Please Wait...

Introduction to Kasyapa-Samhita

Introduction to Kasyapa-Samhita
Item Code: NAH066
Author: P.V. Tewari
Publisher: Chaukhambha Visvabharati
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Edition: 2008
Pages: 186
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 9.0 inch X 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 317 gms
Back of The Book

Kasyapa-Samhita or Vrddha Jivakiya Tantra, the only source book of ancient period, of kaumarabhrtya, one of the eight branches of ayurveda hitherto available only with one Hindi commentary done by Rajguru Pt. Hema Raja Sharma of Nepal, though is an incomplete book, however, it provides deep insight about the knowledge and practice of pediatrics during ancient period. Besides kaumarabhrtya i.e. pediatrics including neonatology, the importance of wet-nurse including her preventive, promotive and curative therapies are discussed in very scientific manner. The barrier of language has been a great hinderence in propogation of this book amongst non-Hindi speaking people.

Now the book has been transtated in english almost in verbatim, without disturbing the basic idea of the author by authorities of the subject. The commentaries made in the book provide sufficient scope of understanding the subject of Kasyapa-Samhita in relation to four top most books i.e. Brhattrayi (Caraka Samhita, Susruta Samhita and Astanga Hrdaya) alongwith Astanga Samgraha, thus, the reader can get almost all the references of these four books also about the topics dealt in Kasyapa-Samhita. Translation of the book has been done in internationally accepted diacritical Marks.


About The Book

“Introduction to Kasyapa-Samhita” is an attempt to study in depth the book Kasyapa-Samhita, the only source book of kaumarabhrtya. As presently available Kasyapa-Samhita is published on the basis of single incomplete manuscript, naturally various aspects of the book i.e. its authorship specially of supplementary section (khilasthana), its contributions in the advancement of the knowledge of ayurveda in general and kaumarabhrtya in particular, its period etc. need a fresh look. In present book an attempt has been made to discuss these various aspects on the basis of internal and external evidences, naturally it is likely to be very useful for historians, research workers, teachers and students of ayurveda.


About The Author

Prof. (km.) P.V. Tewari, well known for her work on Prasuti Tantra and stri-roga; the daughter of freedom fighter Late Pt. Rama Shankar Tewari, a recipient of Tamra-patra awarded by the then Prime Minister of India Late (Mrs.) Indira Gandhi, was born in a middle class family of a village Amour, Distt. Kanpur, U.P. on 5th August 1937. After competing her education and initial service joined Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU in 1964, was promoted to professor in 1977, remained Head of the department of Prasuti Tantra for more than 25 years and became Dean of the Faculty twice. She has produced large number of D. Ay. M./M.D. Ay. And Ph.Ds., has authored more than 250 research papers and five books. She has been associated with academic/administrative bodies of all important research and academic organizations of ayurveda of the country and has participated in national/international conferences. Her book “Ayurvediya Prasuti Tantra evam Stri Roga” has received good recognition and awards.



The Vrddhajivakiyatantra, popularly known as Kasyapasamhita, is a compendium based on the precepts of Kasyapa composed by Vrddhajivaka and further redacted by Vatsya, a scholar belonging to his clan. This is the only surviving text on one of the eight specialities of ayurveda known as kaumarabhrtya (pediatrics including obstetrics and gynecology); hence it is natural that kaumarabhrtya is declared as the foremost of all the angas of ayurveda in this samhita as salya and kayacikitsa in the samhitas of Susruta and Caraka respectively.

In ancient times, kaumarabhrtya was much developed and its experts were in great demand even in high societies. Kalidasa mentions the vaidyas expert in kaumarabhrtya (kumarabhrtyakusala-Raghu. 3.12) and they also find place in Kautilya’s Arthasastra (1.16.10). Dalhana in his commentary on the Susrutasamhita (U.1.5) mentions the treatises of Parvataka, Jivaka (Yacaka?), Bandhaka etc. which are not available now.

