Written by London Swaminathan


Date: 7  NOVEMBER 2019

Time  in London – 16-36

Post No. 7189

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CHARAKA AND SUSRUTA were great Ayurvedic physicians who lived in India at least 2300 years ago. Hindus are very great editors and redactors and ‘up to date’ people. They kept on updating all their scriptures except the Vedas. No one dared to touch the Vedas. As a matter of fact they were not written until Muslims started destroying all Hindu institutions. Since Hindus updated everything in their hands, Marxists and White skinned half- baked scholars gave the latest date for al the books. For instance, if I add a   news item from London Times today, then they will dub the work as 7th November 2019. But Hindu scholars believe in the Kali Yuga calculation, Saka year calculation etc. I have given umpteen points to place Manu Smrti before Hammurabi.

Coming back to today’s topic Charaka and Susruta, scholars believe Charka Samhita is older than Susruta Samhita. These treatises passed through repeated recensions by later and more advanced workers.

According to the Chinese version of Tripitaka, a physician named Charaka was attached to the court of King Kanishka who reigned in the second century CE. But scholars point out that the appellation of Charaka occurs in Vedic literature as a patronymic name.


Charaka’s book is not as systematic as Susruta’s. He indulges in random and irrelevant discourses.

In the Charaka Samhita we find the author is fond of metaphysical disquisitions in preference to experiments and observations. The Susruta Samhita in this respect is far more scientific than the Charaka.

This shows that Charaka is more ancient, older than Susruta.

Again we find only Vedic gods and mantras in the Charaka treatise/ Samhita. He follows closely the authority of the Vedas. Between the Atharva Veda and that of the Charaka  there must have been several medical treatises , each reflecting the spirit and progress of the age.

Charaka himself records that he simply based his work on that of Agnivesha. At the time of Charaka  there existed at least six standard works by







Thus Charaka Samhita is not the first medical work. It represents rather a fairly developed state of the subject.

Replicas of Susruta’s Surgical Instruments (in London)

Medical conferences

There are chapters in the Charaka Samhita which suggests that it is a record of deliberations of a congress of medical experts. We already knew that Janaka organised big philosophical conferences where women scholars like Gargi attended. Emperor Asoka also organised very big Buddhist conferences. Hindus were the first to organise big conferences in the world.

Conference hints are in ‘Discourse on the Tastes’ in Charaka Samhita.

Charaka was a compiler like Vyasa of Mahabharata; we see lot of overlapping and repetitions and contradictions. Vyasa knew the danger of losing scriptures and Vedas . So he didn’t bother about repetitious but did compile the world’s largest literature. If one takes into account the puranas, Mahabharata and Vedas he compiled, one would understand the greatest work done by Vyasa.

In Charaka also we find overlap in their content. It appears to have gathered, sifted and brought into a definite form the information handed down from the preceding ages.

University Professor Agnivesha

Agnivesha, disciple of Atreya, was a university professor who lived 2600 years ago. During Buddha’s time he was teaching medicine at the University of Taxila (Thakshaseelam). It is written in the Buddhist Jataka story.

So we may safely conclude that Charaka belongs to the early Buddhist era or pre Buddhist period.  The information he provides regarding metals and metallic preparations, are of less advanced than those in the Arthasastra of Kautilya which was composed around 300 BCE.

Age of Susruta

Susruta’s terminology and technique in general do not differ much from those of the Charaka. Its style is dry, laconic and matter of the fact in contrast to the discursive and diffusive character of the Charaka Samhita.

Susruta aims at systematic classification; avoids unnecessary details. This indicates somewhat a later date of its composition. Modern recension is thoroughly redacted, recast and remodelled. Numerous passages agree verbatim with those found in the Charaka Samhita.

The Susruta is par excellence a treatise on surgery as the Charaka is on medicine proper.

In modern terms,

Charaka has M.D. qualification and Susruta has M.S qualification.

Susruta was disciple of Dhanvantri according to Buddhist Jataka and he was a teacher in the University of Kasi during Buddha’s time. He was a younger contemporary of Atreya so there cannot be a great interval between Charaka and Susruta.

They are repositories of accumulated knowledge of earlier periods dating back to the Vedic age.