From the Jacket
The Caraka Samhita stands at the top of the ancient texts representing the School of Medicine in Ayurveda founded by the great Scholar-Sage Punarvasu Atreya. Its value is further enhanced by the fact that it is the only text available in complete form where-as other contemporary Samhitas such as of Jatukarna, temporary Samhitas such as of Jatukarna, Parasara etc. perished, that of Bhela is incomplete and that of Harita is dragged into controversy. Thus any scholar desirous to know about the fundamentals of Ayurveda and its approach to life, health and disease has essentially to take resort to the study of this text unique in depth and divergence. It is rightly said, "whatever is not here can not be found anywhere else."
Historically too, it is quite interesting, Like an archaeological edifice. If it is dug into one would come across three distinct strate of authorship ascribed to Agnivesa, Caraka and Drdhabala in successive order.
And Translation This immensely valuable text needed since long a faithful and simple translation into English communicating the ideas as they are without divulging into dogmatic details which make the situation terse particularly for a young scholar. This comes from the pen of two erudite scholars of Ayurveda who has devoted the major part of the life in studying the text intensively from various angles and has command over both the languages concerned.
Thus the present work is a definite improvement in that its easy narrative style permits a Scholar not acquainted with Sanskrit syntax to grasp the various concepts of Ayurveda. Moreover, the present translation represents the first attempt of its kind to express in English the Ayurveda Dipika commentary by Cakrapanidatta, which sheds light after light on the text.
Vaidya Bhagwan Dash
Alongside what can be termed official medical science, the search for new drugs, and all the activity connected with the discovery of nature's secrets there exists a vast body of knowledge which stretches back into the ancient realms of time.
People without number throughout the world are fascinated by, and drawn to the world of alternative medicine which is receiving evermore recognition and appreciation in view of the use of the elements which our mother earth offers.
Vaidya Bhagwan Dash, former deputy adviser on Ayurveda to the Indian Ministry of Health, is a leading expert in a field which brings together ancient traditions and innovation in an attempt to meet the enormous needs of a country such as India.
On the sound basis of his medical training and research, Dash has furthered his studies, and as a recognised authority in Ayurveda has taken his knowledge and caring beyond his country.
He can look back on a long career in medicine and public service and among the many appointments he has held figures that of Director of the Yoga Research Institute in New Delhi.
The Pie Manzu Centre intends recognizing the contribution which Vaidya Bhagwan Dash has made to the health and well-being of mankind by awarding him the medal of the Presidency of the Italian Senate.
About the Author
Dr. Ram Karan Sharma (born March 20, 1927 at Shivapur, Saran, Bihar) was initiated to Vedic and allied studies (including Ayurveda) on traditional lines by Pandit Ambikadatta Sharma at Lokamanya Brahmacaryasrama, Muzaffarpur. As a full bright scholar, he worked with Prof. M. B. Emeneau at the University of California, Berkeley, U. S. A. College Muzaffarpur and Dr. Ishvara Datta (Patna College) affiliated to Patna University.
He was founder Director, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan; vice Chancellor, Sampurnanand and Sanskrit University and Kameshvara Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University; Joint Educational Adviser, Govt. of India; Visiting of Bihar. Presently he is the President of International Association of Sanskrit Studies. Areas of his special interest are: Panini, Mahabharata, Darsana, Kavya and Ayurveda. More than one hundred research papers and about a dozen major publications he has authored. His creative writings include Sandhya (Poetry), a recipient of Sahitya Akademi award and Sima (Novel) a recipient of Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad award.
Vaidya Bhagwan Dash (born Oct. 1934 in Parbatipur, Orissa) has had an outstandingly brilliant academic career. In addition to graduate and postgraduate qualifications in Ayurveda, he holds a Master's degree in Sanskrit and a Doctorate from University of Delhi.
In the course of over forty years dedicated to research and practice of Ayurveda, Dr. Dash has attended several international conferences and seminars held in Brazil, Mexico, Italy and France. He was invited to deliver a course of lectures in Ayurveda at the Patrice Lumumba Friendship University, Moscow and the Australia School of Ayurveda at Adelaide, South Australia.
A Sanskrit scholar, he handles the English Language with equal felicity. A significant advantage to his propensity for research in Ayurveda is Dr. Dash's proficiency in Tibetan Medicine.
