encyclopedia of age old holistic importance.

Charaka – The renowned physician: Charaka (also spelled Caraka) is a renowned physician of the court of Kanishka, a Kushana ruler. He is believed to have born in c. 300 BC. He himself was a living encyclopedia, who in addition to serving the human beings as a great medical preacher & practitioner also gave equal importance to human ethical values in treating the patients. Charaka is often referred to as the ‘Father of Medicine’.

Dawn of a divine Index: Although there is no much proof about the history of Charaka, according to legends he is believed to be a versatile student of Aatreya, who was the disciple of Bharadwaja who in turn was one of the students of Lord Indra. Aatreya’s request to pen down his teachings to his disciples led to the rise of 8 divine works of which Charaka’s Charaka Samhita was found to be the best & has survived for ages! His work was later revised by Dridhbala.

Contributions of Charaka to the world of Medicine: Charaka is the author of Charaka Samhita, the oldest of the existing three Ayurvedic encyclopedias. Being a man of mystical values, Charaka had numerous feathers added to his cap some of which are listed below.

  • First physician to present the concept of digestion, metabolism & immunity
  • Knowledge of Genetics – You’ll be truly amazed to know that a man who lived before 2000 years had the knowledge of genetics and its factors, which is one of the top stories of the modern medical world. Charaka had a thorough understanding about the factors determining the sex of the fetus. He was able to study that the reason behind the genetic defect in a child is possibly due to the defect in the sperm or ovum of the parents rather than the parents themselves.
  • Study of Anatomy of the human body and its organs was done by Charaka, which served as a leading light of interest in this field for most of the medical scholars of the later decades.

Charaka Samhita – The truth of Ayurveda: Samhita is a Sanskrit word which means collection of rules. Charaka Samhita talks about the various aspects of Ayurvedic contexts in treating diseases and in preventing them. This ocean of medical principles constitutes of 8 parts with a total number of 120 chapters mainly focusing on ‘Kaya Chikitsa‘ – The diagnosis and healing of illnesses through internal and external use of medicine. This branch of Ayurveda aims at healing the mind & the body, thus striking a balance between the two great pillars of the human soul. Ethical conducts of a physician in treating the patients, which is now lacking in most parts of the world was given high importance by Charaka. One can even find the details regarding the attributes of various aspects of how a good physician, nurse, healing drugs, hospital and a patient should be.

Source of Medical aid in treating the whole world: Charaka Samhita was translated into many foreign languages, including Arabic and Latin. It remains as a valuable medicinal source that inspired countless medical practitioners in coming up with the most modern medical concepts to treat humanity.

I can now realize the strong reason behind the survival of Ayurveda, the science of life. Mere words are not just enough to appreciate the strenuous efforts put forth by some of the ancient legends in serving mankind in the form of texts of undying values like Charaka Samhita. Let each one of us take into the world, the efforts of such great people by inculcating a healthy life style, which would strengthen their values and our vows.

Thought for the day:

True heroism consists in being superior to the ills of life, in whatever shape they may challenge us to combat.  By Napoleon Bonaparte

Suggested Reading:

  1. Caraka Samhita (1949 Edition, 6 Volume Set) Hindu, Gujarati, English Translation (Caraka Samhita, 6 Volume Set) by Atreva Punarbasu, Great Sage Agnivesa
  2. The Roots of Ayurveda (Penguin Classics) by Various
  3. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume One: Fundamental Principles by Vasant Lad

Reference Links:

  1. Charaka by Wikipedia
  2. Charaka Samhita by Wikipedia
  3. History of Ayurveda by Professor Dr. P.H. Kulkarni

Ayurveda: The Ancient Treasure of India



Right from a peasant to a president, every one craves for some treasure. A commoner may view treasure as a worldly pleasure, whereas a sage considers it as becoming one with God!!! Do you want to acquire a treasure which serves both these purposes?!?! I’m sure you will certainly wish to!! If yes, then go ahead to equip yourself with one of the ancient treasures of INDIA. Known for its rich natural and cultural heritage, India is a land of spiritual values, which is ruled by the most celebrated emperor of all ages known as AYURVEDA. This holistic, spiritual and absolute healing medical practice is serving the humanity for nearly 5000 golden years and has attained great heights due to its incredible theories and attributes, for which it is rightly called as the Ancient Treasure of India.

