Author Topic: Charaka ( Father Of Indian Medicine)  (Read 26672 times)


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Charaka ( Father Of Indian Medicine)
« on: October 20, 2010, 01:15:30 PM »

Charak, sometimes spelled Caraka, born c. 300 BC was one of the principal contributors to the ancient art and science of Ayurveda, a system of medicine and lifestyle developed in Ancient India.

He is sometimes referred to as the Father of Indian Medicine.

The term Caraka 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 Indian heritage and science of Ayurvedic system, prevention of all types of diseases have a more prominent place than treatment, including restructuring of life style to align with the course of nature and four seasons, which will guarantee complete wellness.

The following statements are attributed to Acharya Charak:

A physician who fails to enter the body of a patient with the lamp of knowledge and understanding can never treat diseases. He should first study all the factors, including environment, which influence a patient's disease, and then prescribe treatment. It is more important to prevent the occurrence of disease than to seek a cure.

These remarks appear obvious today, though they were often not heeded, and were made by Charaka, in his famous Ayurvedic treatise Charaka Samhita.
The treatise contains many such remarks which are held in reverence even today. Some of them are in the fields of physiology, etiology and embryology.

Charaka was the first physician to present the concept of digestion, metabolism and immunity. According to his translations of the Vedas, a body functions because it contains three dosha or principles, namely movement (vata), transformation (pitta) and lubrication and stability (kapha). The doshas are also sometimes called humours, namely, bile, phlegm and wind. These dosha are produced when dhatus (blood, flesh and marrow) act upon the food eaten. For the same quantity of food eaten, one body, however, produces dosha in an amount different from another body. That is why one body is different from another. For instance, it is more weighty, stronger, more energetic.

Further, illness is caused when the balance among the three dosha in a human body is disturbed. To restore the balance he prescribed medicinal drugs. Although he was aware of germs in the body, he did not give them any importance.

Charaka knew the fundamentals of genetics. For instance, he knew the factors determining the sex of a child. A genetic defect in a child, like lameness or blindness, he said, was not due to any defect in the mother or the father, but in the ovum or sperm of the parents (an accepted fact today).

Charaka studied the anatomy of the human body and various organs. He gave 360 as the total number of bones, including teeth, present in the body. He wrongly believed that the heart had one cavity, but he was right when he considered it to be a controlling centre. He claimed that the heart was connected to the entire body through 13 main channels. Apart from these channels, there were countless other ones of varying sizes which supplied not only nutrients to various tissues but also provided passage to waste products. He also claimed that any obstruction in the main channels led to a disease or deformity in the body.

Under the guidance of the ancient physician Atreya, Agnivesa had written an encyclopedic treatise in the eighth century B.C. However, it was only when Charaka revised this treatise that it gained popularity and came to be known as Charakasamhita. For two millennia it remained a standard work on the subject and was translated into many foreign languages, including Arabic and Latin.

According to the Charaka tradition, there existed six schools of medicine, founded by the disciples of the sage Punarvasu Ātreya. Each of his disciples, Agnivesha, Bhela, Jatūkarna, Parāshara, Hārīta, and Kshārapāni, composed a Samhitā. Of these, the one composed by Agnivesha was considered the best. The Agnivesha Samhitā was later revised by Charaka and it came to be known as Charaka Samhitā. The Charaka Samhitā was revised by Dridhbala.

Āyurveda is traditionally divided into eight branches which, in Charaka's scheme, are:

Sūtra-Sthāna, general principles
Nidāna-Sthāna, pathology
Vimāna-Sthāna, diagnostics
Sharīra-Sthāna, physiology and anatomy
Indriya-Sthāna, prognosis
Chikitsā-Sthāna, therapeutics & Internal Medicine
Kalpa-Sthāna, pharmacy
Siddhi-Sthāna, successful treatment

The Charak Samhita contains 120 adhyayas (chapters), divided into 8 parts.

Sutra Sthana
Nidan Sthana
Viman Sthana
Sharir Sthana
Indriya Sthana
Chikitsa Sthana
Kalpa Sthana
Siddhi Sthana


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Re: Charaka ( Father Of Indian Medicine)
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2010, 02:21:37 PM »

Dear prasanth,

Thanks for good information about Charaka.  Charaka was basically
a physician.  Saint Tirumular who has given some details about
what type of a baby is born to a couple, was a Sivaraja Yogi and
perhaps a siddha medicine expert too.

