Charaka's location is unknown, although various assertions have been made that he lived either in Taxila or in Kapisthal now known as Jalandhar , located between Iravati Ravi River and Chandrabagha Chenab River rivers in Panchanada Punjab. With more probability of it being Taxila , by all accounts for being a hub of Buddhist monastery. After surveying and evaluating all past scholarship on the subject of Caraka's date, Meulenbeld concluded that,. The term Charaka is a label said to apply to "wandering scholars" or "wandering physicians". According to Charaka's translations, health and disease are not predetermined and life may be prolonged by human effort and attention to lifestyle. As per Ayurvedic system, prevention of all types of diseases have a more prominent place than treatment, including restructuring of lifestyle to align with the course of nature and six seasons, which will guarantee complete wellness.
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The pre-2nd century CE text consists of eight books and one hundred twenty chapters. He should be of a mild disposition, noble by nature, never mean in his acts, free from pride, strong memory, liberal mind, devoted to truth, likes solitude, of thoughtful disposition, free from anger, of excellent character, compassionate, one fond of study, devoted to both theory and practice, who seeks the good of all creatures.
Based on textual analysis, and the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word charak , Chattopadhyay speculated that charak does not refer to one person but multiple people. Dates of composition of the Charaka Samhita are uncertain.
In Sanskrit, charak is a term for a wanderer, sannyasi ascetic , and sometimes used in the context of the ancient tradition of wandering physicians who brought their medical expertise and magico-religious rites from village to village. Surendranath Dasgupta states that the medical tradition of wandering physicians are traceable to the Atharvaveda , particularly the Caranavaidya shakha — one of the nine known shakha of Atharvaveda-based Vedic schools.
The Atharvaveda contains chapters relating to medicine, surgery and magico-religious rites. Life is of four kinds: Sukha happy , Duhkha unhappy , Hita good and Ahita bad. Sukham-Ayuh is a life unaffected by bodily or psychic diseases, is endowed with vigor, capabilities, energy, vitality, activity, knowledge, successes and enjoyments.
The opposite of this is the Asukham-Ayuh. Hitam-Ayuh is the life of a person who is always willing to do good to all living beings, truthful, non-stealing, calm, self-restrained, taking steps after examining the situation, virtuous, achieves Dharma - Artha - Kama , without conflict with others, worshipping whatever is worthy, devoted to knowledge-understanding-serenity of mind, and to charity and peace.
The opposite of this is the Ahitam-Ayuh. The aim of Ayurveda is to teach what is conducive to these four kinds of life. The text includes a table of contents embedded in its verses, stating the names and describing the nature of the eight books, followed by a listing of the chapters. The text asserts that there are four important parts to medical practice — the patient, the physician, the nurse and the medicines.
The physician provides knowledge and coordinates the treatment, he is who can "explore the dark interior of the body with the lamp of knowledge", according to the text and Valiathan's translation. The Charaka Samhita, states Curtin, was among the earliest texts that set a code of ethics on physicians and nurses, attributing "moral as well as scientific authority to the healer".
It mandates that the physician must seek consent before entering a patient's quarters, must be accompanied by a male member of the family if he is attending a woman or minor, must inform and gain consent from patient or the guardians if the patient is a minor, must never resort to extortion for his service, never involve himself in any other activities with the patient or patient's family such as negotiating loans, arranging marriage, buying or selling property , speak with soft words and never use cruel words, only do "what is calculated to do good to the patient", and maintain the patient's privacy.
There is no end in the knowledge of medical science, claims verse 3. The Charaka Samhita, like many ancient Hindu literature, reveres and attributes Hindu gods as the ultimate source of its knowledge. The Charaka Samhita, in addition to initial recitations, uses the foundational assumptions and values embedded in various layers of the Vedas. The Sushruta Samhita and Caraka Samhita have religious ideas throughout, states Steven Engler, who then concludes "Vedic elements are too central to be discounted as marginal".
There is a close relationship between the philosophic presuppositions and the approach to medicine in Charaka Samhita. Innumerable diseases, bodily and mental, have for their root Tamas stupefaction, darkness. Through fault of the understanding, one indulges in the five injurious objects, suppresses the urgings of nature and accomplishes acts that are highly rash. The man of Ignorance then becomes united with conditions for disease. The man of Knowledge, however, purified by knowledge avoids those conditions.
One should never take any food, acting only from a desire for it or guided by ignorance. Only food that is beneficial should be eaten, after proper examination. Verily, the body is the result of food. Charaka Samhita dedicates Chapters 5, 6, 25, 26 and 27 to "Aharatattva" dietetics , stating that wholesome diet is essential for good health and to prevent diseases, while unwholesome food is an important cause of diseases.
The tastes are six. They are sweet, sour, saline, pungent, bitter and astringent. Properly used, they nourish the body. Improperly used excess or deficient , they verily lead to the provocation of the Dosha. The Dosha are three: Vayu , Pitta and Kapha. When they are in their normal state, they are beneficial to the body. When, however, they become disorganized, verily they afflict the body with diseases of diverse kinds. The text suggests that foods are source of heat, nutritive value as well as physiological substances that act like drugs inside human body.