The present Kasyapasamhita is based on a single manuscript deposited in the Durbar Library, Kathamandu. It is in Newari script and broken in many portions but looking to its importance it was deciphered by Rajaguru Pandit Hemaraja Sharma of Nepal and published by Choukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi. Another such instance is the Bhelasamhita which is also based on a single manuscript deposited in the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore which is processed through three different editions (Calcutta. Varanasi and Delhi), and the fourth one is under preparation in the Netherlands, but it is surprising that nobody came forward to re-edit the text of the Kasyapasamhita. The reason may be that Bhela was regarded as more important by virtue of being one of the six disciples of lord Atreya, occupying the position only next to Agnivesa, while Kasyapa was out of this main stream. The author of the present text too could not take it up in her translation of the Kasyapasamhita, published recently, due to several difficulties and as such this task is again left for future workers. In my opinion, there is still vast scope of improvement in the text after rechecking the manuscript which is quite mutilated with confusing readings at several places.

‘Introduction to Kasyapasamhita’ is a critical study of the Kasyapasamhita dealing with its authorship, date, contents and cultural date. An attempt has also been made to compare the text with that of Caraka, Susruta and Vagbhata and highlight the originality and contributions of the Kasyapasamhita. While discussing different strata of the authorship a novel idea has been proposed that even after Vatsya the text of the Kasyapasamhita was retouched by some anonymous author between 11th and 13th cent. A.D. supporting it by a number of arguments. This deserves consideration and further examination by experts.

It is gratifying to note that this work has been ably done by Prof. P.V. Tewari, one of the eminent ayurvedic experts in kaumarabhrtya and author of many books. In fact, no other scholar could have been more fitting for this specialized job. I congratulate her for this excellent contribution to the ayurvedic literature and wish that she would produce many more works in coming years.



Kasyapa Samhita, the only available source book of kaummarabhrtya specially pediatrics, did not receive its due recognition/attention in ancient and medieval period, probably, due to its non-availability or non-recognition in society, as no commentator has given his scholarly views on this. Even in this twentieth century, the period which may be considered as the period of renaissance of ayurveda, except Pt. Hema Raja Sarma, the present resurrector of the book and Sri Satyapala Bhisagacarya the hindi commentator, no other erudite has paid any special attention, albeit the historians like Prof. P.V. Sharma have deliberated upon it from the view-point of history. For this apathy there could be two probable reasons i.e. primarily incomplete nature of available book and secondly less importance give to the pediatrics as an independent speciality in ayurvedika world as it is still being dealt in majority of the institutions of ayurveda with prasuti-tantra and stri-roga (obstetrics and gynecology), naturally the book of pediatrics did not get that importance.

Pt. Hema Raja Sarma and Prof. P.V. Sharma have dealt so exhaustively about different aspects of this book leaving practically no major scope for further work, however, what-so-ever and how-so-ever is written about any book, it can never be said to be the last word; a little corner in a wide canvas is always vacant inviting inquisitive workers to try their luck, this analogy is the basis of present work, in which an attempt has been made to introduce this Kasyapa-Samhita in its entirety.

As stanzas/verses of certain chapters of available book are un-numbered, which create problem in citing the reference, hence, all such stanzas/verses have been numbered serially. Names of classics and sages related to ayurveda only have been mentioned with first capital letter, while all other nouns are given with small letters. In description, internationally accepted diacritical marks have been used.



To prevent and protect one-self from any trauma or danger and march forward with a peaceful, happy, productive and healthy long-life is an intrinsic desire of every living-being. The man, even before he knew to express or write, possessed the inherent knowledge of medicine, in order to protect or treat himself, in which, his close association with birds, animals and plants provided a handy god-send asset, as the birds, animals and plants provided a handy god-send asset, as the birds or animals treat their ailments by consuming plants. By the time the man acquired the knowledge to express in writings, the medicinal values of water and plants were already well established; thus, in first available written literature i.e. vedas, a well documented record of these is available. The difference between medicinal plants termed osadhi or bhesaja and vanaspati (plant kingdom) or virudha was recognized. The Aswinis were called bhisak as they utilized the bhesaja to alleviate the sufferings. Various deities were prayed to provide osadhi which had the lusture like fire. Osadhi is included as god of hymn (sukta) and prayers are offered to various drugs to cure diseases. Because of this eternity of the knowledge of medicine, the ayurveda surpasses all imaginations regarding its origine, thus, is said to be tought to mortals by the god of creation lord Brahma himself.

