It would not, perhaps, be out of place here to mention that Dr. A. F. R. Hoernle, M. A , F. R. S, C. I. E., Ph. D., in his recent publication on Hindu Osteology, has proved it to the hilt, how systematic, scientific, unerring and exact were the researches of the ancient Hindus and what a mine of resplendent truths lay imbedded in them ! We, in our Introduction of the first volume of this work, have tried to prove how very superb, salutary and supremely happy was the theory of Váyu, Pitta, and Kapha promulgated by Susruta. There we have incidentally mentioned that the Science of Embryology was not unknown to the Hindu sages. In the present volume we mean to prove to a point that the main principles promulgated in the Anatomy, the Physiology and the Pathology of Susruta yield in no way to the principles on those subjects included by the modern Western Scientists and investigators. On the other hand, we boldly affirm that in the theories propounded by Susruta some two thousand years back there lies a fund of truths which might well throw a flood of light on the field of labour of the modern scientific men of the West. For is it not a fact that the theories of Vamana (causing to eject the contents of the stomach by mouth), Virechana (causing the evacuation of the intestines), Nasya (causing to inhale through the nose), Anuvásana and Asthá-pana which, in ancient India, had earned the appellation of Pancha-Karma, and had gained universal prevalence, and were extensively practised by oriental physicians from time im-memorial, have,of late, been hailed by the medical authorities of the day as the most approved and commended mode of treatment.
Sceptics who care nor to examine and weigh solid facts, bluntly allege that the Ayurvedic system is not based upon experiment and observation - the keystone of all true Science, and such being the case its Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology and Therapeutics are all erroneous. The suggestion, cruel and baseless as it is, originally emanated from an eminent Indian physician who has earned an unenviable reputation by writing a Treatise on Hindu Materia Medica. He says: - "It (the Ayurvedic system) is built not so much upon experiment and observation as upon an erroneous system of Pathology and Therapeutics." But such an expression would not stand the light of day. Indeed none but the ancient Hindu sages did set a high value on experiment and observation, and where they did not claim some occult knowledge or intuition, it is upon these two that they mainly based all their knowledge.
The Materia Medica of the Hindus is really a marvel. Its description of the properties of drugs belonging to the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, and of the articles of food essential to the maintenance of health and strength, its selection of the specific dietaries and elimination of what are prohibited in particular ailments are every day being found correct. The European preparations of Indian drugs and diets are corroborative evidence thereof. The theory adopted by the ancient Hindus as the basis of their investigation is that every substance, whether vegitable or animal, possesses five properties namely, - Rasa, Guna, Viryya, Vipáka and Prabháva which lenses alone cannot reveal, nor the body's eye after observation and experiment made upon rats and rabbits. And those who have opportunities of studying and practising both the Eastern and Western Medical Science assert that the ancient Medical Science of the Hindus once reached the highest standard of excellence and perfection in Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Hygiene and was simply unrivalled and unapproachable, as it blended Philosophy with Science - the mind's eye with the body's eye.
A dispassionate examination of these facts (and such as can be multiplied to any extent), will convince an impartial reader that Ayurveda, as we find it described in Charaka Samhitá and Susruta Samhitá, if approached in a spirit of fairness and enquiry, might reveal the germs of not a few of the marvellous achievement of the present age in the domain of Medical Science and afford to the assiduous student a vast scope and varied materials for comparision between the Eastern and the Western systems, and render material help in improving upon the one with the aid of the other, and this to the benefit of the suffering humanity at large.
Lastly it is our prayer, that if Western Medical Science was ever anywise, directly or indirectly, benefited by the ancient Medical Science of the Hindus, it is but meet and fair that the former should come forward to render all possible aid to her parent Science, and that as it is almost dying now for want of aid and succour we look hopefully to our present benign Government in whose power lies the means of its complete regeneration.
PLATE No. I.
Vital points (Marmas) in the arm (inner side).
Vital points (Marmas) in the arm (outer side).
"J" indicates the points recognised in Juijutsu.
See Chapter VI (NidáNam Of Pra-Meha (Diseases Of The Urinary Tracts)), S'árira-S'thána.
PLATE No II.
Vital points (Marmas) in the leg (outer side).
Vital points (Marmas) in the back of the thigh and the leg.
"J" indicates the points recognised in Juijutsu.
See Chapter VI (NidáNam Of Pra-Meha (Diseases Of The Urinary Tracts)), S'árira-Sthána.