Laghutrayee (लघुत्रयी)

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Laghutrayee (लघुत्रयी)

Lahgutrayee refers to the group of 3 classical treatises of Ayurveda. Laghutrayee is known as the lesser triad or the lesser trio. Madhavanidanam, Sharangadhara Samhita & Bhavaprakash Samhita are the 3 classical texts on Ayurveda which form the part of Laghutrayee. Sometimes one more classical text named, Yogaratnakara is also included in this group replacing anyone of the above 3 compendiums.

परिचयः|| Introduction

Ayurveda is a Shastra. Any shastra is described in written form systematically and in a specific pattern. Being a treatise on a Shastra which deals with the life of individuals, all Ayurveda treatises are very meticulous in presenting the subject matter and written with utmost precision following a methodical approach. Ancient Ayurveda scholars have scripted and presented their knowledge in a very structured, codified manner to ensure uniformity and effectiveness.

In this lineage are some compendiums that present the knowledge in the form of proceedings, as a conversation between the disciple and a preceptor. Brhatrayee & Laghutrayee are the examples of this category. Brhatrayee & Laghutrayee are called as Greater triad/trio and lesser triad/ trio respectively. The other treatises are in the form of Nighaṇṭu (Lexicon) format. These texts are found to have clarification and explanations to the words used in the treatises of previous group.

All texts complement each other and one cannot be well versed in Ayurveda without going through these materials together. These treatises, specifically those from the Brhatrayee & Laghutrayee, are considered to be the gold standards for studying authentic Ayurveda.

व्युत्पत्तिः|| Etymology

  • Laghu means Minor or small
  • Trayee indicates a triad or group of 3 contents.

Thus, Laghutrayee denotes minor group/triad of classical treatises.

आयुर्वेदशास्त्रस्य ग्रन्थनिर्माणः|| The making of Ayurvedic literature

Right from the time of emergence of Ayurveda, its descent on the earth and its further propagation through various schools, the only method of transfer of this knowledge was through oral tradition. Later on, many pious saints and devoted physicians recorded vast knowledge from the oral tradition into the written form. These texts presenting the knowledge in written form are known as Samhita. Samhita that literally means “to arrange together in union” or “a structured combination of verses or texts” in the written format. Thus, Samhita is commonly called as compendium or treatise.

Some of these very popular treatises were passed on from generation to generations without any break, surviving multiple hurdles like destruction by evil forces and natural calamities. Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanag Hrdaya are the most important and trusted classics among these which have been passed on till date from few thousand years. These are considered to be the most trusted sources of knowledge of Ayurveda. They provide the knowledge of all the branches of Ayurveda in a systematic pattern. Thus, together they are known as Brhatrayee. Brihat means greater or larger and trayee means triad or trio. Hence Brhatrayee is also called as the Greater triad. In the later time, large number of physicians and scholars ventured to write more such wonderful texts on Ayurveda based on the foundations of knowledge obtained from popular treatises passed on in this way. These scholars went on adding their own observations and started recording them in the perfect order without deviating themselves from the basic principles of Ayurveda.

These newer treatises were updated with relevant new herbs, diseases or therapeutic modalities popular at that time. All these treatises provide knowledge on various aspects of Ayurveda and help to understand various concepts in depth. Laghutrayee encompasses those classical treatises which were developed after referring the major primary treatises, not necessarily covering knowledge from all branches of Ayurveda rather focusing mainly on one special branch to great extent. Therefore, this group is called as lesser triad. Brhatrayee is the greater triad.

लघुत्रयी|| The lesser triad

The lesser triad includes,

  1. Madhavanidanam- The classical Ayurveda treatise which is mainly focused on the Nidanapanchaka (5-fold assessment of disease and clinical diagnosis) of various Vyadhis (Diseases)
  2. Sharangadhara Samhita- The classical Ayurveda treatise which is mainly focused on Pharmacology & pharmaceutics in Ayurveda
  3. Bhavaprakash Samhita- The classical Ayurveda treatise which is mainly focused on the study of the herbs and their clinical utility.

One more classical treatise is considered equally important as the treatises of Laghutrayee. It is known as Yogaratnakara which mainly focuses on the management and treatment of various diseases. It is widely popular as the handbook of Ayurveda treatment.