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Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History

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About the Book Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History presents a collection of the latest research on Ayurveda by an international group of leading historians of medicine and Indian culture. The book begins with papers by C. Pecchia and P.A. Maas that reveal some of their discoveries resulting from their work on a critical edition of the Vimanasthana of the Carakasamhita. K. Preisendanz presents a study of the early phases of formal Indian philosophy in the Carakasamhita, aris...
About the Book

Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History presents a collection of the latest research on Ayurveda by an international group of leading historians of medicine and Indian culture. The book begins with papers by C. Pecchia and P.A. Maas that reveal some of their discoveries resulting from their work on a critical edition of the Vimanasthana of the Carakasamhita. K. Preisendanz presents a study of the early phases of formal Indian philosophy in the Carakasamhita, arising out of the same project. D. Wujastyk reports on the recent discovery of a Nepalese manuscript of the Susrutasamhita that pushes back our physical evidence for the text by almost a thousand years. A. Cerulli discusses the interplay of medicine, government, and religion in an 18th-century Sanskrit allegorical play. K. G. Zysk discusses the Siddha tradition of medicine and alchemy in Tamil Nadu, and his co-authored chapter with T. Yamashita reports on their progress in editing and translating an early commentary on the Carakasamhita. M.Sankaranarayana discusses the relationship of clinical practice and Ayurveda theory in modern Kerala, and P. Ram Manohar explores the combinatorics of Indian pharmacology in an innovative 13th-century Keralan ayurvedic text.

The meticulous studies in this book advance the boundaries of the modern knowledge of Ayurveda. At the same time, they demonstrate a range of original mythologies for deepening our understanding of this scholarly, traditional medicine of South Asia, while also directly speaking to the unique problems presented by the modern reception of Sanskrit medical works after centuries of manuscript transmission.

About the Author

Dominik Wujastyk is a research fellow at the Department of South Asian. Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, and author of The Roots of Ayurveda (2003) and other books and articles on the history of culture and scientific thought in South Asia.

Anthony Cerulli is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and author of Somatic Lessons: Narrating Patienthood and lIIness in Indian Medical Literature (2012).

Karin Preisendanz is Professor of Indology and Head of the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, and author of Studien zu Nyayasutra III. 1 (1994) and numerous other studies on Indian philosophy and culture.


Medical Texts and Manuscripts in Indian Cultural History is a product of the Classical Ayurveda Text Study Group (CATS). Since its first meeting at the University of Vienna in 2003, convened by Prof. Karin Preisendanz, CATS has been bringing together scholars and practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine to discuss cutting-edge research on Indian medical history, Sanskrit medical literature, and Ayurvedic clinical practice. Past and current members of CATS have been based in Europe, India, Japan, and the United States.

The CATS group meets approximetly every second year, in different international locations. At these meeting, members present new research, and consider old and new methodological and theoretical problems in Indian medical history.

A special feature of the CATS meetings was introduced at the second meeting convented by Dominik Wujastyk at University College London in 2004. While research papers are delivered in the normal way, the first two days of the meeting are set aside for reading Sanskrit medical texts in the original language together as a group. Due to the senior standing of the participants, these sessions amount to master classes in Ayurvedic textual history. Before the conference, each participant prepares a selected Sanskrit or Prakrit passage of key interest, and pre-circulates it to the group. At the conference, the group studies these texts, discussing every details of the readings, as well as advanced technical matters of language and ancient medical theory. The participants approach these sessions with a high level of precision and a careful engagement with the grammer, syntax, textual integrity and meaning of the texts. In different ways, the members of our group are engaged in solving a host of difficult textual problems that are fundamental to the history of Indian medicine. Senior scholars commonly work in isolation, only sharing their textual endeavours through final publication. The chance to interact and share expertise during these text-reading days is unique and much appreciated by those who attend, whether as members or as guests. This particular type of literary and medical-history work is almost unknown at many univerties, and CATS has been able to stimulate the introduction of the methods of advanced textual criticism and historical study in medical history at a number of university department.

