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Lord Dhanvantari is known as the father of Ayurveda, since he was the first divine incarnation to impart its wisdom amongst humans. He first appeared during the great churning of the cosmic ocean of milk (Samudra manthan) to deliver amrit (ambrosia, or Divine nectar) to the demigods. The churning of the ocean of milk is a famous episode in the Puranas that represents the spiritual endeavor of a person to achieve Self-realization through concentration of mind, withdrawal of the senses, control of all desires, austerities and asceticism. As the churning continued, Lord Dhanvantari appeared. As he emerged, he was holding a conch, leeches, healing herbs, a chakra (one of the divine weapons of Lord Vishnu’s), and the long sought pot of ambrosia, for which he is also called Sudha Pani (“carrying nectar”).
At the time of the churning, Lord Vishnu foretold that Lord Dhanvantari would appear again in the world to teach men the science of Ayurveda. And so he did, after Lord Indra, seeing humanity so afflicted by pain and disease, pleaded with Lord Dhanvantari to descend into the material world and teach Ayurveda to the human race. Dhanvantari, one of the many avatars (divine incarnations) of Lord Vishnu’s, is known as Adi-Dhanvantari.
King Dirghatamas of Kashi (Benares) was performing severe austerities and offering them to Lord Dhanvantari in the hopes that he would be pleased with them and grant him a son. The Lord replied that he would. Soon after, Lord Dhanvantari was born in the royal household of Kashi. He taught Ayurveda orally to the sages and rishis (seers) who became his disciples. His teachings are recorded in the Agni Purana, as well as through the teachings of his disciples Susruta, Pauskalavata, Aurabha, Vaitarana, and others.
It is written in the scriptures that, “One who remembers the name of Dhanvantari can be released from all disease.” Lord Dhanvantari is worshipped all over India as the God of Medicine. Even today, two days before Diwali, the Festival of Lights, people remember and honor him. At dusk, a lamp pointing toward North by North-East is lit at the doorstep of the house to welcome Lord Dhanvantari for health and happiness in life. This day is known as Dhanteras (or Dhanwantari Triodasi, or Dhantrayodashi).
| BHARADWAJA |
Charaka Samhita tells us how Bharadwaja obtained the knowledge of Ayurveda from God Indra and then expounded it into the other sages. Bharadwaja was the first man to have known and taught Ayurvedic medicine. Bharadwaja lived around 800 B.C. Bharadwaja is among the seven sages (Rishis) who are responsible for preaching the world with the teachings of Vedas. Bharadwaja was a great seer and an enlightened man who attained extraordinary scholarship and the power of meditation.
Bharadwaja was the father of Dronacharya and grandfather of Ashwatthama. He was also the adopted son of King Bharata and could be the owner of the whole kingdom but he had no intention to become a king. Young Bharadwaja spent all his time to understand the Vedas. The Marudwaja gods taught him all they knew about Vedas but Bharadwaja insisted to learn more and to do so he was asked to meditate upon Indra. Indra then materialized three mountains and took three handful of soil from the mountains. He said to Bharadwaja that three Vedas are like the three mountains and what Bharadwaja had learned was equal to those three handfuls but that did not mean he only learnt a little. Even he had gained more knowledge than the gods. Vedic knowledge was endless and gaining the knowledge was important but spreading it was equally if not more important.
Punarvasu Atreya(2000BC)original expounder of Agnivesa tantra.
| ATREYA |
Amongst the disciples of Bharadwaja, Punarvasu became very popular. He was commonly known as Atreya. He classifies diseases as curable and incurable ; curable by charms and those scarcely possible to cure. He distinguishes patients on whom physicians must attend from those to whom they must refuse assistance.
Atreya describes the influence of winds, soil and seasons on age and temper. He enumerates six tastes such as sweet, astringent, bitter, sour, salty and pungent and talks of the influence of each on the human body. He deals with moral causes of diseases and describes various diseases in detail, such as fevers, diarrheas, dysentery, consumption, hemorrhage, etc. and also their treatment. He also deals with various antidotes against poisons. He describes the medical qualities of different kinds of water and the use of hot and cold water in various diseases, the physical and medical properties of various milks, sugarcane, sour gruel, infusions from rice, barley and other grains, oils, fruits, herbs, alcoholic liquors made from molasses, honey etc.
