Who wrote Ayurveda and when ?
Many a times, I get this curious question from my curious friends..” Who wrote ayurveda ? ” and I really get confused as to how to answer this in short..
You might expect the answer to this question to be simple and straightforward, , like who is the writer of Harry Potter etc, But Ayurveda is not a single book. It is a complete system of medicine with many textbooks. These textbooks are called Samhitas.
These Samhitas discuss nearly all branches of Medicine,and also Surgery, Pharmacology etc.
These writers were sages from ancient India who were selfless . They haven’t even mentioned their full names on these texts as authors.
There is also a speculation that a single writer did not write these books , but a lot of people wrote and modified each of these books . ( Like Wikipedia you might say ) ,over a thousand year period ,generation after generation.
To name a few Ayurveda authors, Agnivesh, Drudhbal , and Charak are a few authors who created and edited Charak samhita. There is a controversy about whether Charak was a single person or it was a branch of wandering sages named Charak ,as Charak means one who travels.
There are similar controversies about authorship of nearly all texts of Ayurveda, as these texts are so old that we are lucky even to have them intact and in a usable form, let alone knowing exact authors.
Similarly, there are Sushrutsamhita , Ashtanghriday, Bhavprakash and a lot more books. The name of their chief author is denoted in name of these books themselves many times.
Short answer-Who wrote Ayurveda and When
So collectively to answer this question rationally, by believing historians ,We can say,Agnivesh, Drudhbal,Charak, Dhanvantari Divodas, Sushruta,Vagbhat, Vruddha Vagbhat, Kashyap, Bhel, Bhavprakash , Sharangdhar were some of the prominent writers of Ayurveda .They wrote most part of it from 600 B.C(Charaka) i.e 2600 years ago to 200 A.D ( Vagbhata) i.e 1800 yrs ago.The latest important work in Ayurveda was in 1600 A.D . Bhavprakash was its author. There was not much work from 10 th to 16 th century.
If you don’t believe in existence of Gods,the Divinity of Vedas etc, you can stop reading here.. You have got your answers.
But those who believe, keep reading on..
Samhitas say that human beings did not write Ayurveda .
“Brahma Smrutvayusho Vedam ……”, says Vaghbhat, meaning Bramha recalled Ayurveda.
Arundatta says the words – “Smartrutvam eva atra na kartrutvam”.(It was recalled, and not created), meaning, even Bramha didn’t create it . He just recalled it.
It is an Upa-Veda of Atharva Veda.
So, how did it reach us then ? Lord Indra gave it to humans .
Because a sage named Maharshi Bharadwaj went to him as a represantative of sages who were united at the foothills of Himalayas, in a conference to solve the problem of increased prevalence of diseases in mankind.
Bharadwaj asked for help from Lord Indra, to relieve suffering humanity, and Lord Indra taught him Ayurveda as an answer. Bharadwaj was the one to go to Indra, because he volunteered to do so, as well as he was one of the brightest Sages present at that time.
After Bharadwaj returned, he gave his knowledge to all Sages present there. Out of them Punarvasu Atreya gave this knowledge to his 6 disciples. Agnivesh was his brightest student who wrote Agnivesh samhita which Charaka later modified to create the oldest Ayurveda text which is still available, the Charaka Samhita.
So who gave this knowledge to Indra? Bramha gave the knowledge to Daksha prajapati. He gave it to Ashwinikumars. They taught Indra. and then Indra gave this knowledge to Bharadwaj.
In short, Ayurveda doesn’t have an author. It is eternal.. Even Gods didn’t create it. It exists by itself. So we can’t specify a time period for it.
So these are the two answers to the question”who wrote ayurveda”… Which one to believe in is your choice..