Vedas and Veterinary Medicine

By: Anoop M. Kavirayani

Dear all,

I am not sure if many of you will be interested in this topic. However I am venturing ahead. This message is a brief introduction to Veterinary Medicine during the Vedic period. I hope to continue to gain more insight in future and hope to share it with all.

I wish to share with you that I have been inspired by three books which identify parallels between the Vedas and Modern physics (particularly quantum physics) and I am interested in exploring parallels between the Vedas and biological sciences (since present day biological research is mostly reductionist such parallels are unlikely).

The books that have inspired me are

The Tao of Physics (by eminent Physicist Dr. Fritjof Capra
Physics and Philosophy (by Physics Nobel laureate Werner Heisenberg)
What is Life? (by Physics Nobel laureate Erwin Schrodinger)

Given below is a short article that I have compiled.

VETERINARY SCIENCE IN THE VEDAS

The cows have come and brought us good fortune
May they stay in the stalls and be pleased with us
May they live here, as mothers of calves, many coloured
And yield milk for worship on many dawns
(Rig Veda 6.28.1)

Veterinary science which has for its nucleus, the Atharvaveda VI, 59; 11, 26; 1, 11, 14; expanded under the attention of vedic teachers, and voluminous treatises are available on horses(ashvaayurveda), elephants (hasthyaayurveda), cows (gavaayurveda), and even on hawks(shyenaayurveda).

Charaka devotes chapter II verses 19 to 26 to this science and the Haritha Samhitha has several references to this. Salihothra is known as the father of Veterinary science and the word Salotri means a veterinary surgeon.

Hindu Veterinary science possesses a monumental compilation known as the Hasthyaayurveda, the sacred wisdom on the “longevity of elephants.”

DAIRY FARMING IN THE VEDAS

There are references to dairy farming in the Atharvaveda II, 26. Mention has been made that it is essential for cows to roam about to ensure healthy breeding (yeshaam sahachaaram vayu: jujosha, Atharveda II, 26, 1) and that those animals that have wandered may return safely is also indicated (ye pashava: para eeyu the iha shrayanthu, Atharvaveda II, 27, 1).

Atharvaveda III has an important hymn on cow breeding (Gosamvardhanam).

The most efficacious remedy in veterinary diseases is mentioned to be the herb known as Arundhathi.  It was used to increase milk in animals such as the cow (Atharvaveda VI, 59)

First O, Arundhathi, protect our oxen and our milking kin
Protect each one that is infirm-each quadruped that yields no milk
(Atharva veda VI, 59, 1)

This is just a preliminary compilation. A lot of insightful inquest will be required to make more sense out of this veritable treasure of knowledge.

I also encourage you to visit the internet site for Harvard University’s Sanskrit department: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~sanskrit/

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