Astanga Samgraha       ( A set of 3 volumes)

Astanga Samgraha ( A set of 3 volumes)

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Author: Vagbhata
Translator(s): K R Srikantamurthy
Publisher: Chaukhambha Orientalia
Year: 2000/02
Language: multilingual
Pages: 1925
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8176370207


This book is an ancient authoritative text on Ayurveda, studied since many centuries by students, scholars and practitioners of Indian medicine. Because of its archaic style of composition and terse language certain amount of difficulty was being experienced.

Desire for translation of the complete text either in Hindi or English was being keenly felt. This translation in English seeks to fulfill this need.

Translation has been done in simple English by Prof. K R Srikantha Murthy an experienced teacher and author. Explanatory notes have been added at many places to facilitate correct understanding especially by the students. Entire text is being covered in three volumes of translation, each one having Index, Appendices etc.

This being the first English translation of the complete text, it will be of great help to all those interested in Ayurveda.


This treatise – Astanga samgraha – is an authoritative text on the science of medicine of ancient India. Its author Vagbhata is counted as one of the Brhat traya the great three masters (of Ayurveda) the other two being, Caraka and Susruta.


As its name itself suggests, it is a Samgraha-collection / compilation of information of the Astanga-the eight branches of Ayurveda, in one text. The eight branches are;
1.Kaya cikitsa (inner medicine). 2. Bala cikitsa (treatment of children / pediatrics).
3. Graha cikitsa (treatment of diseases caused by evil spirits (demonology). 4. Urdhvanga cikitsa also known as Salakya tantra (treatment of diseases of eyes, ears, nose, throat, and head). 5. Salya cikitsa (surgery). 6. Damstra cikitsa also known as Visa cikitsa (toxicology). 7. Jara cikitsa also known as Rasayana cikitsa (geriatrics, rejuvenation) and 8. Vrsa cikitsa also known as Vajikarana cikitsa (virilification therapy).

Earlier to the compiling of A. Samgraha, each of these branches had its own separate books, written by sages but their study was difficult. Explaining the need for his book Vagbhata says each one of the texts written by them (sages) by itself does not describe all the diseases, to study all the texts would require a whole life time; since many things are common to all the texts. Hence this text has been written by collecting only the essence from all; it is devoid of textual blemished, confines only to the three pillars (of medical since) viz. hetu (knowledge of cause of diseases-aetiology), linga (symptomatology), and ausadha (therapeutics); it explains many hidden, doubtful and contradictory points; is composed so as to be suitable to the present age, with emphasis on Kaya cikitsa (inner medicine) since it is difficult for understanding and pervades all other branches, there is not a single syllable here which is not supported by the scriptures (works of sages), change in the mode of composition is done for the sake of brevity only and nothing else.

A glimpse of the contents of each section will be relevant here.

SUTRASTHANA – The first section describes the basic doctrines, principles of health, prevention of diseases-diet articles –food habits – causes of diseases and methods of treatments.

SARIRASTHANA –Deals with evolution and composition of the universe-human embryology-anatomy-physiology-physical and psychological temperaments-dreams-omens-fatal signs etc.

NIDANASTHANA-Describes the causes, signs, symptoms, pathogenesis, prognosis etc of major diseases.

CIKITSITASTHANA - Eloborates the methods of treatment, medicines, diet, care of the patient etc of all diseases pertaining to Kaya cikitsa (inner medicine).

KALPASTHANA-Deals with method of preparing purificatory recipes (emetics, purgative and enemata), administration of purificatory therapies, management of complications, principles of pharmacy, weights and measures etc.

UTTARASTHANA-The last section has 50 chapters (one-third of the total of chapters) allotted to remaining seven branches.


In One of the concluding verses of the text, the author furnishes his own whereabouts as follows- there was a great physician by name. Vagbhata, who was my grandfather, and I bear his name; from him was born Simhagupta and I am from him (Simhagupta) born in the land of the Sindhu. Having acquired sound knowledge from Avalokita, the preceptor and even more from the wisdom of my father and after studying a large number of texts of medical science, this treatise has been written suitably classified (into branches, sections, chapters etc.)

