We would be guilty of ingratitude if we closed this portion of our dissertation without expressing a deep sense of our obligation to Jejjada Acharva, Gayadasa, Bhaskara, Madhava, Brahmadeva, Dallana and Chakrapani Datta, the celebrated commentators and scholiasts of the Samhita, who have laboured much to make the book a repository of priceless wisdom and experience. Dallana has made use of all the commentaries in revising and collating the texts of .Sushruta Samhita.
Charaka, Sharirasthanam. Chap. V.
Charaka, Chikitshasthanam. Chap. V.
In the science of medicine, as in all other branches of study, the ancient Aryans claim to have derived their knowledge from the gods through direct revelation. Sushruta in his Samhita has described the Ayurveda as a subdivision (Upanga) of the Atharvan (1), while according to others the science of the Ayurveda has its origin in the verses of the Rik Samhita (2). Indeed the origin of the science is lost in dim antiquity. Death and disease there had been in the world since the advent of man; it was by following the examples of lower animals in disease, that our primitive ancestors acquired by chance the knowledge about the properties of many valuable medicinal drugs. There is a verse in the Rigveda which shows that the lower animals were the preceptors of man in matters of selecting food stuffs and medicinal simples (3) Individual experiences in the realms of cure and hygiene were collected, and codified, and thus formed the bases of the present Ayurveda. The verses in the Vedas clearly mark each step in the progress of medical knowledge. The properties of a new drug were always hymned in a Vedic verse with a regularity which enables us to put our finger upon the very time when a particular drug of our Materia Medica first came to be of service of man (4).
(l) Sushruta Samhita, Sutrasthanam. Ch. I. 3.
Charana Vyuha by Vyasa.
Atharvan Samhita B. See also Ibid I 2 II. 4. 7. 9. 25, 27 and 36.
Verses on medicine, hygiene, and surgery, etc. lie scattered throughout the four Vedas. Those having bearing on Medicine proper occur most in the Rigveda, and perhaps it was for this reascn that Agnivesha, who was a physician, has ascribed the origin of the Ayurveda to revelations in the Rik Samhita. Precepts relating to the art and practice of surgery are found most in the Atharvan (I), which amply accounts for the fact of Sushruta's opinion of holding the Ayurveda as a subdivision of the Atharvan, as he was pre-eminently a surgeon himself.