Characteristic Features Of A Poisoner

An intelligent physician well qualified to ascertain the true state of one's feelings from the speech, conduct, demeanour and distortions of the face, would be able to discover the true culprit (poisoner from the following external indications. A giver of poison does not speak nor does he answer when a question is put to him. He swoons or breaks off suddenly in the middle of his statement, and talks incoherently and indistinctly like a fool. He is found suddenly and listlessly to press the joints of his fingers or to scratch the earth, to laugh and to shiver. He will look frightened at the sight of others (indifferently), and will cut (straw or hay) with his fingernails, and his colour changes constantly. He will scratch his head in an agonised and confused state, and will look this way and that, trying to slip away by a back or side door, thus betraying his guilty conscience by his confusion. 7.

An innocent man, unjustly arraigned before the royal tribunal might from fear or precipation, become (confused and) liable to make untrue statements (and thus be unjustly convicted). Hence the king should first of all test the sincerity and fidelity of his servants ascertaining the non-poisonous character of the boiled rice, drink, tooth-twigs, unguents, combs, cosmetics, infusions, washes, anointments (with sandal pastes, etc.), garlands (of flowers, etc.), clothes, bedding, armour, ornaments, shoes, foot cushions, the backs of horses and elephants and snuffs (Nasya), Dhuma (tobacco smoking) collyrium and such other things (reserved for the use of the king). 8-9.

Indications Of Poisoned Food And Drink, Etc

The indications by which the poisonous character of food, drink, etc. (to be used by a king) may be detected are described first and the medical treatment is dealt with secondly. A portion of the food prepared for the royal use should be first given to crows and flies and its poisonous character should be presumed, if they instantaneously die on partaking of the same. Poisoned food burns making loud cracks, and when cast into the fire it assumes the colour of a peacock's throat, becomes unbearable, burns in severed and disjointed flames and emits irritating fumes and it cannot be speedily extinguished. The eyes of a Chakora bird are instantaneously affected by looking at such poisoned food and a Jivajivaka dies under a similar condition. The note of the cuckoo becomes hoarse and a Krauncha (heron) becomes excited. A peacock moves about and becomes sprightly, and a Suka and a Sáriká scream (in fear). A swan cackles violently and a Bhringaraja (of the swallow ciass) raises its inarticutate voice. A Prishata (a species of spotted deer) sheds tears and a monkey passes stools. Hence these birds and animals should be kept in the royal palace for show and entertainment as well as for the protection of the sovereign master. 10.

The vapours arising from poisoned food when served for use give rise to a pain in the cardiac region and produce headache and restlessness of the eyes. As an antidote, a preparation of Kushtha, Rámatha (asafoetida), Nalada and honey mixed together should be used as an Anjana (along the eye-lids) and a medical compound of the same drugs should be snuffed into the nostrils. A plaster composed of S'irisha, turmeric, and sandal pasted together or simply a sandal paste should be used over the region of the heart in such cases 11.

A poison affecting the palms of the hands, produces a burning sensation in them and leads to the falling off of the fingernails. The remedy in such cases consists in applying a plaster of S'yamá *, Indra, Gopa soma and Utpala pasted together. 12.

Poisoned food partaken of through ignorance or folly, produces a stone-like swelling and numbness of the tongue, a loss of the faculty of taste and a pricking burning pain in that organ attended with copious mucous salivation. The measures and remedies already laid down in connection with the treatment of cases of poisonous vapours as well as those to be hereinafter described in connection with the use of a poisoned tooth twig should be adopted. 13.

* Some explain "S'yamá" as "S'yámá-latá; others explain it as "Priyangu". Dallana explains "Indra" to mean "Indra-Varuni", "Gopa" to mean "Sariva" and "Soma" to mean "Guduchi". Others, however, take "Indra-Gopa" as one word and explain it to mean a kind of insect known by that name, and they take "Soma" to mean "Soma-lata" in the ordinary sense of the word.

Food mixed with poison, when it reaches the Amásaya (stomach), gives rise to epileptic fits, vomiting, dysenteric stools ( Atisara), distention of the abdomen, a burning sensation, shivering and a derangement of the sense-organs. Under such circumstances an emetic consisting of Madana, Alâvu, Vimbi and Kos'&taki pasted together and administered through the medium of milk, curd and Udasvit (Takra) or with rice-washings should be understood as the proper remedy. 14.

Food mixed with poison, if it reaches the Pakvá-saya (intestines), gives rise to a burning sensation (in the body), epileptic fits, dysenteric stools (Atisara), derangements of the organs of sense-perception, rumbling sounds in the abdomen and emaciation, and makes the complexion (of the sufferer) yellow. In such a case a purgative composed of clarified butter and Nilini fruits should be the first remedy. As an alternative, remedies to be described lateron (in the next chapter) in connection with the effects of Dushi-Visha (slow chemical poison) should be adopted and used, saturated with milk-curd (Dadhi) or honey. 15,

All liquid substances such as wine, milk, water, etc., if anywise poisoned, are found to be marked with variegated stripes on their * surface and become covered

* The colours of the different poisoned articles vary in each case and this is elaborately described by Vágbhata in his Samhitá, over with froth and bubbles. Shadows are not reflected in such (poisoned) liquids and if they ever are, they look doubled, net-like (porous) thin and distorted. 16.