Date(s) - 22/11/2021
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Is Vedic Medicine religio- magical? (Analysis of a narrative set by historians)
Every human society must have developed a rudimentary system of medicine, whether based on materia- medica or in spells, incantations; magic and rituals, which to us in this advanced age may appear meaningless. The progress from this primitive stage to a regular system of medicine has not been on the same lines everywhere. The development of a system of medicine depends on various factors; its form and content are decided by the civilization and the environment in which it is born. Historians have been writing, rewriting and critically examining the different traditions of medicine evolved across the world in the history of mankind right from ancient times.
In my present paper I have tried to analyze the comments of historians on Hindu tradition of Medicine or more appropriately Vedic tradition of medicine. Most of the historians have advanced a few arguments while writing on the Vedic tradition of medicine. First argument is that Buddha’s philosophy of middle path and Buddhist medicine influenced Ayurveda to develop empirical and scientific approach.
Second, argument is that the Vedic medicine was purely religio- magical whereas other ancient traditions such as Mesopotamian, Egyptian and western tradition of medicine were empirical and scientific. Third, argument is that the Vedic tradition of medicine was separate from the Ayurvedic tradition and both are independent and different from each other. In view of the above arguments, my paper first briefly introduces Vedic tradition of medicine including Ayurveda, and afterwards takes up the arguments of historians in the light of available facts and a comparative analysis of other ancient traditions of medicine.
Guest Fellow, IIAS