Comparative Guts

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Food’s Course of Movement in the Intestines (engraving)

Provenance: Printed Book, page 44.

Anglicized Bibliographic data

The Śārṅgadhara-saṃhitā by Paṇḍit Śārṅgadharāchārya, son of Paṇḍit Dāmodara with the commentary Aḍhamalla’s Dīpikā and Kāśīrāma’s Gūḍhārtha-Dīpikā. Ed. Paṇḍitaparaśurāmaśāstri. Bombay: Pāndurang Jāwajī, Nirṇaya-Sāgar Press, 1931.

Sanskrit Title and Author in Roman font

śrīmatpaṇḍitadāmodarasūnu-śārṅgadharācāryaviracitā .

śārṅgadharasaṃhitā . bhiṣagvarāḍhamallaviracitadīpikā-paṇḍitakāśirāmavaidyaviracita-gūḍhārthadīpikābhyāṃ ṭīkābhyāṃ saṃvalitā . vedavācaspatyabṛhadabhidhānapraṇetrā vidyāsāgara-paṇḍitaparaśurāmaśāstriṇā saṃśodhitā .

Source: Wellcome Library
Photographer: Ed Bishop (Wellcome Library)

Illustrated editions of Sanskrit Ayurvedic texts are common today but they did not begin to appear until the early twentieth century. Figure 3 is an illustration of the intestines (pakvāśaya) in Paṇḍitaparaśurāmaśāstri’s edition (1931) of a fourteenth-century Sanskrit text called the Śārṅgadharasaṃhitā, which is a relatively short, well-organized compendium. The author Śārṅgadhara states that he composed this text so that short-lived, dim-witted people had access to the bare essentials of the entire canon of medical literature. Various anatomical illustrations adorn Paṇḍitaparaśurāmaśāstri’s edition, which juxtaposes western style engravings with columns of Sanskrit text in Devanagari font. Figure 3 accompanies a passage of the Śārṅgadharasaṃhitā on the seven receptacles of the body, which are those of phlegm (chest), raw food (stomach), fire (abdomen), wind (between the navel and right lung), faeces (colon), urine (bladder) and life blood (in the chest). Ironically, the receptacle of cooked food (intestines) illustrated in the book is not included among Śārṅgadhara’s seven receptacles.

Gwyneth Pheasant Lust. ‘Finding Provenance, Finding Purpose: An Analysis of the Skeleton on Page 41 of Parasurama Shastri’s 1931 Edition of the Sarngadhara Samhita.’ University of Alberta, HIST 488/698 Essay, 2018.