Bhavaprakasha Samhita (भावप्रकाश संहिता)

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Bhavaprakasha Samhita (भावप्रकाश संहिता) is the most recent of the classical treatises in laghutrayee (The lesser triad of Ayurveda). This treatise contains knowledge of almost all the branches of Ayurveda however, the main focus is on the Kayachiktsa (Medicine in Ayurveda). The treatise is named after its author Bhavamishra.

परिचयः॥ Introduction

The author of Bhavapraksha Samhita has narrated the objective of his work. He has mentioned in the treatise that, Bhavaprakasha Samhita is written to compile the ideas from his predecessors to dispel darkness of ignorance on medicines used in Ayurveda.

Every compendium in Laghutrayee has some unique characteristic feature and exclusive in-depth knowledge on some important aspect of Ayurveda. Bhavaprakasha Samhita is not an exception for this. This treatise is widely popular in Ayurveda fraternity for its unique contribution in understanding the properties and application of various herbs used in Ayurveda. This compendium for the first time, offered knowledge on all parts of Ayurveda along with the detail descriptions of medicinal herbs used in practice. Thus, the part of this Samhita dedicated to description on herbs is also known as Nighantu and is recognized as Bhavaprakasha Nighantu.

Being the most recent treatise, it also offers knowledge of various newer diseases and herbs without deviating from the basic principles of Ayurveda expounded in Brhatrayee. Thus, this Samhita is considered as the mega bridge between the old treatises and new thoughts & applications.

ग्रन्थकर्ताः॥ About the author

This compendium is authored by Acharya Bhava Mishra, a versatile scholar in Ayurveda and other contemporary sciences. The author has provided his family background wherein, he has mentioned his father’s name as Shree Latkan Mishra from northern states of Bharatavarsha. Mishra is the title used as suffix.

भाषा॥ Language

This classic has been written in Samskrit language. Being the most popular and widely referred treatise on Ayurvedic herbs and medicine, various Ayurveda scholars have translated it in multiple Indian as well as foreign languages for easy understanding of the text.

प्रमुख विषयः॥ Subject/ Focus

Although it provides details on all the aspects of Ayurveda, the main focus seems to be on the Kayachikitsa (medicine) branch. Moreover, due to its large contribution in study and use of herbs, it is also known as Karmousadhi pradhan nighantu which means the index of Ayurvedic clinical pharmacology.

आधारभूत् ग्रन्थाः॥ Foundation/ Source of knowledge

Bhavaprakasha Samhita is a well-organized and compact re-presentation of the earlier classics like Brhatrayee (The grater trio). Being the most recent author, he seems to have refereed the works of many previous eminent authors of classical Ayurveda teachings.

वैशिष्ट्यम्॥ Characteristic feature

  • The Nighantu part in this compendium is the salient feature of Bhavapraksha Samhita. It clarifies many controversies on medicinal plants and exemplified many exotic plant species, making it an esteemed treatise for academicians of Ayurveda and Botany.
  • The author has also received the appreciation by providing Pratinidhik dravya (Substitutes for several medicinal substances) in case of their unavailability while making some medicinal formulation. These sherbs or substances can be used as alternatives when the originally recommended herbs are not available easily.
  • One can find detail description of Sootikagara in this treatise. Sootikagara is a part of a house appropriated for a woman who has recently delivered a baby. Ayurveda has given tremendous importance to the health care in post-partum period considering potential of disturbed balance of doshas and dhatus to cause lifelong ailments. One of the parts of this care is keeping the mother and the new born in a specially designed place at home which would be comfortable and appropriate
  • 8 manglik dravya (auspicious objects)[citation needed]
  • One can find description on various newer diseases (not available in Brhatrayee or other classical treatises but prevalent in today's time) like Somaroga (Excessive vaginal discharge in females) , Shayyamootrata (Bedwetting) described for the first time in this compendium.
  • Use of Camphor and Opium in Ayurvedic medicine can be found in this treatise for the first time.
  • Interestingly, a new disease named ‘Firanga’ which can be compared with ‘Gonorrhea of the modern day is also described in this classical Ayurvedic treatise. Details on its etiology, pathophysiology and management from the point of view of Ayurveda can be seen here.

रचना॥ Structure

Bhavaprakasha Samhita has 3 parts known as Purva khanda, Madhyama Khanda & Uttara khanda.

Poorva khanda is further subdivided in 2 sections. Nighantu forms the part of Purvakhanda of this Samhita.

टीकाः॥ Commentaries

Currently 2 commentaries on Bhavaprakasha Samhita in Sanskrit are available. One is believed to be written by the author Bhavamishra while the other one is named as Sadvaidya siddhanta ratnakara’, written by Jayadeva.