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Jivaka: The Ancient Physician and Surgeon of 5th Century B.С. (Critical Appraisal of His Life and Work)

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Item Code: HAO023
Author: Anil Kumar Roy
Publisher: Pathak Publisher and Distributors
Language: English
Edition: 2024
ISBN: 9789391952952
Pages: 242
Cover: HARDCOVER
Other Details 9x6 inch
Weight 444 gm
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Book Description

About The Book

Jivaka was contemporary to Gautam Buddha, King Bimbisara and King Ajatasatru. Though by birth from low caste (born to courtesan) due to high intelligence was admitted to the renowned university of Taxila where he completed his medical education under the guidance of Atreya. His name and work is referred in ancient medical texts with reference to the era of Buddhism. The Vihara donated by Jivaka to Buddha and his Sangha is recently discovered and excavated by archaeologists. There are several stories in Indian, Tibetan and Chinese literature about the cases he treated with surgery, medicaments or psychotherapy. To the best of my knowledge this is the first book with a compilation of Jivaka's birth, education and case histories he treated in his lifetime. Few sketches redrawn from standard texts are added for better visuals.

 

It is sometimes referred to that his work was probably compiled in a book 'JIVAKA PUSTAKA' unfortunately the book could not be traced to date

 

About the Author

Dr. Anilkumar Roy, M.D. (G.M), M.D. A.M), Ph.D. M.S.), Retired Professor of Medicine. Till now had nearly twenty five publications. Main interest in ancient medicine with special interest in the era of Buddhism. Written book ' Mansar Ramtek and Nagarjuna', published in English translated into Japanese. 'Jivaka Buddhakalin Vaidak' published in Marathi was awarded the Dr. Baba saheb Ambedkar literary award by Dr. Baba saheb Ambedkar Literary Mission Canada. Now in the second edition.

 

 

Introduction

The origin of the ancient Indian medicine is traced back to thousands of years termed as Ayurveda said to be of divine origin. Sushruta, Charaka and Vagbhatta the trio are the important contributors to the Ancient Indian system of medicine. Though the origin is considered to be divine, however the genealogy as described in Sushruta Samhita, Charaka Samhita and by Vagbhatta is not same. Which indirectly suggest an ambiguity about the divine origin of the ancient Indian medicine. It is possible that these treatises later were edited on several occasions. Ayurveda the ancient system of medicine has got its own importance and status.

 

Now it is accepted worldwide though the origin is considered as divine actually the medical sciences developed as a need of the human being and it progressed with experience and experimentation also. The animals served as the teacher on many occasions. It developed from a desire from within, and not from any foreign impetus. Ailment is the inseparable companion of life and with ailment springs simultaneously the desire which soon turns into efforts to heal.

 

The compilation of written material about ancient Indian medicine is probably the floating medical traditions. For the common men when reading, writing and even hearing was not permitted by the religious laws and the medical knowledge spread as secret in the families or reached to the very close and confidential persons only. In the initial phase it was only oral tradition in this phase due to secrecy the original supreme medical knowledge probably disappeared gradually from India.

 

Though Vinaya Texts provide some details on the practice of medicine in ancient India, historian's knowledge of this period in very sketchy. India at the time of Buddha was in transition from strict Vedic system of the wrathful war-like gods to more the rational system of philosophy found in Buddhism and Jainism. This also was a period of transition from magico religious medicine based on demonology to the more empirical medicine.

 

During Buddhism there was no caste system, the doors of education were opened to everyone. The educational system became congregational type rather than the Gurukul or Rishikul type of the Vedic period. The Viharas which started during the period of Buddha became not only the religion oriented but later also became the advanced learning centers of various sciences including medical sciences. Later on the patronage to Buddhism helped to develop the Viharas into Mahaviharas as advanced learning centers of the level of universities, the famous amongst them being Takshashila, Nalanda, Odantpura, Valabhi and Vikramasila, Sompura, Jagadala etc. With decline of Buddhism there was rise in anti-Buddhist activities in India and during the period of muslim invaders most of the Buddhist scriptures were hidden at the base of Viharas or taken away to the other Buddhist countries like Tibet, China, Ceylon, Japan and Thailand etc. where they still exists awaiting translation.

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