Ayurveda is said to have descended from its celestial to terrestrial state in the form of either trisutra/triskandha i.e. hetu (etiology), linga (clinical features) and ausadha (therapy) or astanga (eight branches or specialities) i.e. kayacikitsa (internal medicine), salya (surgery), salakya/urdhwanga (otolaryngology and ophthalmology), kaumarabhrtya/balaroga neonatology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology), agada-tantra/damstra (toxicology), bhutavidya/graham (demonology), rasayana (preventive, protective, rejuvenating medicine including geriatrics) and vajikarana (aphrodisiacs), this division is based on clear and critical understanding as-well-as practical/therapeutic application of subjects in order to alleviate pains of suffering humanity, as-well-as to provide optimum state of health/pleasure, so that the mortals could fulfill their all esanas (ardent/ultimate desires).

The order of presentation of these eight branches differs according to importance given by different authors i.e. kayacikitsa (internal medicine) is said to be the first by Caraka and Vagbhatas; Susruta has kept salya (surgery) as first, while in Kasyapa-Samhita the kaumarabhrtya (pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology) is said to be the first. As first few chapters of available Bhela-Samhita are missing, thus, it is very difficult to say the branch mentioned as first in this book, but this also must have kept kayacikitsa (internal medicine) as first, because it says that who treats the diseases of body of human-being by application of ayurveda, he is kayacikitsaka (physician or expert of internal medicine); he has further advised that diet to be taken or not to be decided by the physician (kayacikitsaka), while remaining acts i.e. cutting, incision, suturing etc. are to be done by the surgeon (salyakrta), in other words physician is given more importance than surgeon. In Harita-Samhita though salya (surgery) is mentioned as first branch, yet, subsequent description of entire book does not show any predominance of subjects related to surgery or even otolaryngology including ophthalmology. The book is not accepted as an original work contemporary to Caraka, Susruta or even Vagbhatas, rather it is written probably in twelfth century A.D.

The sages after learning ayurveda from god Indra wrote classics probably on all these eight branches as per their interest. To-day we get number of books on kayacikitsa (internal medicine) and only one but almost complete book i.e. Susruta-Samhita on salya (surgery) with salakya (otolaryngology wit ophthalmology) and also only one but incomplete book i.e. Kasyapa-Samhita on kaumarabhrtya. Though Vagghatas have given relatively more salya with salakya and kaumarabhrtya than Caraka and Caraka with Susruta respectively, however, their emphasis is also on kayacikitsa, thus, are the books of this speciality. Though these books are basically devoted to one particular branch, however, in order to provide clear cut scope for inter-disciplinary understanding and research, the subjects of other branches also except bhuta-vidya (demonology) are described.

Present available book Kasyapa-Samhita probably one-fourth or even less of its original form has been made available to the world of ayurveda by Rajaguru Pandita Hemaraja Sarma of Nepal in the year 1938, who has not only scribed it in devanagari from its nevari script of eighth or ninth century A.D., but has also prefixed highly educative scholarly ‘upodghata’ throwing light on its probable date as-well-as historical importance in relation to general history and also history of contemporary ayurveda.




