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An Analytical Review of Animals in Carakopaskara Commentary of Caraka Samhita | OMICS International
ISSN: 2573-4555
Journal of Traditional Medicine & Clinical Naturopathy
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An Analytical Review of Animals in Carakopaskara Commentary of Caraka Samhita

Panja AK*
PG Department of Basic Principles, National Institute of Ayurveda (Govt. of India), Jaipur, India
Corresponding Author : Panja AK
PG Department of Basic Principles
National Institute of Ayurveda (Govt. of India)
Jaipur, India
E-mail: [email protected]
Received June 02, 2012; Accepted August 20, 2012; Published August 22, 2012
Citation: Panja AK (2012) An Analytical Review of Animals in Carakopaskara Commentary of Caraka Samhita. J Homeop Ayurv Med 1:111. doi: 10.4172/2167-1206.1000111
Copyright: © 2012 Panja AK. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Zoologicalaspects are documented in a vast and complex way in ayurveda. The usages of animal products as food and medicine itself reveal the intense field work and ample research regarding the natural habitat, character, quality and the effect of animal and animal products conducted by the then scholars. From very gross product like


to finer one like pituitary gland are medicinally used. Human mental characters are also symbolified with animal characters. In various instances, the different activity is also evidenced by animal character. This study is dealt with the clinical relavancy of identification of different animals described in caraka samhita.

