“Lack of subjectwise text books is one of the handicaps the modern day students of Ayurveda are facing and it is the duty and responsibility of the teachers to remedy this, sooner the better” –these were the words my preceptor Prof. C. Dwarakanath used to repeat ad naseum. In presenting this book, I am only fulfilling his mandate. He had very gladly agreed to write a foreword for this but his demise before its publication has made the book poorer without his erudite foreword.
Like my earlier works, this also is the enlarged version of my lecture notes on the subject which I had the opportunity to teach over six years from 1970 at the Government College of Indian Medicine, Bangalore.
As far as my knowledge goes, this is the first book in English on this important topic of Ayurveda and even the books in other Indian languages are not that elaborate and comprehensive as to be suitable to the present day students and teachers of Ayurveda. Keeping this in view, I have elaborated the subject cogently within the frame work of Ayurveda. Modern information is only supplementary just to fill the gaps. This information is put in simple language avoiding high sounding technical jargon found in the texts. Hence it is quite likely that at some places, the composition of the sentences may seem a little queer and I hope the learned readers will take it with a pinch of salt. I quite well realise that some of the English equivalents of Ayurvedic terminology may not be accepted without reservation by scholars. But with the firm belief that revision on topics of science are happening every day after discussions I hope this book provides food for some such scientific discussions.
In preparing this book, I have received compulsive encouragement from my students, colleagues and friends. I am thankful to all of them for their affection towards me and my writings. I also thank Dr. Mahadevashastry, Retired Professor, Govt. College of Indian Medicine, Bangalore, Dr. C.P. Chappanmath, Principal, Government College of Indian Medicine, Mysore, Dr. S.M. Angadi, Professor, Government College of Indian Medicine, Bangalore and Dr. K. V. Raghavendra Rao, Professor, Government College of Indian Medicine, Mysore, who gave me the benefit of their study as and when I needed.
I am beholden to my student Dr. A. S. Venkatesh, B. S. A. M., who had a good knowledge not only of this subject but also of typing. He most willingly accepted the typing work and did his job immaculately neat and with no remuneration. I sincerely thank him for this great service so lovingly done.
I thank Dr. Geetha Bai and Dr. T. R. Ananda Alwar, Lecturers, Government College of Indian Medicine, Bangalore for their help in preparing the index.
I am equally thankful to M/s. Chaukhamabha Orientalia, Varanasi, the reputed publishers of Ayurvedic books for accepting this book and bringing it out so nicely. General Editor, Dr. B. P. Rai of Banaras Hindu University has read the MSS and seen the work through the press.
I feel my labours amply rewarded even if one student of Ayurveda finds his burden slightly eased from this book.
Ayurveda defines man as a conglomeration of the panchamahabhutas (the five elements: prthvi, apa, tejas, vayu, and akasa) and atma (spirit, soul). The panchamahabhutas are present in the body in the form of dosas, dhatus and malas comprising various organs and organ systems. All these together make up the physical or material aspect of man. It is sthula (gross) niskriya (inactive) and achetana (unconscious). As against this the atma (spirit or soul) is said to be suksma (subtle), kriyavan (active) and chetana (conscious). Atma activates the material body. Between these two is the manas along with pancha jnanendriyas (mind and five sense faculties) which co-ordinates the functions of the atma and the sarira (physical body). Thus man has three aspects of personality viz, saririka (physical, somatic), manasika (psychological, mental) and adhyatmika (spiritual). The period of time during which all these aspects exist and function together is called ayus (life). These three aspects always try to maintain a perfect co-ordination and hormony. Such a condition is known as arogya (health). But any imbalance in this hormony, even by slight changes, in any one of these aspects makes for roga (ill-health, disease). The healthy state is a happy state (sukha) while a diseased state is unhappy (duhkha), miserable (atanka) and even painful (roga). The person who has a roga (disease) is a rogi (diseased), a vyadhita (the sick) and an atura (impatient) or a patient in modern parlance. It is this person who is to be treated (chikitsadhikrta purusa) and he is a ‘living man’ with the three aspects of personality. During the period of disease all these aspects of personality will have undergone abnormal change, the degree or extent of such change being variable.
It is the duty of the physician to detect the disorders (nidana, roga nirnaya or diagnosis) and adopt appropriate measures to correct those disorders (chikitsa or treatment). A proper diagnosis forms the basis for proper treatment whereas ignorance of disease or improper diagnosis of the disease (roganirnaya) is first and foremost.. The success of that physician is doubtful who though possessing a good knowledge of drugs or treatment administers them without diagnosing the disease earlier.
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