The Puranas mention, besides, other things, the treatment of animals too. There is a separate portion of Ayurveda for the treatment of horses. It is called Shalihotra. A general introduction to horse, their styles of walking, their diseases and treatment are described in the Puranas. The Agni Purana has a detailed description on the care and treatment of horses.
The treatment of elephants and the methods to control an elephant are also given. Sage Paalakaapya'sbook on Hastividya finds a mention in the Garuda Purana. The Agni Purana also has a detailed description on the treatment of cows.
Treatment of horses in the Shalihotra-samhita?The Shalihotrasamhita is as significant regarding the treatment of horses as the Charak Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita are, on the treatment of human beings. It is estimated to be 800 BC. This book is also known as Haya Ayurveda and Turagshastra. The main book comprises of 12,000 shlokas. It is divided into eight parts. Only some parts of this book are available now. The symptoms of the disease, its treatment, medicines and how to safeguard health are given in great detail. The book has been translated into Arabic, Persians, Tibetan and English. According to veterinary specialists, this book is better than the modern books on the treatment of horses. (Pracheen Bharat mein Vigyan Shilp pp.125?126)
Once an allopath asked the famous ayurvedic physician Pt. Shiv Sharma, what the difference between ayurveda and allopathy was. In reply, Pt Shiv Sharma said, ?When anyone comes to your clinic, you say ?a patient (sick man)? has come but it actually means a tongue, an ear, a nose, a stomach, a hand, a leg, that is a part of the body, has come; whereas, when anyone comes to an ayurveda practitioner not only does the person himself come, he also brings his food, habitat, his background with him. This means that allopathy treats only the part of the individual that is sick whereas ayurveda looks at the reason for his sickness and treats that.?
This dialogue differentiates between the Indian and western outlook while deliberating on hygiene.
While speaking of hygiene here, we do not talk only about the body but also about the thoughts, feelings, climate, environment, etc.
A human being has both kinds or sorrows?the body has diseases, so does the mind. Hence, the diseases were broadly classified into two-
Aadhi (disease of the mind) and vyaadhi(disease of the body).
And, when we contemplate on health, it will not suffice to think on the superficial level of the body alone, but will have to be contemplated upon various other levels.
While analysing diseases in the Yogavasishtha, Sage Vasishtha tells Rama that diseases are of two kinds?aadhij and anaadhij.
Aadhij diseases are also of two kinds?ordinary and the essential. Ordinary diseases are those that are born out of the tensions that one incessantly suffers from one'sdaily behaviour and the essential ones are those that each one of us has to go through and cannot excape, like birth and death.
Anaadhij are those diseases which are not the result of any tension?like injuries, infections and toxins, which can be treated easily with the help of medicines.
When Shri Ram asked how the aadhij changed into vyaadhis, Sage Vasishtha says that a human being has many cravings and desires or passions which, if they are not fulfilled, then it saddens the mind. If that happens, then the soul or the spirit is saddened and flows uncontrolled, through our veins and nerves just as a wounded animal runs around in circles. As a result of this kind of behaviour of the spirit, the nervous systems becomes disorganised leading to wrong digestion, over digestion and non-digestion, ultimately leading to defects or maladies in the body. This is known as vyaadhi.
1. Yog vigyan is specially useful in order to regulate and purify our thoughts and emotions.
2. At the level of the body, ayurved and other methods were developed for treatment. Aryurveda tries to make a person happy and healthy by studying how the human body is made up, the initial causes for the diseases, their kinds, investigation, organising the medicine, manufacturing medicines and surgery.
India has a fairly old history of medical science. According to Charak Samhita, Brahma had first given Prajapati the knowledge of Ayurveda (Sootra sthan-1/45) and the Ashwini Kumars, who are famous as the doctors of the Gods, received it from him.
Many of their treatments have been famous, such as rejoining the head of a horse after it has been severed in a yagya replanting the teeth of Pooshan, restoring sight to Sage Chyawan, removed his senility, etc. Indra got this knowledge from the Ashwini Kumars. Then, from him, Sage Bharadwaj, then Atreya Punarnawa, then his disciples Agnivesh, Bhel, Hareet, etc. received the knowledge. This tradition carried on further and can be divided into two parts:
1. Dhanvantari tradition, and
2. Atreya tradition.
Medicine is primary in the atreya tradition. Charak, whose Charak Samhita is very well-known, is a famous scholar of this tradition.
In the dhanavantari tradition, however, surgical treatment was primary. Sushruta was a famous surgeon of this tradition. His Sushruta Samhita is also very famous.
(This book is available with Ocean Books (P) Ltd. 4/19 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110 002)