Compilation Of Treatise, Evaluation And Graduation In Ayurveda

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Compiling all the necessary materials, documenting them, editing them in proper order, giving valid references and due acknowledgments for the borrowed works and to all those who have helped us completing a work forms important aspects of studies and higher studies.
Read – How Ayurveda Originated? Detailed Explanation [Video]

Introduction


At higher levels of studies the student is bound to submit his thesis at the end of his studies. The work needs to be evaluated by masters and certified that it has been completed comprehensively and with precision. This would make the student eligible for getting graduated.

The work he or she has done with authentication, having obtained the approval of the necessary authorities would become a future reference to the upcoming generation working in the same field of study.
Read – What Is Ayurveda? 5 Dimensions Of The Ancient Indian Health Wisdom!

This is not a concept of the modern day education system. All these were a part and parcel of even the most ancient education system in India. We can find such interesting references in the treatise Charaka Samhita.

Concept

Concept of compilation and submission of treatise, evaluation, and graduation in Ayurveda (Ref – Charaka Sutra Sthana Chapter 1)
It is said that master Agnivesha was the first person ever to have documented Ayurveda, in a written form. Until then, the teaching and preaching of Ayurveda was moukhika i.e. in a narrated and ‘hear-say’ form.

Lord Brahma had remembered Ayurveda from the depths of his wisdom through his divine vision and had narrated it to his disciple Prajapati. Prajapati had taught Ayurveda to the celestial physician twins Ashwini Kumaras who in turn had propounded the knowledge and wisdom of this divine medical science to Lord Indra, the king of Gods.
Read – Lord Dhanwantari ‘The God of Ayurveda’

in a narrated and ‘hear-say’ form.

Lord Brahma had remembered Ayurveda from the depths of his wisdom through his divine vision and had narrated it to his disciple Prajapati. Prajapati had taught Ayurveda to the celestial physician twins Ashwini Kumaras who in turn had propounded the knowledge and wisdom of this divine medical science to Lord Indra, the king of Gods.
Read – Lord Dhanwantari ‘The God of Ayurveda’

Sage Bharadwaja was sent as a representative to Lord Indra to learn the secrets of longevity through the knowledge of Ayurveda. Sage Bharadwaja had taught Ayurveda that he had learnt from Lord Indra to his disciples, Punarvasu Atreya being his best pupil. Up to this point, Ayurveda had descended through a lineage wherein it was elaborated orally and the students, who were brilliant enough had learnt it in quick time, though it was explained in a nutshell by their masters.
Read – 14 Myths About Ayurveda, Busted!

Documentation process

Process of documentation started from Agnivesha and his friends – an evolution from narration to dictation to documentation and compilation of knowledge
When Punarvasu Atreya taught Ayurveda to his disciples, one of them, Agnivesha got an idea of documenting whatever his teacher taught him. It was not that the intellectual levels degraded when it came from the previous generation of students to Agnivesha, but Agnivesha thought differently.

He probably thought that things should serve better if they are documented. May be he thought the utility of writing the notes of his teacher’s teachings would come handy in coming days, in case they were needed for future and further reference.
Read – Acharya Agnivesha – Legend, Works, Samhita

Agnivesha, thus became the first student to take down notes from his teacher and document it. This was a revolution in the field of academics and a turning point in the conventional methods of learning. The future education system would update itself in this form, in the form of documentation so that it could become future reference points and serve many generations in the learning process.

Agnivesha Tantra, written by sage Agnivesha was the first documented compilation of teachings of Ayurveda. In later days it was called as Charaka Samhita and raised to a status of becoming one among the Brihat Trayees i.e. three great treatises of Ayurveda.
Read – Acharya Atreya – legacy, works, contribution to Ayurveda

At the same time, 5 other disciples of Atreya and friends of Agnivesha too documented the teachings of their teacher and brought it into the form of a treatise. They were Bhela, Jatukarna, Parashara, Harita and Ksharapani. Probably these five legends of Ayurveda drew their inspiration by Agnivesha. They too documented Ayurveda, which went on to become standard references in the field of Ayurveda. The treatises came to be called by their names.

These six treatises were totally different form each other, including the presentation, content and chronology. Master Charaka tells that ‘buddhi vishesha’ i.e. different levels of intelligence of these masters made their treatises different from each other. But none gained popularity of the heights and scales of Charaka Samhita.
Read – Brihat Trayi: The 3 Treatises That Form The Foundation of Ayurveda

First Evidence of Documentation

First evidence of submission of completed works by students to masters, evaluation and acknowledgment by masters and graduation from school of learning
After having written and completed their treatises, the students of Punarvasu Atreya were humble. As responsible students, Agnivesha and his friends took their completed works to their master Punarvasu Atreya, seated amongst many revered and learned sages. They submitted their works to the holy feet of their masters.

The great sages evaluated the works of the students and blessed them. They said ‘You people have done a commendable work by writing the teachings down in the form of treatises, as dictated by your teacher, this is the greatest tribute you could give to your teacher and your works shall remain eternal. You people have really done well for the benefit of the mankind’.
Read – Acharya Dridhabala – Time Period, Works, Contribution To Ayurveda

Hearing these words of the great sages, the Gods and divine sages living in the realm of heaven got very happy. The words of appraisal ‘Wonderful, well done!’ were heard from all the three worlds. The knowledge of Ayurveda now would benefit the entire mankind and all lives, would protect them from diseases and provide longevity of life. The world experienced the flow of auspicious breeze at this time, all the directions got illuminated with bright light and there was shower of flowers from the sky along with sprinkles of water. All these events acknowledged the good work done by the students of Atreya. It was a proud moment for everyone.

This was the first instance of approval of treatises by the masters. The events following them including applauses and flower showers from sky was the first instance of celebration of a successful landmark in the field of academics, the convocation moment for students of Atreya and a symbol of graduation.
Read – Why We Need Detailed Case History In Ayurveda?

In the ancient instance we see that it was not the students who celebrated the success but it was indeed the entire universe which relished the grand success of these students. This instance shows that if one does his work in a sincere and selfless way, the whole world is going to be there applauding you in your convocation and graduation, you can hear it all, feel them all, the success will surely touch your feet! ‘Do some work for which not only you and your good will circle, but the whole world comes to know it, acknowledge it and celebrate it’ – is the secret message.
Read – Four pursuits of life – Purushartha Chatushtaya

Rewarding the documentor

Rewarding the students of Atreya and establishment of their treatises as ‘Standard References for Ayurveda’
The sages accepted the works of Agnivesha and other students and acknowledged them. They were also graced and blessed by celestial beings. Later the Gods bestowed eight qualities / forms of knowledge in these students as a mark of acknowledgment for their work. This was the first ever instance of students rewarded for their works in medical science. Those eight qualities are –

  • Intelligence
  • Perfection
  • Memory
  • Wisdom
  • Courage
  • Reputation
  • Forgiving nature
  • Compassion

Later the treatises written by Agnivesha and his friends were declared as reference books of Ayurveda and were established on earth for usage from future generations and for the benefit and welfare of mankind.

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