The present volume evolved out of a CATS meeting held in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu in August of 2008. The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy in Coimbatore generously supported the event, which was expertly organized by P. Ram Manoharand his staff. At that meeting CATS assembled in conjunction with the "International Grand Centennial Convention on Ayurveda and Expo." CATS convened a two-day workshop with a number of informal presentations by CATS members and invited participants. CATS then held a more formal day-long workshop on textual and manuscript studies, entitled: "The History of Medicine in India: Past and Present Theories and Practices in the Light of the Classical Textual Sources." At this pre-conference workshop twelve papers were presented, nine of which appear in the present volume .

The Coimbatore conference covered a rich selection of research. Several presenters offered innovative lines of enquiry for the historical, cultural, and textual study of Indian medicine. Of particular significance was the importance of basing research into Indian cultural history and contemporary Ayurvedic practice on the long textual and manuscript traditions of Ayurveda.

The initial two chapters of the present volume, by Cristina Pecchia and Philipp A. Maas respectively, present research from their important work on a critical edition of the Vimanasthana of the Carakasamhita at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna, as part of the project series "Philosophy and Medicine in Early Classical India".' The chapter of Karin Preisendanz, the director of the Caraka project in Vienna, presents the first part of a substantial investigation into the history and historiography of the early phases of formal Indian philosophy. (A second part of this study is in preparation.) Dominik Wujastyk presents exciting new manuscript evidence in his chapter for establishing a cultural history of the Sanskrit medical classic, the Susruiasamhita, highlighting the recent discovery of a thousand-year old manuscript of the work. Anthony Cerulli offers a precis of an 18th-century Sanskrit medical allegory, the Jivanandanam (The Joy of Life), and he argues that the text contributes novel data concerning the interplay of medicine, government, and religion in south Indian cultural history. Kenneth Zysk's chapter contains insightful information about his research in Tamilnadu on Siddha medicine and alchemy. Zysk's co-authored chapter, with Tsutomu Yamashita, reports the progress of their extensive and ongoing efforts to catalogue the extant manuscripts, as well as to produce a critical edition, of Jajjata's very early commentary on the Carakasamhita, the Nirantarapada- vyakhya. Manoj Sankaranarayana presents a case study of the "Rescue Clyster" (vaitara1Javasti) in Kerala, and he suggests this procedure illustrates one way in which Malayali vaidyas are informing their clinical practice with the Sanskrit medical classics and engaging in strategies for adapting and changing the teachings of the classical tradition in response to actual clinical experience. The chapter of P. Ram Manohar looks at the Siddhamantra of Kesava and, in particular, examines the text's complex contributions to the combinatoric underpinnings of Indian pharmacology.

CATS is committed to making the research of its members available as widely as possible in South Asia and throughout the world through conference presentations, workshops, and publications. Accordingly, following the 2008 Coimbatore workshop, several of the panelists agreed to publish their essays in a special issue of the Indian Journal of the History of Science (IJHS), which came out in 2009. Unfortunately, the editing of that issue was severely com- promised. Errors were introduced into the essays, and titles and passages of text were re-written without consultation with the authors and sometimes against their explicit instructions. Although attempts were made to have the IJHS issue emended or withdrawn from circulation, in the end nothing could be done. The present volume offers these essays in the form their authors authorize, and updated with the latest research findings and interpretations. The editors of the present book have ensured that the style and presentation of the essays are consistent with the intentions of the authors.


Preface vii
Contributors xii
1Transmitting the Carakasamhita: Notes for a History of the Tradition1
2On What to Do with a Stemma - Towards a Critical Edition of Carakasamhita Vimanasthana 829
3 Logic, Debate and Epistemology in Ancient Indian Medical Science: An Investigation into the History and Historiography of Indian Philosophy Part I63
4New Manuscript Evidence for the Textual and Cultural History of Early Classical Indian Medicine141
5The Joy of Life: Medicine, Politics, and Religion159
6An Indologist Looks at Siddha Medicine in Tamilnadu181
7 Texts and Physicians in Keralan Ayurveda: the Case of the Rescue Clyster195
8Jajjata's Nirantarapadavyakhya on the Carakasamhita, Cikasdsihana 2.1.1-4ab221
9 Glimpses of the Siddhamantra243
Index 267

Sample Pages

Item Code: NAM696 Author: Dominik Wujastyk,Anthony Cerulli and Karin Preisendanz Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2013 Publisher: Manohar Publishers and Distributors ISBN: 9789350980194 Language: English Size: 9.0 inch x 6.0 inch Pages: 287 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 535 gms
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