Author of over sixty important publications covering different aspects of Ayurveda and Tibetan Medicine, he is recipient of several prestigious awards including a Gold Medal from the Presidency of Italian Senate for outstanding services he has made to the health and well-being of mankind.
He was deputy Adviser in Adviser in Ayurveda to the Government of India in the Ministry of Health and F. W. till 1981, when he took voluntary retirement to enable him to devote more time for academic and research activities. As a Consultant in Traditional Medicine of the World Health Organisation, he had paid several visits to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma and Mongolia to study and advise on the Health Development Programmes of those countries.
The Caraka-samahita is famous as one of the remarkable accomplishments of ancient Indian science. Its large Sutra- sthana, as a thesaurus of the basic elements of Ayurveda practice, including the intellectual preparation of the physician besides the principles of medicine, is itself an arduous task for transla- tors. While two English translations of the Caraka are presently available, they are too literal, almost requiring that the original Sanskrit be read along with the translation in order to garner the meaning. I am happy to report that the present work, the result of unremitting and sensitive labors by Dr. R. K Sharma and Mr. Bhagwan Dash, is a definite improvement in that its easy narrative style permits a scholar not acquainted with San- skrit syntax to grasp the various concepts of Ayurveda. Moreover, the present translation is the first one to express in English the Ayurveda Dipika commentary by Cakrapani Datta, which sheds light after light on the Caraka.
I believe that the translators are quite justified in leaving un translated certain terms, notably the triad of vata, pitta, and kapha, and certain names for diseases that stand for clusters of diseases rather than for particular well-defined ones Altogether, this translation, consummated as it is on a high level of learning and intelligence, should help the Caraka to assume its justified role in modern-day Ayurveda; and at the very least enhance the admiration due to this great classic in the Eastern and Western worlds.
I suppose that, in asking me to write a foreword to Dr. Bhagwan Dash's excellent rendering of Caraka Samhita and Ayurveda Dipika of Cakrapani Datta in English, the intention of the publisher is to introduce the young author to the world of Ayurveda, which I have been in contact with much longer, haying entered the field much earlier. The second possible ob- jective is to make available to the prospective reader of the book my assessment of the practical and academic worth of the author's work.
Dr. Bhagwan Dash's current reputation in the field of Ayurvedic scholarship, research and administration is flattering enough to render unnecessary anv fresh evaluation thereof by me. He has risen, like good Generals in Defence services, from the ranks. It has been my privilege and pleasure to see him leave milestone after milestone behind him in his onward march to success in different fields of Ayurvedic activities, both academic and administrative. And the best fruits of his multi-dimensional intellectual labour are to be found in his present interpretation of Caraka Samhita, a work which, in its own right, ranks as the greatest legacy the Seers of ancient India have bequeathed to the sciences of life.
Again, the Ayurveda Dipika of Cakrapani Datta is gener- ally accepted as.the most authentic commentary on the text of Caraka Samhita. This book will probably be the first to offer a standard English translation of Cakrapani's important work to those having no direct access to the Sanskrit language.
I, therefore, attach considerable importance to this publi- cation which is going to remove a great lacuna from the existing Ayurvedic literature available in the English language. Those who wish to undertake an intimate and advanced study of Caraka Samhita and, to an extent, even of Ayurveda as a whole, and are not equipped with an adequate knowledge of Sanskrit to study the originals by themselves, will find it profitable, per- haps even indispensable, to make a serious study of the contents of this treatise. The translations of the Samhita and the commen- tary make an interesting reading. Here and there, the author brings a touch of modernity to the ancient text. He describes the assembly of the Rsis in the Caitraratha forest as a " sympo- sium" "and the Rsis themselves as "participants in this sympo- sium". Punarvasu's expression of views at the end of a discussion is captioned as " The Concluding Remarks of the Chairman- Lord Punarvasu". He has almost bodily lifted the assembly from the beautiful Caitraratha forest and deposited it in a committee room of a modern institution.
Yet the translation remains faithful to the text. The great teacher is referred to as "Lord" Punarvasu only, and not as " His Holiness" or " His Excellency" Punarvasu. The word" Lord" is not an inapt translation of the word" Bhagavan". Therein lies the chief merit of the author's interpretation-there is no de- parture from the true sense of the original text. I consider it a creditable achievement. It is particularly so when the text he has handled is as important and as extensive as that of Caraka Samhita and Ayurveda Dipika. I believe the readers will find the study of this book rewarding and satisfying.
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