At all events Nagarjuna who redacted the Sushruta Samhita lived about the latter part of the fourth century before the Christian era;(2) and the original or vriddha Sushruta must have been written at least two centuries earlier in order to acquire that hoary authority and prescription of age, which alone could have given its right to a recension at the time. Several scholars on the authority of a very vague and general statement concerning the recension of the Samhita in Dallana's commentary, ascribe the authorship of the Uttaratantram (latter portion of the Sushruta Samhita) to Nagarjuna. We on the other hand, hold the Uttaratantram to be neither an interpolation, nor a subsequent addition, but that it forms an integral portion of the book as it was originally written, though not planned by the Rishi. In the first Chapter of Sutrasthanam Divodasa formally divides the Science of Ayurveda into eight subdivisions, such as, the Shalya (surgery), Shalakya (portion treating of diseases restricted to super-clavicular regions such as the eyes, etc.), Kaya-Chikitsa (general diseases such as, fever, etc.), but does not speak anything about them in the first five Sthanas or subdivisions of the book. It is only once in the 25th chapter of the Sutrasthanam that he mentions the name of Netravartma (diseases of the eyelids) in connection with the classification of surgical operations. It is impossible that Divodasa would fall short of his duties by omitting to give instructions on all the subdivisions of the Ayurveda as he promises at the outset, or that Sushruta would leave his Samhita, which is pre-eminently a work on surgery, incomplete by banishing ophthalmic surgery, laryngotomy or fever-therapeutics from his work. From the general plan of the book we can safely assert that Sushruta dealt with easier or more elementary topics in the first five subdivisions of his Samhita in the manner of our modern progressive readers, reserving the discussion of those requiring a more advanced knowledge and skill for the Uttaratantram. The Uttaratantram has not been included within the five original subdivisions of the Samhita inasmuch as it embraces and more elaborately discusses topics which legitimately belong to, .or are but incidentally mentioned in those subdivisions. Hence it is more of the nature of an appendix or supplement, arising out of the exigencies of the original subdivisions. It is probable that Nagarjuna might have redacted this part of the Samhita in common with its other portions. (1)
Dallana's Commentary, Sutrasthanam, Ch. I. 1.
Dallana mentions the names of Jejjada, Gayadasa etc., as the redactors of the original Samhita, and rejects as spurious or of questionable authority the texts which cannot be found in their editions of the work. Most probably the authoritative verses are quotations from the Vriddha Sushruta.
Recension or Pratisamskara consists in curtailing statements that have been made inordinately elaborate, and in dilating upon truths that have been very succinctly dealt with in the original book. A Redactor or Pratisamaskarta makes an old book new again.
A Samhita, on the other hand, deals with aphorisms contained in the Vedas.
Rajatarangini I. Taranga. Vs. 172-173.