The Vedas - Ayurvedic Education in Ancient India

Ayurvedic Education in Ancient India

Ayurvedic Education in Ancient India

Evidences from the Rigveda and Atharvaveda indicate that the science of Ayurveda was quite developed in ancient India. Rishis were repositories of Ayurvedic knowledge, and examples of Dadhyan and Vishpala indicate that even surgery was developed during the Vedic times.

Accounts of ancient universities show that Ayurveda was developed as Upaveda and a long period of training was a prerequisite qualification before the Ayurvedic graduate was allowed to practise. There was also a system of licensing. Taxila was famous for Ayurvedic education where the prescribed period for Ayurvedic training extended to seven years. The student was required to undergo a sort of practical examination prescribed by his teacher.

The famous story of Jivaka tells us that he was asked by his teacher to take a spade and seek round about Taxila one yojana on every side and to bring to him any plant which in his opinion was not medicinal. It is related that after a good deal of botanical investigation, Jivaka could not discover any plant that was devoid of medicinal properties. The teacher was satisfied and certified him to become a practitioner of Ayurveda.

Both Charaka Samhita and Sushruta indicate to us the extensive syllabus that was prescribed in the Ayurvedic education. Eight different branches of medical knowledge have been identified. Subjects included anatomy, physiology, aetiology, and prognosis, pathology, treatment, influence of environmental factors, medicines, and appliances and procedures and sequence of medication. Other subjects included embryology, therapeutical and surgical treatment, toxicology, and specialised knowledge with regards to various aspects of surgery.

More than three hundred drugs of animal, plant and mineral origin are referred to in Charak Samhita and about six hundred fifty in the Sushruta Samhita. Students were also required to undergo training in methods of compounding and therapeuitical methods including psychopathic processes. Sushruta describes more than three hundred operations employing forty two different surgical processes and one hundred twenty one different types of instruments.

Ayurvedic Education in Ancient India

Ayurvedic Education in Ancient India

There is evidence that a large number of diseases were studied in detail and Ayurvedic physicians were required to undergo training in regard to these diseases, which included diabetes, pulmonary tuberculosis, malignant growths, leprosy, gangrene, erysipelas, jaundice, diphtheria, tetanus, calculi, general paralysis, insanity, epilepsy, epidemic diseases,
hydrophobia. Efficacious surgery was taught for many conditions including fractures and dislocations, piles, fistulas and sinuses, tumours, carbuncles, cataracts, hernia, urinary stones, impacted gall stones, intestinal perforations, amputations of major limbs, tonsilitis, bone abscesses, major obstetric operations and malformations of the nose, ears or lips, which required plastic surgery involving grafting of skin and muscular tissues from surrounding areas and other parts of the body.

Ayurvedic training also included a rigorous standard and a meticulous code of personal ethics and social conduct for the medical profession. In insight, foresightedness and depth, the Ayurvedic medical code stands a favourable comparison with the Hippocratic code.

Ayurvedic Education in Ancient India

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