Taking Charge of Your Health

Hello friends, The National Library of Ayurveda Medicine is pleased to present a new episode on Ayurveda. The present release is part of a Video Lecture series prepared for the education of Ayurveda literature. The information is in accordance with the academic curriculum of Ayurveda studies in India. My name is Dr. Sumit Kesarkar and I will be your host throughout this video, which discusses the Current staus of Ayurveda Literature and studies in India. Ayurveda is a recognized medical system of health care like other medical systems existing in India. The Central Council of Indian Medicine or the CCIM governs and recommends policies for the research and development of the system. In India, a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology and a minor in Sanskrit is desirable for candidates interested in taking up the course of study. Practitioners in Ayurveda undergo 5 1/2 years of training including 1 year of internship in select Ayurveda Medical Schools wherein they earn a Bachelor’s degree in Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery [B.A.M.S.]. Select institutions like the Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, R.A. Podar Ayurveda Medical College in Mumbai, and Jamnagar University in Gujarat also offer higher doctorates and postgraduate training such as an MD in Ayurveda. The graduate training includes a 3 year residency and a dissertation similar to the MD/MS degrees in modern systems of medicine. Similarly, a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Ayurveda is offered by various Universities in India. We will now look at the various available documentation in India to study Ayurveda for academic purposes. Due to various political scenarios of Indian history, much of the ancient Ayurveda texts are not available today. The Ayurveda literature that is used for modern academic study is divided into 2 triads known as the Bruhat Trayi or Major Triad and Laghu Trayi or Minor triad. The books of the Bruhat Trayi are more ancient and are the basis of all the other books of Ayurveda. The Bruhat Trayi consists of 2 major treatises: Charak Samhita and Susrut Samhita, along with a third book, Ashtang Sangraha. The Laghu Trayi consists of Madhavnidana, Sharangdhar Samhita and Bhavprakash. In this video we will focus on the Bruhat Trayi or Major Triad and in the next video we will continue with the Laghu Trayi or Minor Triad to complete the overview of Ayurveda literature. Charaka Samhita of present is basically an enlarged form of the original Agnivesh tantra. If you recall from the History of Ayurveda video, the Agnivesh Tantra stems from the first cognitions of the ancient rishis like Bhardwaja and Punarvasu Atrey regarding Ayurveda. Agnivesh tantra was in Sutra form, which was elaborated on by Charaka with his lucid annotations or Bhashya in such a spectacular way that the treatise became popularly known as Charak Samhita. The exact period of Charak Samhita cannot be established. With time, even Charak Samhita did not survive in its complete form and almost 1/3rd of its contents was lost. The missing part was later rewritten by Drudhbala who sourced similar material from contemporary works & completed the Charak Samhita to its present form. Unfortunately, Drudhbala’s period cannot be established either, apart from the proposition that his work could not have been earlier than 4th century AD due to the references found in works like Navanitaka. Ayurvedadipika is a very popular commentary on Charak Samhita written by Chakrapanidatta. The work also known as “Charak-tatparya- tika” was composed around 11th cent. AD and is heavily relied upon by various Ayurvedic scholars and healers in India to decipher Charaka Samhita and apply its concepts in treatment. The Charaka Samhitha now available has 8 sthanas. totaling 120 chapters The 17 chapters of Chikitsā sthāna & complete Kalpa sthāna & Siddhi sthāna were later added by Dridhabala. Sushruta Samhita is a unique treatise belonging to the Dhanvantri Sampradaya or the school of surgeons. It is unique because it is exclusively devoted to surgery as opposed to other subjects. The original treatise based on the teachings of Dhanvantri was known as Sushrut Tantra and it followed the same broad pattern as Charak Samhita with respect to the arrangement of chapters. Later a supplement was added to the Sushrut tantra known as Uttar-tantra. Uttar Tantra was supposed to discuss all subjects not touched on in the Sushrut Tantra and make the treatise complete in all aspects. To give the whole text an appearance of thematic unity, the anonymous author of Uttar-tantra was also dubbed Sushruta so that we have Sushruta I as the author of Sushrut Tantra and Sushruta II as the author of the later added Uttartantra. Both these texts were later revised by Nagarjuna under the present-day title Sushruta-Samhita. Nibandhsamgraha is an excellent commentary on Sushrut samhita and was authored by Dalhan around the 12th century AD. The present Sushrut Samhitha consists of 6 sthanas and 186 chapters. While the first 5 sthanas deal almost exclusively with surgery, the last sthana is assigned to deal briefly with the six branches of Ayurveda except toxicology or Agadatantra. Many formulations present in the Sushrut Samhita have been copied from pre-Drudhbala portions of Charak Samhita & some from the Bhel Samhita. From the current text it is not possible to isolate the original Sushrut Tantra, which places a huge question on the seniority of the text with respect to Charak Samhita. Ashtanga Samgraha was composed around the 6th century AD by Acharya Vagbhat and is divided into 150 chapters chapters with 6 sthanas. Ashtang Samgraha is a neat collection of the details of Sushrut & Charak Samhita. It is considered as a summary of both these treatises. Ashtanga-Samgraha is the first medical text to incorporate astrological concepts. It is claimed that diseases which originate during different stellar or nakshatra conjunctions follow different courses. Ashtang Hrudaya is a concise version of Ashtang Samgraha, with neat and lucid explanations of topics written by Acharya Vagbhat who was the grandson of Acharya Vagbhat,the author of the Asthang Samgraha Many scholars wrongly accept both these individual authors to be one person. A close scrutiny indicates that both these treatise were created by different authors with the same name Acharya Vagbhat. Sources prove that Acharya Vagbhat the 1st who authored Ashtang Sangrah was the grandfather of Acharya Vagbhat the 2nd who authored Ashtang Hrudaya. This confusion may have arisen since both these treatises were composed around the same time in the 6th century AD. Ashtang Hrudaya is usually preferred to Ashtang Samgraha by many scholars and students to understand Ayurveda and they popularly include Ashtang Hrudaya in the Major triad in place of Ashtang Samgraha. Ashtang Hrudaya follows the same general structure of Ashtanga Samgraha and is divided into 6 sthanas and 120 chapters. With a brief explanation of Charak samhita, Sushrut samhita and Ashtangsangraha we complete the overview of Bruhat Trayi or Major Triad. I hope this video was informative and made the subject clear. Comments and feedback are highly appreciated and you can leave them by visiting the NLAM website at or likewise by writing to me at Thank you for watching. [SUBTITLES BY NLAM]

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