Born in 300 BC Acharya Charak was one of the principal contributors to the ancient art and science of Ayurveda, a system of medicine and lifestyle developed in Ancient India. Acharya Charak has been crowned as the Father of Medicine. His renowned work, the “Charak Samhita“, is considered as an encyclopedia of Ayurveda. His principles, diagoneses, and cures retain their potency and truth even after a couple of millennia. When the science of anatomy was confused with different theories in Europe, Acharya Charak revealed through his innate genius and enquiries the facts on human anatomy, embryology, pharmacology, blood circulation and diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, heart disease, etc.
The following statements are attributed to Acharya Charak:
- “A physician who fails to enter the body of a patient with the lamp of knowledge and understanding can never treat diseases. He should first study all the factors, including environment, which influence a patient’s disease, and then prescribe treatment. It is more important to prevent the occurrence of disease than to seek a cure.”
These remarks appear obvious today, though they were often not heeded, and were made by Charak, in his famous Ayurvedic treatise Charak Samhita. The treatise contains many such remarks which are held in reverence even today. Some of them are in the fields of physiology, etiology and embryology.
In the “Charak Samhita” he has described the medicinal qualities and functions of 100,000 herbal plants. He has emphasized the influence of diet and activity on mind and body. He has proved the correlation of spirituality and physical health contributed greatly to diagnostic and curative sciences. He has also prescribed and ethical charter for medical practitioners two centuries prior to the Hippocratic oath. Through his genius and intuition, Acharya Charak made landmark contributions to Ayurvedal. He forever remains etched in the annals of history as one of the greatest and noblest of rishi-scientists.
Under the guidance of the ancient physician Atreya, Agnivesa had written an encyclopedic treatise in the eighth century B.C. However, it was only when Charaka revised this treatise that it gained popularity and came to be known as Charakasamhita. For two millennia it remained a standard work on the subject and was translated into many foreign languages, including Arabic and Latin.