The beginning of Ayurvedic Medicine can be attributed to Atreya. Though the concepts of controlling the forces of the body are contained in Vedic literature, yet it is to Atreya that Ayurvedic medicine owes its full elaboration of 'Tridosa' concepts. The fundamental concepts of the various factors causing diseases and the action of drugs in Charaka Samhita, belong to Atreya. As a teacher of Ayurvedic Medicine, Atreya is known to be unsurpassed.
| JEEVAKA |
Jeevaka was a famous physician of India in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. Buddhist works mention much of him and his patients included the Buddha, the Emperors and the common people. Jeevaka was the son of Salavati, a courtesan of Rajagnha (modem Patria), which was the capital of the Magadha empire in the reign of Bimbisara. He was thrown after his birth on a dust heap where people noticed that he was still alive (Jivati). This was informed to Prince Abhaya, the son of Bimbisara. The prince named him Jivaka and brought him up. He is also known as Jeevaka Kumarabwla (the one brought up by the Prince).
The famous brain surgery was performed on King Bhoja by Jeevaka, who was one of the first nuero surgeons and also the personal physician to Lord Bhudha. Jeevaka is said to have performed several surgical operations. Jeevaka was declared by Buddha as the chief amongst his lay-followers. Buddha enjoined upon monks to take exercise to protect health at the requisition of Jeevaka.
| VAGBHATA |
According ancient Indian medicine, Vagbhata, Atreya and Susruta are considered as the three medical authorities (Vriddha Trayi or old Triad). Vagbhata composed two medical treatises, viz., Ashtanga Sangraha (summary of Octopartite Science) and Ashtanga Hrudaya Samhita (Heart of the essence of Octopartite science). Both these works describe him as the son of Simhagupta and he was bom in the country of Sindhu. He was the disciple of a Buddhist teacher named Avalokita.
Ashtanga Sangraha is still studied all over India, especially in the South. It is composed of a combination of verse and prose form. It gathers more or less conflicting medical systems of that time especially of the Charaka and Susruta Samhitas, and harmonizes them into a whole. It contains independent material also. Vagbhata's medical treatise Ashtanga Hrudaya Samhita contains six sections of 120 chapters. The six sections are the practice of Medicine, human anatomy, the causes and pathology of various conditions, purging and vomiting, taking care of children and diseases of children. It is mainly based on Ashtanga Sangraha. It gives a lucid description of the whole of Ayurvedic medicine with special reference to surgery as given in Susruta Samhita.
| MADHAVAKAR |
Madhav was an 8th century Indian physician who wrote the Nidāna, which soon assumed a position of authority. In the 79 chapters of this book, he lists diseases along with their causes, symptoms, and complications. He also included a special chapter on smallpox (masūrikā).
Madhavakar or Madhavacharya is the exponent of pathology and diagnosis. For this contribution, he is equal to the rank of the 'Ancient Triad'. Raghuvamshaya is his special contribution, which is also called as Madhavanidnana or simply Nidana.
He is the son of Indukar. He was born in Kishkinda, now called Golconda, in South India. Madhava's brother is Sayana who wrote a commentary on Rig Veda. Madhavakar is said to have contributed to this. He composed many works on Hindu philosophy, religion and astronomy.
Madhavananda deals exclusively and exhaustively with pathology and diagnosis of diseases. The description of the causes, symptoms and complications of the important diseases set an example for the future authors, viz., Vrinda, Varyasena and Chakrapani. The description in this shows an advancement over Charaka and Susruta Samhitas. It devotes a special chapter on small-pox. It also borrows from Charaka and Susruta. There is a unanimous opinion whether he existed in 9th or 10 th century A.D. Numerous commentaries were written on Nidana which clearly show his fame and popularity. The most famous of these commentaries are by Vijayarakshita and Shrikantha Datta in the 14th and 15th centuries.
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Vishwamitra is, in mythic terms, one of the most important rishis of India. His influence is profound and permeates every cranny of the collective consciousness of the Hindus. Vishwamitra is that strange and rare phenomenon - the Hero who becomes an Enlightened Sage. He was a veritable tsunami of Will, storming the gates of heaven and wresting acknowledgement for his spiritual status. Vishwamitra is the highest point of spiritual realization, even the very gods are his inferior. He is also regarded as being not just Chiranjeevi (immortal) but eternal, outside the cycle of cosmic dissolution and creation.
Vishwamitra also as befits a rishi, which literally means "seer", gave to the world the most sacred of all Hindu mantras, the pinnacle called the Gayatri Mantra. His sympathy with the victims of entrenched prejudice, his disdain for convention, his all too human flaw of an explosive temper and above all his ability to recover from his mistakes have endeared him to his people and given him the name of "The Friend of the World." (Vishwa - world; Mitra - friend)
Brahman, the King of the gods acknowledged that Vishwamitra had achieved complete control of himself and they granted him the rank of Brahma-Rishi.
Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life | Remover of pain and sorrow | The Bestower of happiness | Oh! Creator of the Universe | May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light | May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.
| PATANJALI |
Patañjali (150 BC) is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of aphorisms on Yoga practice, and also the author of the Mahābhāsya, a major commentary on Panini's Ashtadhyayi.
The greatest classical text from the yoga school of Indian philosophy is the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, written in the second century BC. These "threads" on yoga or union, are extremely terse, stating concisely and often precisely, essential points or techniques. Originally these teachings were oral and were explained and interpreted by commentaries from a teacher guiding the student.
This meditative discipline of liberation is called raja or royal yoga or the yoga of the eight steps, which may be listed as follows:
1. Restraint: nonviolence, not lying, not stealing, not lusting, and nonattachment
2. Observances: cleanliness, contentment, discipline, self-study, and surrender to the Supreme God
3. Posture or physical exercises
4. Breath control
5. Sublimation or withdrawal from the senses
Yoga means Union and the purpose is to teach the practitioner of Yoga, called the Yogi, how to achieve Union or Spiritual Absorption into the Supreme Absolute or God. Yoga teaches us that our true self is the soul and that our self identity is an illusion to be overcome.
These sutras do not go into the specifics of meditation, such as how to sit, what postures are best, etc... because it was assumed this material would be taught by a teacher to a student and that certain basics would be part of the instruction. It is recommended that the reader become familiar with basic meditation techniques and postures before practicing these precepts.
| || CHARAKA |
Charaka, the famous physician of Ayurvedic medicine, lived before 175 BC. In ancient medicine, he is looked upon as an incarnation of Ananthasesha, the giant cosmic serpent, which is believed to support the universe. Charaka Samhita was composed originally by Agnivesha, the disciple of Atreya, who lived around 7th-8th century BC. Charaka Samhita describes the various aspects of Ayurvedic medicine. His work elaborately deals with foetal generation and development, anatomy of the human body, function and malfunction of the body, viz., vayu, pitha and kapha, etiology, classification, prognosis, treatment of various diseases and the science of rejuvenation of the body. Charaka describes all matter including food, as composed of five elemental entities (bhutas), viz., earth, fire, wind and wind and ether. These exist in the body in the form of substances (dhatus), viz., rasa, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen. The function of the food is to nourish these dhatus, maintain their equilibrium and sustain the digestive function. Food is first converted into rasa and this in to blood, flesh and dhatus. During the process of digestion, a sweet reaction sets in which gives rise to the production of a foamy phlegm (kapha). A little later, when food is half digested, reactions set in and from the food in the intestine is produced a liquid substance called bile (pitha). Later, down in the intestines, the digested food is converted into a dry mass and during process a bitter and astringent reaction sets in, which gives rise to the production of wind (vayu). Thus, the three doshas are produced. He describes the various categories of the practitioners of healing art, specialization in different medical subjects, nursing care, centers of medical learning, schools of philosophy, such as Nyaya and Vaiseshika which formed the basis of medical theories, medical botany, various customs, traditions, legends, routine of daily life, habits or smoking and drinking, dress and clothing of the people of that era.
| SUSRUTHA |
Susrutha, a descendant of Viswamitra, was the greatest Indian surgeon of all times and identified the treatment and origin of several diseases in the 6th century BC. The medical treatise Sushruta Samhita—compiled in Vedic Sanskrit—is attributed to him. The Sushruta Samhita contains multiple detailed references to diseases and medical procedures. It has been said that Susrutha led a group of holy men and learnt Ayurvedic medicine from Divadosa, the incarnation of Dhanvantari.
Susrutha, as a teacher, asked his pupils to try their knives first on natural as well as artificial objects resembling diseased parts of the body, before undertaking the actual operations. Susrutha stressed on both theoretical and practical training and remarks that "the physician who has only the book - knowledge (Sastras) but is unacquainted with the practical methods of treatment' or who knows the practical details of the treatment but from self confidence, does not study the books, is unfit to practice his calling. His major achievements, however, were in the field of plastic surgery of the nose, operations on the abdomen, on the eyes for cataract, on women during delivery and on the removal of the urinary stones.
Susrutha explained the influence of various seasons on plants and human beings. He classifies the animal kingdom into four. They are (1) those that are born out of moisture and heat, e.g., worms, insects and ants, (2) those with placenta attached to them at birth, e.g., man and other animals (3) those that are born out of egg, e.g., reptiles, birds and (4) those that come out from the ground, e.g., frogs. He classifies the worms that infest the human body into 20 categories.
Susrutha(1000BC)-Father of surgery-
performing plastic surgery of ear.
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