From the Jacket
Yogaratnakara the book of mid seventeenth century, written by yet unknown author, but extremely well known in the Ayurvedic world, is like a sun, throwing light on all aspects of ayurveda not seen in any other available book on ayurveda, however, since the book is compiled in the period when surgery was almost not being done by ayurvedist thus the references of subject matter related to salyavijnana (surgery) are scanty; knowledge of sarira (anotomy) being more important to surgeons also finds itself concised in few verse only. It is probably single available book which describes in detail ?astavidha pariksa? i.e. examination of pulse, urine and stool. The book is boon for those who desire to know ayurveda in depth and practice medicine only, but not dare to fathom the sea of voluminous books; as it describes in detail basic concepts of ayurveda, herbal herbomineral and metallic preparations alongwith their identification and properties of individual plant and metals or sumetals and also method of purification and killing of metals etc.; then method of preparation of recipes as well-as the dosages and after medications. After elaborating aeteopathogenesis, prodromal and clinical features, prognosis, and complications, etc. detailed preventive, promotive, rehabilitative and curative methods and also cleansing therapy (sodhana cikatsa) is given.
Present English translation done is simple language makes it accessible to those who are not well verse in hindi or samskrta. Thus the book is very useful for students, teachers and research workers all alike.
About the Author
Prof. (Km.) P.V. Tewari A.M.B.S., PhD. Adl. Med. Suptd. Mata Anandamayi Hospital (a charitable institution), Ex. H.O.D. Dept. of Prasuti Tantra, Director WHO collaborative centre, Dean of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals I.M.S., B.H.U. elder sister of Dr. (Mrs.) Asha Kumari, daughter of freedom fighter Late Pt. Rama Sankara Tewari a recipient of Tamrapatra and Mrs. Rama Devi Tewari has produced large number of D. Ay. M./M.D. Ay. and Ph. Ds., published more than 205 research papers, edited/edited and translated/authored fourteen books. She has been associated with academic/administrative bodies of all important research and academic organizations of ayurveda of the country. He book Ayurvediya Prasuti Tantra and Striroga has received good recognition and awards.
Dr. (Mrs.) Asha Kumari M. A., Ph.D. exponent in Samskrta has acquired special experience of working on manuscripts during her work tenure with NISTADS (project on History of Science and Technology during Medieval Period). Besides editing and translating two mss of ayurveda i.e. Yogacandrika (translated in hindi and English) and Vrndamadhavaparanama Siddhayogah (translated in english) and has translated in hindi English one Prakrta Mahakavya (Setubandham) also. She has been writing articles, poems and stories in different journals and magazines on literary, social and cultural subjects. Her source of inspiration has always been ancient Samskrta literature.
The creator of Loka i.e. the world created all the creatures and medicines medicinal plants) simultaneously, so that his best creation the human beings could have a healthy and long life with good creativity and procreativity. He also transferred the knowledge about these drugs to the coming generations through Asvini Kumaras. The first written record of this knowledge are the vedas specially me Atharvaveda. However during vedic period the medicine was magico religious. Available first literature written signally on Ayurveda are ?Caraka Samhita? and Susruta Samhita? which are well documented and systemetized. Progress of any system is always gradual, while the changes between Atharvaveda and Caraka and Susruta Samhitas appears to be drastic and the time gap between these two eras extends to thousands of years. The process and means of these changes are in oblivion.
Though ?Caraka Samhita? and ?Susruta Samhita? represent two different schools/systems of specialization i.e. the medical and surgical systems respectively yet those have dealt with all the eight specialized branches of Ayurveda. This very pattern of writing the books with minor modifications here and there persisted for centuries.
Madhavakara was the first author to deviate from this way of writing the Ayurvedic literature by bifurcating the existing system into two i.e. the diagnosis and treatment dealt in two separate treatises. Probably he might have done it to facilitate memorization and recapitulation by the learners of the subject, more so because the books is written totally in verses. ?Madavanidana? as the name itself insinuates deals with aetiopathogenesis and clinical features etc. aspects related to diagnosis of the diseases. Since the author has derived knowledge from the existing literature, it can also be considered as the first book mainly based on compilation with elaboration. Later he wrote a book on treatment. In the field of diagnosis his book stands supreme rather alone, however ?Vrnda Madhava? and ?Cakradatta? etc. later authors followed the pattern of second book and wrote treatises on only treatment.
Though for diagnosing the diseases and knowing the status of the patient trividha, pancavidha, sadvidha and dasavidha pariksas (ways of examination) were in practice yet the currently used method by the vaidyas i.e. nadipariksa (examination of pulse etc.) were absent. Later with the inclusion of nadipariksa during medieval period books were written on this subject also. The period when the astavidhapariksa came into practice is a bit confusing due to lack of available literature.
Later period of Ayurveda is mainly characterized with compilations that too on separate subjects like nighantus on drugs, books on rasa cikitsa, treatment, nadipariksa etc.
Among the available literature ?Yogaratnakara? is one treatise that deals with Ayurveda in its entirety but for sarira and salya that too in a very organized and different way. Probably owing to the fact that nobody who wants to learn Ayurveda, whether a student or a practitioner, has time enough to go through all the texts, moreover availability of all sorts of literature to any individual was then and is even now a problem. So the sagacious author of ?Yogaratnakara? compiled all the relevant aspects of the science necessary for a student or a practitioner of Ayurveda, in one book. Starting from the qualities and duties of a physician the book elaborates the four pillars necessary for the treatment i.e. the physician, the means of treatment, the attendant and the patient, indication of curability or otherwise according to the presentation of the messenger or other omens and then it comes to astavidha pariksa i.e. the eight measures of diagnosis as nadipariksa (pulse examination), mutra pariksa (urine examination), mala pariksa (stool test), sabda pariksa (diagnosis through voice of the patient), drk pariksa (diagnosis through touch), rupa pariksa (diagnosis through the look of the patient), drk pariksa (eye examination), asya pariksa (mouth examination) including jihva pariksa (tongue examination). After that the author describes the time periods i.e. the seasons, months and also parts of a day for respective aggravation of the dosas, signs of mature or immature stage of diseases; stages of development according to age; effect of dosas on the individual prakrti (nature on the whole); features of healthy body; weights and measures along with their synonyms according to magadha and kalinga schools; qualities of grains, vegetables, fruits and different types of meat, types and qualities of cooked cereal preparations; qualities of different types of drinks; qualities of some other edible preparations; features of life expectancy of the patients; regimen for day and night and also according to different seasons; qualities of different types of water (like cold, hot, boiled etc.); qualities of different types of milk, curd, butter, ghrta, oil, honey, sugar etc.; qualities of eight types of urine (procured from different sources); various groups of drugs; kasaya kalpana (methods of preparing paste, decoction, cold percolation etc.); qualities and methods of purification and killing of all the metals, substitute, gems and some drugs/herbs also; abhava varga i.e. substitute substances; the cleansing and theraputic methods; definition of some specific terms like drowsiness, yawning etc. and then enumeration of all the diseases is taken up in the treatise. Finally diagnosis and treatment of individual diseases is described in each of the seventy two chapters. The last four chapters classified as ?uttarakhanda deal with vajikarana (aphrodisiac recipes), rasayana (youth and longevity providing recipes), rasavaikrti (complications due to improper use of mercury) and roganusaranupana (appropriate after drinks).
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