28. Who Wants to Live Forever? Early Ayurvedic Medicine

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Philosophical aspects of Ayurveda, focusing on the oldest surviving medical treatise, the Caraka-Saṃhitā.



Further Reading

• Dominik Wujastyk, The Roots of Āyurveda (New Delhi: 1998).


• J. Filliozat, The Classical Doctrine of Indian Medicine (Delhi: 1964).

• J. Jolly, Indian Medicine, trans. C.G. Kashikar (New Delhi: 1977).

• G.J. Larson, “Āyurveda and the Hindu Philosophical Systems,” in T.P. Kasulis et al. (eds), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Albany: 1993), 103-21.

• G.J. Meulenbeld, A History of Indian Medical Literature, 5 vols (Groningen: 1999-2002).

• G.J. Meulenbeld and Dominik Wujastyk (eds), Studies on Indian Medical History (Delhi: 2001), 39-55.

• Dagmar Wujastyk, Well-Mannered Medicine: Medical Ethics and Etiquette in Classical Ayurveda (Oxford: 2012).

• Dominik Wujastyk, “Medicine and Dharma,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 32 (2004), 831-42.

• K. Zysk, Asceticism and Healing in ancient India: Medicine in the Buddhist Monastery (New York: 1991).


elisa freschi on 23 November 2016

Dominik Wujastyk

a very minor point: DominiK Wujastyk (not DominiC).

In reply to by elisa freschi

Peter Adamson on 23 November 2016

K not C

Oh thanks! I'll fix it.

elisa freschi on 23 November 2016

meaning of āyurveda

A further point: Christèle Barois convinced me that āyuḥ (as in āyur-veda) means more than just "long life" and may mean also "life vigour". Thus, the point is not just longevity in itself, but also the prolungation/regaining of juvenile vigour. But perhaps Christèle can step in herself…

Dominik Wujastyk on 28 November 2016


Excellent lecture, but unfortunately the name of the classical author Suśruta is mispronounced throughout.  /su-shru-ta/

In reply to by Dominik Wujastyk

Peter Adamson on 28 November 2016


It's a great honor to have a comment from you, Prof Wujastyk! I benefited hugely from your publications while working on the episode and am relieved you think it captures the material well.

As for the pronunciation I suspect that it is far from the only mistake with the Sanskrit in these episodes - I got some guidance from Jonardon on how to say the various words but it's easy to get wrong! In this case it actually wasn't a mispronuncation, I have a pervasive typo in my script unfortunately, with the "r" transposed - I didn't notice while reading it out. Thanks for the correction, I have fixed this for the written version that will be published as a book co-authored with Jonardon.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Ramani on 23 July 2018


"Dosha" is another one on this specific talk to take into account, and yes there are others in some of the other talks. I'd also veer away from translating the doshas as wind-bile-phlegm as it not only westernizes the subject, but veers away from what is implied by the full scope of the word which you touch on a little here. Excellent and well balanced website/series overall.

Helen on 20 December 2019

That was really helpful.

That was really helpful. Ayurveda has a deep insight about life and survival. One who follows ayurvedic lifestyle throughout his life will have a healthier life compared to others. I really loved this ayurveda and diagnosis podcast which gave me much more insight on the same.

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