Vedic Microbiology | Introduction - Part 2

By Mitul Trivedi | Jan 09, 2019 | in Disciplines | Share

Let us examine biology and microbiology as they were understood, studied and taught during vedic times.

Charaka (Sutrastana 10:8) has enumerated eight kinds of hurdles in direct knowledge: 

  1. Ati-sannikarsat : Unable to see an object due to closeness.
  2. Ati-viprakarsat : Unable to view an object due to its remoteness.
  3. Aavaranaat : Unable to see an object due to any covering / envelope.
  4. Karanadaurbalyaat : Unable to see an object due to weakness of sense organs, e.g. Myopia, Jaundice, Colour Blindness.
  5. Manonavasthaanaat : Unable to see an object because of the diversion of mind.
  6. Samaanaabhiharaat : Unable to locate an object due to admixture or adulteration.
  7. Abhibhavaat : Unable to see an object due to defeatedness.
  8. Atisauksmyaat : Unable to view an object due to its minuteness or invisibleness, e.g. Micro-organisms.


There is some difference in the opinion of modern scientists regarding this. Perhaps, it is because of the fundamental difference in understanding the concept of a human body as propounded by medical science and Ayurveda. The concept of body for the present world is its physical form. It is only that, the medical report is based on the findings, which can be felt, seen and observed, usually by instruments. This is the basis by which the treatment or medication is given by modern medical science.


However, Vedic intellectuals envisaged body not just as a physical form, but also with a more transcendent nature that had more subtle levels. The theory of “yad pinde tad brahmande” states that which is found in body is also found in universe. So our human body represent universe means human body is mini- universe. Universe is macrocosm and human body is microcosm. Both are followed by the same principle. Vedic philosophy treats the human body as part of Prakriti (nature). It is the holistic perception of a body being a conglomeration of a physical form, the intellect, and the soul that forms the basis of treatment in Vedic medicine or Ayurveda. It is with this perception that 'treatment' for the human body was applied in the vedic period and in the modern times; this concept is gaining new height.


Similarities between Universe and Human Body:


Universe Human Body
Expansion and Contraction of Universe Heart
70% water on the earth 70% water in human body
Universe originated and expanded from a singularity Body originates and develops from a single cell
Electromagnetic energy in the universe Electric impulses in the brain
Number of Milky Way Galaxy in the universe Neurons in the brain
Black hole in the universe emit electromagnetic radiation Cell nucleus in the human body emit electromagnetic radiation
Rivers Blood circulation in veins / arteries
Heat in the core of earth Heat in the human body or Jatharagni
Pancha Maha Bhutas (air, water, heat, space and earth) – constitutes the Universe Pancha Maha Bhutas (air, water, heat, space and earth) – constitutes the Human Body
Cosmopolitan Micro-organisms Micro-organisms in the body
Supreme Being Soul


The methods of investigation in Ayurveda are more synthetic leading to oneness, Advaita, whereas the tendency in modern medicine is more analytical leading to dissipation of ideas.


Ayurveda has eight sub divisions called:


  1. Internal medicine (Kaya Chikitsa): In Kaya (antah parimarjana – internal medication), the discussed areas are etiology, heredity, genetics, predisposing, determining, contributory and existing causes of the diseases, subjective and objective symptomatology, prognostic evaluation, acute and chronic types of pathology, bacteriology, parasitology, haematology, cytology, serology, biochemistry, pulmonolgy, cardiology, endocrinology, venerology, nephrology, urology, dermatology, neurology, immunology, toxicology, anaesthesiology, psychopathology, social medicine, community medicine, hygiene and public health.
  2. Pediatrics and gynaecology (Kaumarrabhritya): In Kaumarabhritya (Bala chikitsa), the discussed area are gynaecology, obstetrics, paediatrics, neonatology and cosmetology.
  3. Psychiatry (Manasrog Chikitsa): In Bhutavidya (chitaviksepa-nimitta manus opsarganimtascha vikara), the discussed area are psychology, psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery, neurohormones and brain chemistry and seizures by specific spirits.
  4. Otto – Rhino – Laryngology and Ophthalmology (Salakya Tantra): In Salakya Tantra (Urdhva-jatrugata srotasi salya harnam – surgeries of the channels which are above clavicle), the discussed areas are ophthalmology and Otto – Rhino – Laryngology and dental surgeries.
  5. Surgery – major and mirror (Salya Tantra): In Salya Tantra (Sastra karma vijnanam – Priciples of surgery), the discussed areas are general surgery, thoracic and cardiac surgeries, brain surgeries, orthopaedics, othotics, prosthetics, neurosurgery, neonatal and paediatric surgery, occupational therapy and other areas of rehabilitation.
  6. Toxicology (Agad Tantra): In Agad Tantra (Visagara vairodhak prasamanam), the discussed area are iatrogenic diseases, toxicology and antidotes to toxins, poisons and venoms.
  7. Rejuvenation (Rasayana Tantra): In Rasayana Tantra (Sastanama rasadinam labhopayah – aiding regenerative process), the discussed areas are gerontology, geriatrics, psychotropics and rejuvenation.
  8. Study of sexual function and reproduction (Vajikarana Tantra): In Vajikarna Tantra (vrisyatva jananam – virilification), the discussed areas are aphrodisiacs, virilifics, promoters of sex vigour and androgens and mood elevators.


Swami Shivananda observed that, “The theories of Ayurveda have not been so far verified by modern research, because the instruments of science have their own limitations especially when they have to deal with living matter. The scope of Ayurveda is endless. Although ancient, it has the capacity to grow and be ever new, puranama cha puranarnavam (Charak Siddhi).


Ref.: Vedic Microbiology By Dr. Chakradhar Frend 'Anjista' and Dr. Shriji Kurup