About the Project
What is Charak Samhita?
The Charak Samhita /Caraka Samhita(CS, Devanagari :चरक संहिता) is the most referred text of Ayurvedic students, teachers, physicians, scholars, and researchers. The genesis of this text lies in the Agnivesha Tantra, a seminal work of antiquity written by Acharya Agnivesh approximately 3000 years ago following the Guru-Shishya tradition of knowledge transfer and mentorship. Acharya Charak redacted this information about 2000 years ago, giving the treatise its present name. In the 4th century of the Common Era (CE), Dridhabala added 41 chapters: 17 chapters of Chikitsa sthana, a complete Kalpa sthana of 12 chapters, and the Siddhi sthana of 12 chapters as well, to produce the present preferred version of the text. In the subsequent years, the treatise has not incorporated any changes in its format, though it was enriched from time to time with new interpretations and infusions of new knowledge through redactions and commentaries. As a text, the Charak Samhita epitomizes one of the finest examples of teacher-student interactions ever recorded and written, either in ancient or modern times. The Charak Samhita is considered the best compendium among all available Ayurvedic classic texts as a resource for the medical practitioner. It is not merely a text for the management of diseases - rather it is of the only texts available worldwide on restorative science, emphasizing the promotion of health and prevention of disease as the actual solution for controlling diseases, which is especially relevant in modern times. Further, it also seriously dwells upon the concept of longevity and healthy aging, as described in its chapters on Swasthavritta Chatushka and four parts of Rasayanadhyaya.
Charak integrates the science of Yoga with body-mind connections described in Sankhya philosophy and the world view of ecosystems. The treatise was a living document for 1500 years before it went through a “dark age” of relative stagnation. The darkest period for the Samhita in particular, and Ayurveda in general, was the advent of western allopathy through British imperial rule of India. This somewhat long disruption in the process of inquiry and revision of Ayurvedic texts explains why any modern-day reviewer or commentator does not find any evidence of any interaction between Ayurveda and modern medical science.
Why does it need a revision now?
Modern medicine or allopathic medicine has, over the past few decades, made significant strides in the area of disease management. However, in spite of the significant breakthroughs that it has witnessed, modern medicine continues to be primarily an “offense strategy” for managing ailments. It does not stress upon disease prevention because the etiology of chronic diseases is unknown. In contrast to this, Ayurveda (or Knowledge of Life) system primarily utilizes the “defence strategy” in health management- as detailed and described in the treatise. Ayurveda prescribes a holistic approach towards managing health, and diseases and is very pertinent in today’s world. However, the treatise in its existing form needs to be updated in today’s context, and for a wider audience. Realizing this critical need, Dr. Gopal Basisht, MD in alliance with Ayurveda scholars in India like Prof.R.H.Singh, Prof.M.S.Baghel, Prof. V.K.Joshi, Prof. H.M.Chandola, conceptualized the Charak Samhita New Edition and Update initiative in 2013. Dr.Yogesh Deole, Ph.D. co-ordinated this project with the able support of India’s leading authorities in the field. Mr.Pallav Mishra operated the project technically and linguistically since 2016.
The Charak Samhita New Edition Project was initiated in 2013 with mainly two Objectives:
- To Create a Charak Samhita live edition with updates which can serve as reference manual on Ayurveda(Science of life) that will help interactions between practitioners and researchers globally
- Promote Ayurveda as one of the best Preventive Healthcare Systems available
A typical research publication system was observed in the project. A template consisting following points was designed for each chapter:
- Abstract and keywords
- Original Sanskrit text, its diacritics and phonetics followed by English translation of verses
- Tattva vimarsha having the fundamental principles of the chapter
- Vidhi vimarsha including clinical applications with evidence and experience based practices and references.
Each chapter was allotted to Ayurveda expert for writing in the specified template.
Milestones and phases
The work has been done in four phases, first writing phase, second blinded reviewing phase, third editing phase and fourth online pre final publication phase. After starting the project on 7th April 2013 with nine senior Ayurveda experts, the writing phase lasted for nearly two years till December 2014. In this phase, chapters of different sections were allotted to different experts and their drafts were received. 112 authors and academic associates were members of this project. The unique feature of this text is to have variety in writing style and views of Ayurveda experts. In the next phase of reviewing from 2015-16, Prof.R.H.Singh and Prof. S.K.Khandel designed and drafted a plan for review. 12 teams of 46 members were created. All chapters were reviewed and comments were sent to authors. Next phase started in 2016 and revised chapters were sent to section editors. This phase lasted till end of the year 2016. After that the chapters were critically reviewed, and critiqued by Dr.Gopal Basisht, Dr.Yogesh Deole, Mr.Pallav Mishra with support of active members. Prof.S.K.Khandel, Prof.S.N.Ojha and his associate Dr.Anant Samant stayed at Orlando for some period to review the chapters of Charak Samhita with Dr.Gopal Basisht. This review process lasted two years (2017-2018) and preliminary publication and release was held at 8th World Ayurveda Congress, Ahmedabad on Dec. 17, 2018.
The list of contributors in various capacities till the preliminary publication is available on link of Contributors.
Copyright and license
The project is a pure non-commercial project and the material is being propagated for academic purpose as well as for enhancing global health for the welfare of society. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.
The logistics and expenses incurred in the project are fully funded by FHED, India trust. The trust supports all activities related to Charak Samhita New Wiki Edition Project.
Still the project is in the process of updating vidhi with references and adding user friendly features in order to ease the access. At this point of time, the project has 135 contributors and the list is published online. Further, online wiki editors are invited to edit and enrich the content.
This overall work will be conducted by Charak Samhita Research, Training and Skill Development Center being established in collaboration with Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar.