EMPEROR ASOKA’S FOUR TANKS OF MEDICINES AT FOUR GATES! (Post No.5134)

Written by LONDON SWAMINATHAN

 

Date: 21 JUNE 2018

 

Time uploaded in London –  7- 16 am  (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 5134

 

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EMPEROR ASOKA’S FOUR TANKS OF MEDICINES AT FOUR GATES! (Post No.5134)

2300 Years ago, Emperor Asoka installed four tanks filled with medicines in four gates of the city (Pataliputra) according to Buddhgosa’s Samantapasadika.

Why?

 

A Buddha Bikshu died for want of medicines. Immediately Asoka took this drastic step. According to the rock edicts of Asoka, two kinds of medical treatments were available in his kingdom- 1.medical treatment of man and 2.medical treatment of animals.

In later Pali work Culavamsa (Chapter 73) we find Kittisirirajasiiha (Kirti Sri Raja Simha of Sri Lanka) appointed two physicians well versed in medicines and nurses for the bikshus. They were given yearly a big sum for the medicines from the Royal Treasury.

The king gave the best treatment for Upali when he was suffering from a disease in the nose.

Sri Lankan King ParakramabahuI had a big hall built for sick people and he gave to each sick person a special slave and a female slave to prepare medicines day and night, according to need, medicines and food, solid and liquid (Culavamsa, Chapter 76).

Treatment for Poison

Parakramabahu collected different types of medicines and preserved them in cow horns. This was to cure the wounds caused by the poisonous arrows. He also collected iron pincers for extracting arrow heads. He engaged many skilful physicians.

 

Snake Bites

To cure the snake bites, they used four materials: Cow dung, urine, ashes and clay. One physician used drugs made up of vegetables and cured a person even after the poison affected all limbs.

XXX

Hemp water was used as medicine (Mahavagga 6-14-3

To cure constipation, a decoction made up of ashes of burnt rice was administered.

For the wind troubles in stomach salt sour gruel or teka-kula was given which contains ginger and two kinds of pepper.

Following Eye ointments were mentioned in the Buddhist works:

Black Collyrium

Rasa ointment (made with vitriol_

Ointment made with antimony

Geruka (yellow ochre)

Kapalla (soot taken from a lamp)

In case of internal complaint, hot water with fruit juice was given.

 

Plague in RajagrAha

The Dhammapda commentary mentioned two diseases in bankers’ houses.

Bhaddavatiya , a banker got an intestinal disease. When this disease broke out, the first to die were the flies, then insects, then mice, domestic fowls, swine, cattle, slaves, both male and female, and last of all, the members of the household.
The banker with his wife and daughter fled away from the house. The same work also refers to the outbreak of plague in the house of the chief a banker of the Rajagraha with the result that many animals, slaves ,masters and mistresses of the household and the chief treasurer with his wife fell a victim to this disease.

A peculiar kind of disease known as Ahivataroga or snake- wind disease broke out in a Savaththian family.

 


Besides the diseases mentioned above, a list of diseases is also given:-
Sota Roga = Disease of hearing
Jihva Roga = Disease of tongue
Kaya Roga = Disease  of body
Mukha Roga = Disease of mouth
Dant Roga = Disease of teeth
Kaba =cough
Sasa =asthma
Pinasa= cold in the head
Daha = burning
Kucchi Roga = Disease abdominal trouble
Muchchaa = hysteria
Pakkhandika=  diarrhoea
Suula = acute pain
Visucikaa = cholera
Kilaasa Roga = a cutaneous Disease
Apasmaara = epilepsy
Daddu=  ringworm
vitachchikaa=  scabies
Madhu meha=  diabetes
Lohitapitta=  bile with blood
Bhagandala = fistula
Sannipaatikaa = union of humours
Utuparinaamajaaabaadhaa = change of season disease

In the medicine list we find the usual Ayurvedic ingredients.
Among the non vegetarian ingredients, fat of bear, fish alligator, swine and ass have been prescribed with oil.

It is interesting to note that pulverised ointments were put into pots and saucers.
Boxes were used for ointments.

 

Summarised from Dr Bimala Churn Law’s article, Calcutta, Year 1940

–SUBHAM–

 

 

 

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