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Basic Principles of Ayurveda (Based on Ayurveda Saukhyam of Todarananda)

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Item Code: NAL777
Author: Vaidya Bhagwan Dash and Lalitest Kashyap
Publisher: Concept Publishing Company
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 8170224586
Pages: 655
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 940 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Based on Todarananda Ayurveda Saukhyam, this series in nine volumes covers almost all the aspects of Ayurveda, including fundamentals principles, anatomy, physiology, hygiene and public health, examination of patients, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of diseases, iatro- chemistry, materia medica and five specialised therapies, known as Panch Karma.

While volumes one and two deal with materia medica and basic principles of Ayurveda, respectively, volumes three to seven cover the diagnosis and treatment of different diseases. Five specialised therapies (Panch-Karma) and Rasa Sastra make part of volumes eight and nine respectively. Besides the original Sanskrit text, all the volumes contain its English translation, extensive glossary of technical terms, various indices, notes and references.

About the Author

Vaidya Bhagwan Dash , holds graduate and post-graduate qualification in Ayurveda, in addition to Master's degree in Sanskrit and a Doctorate from University of Delhi.

In the course of over thirty years dedicate to research and practice of Ayurveda, Dr. Dash has attended several international conferences and seminars held in Brazil, Mexico and France. He was invited to deliver a course of lectures in Ayurveda at the Patrice Lumumba Friendship University, Moscow and the Australian School of Ayurveda at Adelite, South Australia.

Author of over twenty important publications covering different aspects of Ayurveda and Tibetan Medicine, he has to his credit an English translation and commentary of Caraka Samhita, the most authentic Ayurvedic classic.

Dr. Dash was Deputy Adviser in Ayurveda to the Government of India in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare till 1981. He has also served the World Health Organisation as a consultant in Traditional Medicines.

Vaidya (Miss) Lalitesh Kashyap , obtained her Ayurvedic degree from the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibia College, Delhi and Ph.D from the K.S.D. Sanskrit University, Darbhanga. She has been actively engaged in Ayurvedic practice and research for the past twenty-five years. She has to her cred several published articles on Ayurvedic drugs, particularly those essential in the treatment of ladies and children. She worked as the Medical Superintendent of the Ayurvedic Hospital, under the Central Government Health Scheme.


We are very happy to present before our esteemed readers and learned scholars this work on "Basic Principles of Ayurveda". This is the second volume in the series Todarananda- Ayurveda Saukhyam, the first being "Materia Medica of Ayurveda" published early this year.

Ayurveda Saukhyam contains 97 chapters whose details are given in the Introduction to the present work. The various aspects of ayurveda are unfortunately, scattered in different places in this encyclopedic work and even the topics of each chapter are some- times haphazardly tossed together without any visibly systematic arrangement. One may hazard a guess that perhaps the work was not finally edited, and immediately after the compilation of the material, further work was discontinued.

The present volume is prepared on the basis of the first six chapters of Ayurveda Saukhyam. These chapters primarily' deal with the basic principles of ayurveda and allied topics.

In the 'Introduction' to the present work, the life of Raja Todara malla and his intimate relationship with this work have been explained. After this book was printed, we have come across a book on "Raja Todar Mal" written by Kumud ranjan Das, published in 1979 by Saraswat Library, Calcutta. This is, perhaps, the first book of its genre and scholars interested in the biographical details of this great statesman, administrator and scholar, may refer to this book.

The first chapter of the present work deals with various specialties of this system of medicine. The attributes of genuine drugs, physicians, nurses as well as patients are described in this chapter in detail. Medical ethics, classification of diseases and their complications and methods of examination of the patient are also described here.

The second chapter deals with various stages of the process of the manifestation of diseases which are called kriya kalas, Various aspects of dosas, dhatus and malas are described in detail. The classification of desa or locality and the characteristics of different types of physical constitution are also given.

The third chapter is concerned with different therapeutic measures and the attributes of different categories of drugs. The basic theories of Rasa, Guna, Virya, Vipaka and Prabhava are elucidated and the regimens that should be followed in different seasons and in the day time and epidemics along with their management are also described. The general conduct conducive to the well being of human beings is also explained here.

The fourth chapter deals with embryology, maternity and various anatomical as well as physiological topics. The process of metabolism and marmas or vital organs are described in detail in this chapter.

In the fifth chapter prognostic signs, messengers, dreams and omens which are conducive to the recovery of the disease are described in detail.

The sixth chapter describes various methods for the examination of patients. The examination of pulse, urine, stool, the eyes, the tongue, the teeth and nails are described in detail. In addition, the tantric methods for determining the prognosis of a disease and' the future health and ill-health of patients are also elaborated in this chapter.

As is familiar to scholars, exact English equivalents of many Sanskrit terms are not available. Providing such explanations repeatedly as and when they appear in the text would have made the reading of this book quite cumbersome. In view of this, besides the index, a glossary of sue terms is given at the end. Certain terms with controversial meanings and some other terms indicating the names of plants, animals etc., which are not clearly identified are also included in this glossary for the benefit of the readers.