Furthermore, along with medicine, Caraka Samhita in Chapters 26 and 27, states that proper nutrition is essential for expedient recovery from sickness or surgery. The Charaka Samhita suggests a regimen of Mamsa Rasa meat soup during pregnancy from 6th month onwards. Freshly cut meat is also recommended by the text for treatment of poison, wherein the cut meat is pressed against the affected part or spot of insect or reptile bite to absorb away the poison.
Ray et al. Numerous chapters in the Charaka Samhita are dedicated to identifying and classifying seeds, roots, flowers, fruits, stems, aromatic leaves, barks of different trees, plants juices, mountain herbs, animal products ranging from their milk to their excretory waste after the animals eat certain diet or grasses, different types of honey, stones, salts and others.
A typical recipe appears in the Chikitsa Sthana book of the Charaka Samhita as follows: . Take a measure of sesame seeds. Macerate them in goat's milk. Then pound them in goat's milk. Place the pounded product on a piece of clean cloth. Place the product and cloth over a vessel filled with goat's milk. Apply mild heat to the vessel.
Let vapors from heated milk slightly boil the sesame paste. Mix the boiled paste with pulverized liquorice, adding an equal measure of goat's milk. Press the oil out of the mixed product. Add this oil to the standard decoction of ten roots in the ratio of one to four.
To this oil mix, add paste of Rasna , Madhuka and Saindhava salt in the ratio of four to one. Boil all these together. Extract and collect the oil. Repeat the root-paste-salt-oil combining and boiling process ten times. The resulting oil is called Anu-taila. The text, thereafter, asserts that this Anu-taila is to be used as a rubbing oil and as nasal drop for a certain class of ailments.
The Charaka Samhita discusses sexual diseases as well as its theory of treatment of sexual dysfunctions and virility Vajikarana. The text emphasizes methods of body cleansing, sexual health promoting conduct, behavior and diet.
Certain herb and mineral combinations are part of its regimen. The text, states Arnold, contains great number of verses relating to women's sexual health, suggesting "great antiquity of certain methods and therapeutic agents used in the treatment of gynecological cases", for example the cautery, pessaries, and astringent washes.
The teacher for apprenticeship should be one who knows the field, has experience gained from successfully treating diseases, who is compassionate towards who approach him, who lives a life of inner and outer Shaucha , is well equipped, who knows the characteristics of health and disease, one who is without malice towards anyone, is free of anger, who respects privacy and pain of his patients, is willing to teach, and is a good communicator.
When the teacher accepts a student as his apprentice, asserts the Charaka Samhita, he should in the presence of fire initiate the student with the following mandates during the period of apprenticeship — "thou shalt be a brahmacharin , wear beard and mustache, thou shalt be always truthful, abstain from meat and unclean diet, never harbor envy, never bear weapons, thou shalt do anything I say except if that may lead to another person's death or to great harm or to a sin, thou shalt behave like my son, never be impatient, always be attentive, behave with humility, act after reflection, and always seek whether sitting or standing the good of all living creatures".
The earliest scholarly bhasya review, commentary in Sanskrit may be of Bhattar Harichandra's Charakanyasa on the redaction by Dridhabala. The Charaka Samhita is among the most important ancient medical treatises. The Charaka Samhita is the oldest known Hindu text on Ayurveda life sciences , and it was followed by the Sushruta Samhita. Except for some topics and their emphasis, both discuss many similar subjects such as General Principles, Pathology, Diagnosis, Anatomy, Sensorial Prognosis, Therapeutics, Pharmaceutics and Toxicology.
The text is not only an interesting source of ancient medical practices, it also may be a source of valuable information on ecological, social, and economic conditions in ancient India. Maghadi from Maghada and Kashmarya from Kashmir. The text also states that the food habits of ancient Indians varied by regions. People of Prachya preferred Matsya fish , according to Bhavana and Shreevathsa translation.
Residents of Madhya Desha Central India preferred barley, wheat and milk products according to the text. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Hindu scriptures and texts Shruti Smriti Vedas. Other scriptures. Bhagavad Gita Agamas. Ramayana Mahabharata. Shastras and sutras. Chronology of Hindu texts. The ideal medical student He should be of a mild disposition, noble by nature, never mean in his acts, free from pride, strong memory, liberal mind, devoted to truth, likes solitude, of thoughtful disposition, free from anger, of excellent character, compassionate, one fond of study, devoted to both theory and practice, who seeks the good of all creatures.
The aim of life science Life is of four kinds: Sukha happy , Duhkha unhappy , Hita good and Ahita bad. Diet and health Innumerable diseases, bodily and mental, have for their root Tamas stupefaction, darkness. XXVI  . IA, pp. Indian J Psychiatry. A History of Indian Medical Literature. Groningen: E. IA, part 1, chapter Ayurveda: Life, Health and Longevity.
Penguin Books. Hassler, Charaka Samhita , Science, Vol. Science and Society in Ancient India. A History of Indian philosophy, Vol 1. Cambridge University Press. Cologne Dictionaries.
Charaka Samhita (Ayurveda Grantham)
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