Animals; Caraka Samhita; Carakopaskāra commentary
Caraka samhita
Agniveśa tantra is a classical medical text in the ancient time which is redacted by Ācārya Caraka and is known as Caraka Saṁhitā. The lost material of Caraka Saṁhitā was fulfilled by Ācārya Drdhabala. In due course of time the book was commented by different scholars for the understanding of the textual matters. The commentary is written with the specific aim to explore particular texts in a descriptive and analytic manner. This is a journey to re-observe the study material in an authentic experimentation and thereby make a conclusion. The extensive multidimensional approach of Caraka Saṁhitā is distinguished by different commentators in a lucid manner and encapsulated the distinct variations of the meaning of the contents in different contexts, and viewed accordingly from the grammatical, philosophical and clinical angles.
CarakopaskAra commentary
From the different sources and citation it is revealed that there exist nearly about forty commentators on Caraka Saṁhitā such as Bhattāra Haricandra, Svāmīkumāra, Jejjata, Cakrapāni Dutta, Gayādāsa, Śivadāsa Sen, Gaṅgādhara Roy, Yogīndranath Sen, Jyotiscandra Sarasvatī, Himadutta, Vaisnava, Śivasaidhava, Svāmīdas, AsādhavramA, Ksīrasvāmī Dutta, Sudhīra, Naradutta, Bhāsa Dutta, Bhīmadutta, Iśvara Sen, Vāpyacandra, Īśānadeva, Sukīra, Sudānta Sen, Narasiṁha Kavirāja etc. [1]. Among those some commentaries are popular and considered as authentic. Very little information is available regarding majority of the scholars. In vast cases only their names are found in different quotations. Unfortunately nine commentaries either in partial or in full form are available in different parts of India.
Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen was the last authentic commentator of Caraka Saṁhita. The name of his commentary is “Carakopaskāra”. His categorical analysis in commentary is supposed to be best for the current era. The commentary was first published in 1920 [1] by Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen, Calcutta. Original manuscript was written in Sanskrit language and Bengali script. The commentary was based upon materials collected from different parts of India and London [2].
The Subject Material
The drug is one of the prime components of four quadruples [3]. Ultimately the aim of the treatment is to cure the disease. This is possible only with the administration of the drug. Source of the drug is mainly from animal, plant and mineral origin. Differences of opinion are commonly found in different commentaries of this text regarding the animal and animal products. To make the physician well acquainted with the uncommon and rare drugs of the particular time, Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen had also tried to justify his view in respect to source of the drug and their products for therapeutic purposes. Therefore the identification of animals is furnished magnifying the differentiation in a vivid form for medical management.
Among the different animals and their products described in Caraka Saṁhitā, some of them are having therapeutic and nutritive values whereas some are toxic in nature. To clarify the respective animals and animal products, consultation of commentaries are mandatory. In the present era the whole animal kingdom is divided into different phylum but in the classics they are grouped as per their habit and habitat with the intention for categorical therapeutic uses. In different circumstances even after classifying the animals on the basis of the effectiveness of the part of the animals in that specific context, the valuable and commonly available parts are used and are grouped functionally. The name of the animals is also varied in different context of the text as behavioral physiology is also classified symbolifying the animal characteristics. Animal products are naturally used for the making of different instruments also.
The comparative statement of animals are made identifying animals on the basis of character, local variants and usage of their products depicted in original text supported by Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen’s commentary with the English name and Zoological name respectively in table 1.
In context of eight sources of urine, ācārya has read abī in place of abi (sheep) which justifies the clinical sense as in case of abi or sheep’s urine, the urine of the female animal is to be taken on account of laghutva i.e. lightness of the urine. Ahi i.e. snake and ajā i.e. goat are indicative of common categories. Ambukukkuti is identified as waterhen and moor-hen by different scholars where as ācārya, eradicating the confusion, confirms it as black-water-hen. Atyuha and aṅgāracūdaka are closely similar animals and these are identified as bulbul, black bulbul and red vented bulbul by various authors. Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen has identified aṅgāracūdaka as datyuha and co-local Bengali name is given for differentiation between the two. Avakāra is not specifically identified. Some other researcher identified as a variety of peacock as the avakāra and varhi are clinically used in same indication by later authors. Balākā, krauñcha and vaka are the varieties of crane. Balākā is characterized by white wings whereas vaka is characterized by palewhite (pāndu) wings. Krauñcha is recognized as a common variety. Bhāsa is mentioned as domestic variety of vulture having white horn like projection in head. In other instance, the specific characteristic feature of vulture like mAMsAsi (voracious) and yojanadrsti (having the miles visual acuity) are given. In context of rājayaksmā the same animal “grdhra” is identified as “ullūka” which is known as Indian owl. It signifies that “ullūka” can be clinically used in that specific context. Bhramara, dvirefa, ksaudra and māksika are the variety of bees. Here colour and shape have been stressed for identification. Bhramara is having the colour of collyrium where as ksaudra and māksika are characterized by piṅgalavarna. The difference has been done on the basis of size. Cakora, jīvajīvaka, jīvanjīvaka, kukkubha, raktāksa and upacakra are the varieties of pheasant with different identifying features. They are used in different clinical conditions according to their qualities. Caranāyudha, daksa and tāmracūda are synonymous and are identified as different animals by various commentators but may be due to similar clinical uses Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen has identified under kukuta i.e chicken. For the identification of similar animals like cullukī and śiśumāra, the specific characteristic feature like inward directed mouth etc. is given. Dhārtarāstra, haṁsa, kārāndava, pākahaṁsa and kadamba are varieties of swan having similar qualities. Mrga generally indicates a group of jāṅgala animal having alike lifestyle. Ena, harina, gokarna, kottakāraka, mrgamātrika, kuraṅga, nyuṅka, prsata, rāma, śarabha, rsya and ruru are the different varieties of mrga used in different clinical conditions but for their better identification specific features are given. Śvadaṁstrā is identified as mouse deer by some zoologist but Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen has been categorized it under mrga group on account of its similar clinical use. Various categories of sparrows are used in Caraka Saṁhitā like kalaviṅka, kuliṅga, kuliṅgaka, kaṅka, sāraṅga etc. and categorical identification of the respective animal is described by Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen.
Physical properties of the animals are also used for recognition like astapadamahāśrṅga prstagatacatuspāda for śarabha, Hastyākāra antarvaktra bahirniśvāsamukha for śiśumāra, Kapiñjalāt alpa vartikāra kiñcita mahāna for vartiraka , Caturdraṁstra atidusta karkataka for śvadaṁstrā etc.
Clinical specification “ visasūcaka “ of cakora rather than physical character is mentioned. Acharya Carauska is categorically identified as mrga having carusarira. Cāsa, a variety of bird, is described according to the specific sound produced by the bird.
Categorically colour, habitat, dwelling character and specific appearance are stressed as identifying marks.
Co-local names also play an important role for identification of the doubtful animals. Ācārya Jogīndranāth Sen has given a healthy number of co-local names which signifies familiarities of the qualities of the various animals and their parts to the common physician. He belonged to undivided Bengal and therefore used co-local Bengali names of the animals for easy understanding either in relation to identification locally for therapeutic approach as those are varied in different places or the specific species found on that place which has most significant therapeutic value, viz., keñco for gandūpāda, gughu for spotted pigeon, gandāra for khaṅga, koñcabaka for krauñca, girgiti for krkālāsa, kuñce for kucikā, khemkaśiyāla for lopāka, sajāru for sallka, śuśuka for śiśumāra, bāinmācha for varmī etc.
The etymological derivations of those nomenclatures are useful to understand the characters for proper identification.
In few cases his views differ from the classical text and other commentators. He had identified Udra as jalavidāla (a variety of cat) but majority of the scholars have viewed in favour of cat-fish. Urana is recognized as a variety of deer (mrgabheda) whereas scholars have identified as mesa (wild sheep). Vabhru, as per Jogindranath, is a variety of dog (Atilomaśa kukkura) which is basically a mongoose etc.
The identification was made on practical applicability of the animals in clinical use based on co-local terms, physical and physiological characters, and etymological derivations of the terms. Majority of instances the views have not been varied in the commentary from that of the original text, but in few exceptions different opinions are viewed.
Keeping the applied sense of the animals in mind the above non identified animals (table 1) (blank spaces in column 3 and 5 with * marks) are to be properly explored as in the present era neither zoologist, veterinary experts nor folk persons are well acquainted with those terms and their functions.
In this era almost all the animals come under Animal Protection Act and therefore the number of used animals and its products are restricted. On the basis of similar functionalities of the identified animals and maintaining the legal aspects, the animals and their products are to be used as medicine or diet.
Dr. Abhilash Chattopadhyaya, B.V.Sc, Veterinary Medical Officer, Haringhata Dairy, Govt. of West Bengal for helping identification, authentication and providing related matters.




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