In the introduction of the first volume of our translation of the Susruta-Samhitá we have attempted to place before the public a correct interpretation of Váyu, Pitta and Kapha, the falsely so-called humours of the body * and it is a great pleasure to us, that our pronouncement has been very kindly accepted. In the introduction of the present volume we would draw the attention of the readers to the fact that Ayurveda is not at all an encyclopaedic work, - an Encyclopaedia of the Indian Ayurveda is not an Encyclopaedia of ancient medical works, but a Treatise on Biology.
"What is known as the Humoral Pathology formed the most essential part of the system of the Dogmatics. Humoral Pathology explains all diseases as caused by the mixture of the four cardinal humours, viz., the blood, bile, mucus or phlegm and water. Hippocrates first leaned towards it, but it was Plato who devoloped it. The stomach is the common source of all these humours. When diseases develop, they attract humours. The source of the bile is the liver, of the mucus the head, of the water the spleen. Bile causes catarrhs and rheumatism, dropsy depends on the spleen."
Be it observe 1 that among the humours of Hippocrates there is no place for Váta although in point of fact both his Physiology and Pathology are to be traced to the "Tri-dhátu" of Ayurveda. The secret of this anomaly is that the theory of Váta was found to be a complicated one and Hipprocates, not being able to comprehend its original import, left it out and cautiously introduced, in its stead, his own theory of "water". Sowe find "Humoral Pathology is not of Indian origin; neither it is the same which the Indian Rishis of Rigveda developed under the name of Tridhatu." It is simply an imitation of Susruta who introduced blood as the fourth factor in the genesis of diseases. But the borrower, in his interpretation of Susruta, had made a mess of it. He retained blood, but substituted "water" in place of Váta, the most important of the three, for reasons best known to him, system of Medicine in all its departments, but it is the Science of Life entire.
Though it is customary and convenient to group apart such phenomena as are termed mental and such of them as are exhibited by men in society, under the heads of Psychology and Sociology, yet it must be allowed that there are no absolute demarcations in Nature, corresponding to them, and so in the entire Science of Life, psychology and sociology are inseparably linked with Anatomy and Physiology, nay, more, with Pathology and Hygiene and above all with Treatment. In short the Biological Sciences must deal with whatever phenomena are manifested by living matter in whatever condition it is placed. Life in health as well as Life in diseasetherefore, fall within the scope of Biology - even life exhibited by man in Societyis not exempted from it.
In calling Ayurveda, therefore, the entire Science of Life, we are not guided by any prejudice of our own, but we rely solely on facts and figures, and these, when closely studied, will lead any one to arrive at the same conclusion, not unlike our own and to interpret Ayurveda as a collection of Biological Sciences in all departments. In the first place, for the guidance of our readers, we will mention that the name Ayurveda itself is a strong evidence in favour of its being called the Science of Life. Secondly, we will refer to the arrangement of the subject-matter in the Sárira-sthána which is popularly belived to be the anatomical portion of the book, as tending to the same conclusion. In this section, chapters on Midwifery and Management of Infants follow close to the heels of those on Anatomy and Physiology, and these latter again are immediately preceded by chapters on Psychology. This intermixture is certainly an anomaly and can in no wise be satisfactorily explained unless we have to look upon these as general truths of Biology, elucidated by the introduction of special truths exclusively collected from the science of medicine-Ayurveda, - the entire Science of Life.
Negative Evidences thereof: -
1. The Name itself.
II. The arrangement of the subject-matters.
To call it Descriptive Anatomy or Physiology, in the modern sense of the term is simply ridiculous. The absence of any reference to brain and spinal cord, to pancreas and heart, in a book of Anatomy and Physiology is unpardonable and in the Sárira-sthána we feel this absence almost to despondency. Moreover, in western medical science, Grey's Ana-tony and Kirke's Physiology, for instance, in their bulk, exceeds, each, more than a thousand of pages and to present to the public, under the same name less than half a dozen of pages, as the result of Indian wisdom, is certainly a very miserable contrast - a contrast that is calculated to inspire no admiration, but, on the contrary, to generate in scientific minds an universal apathy, at least an apathy towards all that is connected with the system of Indian Medicine. In order to save our venerable Rishis from this disastrous plight, we announce here foremost of all, that our beloved Science of Ayurveda is by no means an Encyclopaedic work, but distinctly possesses every characteristic that marks the Science of Biology. The very name Ayurvada indicates that it is actually a science of Ayus and the word Ayus is used here in the same sense as Mr. Herbert Spencer understands by his remarkable definition of Life.