Sanskrit Manuscripts : Cikitsāsārasaṅgraha

Vaṅgasena

Sanskrit Manuscripts

<p style='text-align: justify;'> An 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 Add.1707). The work is arranged in 96 chapters: the first, which is missing in this manuscript, is mostly devoted to a presentation of the basic notions and principles of Āyurveda, while the bulk 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>), missing here but preserved in Add.1707, Vaṅgasena declares to be the son of Gadhādara , himself probably a <i>vaidya</i> (physician) mentioned 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. The final folios of this manuscript (not mentioned in Meulenbeld), possibly bearing the colophon, have been lost, but on palaeographic grounds it can be dated to the 13th century or even earlier, thus being one of the oldest known copies of the <i>Cikitsāsārasaṅgraha</i>. The <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(656);return false;'>final three folios</a>, unnumbered, contain a table of contents listing the titles of the chapters (<i>adhikāra</i>s) followed by the folio number (<i>patrāṅka</i>), which generally diverges from the present folio numbers by a couple of units, thus suggesting that the foliation was added after the table of contents was completed. The bundle also contains a <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage();return false;'>letter</a> from Julius Jolly, the German Sanskritist and author of a history of Indian medicine, addressed to Cecil Bendall and dated 21 May 1902. Apparently, Bendall had sent Jolly the manuscript asking him to identify the work contained in it. Jolly replies: “My dear Professor Bendall, In reply to your last, I feel quite certain now that your valuable Nepalese medical Ms. is a copy of that bulky medical treatise, the Vaṅgasena (described in 54 of my Medicin).” He then explains that the "first leaf contains an isolated fragment [...] corresponding on the whole to a portion of the Pramehādhikāra". This leaf, the recto of which appears to be blank because the ink has completely faded, has now been moved to what is presumably its correct place in the sequence (see <a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(330);return false;'>f. 277</a>). About the incipit he writes that it is “the second half of verse 357 in the Arśo’dhikāra of the printed text (p. 174): ye ca durnāmajaroga tān sarvān nāśayaty api”, and concludes: “After that, the Ms. agrees on the whole very closely with the printed text, up to the Viṣarogādhikāra (p. 944 of the printed text). This is followed at once by the Rasāyanādhikāra (pp. 946 foll. of the printed edition), a portion of which is given on the three last leaves of the Ms., not however without considerable divergence in detail from the printed text.” Further below, he comments: “Where the Ms. differs from the printed text, it seems generally superior to the latter in correctness and authenticity”. </p>


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