The Great Three Classics of Ayurveda

The basic principles of Ayurved were in a  premature stage during the vedic period. The seers like Charak, Sushrut and Vagbhata created ayurvedic classics which clearly established the ayurvedic principles. During the same period the Takshashila and the Nalanda Universities were in full bloom and were attracting international attention. In short this was the golden age of Ayurved.

The Charak Samhita, Sushrut Samhita and Ashtang Sangraha form the Brihattrayi. These ae the three major texts for the study of Ayurveda.

The text written in those days would be in the form of sutras or some other rhyming literature, which were termed as Tantra, or in the form of bhashya/commentary or the prose type, which was termed as samhita.

 

Charaka Samhita

The Charaka Samhita is originally written by Agnivesh, redacted by Charak and completed by Dridhabala.

The book preaches that practice of science should be done only after a complete knowledge of its theory and principles. It presents most of the theoretical edifice of Ayurveda and concentrates on the branch of Ayurveda called kayachikitsa which includes diagnosis of disease along with treatment aspects. But according to Ayurveda, treating any form of disease is secondary to maintaining health.

 

Sushrut Samhita

Sushrut Samhita is the main text on various surgical procedures . Sushrut Samhita has reference that Kashiraj Divodas taught surgical skills to Sushrut. Sushrut was an expert in surgery and is also  considered as the Father of Plastic Surgery in the world. This text also describes accurate clinical examinations andn diagnosis and six stages of disease development and pathogenesis. In Panchakarma, he has specifically mentioned rakta mokshan and application of leeches.

Sushrut was the first surgeon to practice dead body dissection and also given description of various structures like joints, bones, arteries, veins, nerves , organs etc.

The text has described 12 types of fractures of 5 varieties of bones along with various types of dislocations and burns in detail. Marma concept or vital areas is the novel concept of Sushruta.

He has also described ano-rectal diseases like piles, fistula etc and their treatment by kshar sutra and surgery.
Ashtanga Hridayam and Ashtanga Sangraha

Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridayam are the work of a person named Vagbhata. The exposition is relatively straightforward and also deals primarily with kayachikitsa. Its emphasis on treating the physiology of the body and suggestions for therapeutic use of metals and minerals means the perspective of the treatise represents the gross, material value of life

The Lesser Three Classics of Ayurveda

Sharngadhara Samhita
The Sharngadhara Samhita is a concise exposition of Ayurvedic principles. Its author, Sharngadhara, has offered his work as a digested version of Ayurvedic knowledge, deliberately omitting much detail because the works of The Great Three were already widely known. This treatise is thought to have originated in the 15th century AD. The Sharngadhara Samhita is prized for its enumeration and description of numerous pharmacological formulations used in panchakarma and contains the first textual elaboration of diagnosis by means of the pulse. Its subject matter is again the field of kayachikitsa.

Bhava Prakasha
It is the most recent of the classical texts, written in the 16th century. It is a well-organized and compact re-presentation of the earlier classics. It deals with kayachikitsa generally and has a large section entitled Nighantu, which gives the characteristics of many foods, plants, and minerals.

Madhava Nidanam
Madhava Nidanam mainly deals with the classification of diseases in Ayurveda. While this treatise gives detailed description of disease etiology (disease doctrines), prodroma and cardinal signs and symptoms, it does not give explanation or suggestions for chikitsa (treatment).

Basic Principles

  • Students learn Sanskrit grammar that enables them in reading and speaking Sanskrit for better knowledge of Samhita.
  • Basic Principles of Ayurveda
  • History of Ayurveda
  • Application of Indian and Western Philosophies in Ayurveda
  • Learning of Ancient Ayurvedic Treatises with clinical application and approach.