Sunday January 20, 2019

Acharya Charaka: Indian father Of Medicine, Author of Charaka Samhita “scince of Ayurveda”

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Acharya Charaka
Acharya Charaka: Indian father of medicine

By Gaurav Sharma

Who is Acharya Charaka:

Acharya Charaka, contributors to Ayurveda, a system of medicine and lifestyle developed in Ancient India. Most people regard Hippocrates (460-377 BC) as the father of medicine, but only a few are aware of the novel contributions made by a man named Charaka “Indian father of Medicine” in the way the human anatomy and physiology is perceived to function.

Long before the birth of Hippocrates in the early centuries of the common era, Charaka authored a medical treatise called Charaka Samhita or the compendium of Charaka.

The ancient medical manual “charaka samhita”, regarded by many in the West as an ‘Alternative Medicine’ manuscript, is a guide on how to live a healthy life. Simply put, the Charaka Samhita is a guidebook of preventive medicine.

The compilation of medical treatise enshrined in the Samhita, also forms a foundational text for the ancient science of Ayurveda or the ‘knowledge of long life.’

Widely respected and translated in the traditional medical field (particularly during the Arab and the Roman empire), Ayurveda is the best known among the three medical traditions of the Indian sub-continent, the other being the Unani and Siddha schools.

The Ayurveda lays down a well-structured and well-defined view of medicine by segregating it into a series of eight disciplines, namely:

  • Surgery (Shailya Chikitsa)
  • Head, eye and throat medicine (Shaakalya Chikitsa)
  • Mental health (Kaaya Chikitsa)
  • Pediatrics (Kaumarbhrtya Chikitsa)
  • Toxicology (Aganda Tantra)
  • Pharmacology (Raasayana Tantra)
  • Reproductive Medicine (Vaajikarana Tantra).

Such is the immense wealth of health information expounded in the Ayurveda, that it is sometimes compared to the works of Galileo, Archimedes, and Euclid in their respective  fields.

Ayurveda is one of the invisible pillars, which balances the dysfunctional public health system of India. It has become an important part of the government policy, with an independent ministry known as AYUSH, dedicated to the research and education of Ayurvedic healthcare.

Apart from modern western healthcare centers, a revolution of tele-ayurvedic-health centers has taken India by storm.

Comprising of hired tele-operators, these traditional health centers essentially come in the shape of a village house with divisions of mud walls and bamboo sticks.

Those inflicted with diseases call up the center, the staff listens to their problems, and after consulting the Charaka Samhita, they prescribe ayurvedic medications to the patients.

The emphasis on listening to the patients rather than sending them off for pathological tests is based on Charaka’s philosophy of medical examination, that of finding the root cause of disorder through a series of questions and answers, reminiscent of a dialogue between the teacher and a disciple.

These traditional health-centers exemplify the efficient use of modern technology and communication networks to popularize the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is still, however,  poles apart from how modern medicine visualizes the human body and the way it functions.

The operating principles of Ayurveda utilise the concept of the body’s basic doshas or humors. These include the element of movement through Vita or bile, transformation in the form of Pitta or phlegm and stability and lubrication via Kapha or wind.

Disturbing these elements from their proper location means inviting an illness to follow suit. To prevent such a calamity from happening, Charaka prescribes some practical yet deeply meaningful metaphysical strictures.

The practice of mindfulness, exercising good judgment, calming the senses, being aware of time, place and the self apart from inculcating a good lifestyle are some of the tips that Charaka postulates for imbibing good health.

The notion of Deha-Prakriti, which means ‘the nature of the body,’ distinguishes Charaka’s Ayurveda as a highly personalised medical discipline.

Each person at the time of conception is thought to be endowed with a particular nature (Prakriti), which determines his predisposition to diseases. This justifies the immense emphasis paid on the history of a person while prescribing medication.

The nature of wisdom and its exercise is another factor that is central to Charaka’s concept of good health. For this reason, as much for the practical aspects of his encyclopedic work, Charaka become quite popular during the early 19th Century.

Charaka mania fueled the circle of doctors in New York to establish a Charaka Club. This inexplicably filtered to the educated nationalist Indian elite who were searching and yearning to discover their historical roots.

Lately, however, Charaka’s popularity has declined to a great extent.

Irrespective of the such drifting upheavals, what sets Charaka’s monumental work uniquely apart from modern medical science and indeed from the medical profession itself, is its farsightedness to visualize the body as a part of a vast, natural and cosmic system of causality.

Urban India, with its concomitant stress and competition, can find solace by embracing Charaka’s teachings on healthy living, and thereby avoid the sight of a medical complex for good.

Next Story

India Gets Assistance of Rs 3,420 Crore From Japan

The project for the construction of Chennai road aims to meet increasing traffic demands in the metropolitan area and installing Intelligent Transport Systems,

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Japan will be giving a loan of Rs 3,420 crore to India to assist in constructing the Chennai Peripheral Ring Road and for joint efforts towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The loan agreements were signed here today (Friday) between the Government of India and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), New Delhi under Japanese Official Development Assistance Loan Program,” the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

The Japanese ODA loan is for construction of phase one of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road for about Rs 2,470 crore and for Japan-India cooperative actions towards SDGs in India for about Rs 950 crore.

FDI
The Japanese ODA loan is for construction of phase one of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road for about Rs 2,470 crore and for Japan-India cooperative actions towards SDGs in India for about Rs 950 crore. www.trafficchallan.co.in

The agreements were signed by Finance Ministry Additional Secretary C.S. Mohapatra and JICA New Delhi Chief Representative Katsuo Matsumoto, the Ministry said.

Also Read: Now India is One of The Most Open Countries for FDI: Narendra Modi

The project for the construction of Chennai road aims to meet increasing traffic demands in the metropolitan area and installing Intelligent Transport Systems, thereby contributing to mitigation of traffic congestion and promoting Regional Economic Development.

The other program aims to promote SDGs in India, mainly in social development, by supporting the efforts by the Indian government to strengthen the policy framework and implementation mechanism, thereby supporting India in achieving SDGs by 2030, it added.(IANS)