Foreword xvii
Preface xix
Abbreviations xxi
Key to Transliteration xxiii
Source material of the book 6
Resurrection of Kasyapa-Samhita 6
Writer of Khila-sthana 8
The logics for Kasyapa-Samhita being called a book of kaumarabhrtya 14
Other Kasyapa-Samhitas 17
Title of the book 19
Kasyapa the preacher 21
Vrddha Jivaka, the scribe 41
Vatsya the redactor 44
Other sages referred in the text 45
Method of presentation 46
Language of Kasyapa-Samhita 53
Sections and chapters of available Kasyapa-Samhita 55
A bird’s eye-view of subjects described in Kasyapa-Samhita 55
Sutra-sthanam 57
eighteenth chapter 57
ekonavimso-adhyayah (nineteenth chapter) 58
vimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentieth chapter) 58
ekavimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentyfirst chapter) 59
dwavimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentysecond chapter) 59
trayovimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentythird chapter) 59
chaturvimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentyfourth chapter) 60
pancavmsatitamo-adhyayah (twentyfifth chapter) 60
sadvimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentysixth chapter) 61
saptavimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentyseventh chapter) 61
astavimsatitamo-adhyayah (twentyeighth chapter) 61
nidana-sthanam (section on diagnosis) 62
sisyopakramaniyavimanadhyayah (chapter on approach to disciple of the section on specific features) 62
sarira-sthanam (section on the study of human-body) 63
chapter on human-beings of different periods 63
asamanagotriyasariradhyayah (chapter on different clan of the section on study of human-body) 64
garbhavakrantisariradhyayah (chapter on descent of embryo of the section on study of human-body) 64
sariravicayasariradhyayah (chapter on detailed knowledge about the body of the section on study of human-body) 64
jatisutriyasariradhyayah (chapter on principles of procreation of the section on study of human-body 65
indriya-sthanam (section on signs of life and death) 65
cikitsita-sthanam (section on treatment) 66
jwaracikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for fever) 66
garbhinicikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for pregnant woman) 66
dusprajatacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for woman having undergone difficult labour) 66
balagrahacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for balagrahas) 67
plihahalimakacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for splenomegaly and chlorosis) 67
undavartacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for udavarta) 67
rajayaksmacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for tuberculosis) 68
gulmacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for gulma) 68
Kusthacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for kustha i.e. skin-disorders) 68
mutrakrcchacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for dysuria) 69
atha dwivraniyacikitsitadhyayah? (chapter on the treatment for both wounds) 69
pratisyayacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for coryza) 70
uroghatacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for chest injury/diseases) 70
atha sophacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for edema/inflammation) 70
krmicikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment of parasites) 70
madatyayacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for alcoholism) 71
phakkacikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for marasmus) 71
dhatricikitsitadhyayah (chapter on the treatment for wet-nurse) 71
siddhi-sthanam (section on successful management) 72
rajaputriya siddhirnama prathamo-adhyayah (first chapter named successful management of sons of king) 72
trilaksanasiddhirnama dwitiyo-adhyayah (second chapter named successful management of three features) 72
vamanavirecaniyasiddhirnama trtiyo-adhyayah (third chapter named successful management of emesis and purgation) 73
nastahkarmiyasiddhirnama caturtho-adhyayah (fourth chapter named successful management of nasal therapy) 73
kriyasiddhirnama pancamo-adhyayah (fifth chapter named successful management of actions) 73
bastikarmiyasiddhirnama sastho-adhyayah (sixth chapter named successful management for application of enema) 74
pancakarmiyasiddhirnama saptamo-adhyayah (seventh chapter named successful management of pancakarma) 74
mangalasiddhirnamastamo-adhyayah (eighth chapter named successful management of auspicious things) 74
kalpa-sthanam (section on pharmaceutical preparations/sacred precepts) 75
dhupakalpadhyayah (chapter on pharmaceutical preparations for fumigation) 75
lasunakalpadhyayah (chapter on pharmaceutical preparations of garlic) 75
katutailakalpadhyayah (chapter on pharmaceutical preparations of mustard-oil)) 76
satkalpadhyayah (chapter on six pharmaceutical preparations) 76
satapuspa-satawari-kalpadhyayah (chapter on pharmaceutical of satapuspa and satawari) 76
revatikalpadhyayah (chapter on sacred precepts of revati) 76
bhojanakalpadhyayah (chapter on sacred precepts of diet) 78
visesakalpadhyayah (chapter on special pharmaceutical preparations) 79
samhitakalpadhyayah (chapter on sacred precepts of classic) 79
khila-sthana (supplementary section) 79
visamajwaranirdesiyadhyayah prathamah (first chapter indicating intermittent fever) 79