Ayurveda – To Start With: The modern world where we survive is derailed with infinite incompatible agents most of which aim at impacting the health of humanity. Thus mankind is left with no option except for thriving in search of a spiritual healing practice that soothes the mind, strengthens the body and eventually enlightens the spirit!!! Mighty with its mythical roots, Ayurveda is what our ancestors have blessed us with to lead a charming life. This age old medical practice of Indian origin had been strengthened with the strenuous efforts of numerous sages and other skillful resources.

Inclusive Chattels of Ayurveda: With a sturdy base, Ayurveda has its branches wide-spread to deal with each single attribute of mankind.

  • The Eminent Disciplines of Ayurveda: There are eight eminent branches of Ayurveda. They are Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Ophthalmology and ENT, Psychiatry, Toxicology, Rejuvenating and Improving Immunity, Aphrodisiacs and Improving health of progeny. This spectacular medical science thus covers the entire life-cycle of a human being right from his/her birth.
  • Base of Ayurveda: As the universe is composed of five basic elements, Ayurveda considers mankind as one of the life forms of universe with an entity built up with the same natural base. Dealing with Prevention and Cure in a natural way, Ayurveda first analyses the unique constitution of each individual, which is the stepping stone to a holistic approach. Perfect understanding of Prakriti (Constitution of the human body), Dosha (Ayurvedic body types ruled by three biological energies namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and Guna (Nature of human character) forms the basis of an Ayurvedic treatment that aims at liberating mankind from all woes; be it physical, emotional or spiritual.
  • Healing Methodology of Ayurveda: With the systematic understanding of the physical and mental constitution of each individual, Ayurveda stands unique with its unique healing therapy. Holistic Healing Approach in striking poise between the mind, body and spirit is what makes Ayurveda to glow with glory. A complete Ayurvedic routine that includes ‘a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle, Ayurvedic diet, herbal products that are greatly utilized for medications and meditation, a stress-free physical exercise for the mind, body and soul – Yoga, Effective Usage of Ayurvedic essential oils that soothes the mind and the body’ is recommended for each individual based on their body types. This unique healing approach of Ayurveda makes one to feel special and unique and paves way to live in harmony with nature that results in eternal ecstasy.
  • Yoga and Meditation – Mind Tutors of Ayurveda: Human mind has the power to make/break the soul. Taking this into concern the Ayurvedic scholars have advised a powerful pack of physical and mental exercises that pacifies the soul and strengthens the body. Yoga – sister science of Ayurveda and Meditation – Mind healing tool, share the credit of bringing peace of mind to mankind. Incessant practice of yoga and meditation leads one to realize the true value of their purpose of life, leading to a meaningful existence with divine satisfaction.

Impact of Ayurveda in the field of Medicine: A detailed description of the healing techniques in various medical aspects is described in the mass Ayurvedic encyclopedias, namely Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya and Ashtanga Sangraha. These encyclopedias serve as the leading light to massive uplift mainly in the field of Plastic Surgery, Ophthalmology, Human anatomy and Embryology. Intensive care and concern was equally given to treating the diseases and the patients. Privacy of Patient’s Confidentiality was given high importance by the Ayurvedic practitioners of the ancient world who defined the ethical code for all medical practitioners.

Numerous scientific studies have been carried out to study the real essence of Ayurvedic treatments. Ayurveda can cure various diseases that include common cold, fever, toothache, insomnia etc. Based on the study by NCCAM (National center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), Meditation is found to be practiced by people to deal with anxiety, insomnia and various other health disorders.

Ayurveda at Present: The Ayurvedic encyclopedias were translated into many foreign languages including Arabic, Latin, German and English thus spreading the true knowledge in healing mankind. With its essence spread to the world, Ayurveda is now gaining global attention since this is the only holistic healing approach that alleviates ailments, prevents recurrence of diseases and treats humanity without leaving any traces behind in the form of side effects. Ayurveda acts as an effective stress-buster by calming the human mind, cultivating positive thoughts leading to a healthy living. It is for this reason this mind blowing curing therapy is being greatly acknowledged in the Western World!!!

Isn’t it fascinating to know that one single medical practice that came into existence nearly 5000 years ago covers the entire life of an individual in an innovative natural way? Ayurveda is indeed the ancient treasure of India of enormous wealth that nourishes the entire world with its holistic principles of medical practices. Let’s join together and enjoy the benefits of Ayurveda in a comprehensive way!

