This article explains Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthana Chapter 4 “Prabhashaniya Adhyaya” – Necessity of Interpretations.
Table of Contents
Necessity of Interpretations
We will now expound the chapter called Prabhashaniya – Need of interpretations; as revealed by the venerable Dhanvantari.
Read – Lord Dhanwantari ‘The God of Ayurveda’
Analogy to explain the importance of knowing the deeper meaning and implications of a science
In spite of having studied a science in its entirety, if it is not properly interpreted or understood in its true and deep meaning, the science would become a tiresome affair and useless for that person, just like a heap of Sandalwood carried on its back would become a heavy burden for a donkey (and nothing else).
Note – This explains that reading and understanding a science are two different things. Unless one knows the deeper meaning of what has been read in science it would be useless.
Read – Understanding The Principles of Ayurveda
Elaboration of the analogy
A verse here in: –
A donkey carrying a bundle of sandalwood on its back understands only the weight of the sandalwood and not the sweet smell and other good qualities of sandalwood.
Similarly, a foolish person too, in spite of having of having extensively read many sciences does not know the deeper meanings of those sciences and fails to interpret the true meanings of the science is similar to a donkey (bears the weight of the contents of the science but cannot appreciate the essence of its meaning). This person acts like a donkey in interpreting the true meanings (implications) of the science.
HIJACK This means to tell that such a person knows only the contents of the science just like the donkey knows the weight of the sandalwood bundle. Such a science becomes a burden or heavy weight for this foolish person and is of no use in the long run, because like the donkey even he too is unaware about the fragrance and good qualities of the science (since he has never explored it).
Read – Acharya Sushruta: Work, Samhita, Legacy, Amazing Facts
Mode of study
Hence every word, part of the verse and the full verse of all the one hundred twenty chapters should be explained in detail along with in-depth meaning by the teacher) and understood (in detail along with its in-depth meaning by the student, as taught by his teacher) why?
Because subtle are the analysis and understanding of dravya (substances, drugs), their rasas (tastes), guna (qualities), virya (potency), vipaka (effects after digestion), dosas (humors), dhatus (tissues), malas (wastes), asayas (viscera), marma (vital spots), sira (veins), snayu (ligaments), sandhi (joints), asthi (bones), products forming the garbha (embryo) and their combination, removal of foreign bodies lost inside the body, determining the nature of wounds, kinds of fractures, curability and fatality of diseases and many such other subjects. There are thousands of such subjects which need to be analyzed in a subtle way. In spite of these subjects being analyzed thousands of times in a subtle and comprehensive way, they still create a lot of confusion in the minds of even those who possess clear and broad-spectrum knowledge. Then what to say about those people who are less intelligent? (They will be extremely confused). So, every word, part of a verse and the complete verse should be explained well (by the teacher) and the students should patiently hear and understand whatever is explained by their teacher.
Read – Should You Study In The Morning Or At Night
Limitations of subjects covered in a science
Meaning of even other sciences which are mentioned here briefly during the course of teaching should be learnt in detail (as and when needed) by listening to the lectures of persons experts of those sciences, because it is not possible to include the details of all sciences, in any one science itself.
Some Verses here: –
He who studies any one science only, will not be able to arrive at a correct decision i.e., will not be able to understand the basics of that science also (the science that he has studied).
Therefore, the physician should know and understand the other sciences also.
Only he who constantly practices medicine (both theoretically and practically), after learning the science from a preceptor and engaged constantly in recapitulating it, can be called (is entitled) as a physician whereas all the others are imposters.
Treatises composed by Aupadhenava, Aurabhra, Susruta and Puskalavata are considered as the source of the remaining treatises of shalyatantra (surgery).
Thus ends the fourth chapter by name Prabhashaniya-interpretations-in Sutra sthana of Sushruta Samhita.