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

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

Ayurvedic Health Benefits Of Oil Pulling

What an amazing science is Ayurveda!!! Its brilliance can never be compared even to the best contemporary medicinal practices like the laser surgery. I’d rather call it as a Mass Medical Encyclopedia that has everything for treating infinite number of illnesses. Oral care is one among those exuberant wonders in Ayurveda.  Dental health is known as Danta Swasthya in Sanskrit terms and Ayurveda considers that improper oral hygiene is the root cause for numerous diseases including the most complex heart disorders. This is where the essence of oil pulling comes into picture. This Ayurvedic remedy is known as Gandusha or Kavala and is a part of the Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita. It has been reported to treat numerous health conditions ranging from sinusitis, migraine to asthma and diabetes along with comprehensive oral and dental health care.

What is Ayurvedic oil pulling? Oil pulling is a hearty treatment, which involves swishing of vegetable oil in the mouth for about 20 minutes. Ayurveda suggests the use of pure sesame oil for its rich nutrients, therapeutic properties and varied health benefits, for which it is rightly known as the queen of oil seed crops. This ancient remedy is popular across the globe and most of the people start trusting its healing potential after giving it a try with hesitation and lack of trust. It is the simplest of all the treatment in the world as you don’t need to swallow bitter tablets, undergo strict diet practices, and take up restricted lifestyle because oil pulling is just as easy as swishing water or using a mouthwash and spitting it out with tons of bacteria, toxins and other harmful bodies in the human system.

How to do oil pulling? Oil pulling is actually done by taking 1 tablespoon of any of the vegetable oils like sesame oil, olive oil, coconut oil or sunflower oil in your mouth and swish it for about 15- 20 minutes. Note that your stomach is empty before eating or drinking anything in the morning because this is the ideal condition to pull out all kinds of toxins from your mouth and your body.

Swish the oil back, forth and around your mouth and ensure that the oil is passed in between your teeth and cavities so it strengthens your gums, whitens your teeth, removes tough stains in your teeth, helps you get rid of plaque, tooth decay, tartar and thousands of bacteria that hide in between your dental bones and gums. Ensure that you do not swallow this liquid, which is loaded with toxins, germs, pus, mucous and other unsafe microorganisms. After 15-20 minutes the swished liquid will be in white, milk like consistency that needs to be spit out.

Ayurvedic health benefits of oil pulling: This simple yet effective treatment has been in practice among the traditional populace in India and many other countries where it is trusted to strengthen teeth, fortify your gums, support healthy dental system, treat halitosis, check tooth decay, treat dry throat, cracked lips and bleeding gums along with other major health disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, impaired vision, dry skin, gingivitis and periodontal disease, eczema, loss of taste, bronchitis, psoriasis, exhaustion, kidney problems, headache, anorexia, heart disorders, obesity, sinusitis and much more.

Positive health effects of oil pulling: According to Charaka Samhita, the Ayurvedic text, the benefits of oil pulling has been stated as “It is beneficial for strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, improving gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One used to this practice never gets dryness of throat, nor do his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never be carious and will be deep rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables” in Charaka Samhita Ch V-78 to 80.

Aim of Oil pulling: Just the same as the aim of other Ayurvedic treatments, oil pulling too aspires to enhance the functionality of the human body, nourish the senses, bring in a feeling of newness, uphold the clarity of mind, stimulate the spirit and rejuvenate the complete structure physically and mentally. Oil pulling is a brilliant therapy that is curative as well as preventative in nature.

An ancient remedy rediscovered: Oil pulling is a potent detoxifying Ayurvedic therapy and has acquired much popularity after it was reiterated and rediscovered by Dr. F. Karach in 1992 and he claimed that this powerful ancient remedy has the power to heal a wide range of illnesses from hormonal disorders to digestive problems and heart diseases. He has experienced the remedial power of this Ayurvedic therapy by himself and he has said that oil pulling helped him cure his chronic blood disorder that he was suffering for about 15 years and treated his severe arthritis in just three days. Dr. Bruce Fife, a specialized Nutritionist and Naturopathic Physician has also brought out various health conditions that can be successfully managed by the influence of regular oil pulling in the right manner.

How is oil pulling effective on the entire system? Oil pulling is often seen as a redeemer as it helps in preventing major surgery or other difficult medications for numerous chronic disorders. Ayurveda suggests that this therapy purifies, cleanses and detoxifies the entire system by removing all the harmful toxins from the body. This is because Ayurveda clearly explains that oil pulling thoroughly cleans the teeth, gums and tongue. Each segment of the human tongue is linked with many vital organs of the body like lungs, kidneys, stomach, colon, liver, spine, heart and small intestines. This is the real logic behind the Ayurvedic claim that oil pulling is effectual in treating the entire system absolutely along with an Ayurvedic routine, meditation and yoga.

I have started this simple therapy just few weeks back and trust me; my days have never been so fresh and keyed up. I feel like sending thousands of anti-health warriors out of my body daily when I spit out the ‘Toxins-Filled’ oil. Check it out and feel the difference, no it should be indeed called as a MAGIC…….

Thought for the day:

The best and cheapest dentistry is when the right thing is done extremely well the first time and it lasts.

Suggested Reading:

  1. Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by Bruce Fife
  2. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad
  3. The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil) by Bruce Fife, Jon J. Kabara

Reference links:

  1. Charaka Samhita by Wikipedia
  2. What is Oil Pulling? by Oil Pulling A Wonderful Therapy
  3. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health by Abhinav Singh and Bharathi Purohit. A review article from The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine
  4. Oil Pulling for a Brighter Smile and Better Health by Bruce Fife from the Coconut Research Center