See these verses in Tanta II of Tirumandiram:

Verse 478: 

The masculine flow dominates, the infant is male born,
The feminine dominates, the infant is female born;
When the two are equal, a hermaphrodite is born,
When masculine flow gushes in plenty,
The infant born will sway the world entire;
When masculine flow is scanty,
Naught indeed conception is.       

Verse 479:

If after emission,
The male's breath five finger length extends,
The infant born lives a hundred years,
When breath to four finger measure stretches,
To age eighty the infant lives,
The Yogi who knows the science of breath control,
If in sex act, he indulges,
He, the vital flow, according regulates.

Verse 480:

When after the union, the man is short of breath,
The infant born a dwarf will be,
When breath blows feeble,
The issue may of defective limbs be born,
When breath halts in mid act,
A hunch back will be born;
All these apply not,
To a woman's breathing norm.

Verse 481:

When at the time of union,
The mother's bowels are heavy exceeding,
A dullard will be born;
If urine exceeds
A dumb will be born,
If both exceed
A blind will be born
Thus is it for the infant born
The mother's condition according.

Verse 482:

If breath flows leading on nostril right,
The infant born will a male be,
If on the nostril left,
A female will be born,
If the describing current apana,
Opposes the ascending current prana,
Twins there shall be;
If in measure equal the breath rhythm runs,
Through nostrils right and left,
Hermaphrodite shall be the baby born.

Verse 483:

If in male and female breath runs,
In measure equable
The infant born will exceeding handsome be.
When in both breath rhythm falters,
No conception will there be.

Verse 485:

In months ten it forms full
And then on earth in time appointed, it lands,
And grows, Maya fostering;
But who knows that formless Maya?

[Tr. Dr. B. Natarajan.]

Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Charaka ( Father Of Indian Medicine)
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 06:43:06 PM »
oh these are nice verses Subramanian garu.


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Re: Charaka ( Father Of Indian Medicine)
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2010, 10:12:45 AM »

We think that only in recent centuries, the Temples are destroyed
and some other places of worships are built by people of different
faiths.  It was there even in Tirumular's times.  Tirumular in his
Tantra II, Chapter 19 speaks about such evils.

Dangers of Transplanting Linga [from some other place]

Let them beware who transplant
A Linga at a Shrine established
Even before the transplant is completed
The Kingdom will fall;
And foul leprosy will torture him
Thus did He declare
Nandi the Divine Protector.

Dangers of Destruction of a Temple

As they move away,
A single stone from temple wall
That shall spell the Crowned King's ruin;
Be he a sage, certain the ruin;
- So ordained the Lord.

Dangers of skipping the performance of Puja

Rains fail; epidemics spread;
The mighty king his prowess loses;
All this sure happens,
If worship in Lord's temples falters,
The Lord who has spurned the very God of Death.

Dangers of Puja ceasing

When in Siva's temple worship ceases,
Harm befalls the ruler;
Scanty become the rains;
Theft and robbery abound in the land,
Thus did my Holy Nandi declare.

Puja to be performed only by a qualified priest

If he is but only a priest in name
Who, Lord's worship performs,
Deathly wars rage in fury
Fell diseases spread;
Famine stalks the land --
Thus did the great Nandi in truth declare.


Arunachala Siva.


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Re: Charaka ( Father Of Indian Medicine)
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2010, 01:25:27 PM »
this is surprising Subramanian garu. So this temple destruction is going on from long back.


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Re: Charaka ( Father Of Indian Medicine)
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2010, 02:50:54 PM »

Dear prasanth,

Yes.  Construction of temples are there right from 3rd C.A.D. in
Tamizh Nadu.  One of the earliest temple was Murugan temple,
in Tiruchendur.  It is one of the most ancient temples because
Nakkirar says about this in his Tirumurugatru Padai.  It is the second
of the six Abodes of Muruga.  The kings constructed Siva and Vishnu
temples right from early Pandyan rule.  Though Saivites and Vaishnavites had constant quarrel among themselves, they did not
destroy each others' temples.  Kochengat Chozhan alone has constructed 70 temples and this is mentioned by a Vaishanava
Saint, Tiru Mangai Azhwar.  Kanchipuram Kamakshi Temple is also
one of the ancient temples.  Thillai Nataraja temple should have
come about around 4th C. A.D.  In the North India, it is said that
Puri Jagannath Temple and Kasi Viswanatha Temple are among the oldest temples.  Sri Sankara who lived in 7th C. A.D. has sung about many of these temples.

Arunachala Siva.