- CARAKA SAMHITA -
A Brief Introduction
Dr. Jayesh Thakkar
Caraka Samhita is a fundamental
text of Ayurveda
It has 8 sections totaling 120
It is primarily a text of Kayachikitsa
(internal medicine) speciality
It explains the basic principles of
Ayurvedic science for healthy living
II. Nidana (pathology) - 8 chapters discuss the pathology of eight chief
III. Vimana (specific determination)- 8 chapters contain pathology,
various tools of diagnostics & medical studies and conduct.
IV. Sarira (anatomy) - 8 chapters describe embryology & anatomy of a
V. Indriya (sensorial prognosis) - 12 chapters elaborate on diagnosis &
prognosis of disease on the basis of senses.
VI. Cikitsa (theraputics) - 30 chapters deal with special therapy.
VII. Kalpa (pharmaceutics and toxicology) - 12 chapters describe
usage and preparation of medicine.
Some aspects of Caraka Samhita
It describes the principles of Ayurveda (panchamahabhuta,
tridosha & dhatu siddhanta, food, prakriti, agni, etc.) and its eight
Emphasises on promotive and preventive measures for health
(dinacharya, ratricharya, ritucharya, sadvritta, rasayana &
Rational classification of dravyas and description of 50 groups
based on their action and use. Therapeutics of single drug, simple
combination & special combinations-yoga for curing various
diseases are given.
Methods of clinical examination & assessment through yukti is
Ethics and basics of medical practice are elaborated.
Detail description of almost every known disease is given.
Disease, its definition, synonym, nidaan (cause), samprapti
(pathology), rupa-bheda (type-states), cikitsa siddhanta (treatment
principles), pathya (diet & regimen) and prognosis are discussed.
Some sailent features
First Brihat-trayi (Major text of Ayurveda)
9295 Sutras, 1949 Yogas(medicine), 12,000
Slokas(about 9498 available)
41+ Samskrit commentaries
Numerous hindi, regional languages,
english & foreign languages translations
Because of its immense benefit getting re-
acceptance in this 21st century
Some important slokas
Arogya (Health) is the basis for four pursartha –
Dharma, Artha, Kama & Moksha. (Ca.Su.01/15)
Hetu (causes), linga (symptoms) and ausadha
(treatment) are trisutras of Ayurveda, the
science which is meant for both healthy &
diseased, the science which is saswat & punya
was propagated by Brahma..(Ca.Su.01/24)
The four types of Ayu- Hita, Ahita, Sukha
and Dukha, their good & bad aspects,
pathya-apathya, span, etc are described in
science of Ayurveda.
Sareer, indriya , mann and atma – this
combination is Ayu… (Ca.Su.01/41-42)
Importance of Ausadha jnana: Like poison,
sastra, fire & asani, the improper knowledge of
ausadha in treatment can be life threatening.
Vayu(Vata), Pitta & Kapha are the three
sareer dosa; Raja and Tama are the dosa
of mana. (Ca.Su.01/57)
As ruler of a kingdom looks after his kingdom, a
charioteer his chariot, similarly the intelligent
should take care of his sareera. (Ca.Su.05/103)
upasthata(attendant) and rogi(patient) are the
four pada for managing disease conditions.
(Their respective qualities are henceforth
mentioned). (Ca.Su. 09/03)
First roga pariksha (examine & diagnose the
disease) then decide or think over the
ausadha (treatment) and therapies.
The physician who starts treatment without
proper diagnosis may not succeed with
medicinal knowledge only…(Ca.Su.20/20-21)
The purpose (of this science) is safe-guarding
the health of the healthy and secondly curing the
disease of the diseased person. (Ca.Su 30/26)
The eight branches of Ayurveda are Kayaciktsa
(Internal Medicine), Salakya (Eye-ENT), Salya
(Surgery), Visha (Toxicology), Bhutvidya
(Psychiatry), Kaumarbhrita (Pediatrics), Rasayan
(Rejuvination) & Vajikrana (Reproductive
medicine). (Ca.Su. 30/28)
Sarira is the abode of Chetana(Soul) and
vikara samudaya of panchamahabhuta.
Embryology: The embryo/foetus is
developed from four contributions – that of
mother, father, food & atma. (Ca.Sa.02/26)
List of some in detail discussed diseases
Jwar (Fever), Raktapitta (Bleeding disorders), Pandu
(Anaemia), Kamala (Jaundice), Prameha (Diabetes),
Kushta (Skin disorder), Swas (Respiratory disorders),
Rajyakshma (TB/Immunosuppressed condition),
Vatavyadhi, Yonivyapada(Gynae disorders), Hrdroga,
Arsha (Piles), etc.
(*The near co-relation is given in bracket)
List of some very efficient medicines
Chyawanprash, Narayan Churna, Shitopaladi Churna,
Pusyanuga Churna, Khadiradi Gutika, Bala Taila, Pinda
Taila, Panchagavya Ghrita, Mahakalyanaka Ghrita,
Abhayarista, Punarnava Mandoor, etc.
AYU = LIFE
VEDA = KNOWLEDGE
Acharya Caraka – CARAKA SAMHITA
(*A desc. pic)