28. Who Wants to Live Forever? Early Ayurvedic Medicine

Posted on 30 October 2016

Philosophical aspects of Ayurveda, focusing on the oldest surviving medical treatise, the Caraka-Saṃhitā.


Further Reading

• Dominik Wujastyk, The Roots of Āyurveda (New Delhi: 1998).


• J. Filliozat, The Classical Doctrine of Indian Medicine (Delhi: 1964).

• J. Jolly, Indian Medicine, trans. C.G. Kashikar (New Delhi: 1977).

• G.J. Larson, “Āyurveda and the Hindu Philosophical Systems,” in T.P. Kasulis et al. (eds), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Albany: 1993), 103-21.

• G.J. Meulenbeld, A History of Indian Medical Literature, 5 vols (Groningen: 1999-2002).

• G.J. Meulenbeld and Dominik Wujastyk (eds), Studies on Indian Medical History (Delhi: 2001), 39-55.

• Dagmar Wujastyk, Well-Mannered Medicine: Medical Ethics and Etiquette in Classical Ayurveda (Oxford: 2012).

• Dominik Wujastyk, “Medicine and Dharma,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 32 (2004), 831-42.

• K. Zysk, Asceticism and Healing in ancient India: Medicine in the Buddhist Monastery (New York: 1991).


elisa freschi 23 November 2016

a very minor point: DominiK Wujastyk (not DominiC).

elisa freschi 23 November 2016

A further point: Christèle Barois convinced me that āyuḥ (as in āyur-veda) means more than just "long life" and may mean also "life vigour". Thus, the point is not just longevity in itself, but also the prolungation/regaining of juvenile vigour. But perhaps Christèle can step in herself…

Dominik Wujastyk 28 November 2016

Excellent lecture, but unfortunately the name of the classical author Suśruta is mispronounced throughout.  /su-shru-ta/

Peter Adamson 28 November 2016

In reply to by Dominik Wujastyk

It's a great honor to have a comment from you, Prof Wujastyk! I benefited hugely from your publications while working on the episode and am relieved you think it captures the material well.

As for the pronunciation I suspect that it is far from the only mistake with the Sanskrit in these episodes - I got some guidance from Jonardon on how to say the various words but it's easy to get wrong! In this case it actually wasn't a mispronuncation, I have a pervasive typo in my script unfortunately, with the "r" transposed - I didn't notice while reading it out. Thanks for the correction, I have fixed this for the written version that will be published as a book co-authored with Jonardon.

"Dosha" is another one on this specific talk to take into account, and yes there are others in some of the other talks. I'd also veer away from translating the doshas as wind-bile-phlegm as it not only westernizes the subject, but veers away from what is implied by the full scope of the word which you touch on a little here. Excellent and well balanced website/series overall.

Helen 20 December 2019

That was really helpful. Ayurveda has a deep insight about life and survival. One who follows ayurvedic lifestyle throughout his life will have a healthier life compared to others. I really loved this ayurveda and diagnosis podcast which gave me much more insight on the same.

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