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Ārogyasamskṛti – The Ayurveda Component

Indian civilization has been a very health-conscious culture and nurtured a rich and diverse system of health care comprising folk and classical streams of knowledge. The dictum “health is the basis for the pursuit of the goals of human life” has inspired the development of a people-oriented health care system. So much so that the spectrum of non-Ayurvedic Sanskrit literature across centuries has codified a wealth of health-related information that is not found even in Ayurvedic texts. Two hundred forty such texts have been identified already. An explicit reference to the tridoṣas as gunas (properties) rather than dravyas (substances) is found only in the Mahābharata. Different methods of bathing depending on the health of the individual are described in works like Jābālasmṛti, Ācāramayūkha, Manusmṛti, and so on, which is missing in classical Ayurvedic texts. Ayurvedic texts describe protocols for eating food properly, but the exact recommended timing for meals is described in non-Ayurvedic literature like Mahābharata. The systematic compilation, classification, and development of a comprehensive, searchable database of such knowledge with relevant linkages to Ayurvedic texts will serve as a valuable resource to revitalize the people-oriented health culture of India.

The work on Ārogyasamskṛti will be implemented in the following phases.

Pāṭhavimarśātmaka saṃpādana and adhyayana of Aṣṭādhyāyī – The Vyākaraṇa Component

The study of Aṣṭādhyāyi has constituted a necessary component of the traditional curriculum in this country for the last nearly 2000 years. Since Böthlingk’s first edition was published in 1848, it has been widely studied in the West. The second edition of this work in 1888 is regarded as the standard in India and the West. Several Indian editions of the Aṣṭādhyāyi have been published since 1932. However, a critical edition of the text based on the rigorous methodology of textual criticism has, till today, remained a desideratum. Such a critical edition is even more necessary because the sūtrapāṭha shows variations within the Pāṇinian tradition. For instance, the text of the sūtrās found in the Kāśikāvṛtti, the first full-fledged commentary on the Aṣṭādhyāyi, differs in a considerable number of places from that known to the foremost commentators, Kātyayana and Patañjali. Again, Bhattoji Dikshit, the author of the Vaiyākaraṇa-siddhāntakaumudī, a sixteenth-century commentary on the rearranged sūtrapāṭha, appears to combine both the traditions in the text accepted by him. An urgent need is, therefore, felt to publish a critical edition of Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī.

Parīkṣāpaddhati – The Darśana Component

Darśanas are generally perceived as dealing primarily with philosophy and spirituality. However, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, and Sāṅkhya have developed an epistemological and ontological framework blending science and spirituality for knowledge creation. This can be formulated into a rigorous research methodology and integrated with modern scientific methods. Such a tool will help to conduct proper research in IKS domains. The project team has experience in this area concerning Āyurveda.

These activities will exemplify the synergy of the chosen focus areas for this project as enunciated in VākyapadĪya – kāyavāgbuddhiviṣayā ye malāḥ samupasthitāḥ | cikitsālakṣaṇādhyātmaśāstraisteṣāṃ viśuddhayaḥ|| The impurities of the body, speech and intellect can be removed with Āyurveda, Vyākaraṇa, and Darśana.

There is consensus about the need for interdisciplinary research to foster the development of IKS in the contemporary world. However, it is found that modern scientific research methods are applied to IKS disciplines without examining suitability and appropriateness. An integrated research methodology based on epistemology and ontological framework of IKS adopting appropriate current scientific practices and tools is the first step to promoting meaningful research in IKS.

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