Deepak Yadav ‘Premchand’ M.D. (born on 24th October, 1980 in Mumbai, Maharashtra) completed BAMS from Smt. KGMP Ayurvedic College, Mumbai in 2003 and MD (Basic Principles of Ayurveda) from Ayurveda College, Sion, Mumbai in 2007 under the guidance of Dr. Ganesh S. Puradkar. After Post-graduation, in 2008 he joined Veenavadini Ayurvedic College, Bhopal as a lecturer. Later in 2010, he joined Sushrutha Ayurvedic Medical College, Bangalore as a lecturer. In the year 2013, he joined Mandsaur Institute of Ayurvedic Education and Research, Mandsaur, MP as a Reader in the Dept. of Basic Principles of Ayurveda and continues till date. He has penned down more than 10 books on Ayurveda which are very popular with Ayurveda Fraternity. He is actively involved in clinical practice, literary work and popularization of Ayurveda.
Vegbhata, the author of Astanga Hrdayam, enjoys significant popularity among the Ayurvedic fraternity. It appears that it is he who conceptualized the idea of compliation. Understanding the vastness of material available in the classic of Caraka, Susruta, Saunaka etc, he took up the responsibility of penning down a classic that will comprise of all the material available in the classics. Thus was born ‘Astanga Hrdaya Samhita’ of Vagbhatacarya.
Salient Features of Astanga Hrdayam:
Vagbhata quotes the reason for compiling the text in following worlds – ‘From those treatise which are very elaborate hence difficult to study, only the essence has been collected and this treatise – Astanga Hrdayam – prepared which is neither too succinct nor too elaborate’ The main subject of Vegbhata’s Astanga Hrdayam is Kayacikitsa (internal medicine).
Some Peculiarities of Astanga Hrdayam:
Vegbhata divides marmas (vital parts) in six catagories, as against to five by Susruta; they are mamsa marma (10), asthi marma (8), snayu marma (23), dhamani marma (9), sira marma (37) and sandhi marma (20). Vegbhata has described thirty-three drug groups in the 15th chapter of Sutrasthana.
Unique definition of vipaka is given by Vagbhata (AH.Su. 9/20).
Agrya drugs are mentioned in the 40th chapter of Uttarasthana; some important entries in this list are –usage of Haridra & Amalaki in Prameha; Pippali in Pliha roga; Guduci in Vatarakta; Haritaki in Vatakaphaja rogas; silajjatu in Basti-roga; Laja in Chardi; Musta & Parpata in Jwara etc.
Among the types of nasya, virecana nasya and brmhana nasya are advised for skin ailments (kustha) and hemicranias (type of headache) respectively.
Among surgical instruments, salya-nirghatani nadi, asmari-harana yantra and mucundi-samdamsa find mention for the first time.
Number of diseases, above the clavicular region, is 231. Among these, 94 ophthalmic diseases, 25 ear diseases, 18 nasal diseases, 75 oral diseases and 19 diseases are related to head and scalp.
Period of Vagbhata:
There are various opinions and controversies regarding the period of Vagbhata (author of Astanga Hrdayam). These are discussed by various authors and scholars. I donot want to go ito those controversies.
Recently, Dr. Bhagwan Dash in his book ‘Vagbhata and Candranandana in Indo-Tibetan Medicine’ (published by Hindu Pocket Books, Delhi, 2013) has mentioned the opinion of Tibetan tradition (p. 18) – “In brief the biographical events narrated by Sde-srid sans-rgyas Rgya-mtsho are as follow: Vagbhata was a scholar of the Vedas, Upanisads, Vedangas and Ayurveda. By propitiating Lingesvara Siva he got four boons to become victorious every-where and not to get defeated by any scholar who is jarayuja (born from mother’s womb). He was ultimately defeated by tantric means in Nalanda by Nagarjuna’s disciple Arya-deva who was lotus borne. So it was a sectorial skirmish between the Saiva sadhana sakti, and not a religious fight between the so called Hinduism and Buddhism. In spite of his defeat, Vagbhata was prevented from committing suicide by getting drowned in the river Ganga as per the terms and conditions of the debate. On the other hand he was provided all the facilities in the Nalanda monastery to pursue his intellectual academic activities. Through he has accepted the Buddhist discipline, he was not pressurized to abandon his Vedic tradition”.
“Vagbhata also known as Asvaghosa, Matr-ceta and Aryasura, after following the Buddhist discipline became a disciple of Aryadeva who latter was a disciple of Nagarjuna (klu-sgrub). This Nagarjuna was the religious guide to king Kaniska who lived in 2nd – 1st BC” (pg. 19).
Candranandana and Vagbhata: ‘Indu and Jejjata are known to be the students of Vagbhata. But Sde-srid Sans-rgya Rgya-mtsho does not mention their names. He has specifically mentioned Candra-nandana (also known in Tibetan as Candrabhi-nandana) as the author of Padartha Candrika commentary as the student of Vagbhata.
The Sanskrit text of Vaidurya-bhasya a commentary on Vagbhata’s Astanga Hrdayam, though available in Tibetan translation and included in Tanjur scriptures, is not available in original Sanskrit.’ (P. 20).
Critiques of Vagbhata:
There might have been the critiques of Astanga Hrdayam from the time of the author and hence at the end of Uttarasthana he himself has mentioned and, The famous work ‘Vagbhata Khandana Mandana’ by Bhatta Narahari is an excellent example of such a debate.
In the last century in ‘Rasayana Sara’ the author Syamasundaracarya Vaisya has posed certain critical objections in case anjana (collyrium) and usage of lauha in the following worlds.
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