Modern medicine along with its knowledge about the human body has advanced towards new frontiers. This has led to the proliferation of drugs and cures for diseases and ailments whose toxic effects on the human system are often far-reaching. More than ever today is there a felt need for an integrated system of medicine which will minister to the human body as a whole. Ayurveda or the “science of life” is today recognized as the answer to modern man’s prayer for a sound mind in a sound body. With the growing interest in Ayurveda or lndia’s ancient system of medicine, researchers have been delving into the past and seeking to find more authentic interpretation of the ancient texts which will help man in his quest for health and fitness. This re-issue of Kaviraj Nagendranath Sen Gupta’s treatise in two volumes on The Ayurvedic System of Medicine comes at a time when man is realising the need to lead a harmonious existence in tune with nature. It is important to note at the outset that the present reprint of volume I is based on the third revised and improved edition of 1919. The 1906 edition has been used in the reprint of volume II.
This unique work was originally published in the author’s native Bengali and ran into several editions. The first 1901 edition in English was in effect a translation of the original Bengali and offered in a condensed and eminently comprehensible form, the contents of larger and more major works on Hindu Medicine. By and large the descriptions of diseases have been taken from Charaka and later works. Kaviraj Sen Gupta’s object in this English version was to present to the English-speaking world and in particular, to the practitioners of Western medicine the rich store of knowledge that the ancients had of diseases and their cures.
Volume I deals with the description of diseases along with their symptoms. Volume II is an Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia. A glossary of plants is also given according to Roxburgh with the Sanskrit names in Devanagari. The table of contents in both volumes is given in such detail as to make an index superfluous. This unique set of volumes should find its way into every medical practitioner’s library. The lay reader will also find it of absorbing interest, while the researcher in Indology, Sanskrit and Ancient Indian Studies will go through this work with great profit.