Thought for the day:

Anyone who believes that anything can be suited to everyone is a great fool, because medicine is practised not on mankind in general, but on every individual in particular.                                                       -Henri de Mondeville

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Ayurveda: The Ancient Indian Healing Tradition by Gopi Warrier
  2. Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health (Wisdoms of health) By Mark Bunn
  3. Ayurveda: The A-Z Guide to Healing Techniques From Ancient India (The Essential Healing Arts Series) By Nancy Bruning

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurveda by Wikipedia
  2. Brief History of Ayurveda by Healing Sphere
  3. Overview of Meditation by National center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

History of Ayurveda: The Ancient Wisdom Of Healing



History, when explored is always a key to unlock even the most unsolvable mystery. Let us spend some of our dear time in taking a trek through one such historic voyage, where each of our paces will provide us with a stack of treasure pacifying our soul. Let me tell you the name of such an estimable treasure island where I’m going to take you through!!! Yes, AYURVEDA is that one spectacular vicinity of more than 5000 years old, where we are going to fix our vision for the next few minutes. Let’s get started for this notable remark of our journey of life!!!!

Ayurveda – Name & Fame: Ayurveda‘ is composed of two Sanskrit words, Ayus meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. According to Hinduism, there are 4 major Vedas or the holy books namely Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda and Ayurveda is considered as a subdivision of Atharva Veda. As the name implies, Ayurveda is a true knowledge of life that helps in leading a cultured and civilized life.

This age old spiritual science of holistic healing, which dates back to about 5000 years is still fresh in the world as a newborn pride, the main reason being its efficiency and effectiveness over all sorts of ailing illness. Few reliable sources state that Ayurveda’s basic principles got standardized around 1500 BC but there is no real evidence for the exact beginning of Ayurveda and no one exactly knows when this miraculous science had its birth as it is ageless like Mother Earth.

Ayurveda & Mother India : With its roots being deeply set in ancient India, Ayurveda is still considered to be the only existing form of holistic traditional medicinal treatment of body, mind and soul, which when blended together forms an ideal human system. India is a land of holistic traditional cultures and values, where you can find its eminence in each one of its remnants and Ayurveda, the established epic is not an exception at all.

Ayurveda – Spiritual Methodology of the Eternal Master:  A wise and a knowledgeable Master is often the reason behind any successful system in this world. Ayurveda, the miraculous medicinal approach is believed to have the Master of All Masters as its Mother. Yes, as per the Hindu mythology, Ayurveda is believed to be a boon granted by Brahma – The Lord of Creation to Dhanvantari who was crowned as the God of Medicine.

Ayurveda – Sources & Resources: The main sources of Ayurveda rest in three invaluable texts contributed by the most renowned Ayurvedic practitioners of ancient India- Charaka, Sushruta and Vaghbata. Their contributions include Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and a compilation of a set of major texts called Ashtanga Hridaya & Ashtanga Sangraha.

  • Charaka – The Esteemed Curator: Charaka is a man of mystical and legendary values. He is believed to have been in the court of Kanishka, an age old ruler of the Kushana Dynasty in India. Perfect preaching & practice of medicine together with ‘Privacy of Patient’s Confidentiality‘, one of the golden tenets of a tactful curator meant a lot to this man of values. Charaka’s literary exertion has Kaya-Chikitsa (Internal Medicine) – ‘The diagnosis and treatment of ailments through internal and external application of medicine’ as its core content.
  • Sushruta – The Skilled Surgeon: Sushruta is said to have served in the court of Gupta Dynasty as a surgeon. He is the man who took a giant pace in the field of surgery namely plastic, cosmetic and prosthetic surgery along with cesarean section and handling of compound fractures. Sushruta Samhita dealt with Shalya Tantra (Surgery) to a great extent.
  • Vaghbata – The Versatile Compiler: Vaghbata is believed to have existed in the 5th century AD, who took strenuous efforts in perfectly expressing the essence of Ayurveda in rhythmic verse which is found to be very essential by all the students of Ayurveda who commit to memorize these verses, which is the basis of Ayurvedic study of healing.

Hope this brief journey through Ayurveda proved to be inspiring and informative for you, which will certainly clad your thoughts & actions in an Ayurvedic way!!! Happy Health to You!!!

Thought for the day:

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. By Marcus Garvey

Suggested Reading:

  1. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume One: Fundamental Principles by Vasant Lad
  2. An English translation of the Sushruta Samhita, based on original Sanskrit text, volume 1: Sutrasthanam by Susruta Susruta
  3. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurveda by Wikipedia
  2. Brief History of Ayurveda by Healing Sphere
  3. History of Ayurveda by Professor Dr. P.H. Kulkarni