This text was originally authored by Agnivesa for which it was known as Agnivesa-samhita. It was subsequently redacted by karaka, and his contribution was so significant that it is till today known as Caraka-samhita. As the colophons at the end of each chapter indicate, a large portion of this text, because of its non availability was supplemented by a later scholar-physician Drdhabala. All these changes, however, did not affect the authenticity of the text, because the principles laid down in the original text were faithfully followed by the subsequent redactor and the physician who supplemented the lost portion of the text. In an ancient text like this, such changes are inevitable. From the style of composition, it can be said that the original text was composed during the Upanisadic period, thousands of years before Christian era.
The unique feature of Sanskrit language is its syntactic flexibility. Of course, the rides of conjunction (sandhi) and compound (samara) are to be followed invariably. In addition, in verses which are written in cryptic form, following the rules of meter (chanda) is an essential requirement. Without the knowledge of these grammatical rules, the study of the original text of Caraka-samhita becomes a difficult problem.
Some of the Sanskrit technical terms have no exact equivalents in the English language. Therefore, in the translations, only the nearest and approximate equivalents are used. For an earnest student of this text, it is there-fore, necessary to know which English term is used to translate which technical term in Sanskrit.
(iv) The original text is printed in Devanagari script. Some medical scientists, specially foreigners find it difficult to decipher this script. Therefore, there was a need to Romanise the Sanskrit text with internationally accepted diacritical marks.
Caraka-samhita has eight sections (sthanas) containing 120 chapters in total. In this volume containing the first four chapters of the first Sutra-sthana (section), the original Sanskrit text in Devanagari script, its Romanised form and the exact or approximate English equivalents in respect of each term are presented. To facilitate its study in depth and easy comprehension of the statements made in the text, the commentary in English based on Cakrapani's Ayurveda-dipika, paraphrased with subtitles discussing each individual topic, is provided.
I shall feel amply rewarded if this could help doctors, scientists and lay interested persons to appropriately understand the text, and utilise the knowledge enshrined in Caraka-samhita for the welfare of the suffering living beings.
For the preparation of this volume, Ku. Kanchan Gupta, M.A., M.Ed. rendered immense help for which I am exceedingly thankful to her, and I wish her all success in life.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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