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Sanskrit Manuscripts : Cikitsāsārasaṅgraha


Sanskrit Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'> A 13th-century incomplete copy of the <i>Cikitsāsārasaṅgraha</i> of Vaṅgasena, a voluminous treatise, mostly in verse, on medicine, also known as <i>Vaidyavallabha</i> or <i>Vaṅgasena</i> after its author (see also Or.1279). The work is arranged in 96 chapters: the first is mostly devoted to a presentation of the basic notions and principles of Āyurveda, while the bulk (partly missing in this manuscript) deals with diseases and their treatment and the final part is divided into chapters on specific remedies (unguents, diaphoretics, emetics, etc.) and materia medica. Vaṅgasena’s treatise is heavily indebted to earlier authorities such as Caraka, Suśruta and, especially, Mādhava, the author of the <i>Rogaviniścaya</i> (also known as <i>Mādhavanidāna</i>), but according to Meulenbeld (IIA: 224) it is not devoid of originality and presents some therapeutic prescriptions and diagnostic methods that are attested here for the first time. In the final four verses of the treatise, known as <i>vaṅgasenotpatti</i> (see explicit below), Vaṅgasena declares to be the son of Gadhādara, himself probably a <i>vaidya</i> (physician) quoted in other medical works. Vaṅgasena is assigned by Meulenbeld (IIA: 228) to the second half of the 11th century and is generally believed to have hailed from Bengal. From the colophon we learn that the manuscript was copied in the year 397 of the Nepāla era (1277 CE) by a certain Vikrama; a plausible interpretation of the final line suggests that the copy was originally intended for (perhaps commissioned by) Vibhubrahma (the reading of the name is somewhat uncertain), the doctor of the Śatagala monastery (<i>vihāra</i>), but after he passed away it was inherited by his sons, Śivabrahma and Lakṣmībrahma; all three men are given the title of <i>bhāro</i> (or <i>bhāroka</i>, for which see Petech 1984, p. 190), indicating that they were noblemen. The bundle also contains a letter written by the German Sanskritist Ernst Haas from the British Museum in May 1879 and addressed to Cecil Bendall, in which the <i>Cikitsāsārasaṅgraha</i> is said to be mostly a compilation of earlier medical works. Haas also compares the content of this manuscript with that of another copy of the same treatise kept in the India Office Library in London, remarking that they "seem hardly to agree at all in the latter portion". As a matter of fact, substantial differences between this manuscript and some of the printed editions can already be found in the initial verses, and even the concluding <i>vaṅgasenotpatti</i> is widely divergent. </p>

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