Charaka Samhita

The Charaka Saṃhitā or Compendium of Charaka (Sanskrit चरक संहिता IAST: caraka-saṃhitā) is a Sanskrit text on Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine).[1][2] Along with the Suśruta-saṃhitā, it is one of the two foundational Hindu texts of this field that have survived from ancient India.[3][4][5]

The pre-2nd century CE text consists of eight books and one hundred twenty chapters.[6][7] It describes ancient theories on human body, etiology, symptomology and therapeutics for a wide range of diseases.[8] The Charaka Samhita also includes sections on the importance of diet, hygiene, prevention, medical education, the teamwork of a physician, nurse and patient necessary for recovery to health.[9][10][11]

Authorship

The ideal medical student

He should be of a mild disposition, noble by nature, never mean in his acts, free from pride, strong memory, liberal mind, devoted to truth, likes solitude, of thoughtful disposition, free from anger, of excellent character, compassionate, one fond of study, devoted to both theory and practice, who seeks the good of all creatures.

Charak Samhita 3.VIII.6 (Abridged)[12][13]

The Charaka Samhita states that the content of the book was first taught by Atreya, and then subsequently codified by Agniveśa, revised by Charaka, and the manuscripts that survive into the modern era are based on one edited by Dridhabala.[14] Dridhabala stated in the Charaka Samhita that he had to write one third of the book all by himself because this portion of the book had been lost, and that he also re-wrote the last part of the book.[15]

Based on textual analysis, and the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word charak, Chattopadhyay speculated that charak does not refer to one person but multiple people.[16] Vishwakarma and Goswami state that the text exists in many versions and entire chapters are missing in some versions.[17]