This statement makes it clear that Vagbhata, son of Simhagupta and grandson of Vagbhata is the author, that he belongs to the region of the river Sindhu(Indus) and its tributaries, that his grandfather and father were great scholars of Ayurveda. Mention of Avalokita-the chief god of Mahayana Buddhism as his preceptor is suggestive of the religion he belonged to.


Its first edition was published by Ganesh Tarte of Bombay in 1888. T Rudraparasava, published the complete text together with the commentary of Indu from Trichur, Kerala, during 1913 to 1924. Next, Ramacandra sastry Kinjawadekar of Poona published some portions of the text with Indu’s commentary. All these are not procurable now. In 1980 Anant Damodar Athavale of Pune has published the full text together with Indu’s commentary. This is the only one available now. It contains many mistakes of grammer, Spelling, punctuation, order of placement, numbering etc, There is thus an urgent need to bring out an ideal edition.

At present there are four translations of the text in Hindi, viz (1) of Lalchand Vaidya (2) of Govardhan sharma changani (Sutrasthana only) (3) of Atrideva gupta (sutrasthana) 1951. and (4) of Paksadhara jha (sarirasthana) 1978.

So far it has not been translated into any foreign language and this is its first English translation.




Chapter of the text


Ayuskamiya adhyaya (desire for long life)

Sisyopanayaniya adhyaya (initiation of pupil)

Dincarya adhyaya (daily regimen)

Rtucarya adhyaya (seasonal regimen)

Roganutpadaniya adhyaya (prevention of diseases)

Dravadravya vijnaniya adhyaya (knowledge of liquid materials)

Annasvarupa vijnaniya adhaya (knowledge of diet articles)

Annaraksa vidhi adhyaya (protectin of foods)

Viruddhanna vijnaniya adhyaya (knowledge of incompatible foods)

Annapana vidhi adhyaya (regimen of diet)

Matrasitiya adhyaya (proper quantity of food)

Dvividhausadha vijnaniya adhyaya (two kinds of therapies)

Agryasamgrahaniya adhyaya (collection of best drug etc)

Sodhanadigana samgraha adhyaya (collection of purificatory drugs)

Mahakasaya samgraha adhyaya (groups of efficient drugs)

Vividha dravya gana samgraha adhyaya (different groups of drugs)

Dravyadi vijnanitya adhyaya (knowledge of substnces etc)

Dosabhediya adhyaya (classification of dosas)

Dosopakramaniya adhyaa (treatment of the dosas)

Rogabhediya adhyana (classification of diseases)

Bhesajvacaraniya adhyaya (pre-requisites of treatment)

Dvididhopakramaniya adhyaya (two kinds of therapies)

Sneha vidhi adhyaya (oleation therapy)

Sveda vidhi adhyaya (sudation therapy)

Vamana-virecana vidhi adhyaya (emesis and purgation therapies)

Basti vidhi adhyaya (enema therapies)

Nasya vidhi adhyaya (nasal medication)

Dhumapana vidhi adhyaya (inhalation of smoke)

Gandusadi vidhi adhyaya (mouth gargles etc)

Ascyotananjana vidhi adhyaya (eye drops, collyrium therapy)

Tarpanaputabpaka vidhi adhyaya (satiating the eye etc)

Yantrasastra vidhi adhyaya (use of blunt and sharp instruments)

Jalauka vidhi adhyaya (use of leeches)

Siravyadha vidhi adhyaya (venesection)

Salyaharana vidhi adhyaya (removal of foreign bodies)

Sastrakarma vidhi adhyaya(surgical treatment)

Ksarapaka vidhi adhyaya (preparation of caustic alkali)

Agnikarma vidhi adhyaya (thermal cautery therapy)