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Agnivesa in Ayurveda

Who is Agnivesa in Ayurveda?

Punarvasu Atreya learned the science of life under the Sage Bharadwaja and imparted the science to Agnivesa, Bhela, Jatukarna, Parasara, Harita, Ksharapani, etc.

Agnivesa was the most intelligent among the six disciples of Atreya and was the first man who composed a treatise known as Agnivesa Tantra. It was declared the best among all the treatises composed by the disciples of Atreya.

Agnivesa Tantra originally consisted of 12000 verses. Unfortunately, the original text is not available at present. It was redacted by Charaka and thereafter it became popular as Charaka Samhita.

In total 41 chapters (i.e. 17 chapters from Chikitsa Sthana, 12 Kalpa Sthana, and 12 Siddhi Sthana) were lost, which were originally composed by Agnivesa and revised by Charaka. Later on, those were redacted by Dridhabala.

Agnivesa was also known by names such Hutasa, Hutasavesa, and Vahnivesa. Hutasa and Vahni are the synonyms of Agni.

In the 44 chapters of Madhavanidana, named Bhagna Nidana (fracture and its pathology), it is observed that Agnivesa was called by the name Hutasa’. In the 12th chapter, verse 53 of Charka Samhita – Siddhi Sthana, Agnivesa is referred to as Vahnivesa.

Chakrapanidutta, while starting the commentary on Charaka Samhita, in Mangalacharana refers to Agnivesa as Hutavesa.

Dowson in his classical mythology quoted as follows:

Agnivesa was the son of Agni, the God of fire.

Bharadwaja gave him the ‘Agneyastra’ – the weapon of fire: Which was in turn possessed by Dronacharya, the preceptor of Pandavas.

Some formulations also can be seen in Gadanigraha in the name Agnivesa.

1. Changeri Ghritam

2. Vasadyam Ghritam

3. Tiktaka Ghritam

4. Shatphala Ghritam

5. Mahatiktaka Ghritam

6. Trushanadyam Ghritam

The following works are by him.

1. Agnivesa Tantra – Present Charaka Samhita

2. Anjana Nidana – a treatise on the diseases of eye

3. Nidan sthan – on pathology

Besides these three, Agnivesa wrote two more historical books viz.,

1. Ramayana Rahasya

2. Ramayana Satasloki.

Date of Atreya & Agnivesa

Atreya’s name is mentioned in ‘Asvadi Gana’ of Panini’s Sanskrit grammatical work, Ashtadhyayi. As Panini’s date was fixed at 7 century BC it is deemed that Atreya and Agnivesa were quite renowned at that time.

As Atreya’s teachings are mentioned in Charaka Samhita, which belongs to the Upanishadic period, it is said that Ayurveda is more attached to Adharvana Veda. Thus the period of Atreya and Agnivesa may be fixed between the Adharvana Veda (1500 BC) and Panini 7h BC, i.e. 1000 BC i.e. in the age of Upanishads.

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