Socio-Medico Charms in the Atharvavedic Tradition Its Relevance in the Contemporary Society

Niranjan Jena

Abstract


The Atharveveda occupies a unique position among the four Vedic Samhitason account of its subject matter which encompasses not only the invocations andprayers to the deities like other three Samhitas, but faithfully presents the privateday-to-day life of the common masses. It deals with varieties of customs, birth andburial, love and marriage, hearth and home, field and cattle, government and politics,trade and commerce, magic and medicine, anatomy and astronomy, theosophy andcosmogony and many more things. In this paper an attempt is made to study thesocio-medico charms in the Atharvavedic Tradition and of its relevance in thecontemporary society. At the very outset of my paper, I would like to make it clearthat the present study has no claim of studying the ancient Indian medicine as today‟sscience is concerned but as a medical practice followed by the tradition ofAtharvavedic people. Further, it aims at drawing the attention as to how the primitive– rather, the pre-scientific – elements are spread over our ancient literature. A goodmany scholars have been studied in this context from various angles such as Prof. S.S. Bahulkar, who has written on the medical rituals in the Atharveveda Tradition,with special reference to the medical section of the Kausikasutra. Prof. G. U. Thitehas written on “medicine” and its magico-religious aspects, according to the Vedicand later literature. But I have determined my study only at the socio-medicalcharms: i.e. human awareness about various diseases, different germs that causediseases, the methods of healing processes of various diseases etc. The prescriptionof numerous medicinal herbs used to cure such diseases which are used by theAtharvavedic people will be analyzed elaborately in this paper.

 


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