Prof. K. R. Srikantha Murthy (b. 1929) an
alumnus of the Govt. Ayurveda College. Mysore
(1948) and Post-graduate Centre in Ayurveda,
Jamnagar (1958), served as Professor and
Principal at all the three Govt. College of
Ayurveda in Karnataka and retired in 1984. As
ordained by his Preceptor and mentor, Prof. C.
Dwarakanath, he has been pursuing literary
research activities since last thirty five years
and has so far published many scientific papers
Work of the Author
1. Luminaries of Indian Medicine, 1968.
2. History of Ayurveda in Karnataka (Kannada), 1972
3. Ayurveda Vikrti VijAana (Kannada), 1973
4. Tantrayukti in Ayurveda, English translation, 1976.
5. Clinical Methods in Ayurveda, 1983.
6. Sarangadhara Sarhhita, English translation, 1984.
7. Epilepsy (Apasmara) in Ayurvead, 1987.
8. Madhava Nidana, English translation,1987.
9. Doctrines of Pathology in Ayurveda, 1988.
10. Astanga Hrdaya, English translation.Complete in 3 Vols.
11. Vagbhata Mandana. 1991.
12. Astanga Sangraha, English translation.
13. Bhavaprakasa, English translation 2 vols. 2000.
14. Siddhant Nidanam, English translation.
Astangahrdaya-quintessence of the eight branches (of
Ayurveda) is one of the authoritative treatises on ancient
Indian medicine. It had attracted the attention of medical
men not only within this country but also of neighbouring
countries such as Arabia, Persia, Tibet and Germany. Its
popularity is substantiated by the large number of commentaries by Indian scholars and appreciation by the scholars of
many other countries. With its beauty and brevity of poetical
composition, sequential arrangement of topics, clear description of precepts and practices of medical science and many
other merits, it has earned its rightful place as one among
the ‘Brhat trayi’-three great treatises-of Ayurveda. It is an
epitome of Ayurveda catering to the needs of the students;
scholars and medical practitioners alike.
Nature end contents of the treatise
Astangahrdaya contains six sthanas (sections) each
sthana consisting of varying number of adhyayas (chapters);
the total number of chapters being 120. The text is com-
posed entirely in poetry. The total number of verses is 7120
in the extant edition.! In addition there are about 33 verses
which have not been commented upon (by Arunadatta)
hence considered as later interpolations. There are 240
short prose lines also, two at the commencement of each
chapter. The sthanas (sections) and their important contents are:
1. Siittrasthana : The first section has 30 chapters dealing
with basic doctrines of Ayurveda, principles of health, prevention of diseases, properties of articles of diet and drugs,
humoral physiology and pathology, different kinds of diseases and methods of treatment.
2. Sarira sthana : The second section has 6 chapters
dealing with embryology, anatomy, physiology, physiognomy,
physical and psychological constitutions, auspicious and in-
auspicious dreams and omens, signs of bad prognosis and of
3. Nidana sthana : The third section with 16 chapters
describes the causes, premonitory symptoms, charectorestic
features, pathogenesis and prognosis of some important diseases coming within the realm of Kaya cikitsa (inner medicine).
4. Cikitsa sthtana : The fourth section has 22 chapters
elaborating the methods of treatment of all major organic
diseases, including efficacious medicinal recipes, diet and
care of the patient.
5. Kalpa-siddhi sthana : The fifth section has 6 chapters
dealing with preparation of recipes, administration of purificatory therapies and management of complications; and
principles of pharmacy.
6. Uttara sthana : The sixth and the last section is devoted to the remaining seven branches of Ayurveda. It has 40
chapters in total; divided as follows, viz. 3 for Bala cikitsa
(paediatrics), 4 for Graha cikitsa (demonology/psychiatry),
17 for Urdhvafiga Cikitsa (diseases of organs in the head)
sub-divided again-9 for netra cikitsa (ophtholmology), 2 for
karna cikitsa (otology), 2 for nasa cikitsa (rhinology), 2 for
mukha cikitsa (mouth, teeth and throat), and 2 for Siroroga ~
(diseases of the head ). Salya cikitsa (surgery) has 10 chapters; Damstra (toxicology) has 4; Jara cikitsa (rasayana),
(rejuvination therapy, geriatrics) and Vrsa_ (vaji-karana
(virilification therapy, aphrodisiacs) have one chapter each.
Greater portion of the text being devoted to Kaya
cikitsa-(inner medicine) is thus conspicuous.
At the beginning of the treatise, the author states "that
‘he is going to describe only such information" as has been
revealed by great sages like Atreya etc."collecting only the
cream of knowledge from numerous texts (written by sages)
scattered in the country, this text Astangahrdaya has been
prepared which is neither too brief nor too elaborate".’
These statements vouchsafe the authenticity and reliability of
information contained in the text.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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