Showing posts with label social history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social history. Show all posts

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Well-mannered Medicine published

I'm ever so proud about the publication this month of Dagmar's new book, Well-Mannered Medicine: Medical Ethics and Etiquette in Classical Ayurveda.

Please note that there are now two different "D. Wujastyk"s publishing on the history of science and medicine in South Asia. :-)

Here's the blurb:
Well-Mannered Medicine explores the moral discourses on the practice of medicine in the foundational texts of Ayurveda.

The classical ayurvedic treatises were composed in Sanskrit between the first and the seventh centuries CE, and later works, dating into the sixteenth century CE, are still considered strongly authoritative.  As Wujastyk shows, these works testify to an elaborate system of medical ethics and etiquette. Physicians looked to the ayurvedic treatises for a guide to professional conduct. Ayurvedic discourses on good medical practice depict the physician as highly-educated, skilled, moral, and well-mannered. The rules of conduct positioned physicians within mainstream society and characterized medical practice as a trustworthy and socially acceptable profession. At the same time, professional success was largely based on a particular physician's ability to cure his patients. This resulted in tension, as some treatments and medications were considered socially or religiously unacceptable. Doctors needed to treat their patients successfully while ostensibly following the rules of acceptable behavior.
Wujastyk offers insight into the many unorthodox methods of avoiding conflict while ensuring patient compliance shown in the ayurvedic treatises, giving a disarmingly candid perspective on the realities of medical practice and its crucial role in a profoundly well-mannered society.

Editorial Reviews

"Dagmar Wujastyk's thorough study of medical ethics in classical Ayurvedic texts adds substantially to our knowledge of Ayurveda as a medical system. Ethics here includes the moral attributes required of a physician, personal presentation, medical education, the doctor-patient relationship, medical deception, and much more. In this first rate study, Wujastyk avoids the danger of evaluating Ayurveda from the standpoint of Western medicine. This is required reading for everyone with an interest in Indian medicine or cross-cultural medical history."--Frederick M. Smith, Professor of Sanskrit and Classical Indian Religions, University of Iowa

About the Author

Dagmar Wujastyk is a postdoctoral research fellow at Zurich University in Switzerland and co-editor of Modern and Global Ayurveda - Pluralism and Paradigms. She has taught Sanskrit at the University of Bonn and Cambridge University.

Monday, October 03, 2011


Sanskrit booklets, or guṭkās, contain several works collected between one set of covers.  They were presumably copied sequentially by their owners as a vade mecum of useful knowledge.

Biswas 0891 (available digitized, no. 090393 at is a series of catalogues of MSS in Jaina libraries in Rajasthan.  Volume 2 (1954), 73 ff. has a section that describes 222 such booklets, and lists their contents in detail.  A study of these particular collocations of texts would provide a valuable insight into reading habits, the circulation of texts and knowledge, and the personal tastes and obsessions of pre-modern Indian readers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dānasāgara fo Ballālasena on text criticism.

The Dānasāgara of Ballālasena (ca. 1200) includes a number of interesting and important remarks on the nature of Sanskrit scholarship, methods of teaching and learning, the creation of manuscripts and their donation to temples, etc. The displayed passage describes textual criticism (ed. B. Bhattacharya, 1953, Bibliotheca Indica 274, pp.४८०-८१).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Appaya Dikshita and Nilakantha Dikshita

Appaya Dikshita (b. ca.1520,
d. 1592) transfers his copy of the Devimahatmya to his grand nephew Nilakantha Dikshita (1580--ca. 1644), just before he passes away. This happened at Cidambaram.

The account of Appaya's deathbed transfer of his
cultural and spiritual heritage to the twelve-year-old Nilakantha is
given in the biographies of Nilakantha, the
Srinilakanthadhvaricaritam of Appaya, the
Sriappayadiksitendravijaya, both composed by Appaya's
nineteenth-century descendant Sivananda Yogindra. The former text
is translated and reprinted by Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat,
Oeuvres Po'etiques de Nilakantha Diksita I (1967), pp.7, 349. P-S Filliozat also
gives information from the latter text and other sources,
(ibid., 4).

My thanks to Yigal Bronner for drawing my attention to this image.
We're working to find out its source. Posted by Picasa

Govinda Dikshita and his wife Nagamba

This painting of Govinda Dikshita and his wife Nagamba is on one of the walls of the Pattiswaram Temple, near Kumbakonam. It appears to be recent, or recently repainted. It is in a chamber not far from the statues of GD and N. Picture taken in 10/2005.