Manuscripts which were utilised for the collation and edition of this work were full of calligraphic errors. Most of the original texts referred, to in this work are not available now. Therefore, it was difficult to ascertain the correct reading in many places. Any correction without authentic textual support might mislead the reader. Keeping this in view, corrections of some such Sanskrit texts in this book have not been attempted. The English translation of these texts is based on the Hindi translation which was attempted on one of these MSS. Where the text was absolutely unintelligible, the English translation has been omitted and this has been indicated below the Sanskrit text within square brackets.


According to the Indian tradition, the four primary objectives of human life are (i) Dharma or performance of such rites as are conducive to the well-being of the individual as well as his society, (ii) Artha or the collection of the means of livelihood (iii) Kama or the satisfaction of the mundane desires and (iv) Moksa or the attainment of salvation. Good health is considered to be the sine qua non for the achievement of all these four fold objectives. The man has therefore, eternally endeavoured to keep himself healthy and free from miseries. These miseries are of the following three types:

(1) Adhyatmika duhkha or miseries that arise out of factors which operate from within the living organism. This is again of two types namely Sasrika or somatic and manasika or psychic;
(2) Adhibhautika duhkha or miseries caused by factors which operate on the living organism from outside; and
(3) Adhidaivika duhkha or miseries effected by providential causes or acts of the gods, that is factors that are beyond human control.

Like all systems of Indian sciences, the science of medicine has taken origin from the gods. According to Indian mythology, Ayurveda was first perceived (not composed) by Brahma, and he taught this science to Daksa-Prajapati, who taught it to the AsviniKumaras, and they taught it to Indra. About the further hierarchy of Ayurvedic propounders, different Ayurvedic texts vary. According to Susruta Samhita, Lord Dhanvantari learned it from Indra and according to Caraka Samhita, Bharadvaja (also Atreya) learnt it from Indra. According to Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Bhaskara composed Ayurveda as the fifth Veda on the advice of Prajapati.

While Brahma Vaivarta Purana considers Ayurveda to be the fifth Veda, Caraka, Susruta and Kasyapa have described its allegiance to the Atharva Veda. On the other hand, Carana vyuha and Prasthana bheda, where the term Ayurveda was used perhaps for the first time, have described Ayurveda as an Upaveda of the Rk Veda.

The Vedas are the most ancient repository of human knowledge. All the subjects of science and arts have therefore their original source in the Vedas.

An analysis of the material in the Vedas reveals that all the four Vedas are replete with references to various aspects of medicine. The gods like Rudra, Agni, Varuna, Indra and Maruta were designated as the celestial physicians. The most famous physicians at that time were the Asvins, In the Vedas many miraculous achievements in the field of medicine and surgery had been attributed to them. Revitalisation of individuals and saints, correction of sterility, giving longevity and cure of serious diseases like Yaksma (Tuberculosis) are attributed to them. Many surgical performances like transplantation of the head of a horse in a human trunk and its subsequent replacement by the human head, providing artificial limbs, connecting the head of Yajna to his trunk etc., are described in several places. In the Vedas, the fundamental principles of the science of medicine including the tri-dosa concept, sapta dhatu concept, the concept of digestion and metabolism, anatomical descriptions and descriptions of several diseases are available. Different types of bacteria that are responsible for the causation of diseases are also described in detail. Some of these bacteria are stated to be invisible to the naked eye. The process of delivery, cauterization, toxins, correcting the seizures of evil spirits, rejuvenation therapies and aphrodisiacs are described in many places. Medicinal plants, their different parts and therapeutic effects are also described. About 28 diseases along with their medicines are also described. The method of preparation of medicines is available only in brief. In the Rk Veda, there is a description of 67 medicinal plants. In the Yajur Veda, 81 medicinal plants are described. Two hundred ninety medicinal plants are described in the Atharva Veda alone. In addition,' description of about 130 medicinal plants is available in Brahmana literature. It is described in the Rk Veda that Vispala, wife of Khela king, lost her legs during a war. She was supplied with a pair of artificial legs, and they were fitted to the body through prosthetic surgery.

The most ancient Ayurvedic classics that are available today are Caraka samhitii and Susruta samhitn. They were composed, according to scholars entitled to an opinion, during the 7th century B.C. It is during the mediaeval period, in about the 3rd century after Christ that l atro-chemistry or Rasa Sastra came in a big way to be incorporated into Ayurveda. Thereafter, India was subjected to number of foreign attacks and internal conflicts. There was very little time for people to think of science. They were engaged in fighting for the security of the country. Original thinking was completely at a stand still. Science by nature is progressive. It is more so in the case of a medical science. Any arrest of this pro- gross in original thinking leads to dogmas, prejudices and accumulation of superstitious ideas. This is exactly what happened to Ayurveda during this period. During foreign invasions and internal frictions, many original Ayurvedic works, among others, were destroyed. Whatever remained had to be preserved and explained with the help of commentaries and notes. This was exactly the position in the 16th century A.D. when Todara malla wanted to preserve the ancient knowledge from the then available mutilated Ayurvedic works and took initiative for the composition of the work ayurveda saukhyam' by compiling material from different authentic Sources.


Indo-Romanic Equivalents of Devanagarixxviii
Chapter 151-106
Chapter 2107-196
Chapter 3197-321
Chapter 4322-440
Chapter 5441-487
Chapter 6488-535

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