visesanirdesiyonama dwitiyo-adhyayah (second chapter named special instructions) 80
bhaisajyopakramaniyastrtiyadhyayah (third chapter about approach/preparation to medicaments) 80
atha yusanirdesiyonama-caturtho-adhyayah (fourth chapter named indications about soups) 81
bhojyopakramaniyadhyayah pancamah (fifth chapter about edibles) 82
atha rasadosavibhagiyadhyayah sasthah (sixth chapter named division of rasas and dosas) 82
atha samsuddhivisesaniyonama saptamo-adhyayah (seventh chapter named distinction of cleansing) 83
atha bastivisesaniyo namastamo-adhyayah (eighth chapter named distinction of enema) 83
atha raktagulmaviniscayadyayo navamah (ninth chapter on ascertainment of molar pregnancy) 84
atha antarvatnicikitsitadhyayo dasamah (tenth chapter on the treatment for pregnant woman) 85
sutikopakramaniyadhyayah ekadasah (eleventh chapter about management of puerperal woman) 86
atha jatakarmottaradhyayo dwadasah (twelfth chapter about management after birth) 86
atha kukkunakacikitsitadhyayastrayodasah (thirteenth chapter on the treatment for kukkunaka) 86
atha visarpacikitsitadhyayascaturdasah (fourteenth chapter about treatment for erysipelas) 87
atha carmadalacikitsitadhyayah pancadasah (fifteenth chapter on treatment for dermatitis) 87
atha amlapittacikitsitadhyayah sodasah (sixteenth chapter on treatment for hyper-acidity)) 87
atha sothacikitsadhyayah saptadasah (seventeenth chapter on treatment of inflammation/edema) 88
atha sulacikitsadhyayao-astadasah (eighteenth chapter on treatment of colic) 88
athastajwaracikitsitottaradhyaya ekonavimsatitamah (nineteenth chapter on subsequent treatment of eight fevers) 88
chapter twentyfirst entitled specialities of honey 89
atha ksiragunavisesiyadhyayo dwavimsatitamah (twentysecond chapter on specialities of properties of milk) 89
twentythird chapter on special properties of water 89
atha mamsagunavisesiyadhyayascaturvimsah (twenty-fourth chapter on special properties of meat) 89
atha desasatmyadhyayah pancavimsah (twentyfifth chapter on congeniality of place/country) 90
Socioeconomic status in Kasyapa-Samhita 90
Status of religion in Kasyapa-Samhita 98
Topics not described in Caraka-Samhita but mentioned in Kasyapa-Samhita and given by Susruta and/or Vagbhatas 100
Contributions of Kasyapa-Samhita 108
contributions of Kasyapa-Samhita in branches other than kaumarabhrtya i.e. obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics 108
descend of ayurveda 108
Concepts found in vaidika and allied literature as-well-as in Kasyapa-Samhita but not in Caraka, Susruta and Vagbhatas 109
concept of five vedas 109
thirteen months in a year 110
five seasons in a year 111
five castes and subcastes 111
imaginary body-composition of human-being 112
other words 112
importance of kala 112
definition of healthy state 113
dietetics 113
anatomy and physiology 115
drugs, their properties and preparations 117
diseases 119
therapies 122
medical ethics 124
others 124
contributions of Kasyapa-samhita in the field of pediatrics including neonatology 125
division of age 125
growth and development 126
showing of sun and moon to the child 126
dentition 126
upavesnana samskara or making the child sit for first time 126
speaking power 126
standing and walking after one year 127
features of the body to be examined 127
emphasis on similarity of psychic constitution of wet-nurse and child 128
effect of socio-economic status on the child 128
qualities of the physician piercing ear-lobe of the child 128
diet of the child 128
methods to diagnose the diseases of children 130
dosages of the drugs for the children 130
therapies 131
fumigation 131
sudation 132
emesis 133
enema 133
nasal therapy (nasya) 133
diseases 134
fever, edema/inflammation and krmi (parasites/ helminthes) 134
splenomegaly 134
eye-disorders 134
stomatitis 135
phakka 135
erysipelas 135
carmadala (dermatitis) 135
ulcers/wounds 135
eight furunculosis 136
arakilika 136
ring-worm (dadru) 136
blisters due to duhsaha elephant 136
balagrahas 137
contributions of Kasyapa-Samhita in the field of obstetrics and gynecology 141
anatomy 141
congenital anomalies of reproductive system 141
physiology 142
embryology 143
antenatal period 143
general management 143
diseases/abnormalities during pregnancy 144
jataharinis 144
fever 144
diarrhoea 145
raktagulma (molar pregnancy) 145
abortions, intra-uterine growth-retardation or death and neonatal death 146
treatment of diseases during pregnancy 146
fever 147
diarrhoea 147
dysentery etc. other disorders of digestive system 147
diseases of cardio-respiratory system 148
convulsive disorders 148
gulma 148
venum/poisons 148
abortions/premature deliveries 148
other disorders 148
use of ksara (cauterization with alkalies) and surgery 149
bad prognostic features of pregnant woman 149
labour 149
puerperium 150
definition of sutika or puerperal woman 150
duration of puerperal period 150
general management during puerperium 150
puerperal disorders 151
wet-nurse 152
gynecological disorders 153
menstrual disorders 153
vaginal discharges 153
disorders of breasts 154
stana-kilaka 154
breast-milk 154
The period of Kasyapa-Samhita 154
Books Referred 159

Sample Pages

Add a review

Your email address will not be published *

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Post a Query

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Related Items