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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 148-151

Textbook of Shalya Tantra (surgery in Ayurveda): An informative treatise based on contemporary requisite

Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission29-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance20-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication22-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dhirajsingh Sumersingh Rajput
Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jras.jras_110_21

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How to cite this article:
Rajput DS. Textbook of Shalya Tantra (surgery in Ayurveda): An informative treatise based on contemporary requisite. J Res Ayurvedic Sci 2021;5:148-51

How to cite this URL:
Rajput DS. Textbook of Shalya Tantra (surgery in Ayurveda): An informative treatise based on contemporary requisite. J Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Mar 27];5:148-51. Available from: http://www.jrasccras.com/text.asp?2021/5/3/148/340288

  Introduction Top

In a therapeutic point of view, all the diseases can be broadly classified into two categories viz. the diseases that can be cured by medicinal interventions and the diseases that can only be cured after surgery. In other words, the science and practice of surgery holds its own significance and therefore surgery is one of the major distinguishing branches in medical science. The history of Ayurveda indicates well-developed knowledge and practice of surgery since the time of Vedic period.[1] In Sanskrit, the surgical branch of Ayurveda is known as Shalya Tantra. Acharya Sushruta was a pioneer in Ayurveda surgery and thus recognized as the father of Indian surgery. Sushruta Samhita is the classical text of Ayurveda surgery written by Sushruta. The content of this classical text indicates that the ancient seers of Indian civilization were well aware of the importance of surgery and well versed in surgical practices such as Agni Karma (therapeutic cauterization), Sandhan Karma (plastic surgery), amputation, and anorectal surgeries.

The literature of Ayurveda is originally created in the Sanskrit language and with time keen understanding of Sanskrit become uncommon.[2] The situation created a need to translate the Sanskrit knowledge into various local Indian languages. In recent centuries, the advancement in education systems as well as the medical sciences have highlighted the need to present Ayurveda in ways that can increase ease of understanding as well as favors acceptance at a global platform. Based on this need, almost all Ayurveda texts including Sushruta Samhita have been translated into English. However, to increase the applicability and relevance of Shalya Tantra, a systematic, comprehensive, practice-based, and illustrative edition of Sushruta Samhita was needed. Such descriptive text is also expected to have comparative as well as correlative aspects in relation to modern medicine. To fulfill this gap, the Central Council of Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of Ayush, Government of India (New Delhi), (MoA, GOI) took the initiatives and published first part of “Textbook of Shalya Tantra: Surgery in Ayurveda.” Considering the distinguishing features, here an attempt has been made to present a brief review of this textbook.

  Content of the Book Top

The textbook of Shalya Tantra (part I) is an official publication of CCRAS, MoA, GOI. This book is divided into two parts based on the content of Sushruta Samhita. The first part of the book is published in 2020. The first part consists of 20 chapters and includes detail of classical concepts of Shalya Tantra such as Sushruta’s view on Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala (three fundamental physiological factors, seven body tissues, and three forms of excreta, respectively), Marma Vigyan (the science of vital spots), classification of diseases, Rakta Mokshana (bloodletting), Kshar Karma (caustics), Agni Karma (cauterization), and Sandhan Karma (plastic surgery).[3] Relevant Sanskrit verses from the Sushruta Samhita are included at the end of each chapter to maintain the information from the original Sanskrit source. The content is organized in a systematic manner, with point-by-point descriptions, the use of tables, graphs, and photos, as well as pertinent and correlated modern aspects, all depending on the ease of comprehension. The important distinctive features of each chapter are depicted in [Table 1].
Table 1: Chapter-wise brief distinctive features of the textbook of Shalya Tantra: surgery in Ayurveda

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  Discussion Top

The compendium of surgical experience of Sushruta is available in the form of Sushruta Samhita. It is an ancient Sanskrit work on medicine and surgery that is considered one of the basic texts of Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine).[1] The original Sanskrit text has been written in five Sthana (sections) and an Uttaratantra (subsection) which altogether include 186 chapters.[4] Along with Ayurveda Surgical aspects, this treatise also includes ancient literature on physiological, pathological, diagnostic, and therapeutic aspects of range of general and systemic diseases. As the classical text of Ayurveda such as Charaka Samhita, Ashtanga Sangra, and Ashtanga Hridaya basically deals with the aforementioned literature (excluding surgery); hence, both academics and Ayurveda practitioners prefer Sushruta Samhita for knowledge of surgery. However, in order to increase precision in the use of Sushruta Samhita, it is necessary to compile the important surgical features sequentially along with modern surgical views. Such attempt has been made by CCRAS by publishing the first part of “Textbook of Shalya Tantra: Surgery in Ayurveda.”

As a matter of historical respect and inspiration, detail of the glorious past of ancient Indian surgery, its specialty, scope, nature of Sushruta’s surgery and the reasons leading to downfall of Indian surgery are presented at the beginning of this textbook. The second chapter deals with Rakta Dhatu (~blood) as a surgeon. Sushruta has given considerable physio-pathological importance to Rakta Dhatu and even narrated Rakta Dhatu as the fourth Dosha (physio-pathological factor).[5] Understanding surgery is not possible without enough knowledge of physiology and anatomy. Therefore in the third chapter a brief summary of Ayurveda physiology in view of Sushruta with sufficient modern correlative approaches has been presented. Marma’s are anatomical locations in the human body which vital spots and any injury to them may result in critical damage of physiological functioning of the related part/organ.[6] The principle of Marma is necessary to grasp Ayurveda Surgery and hence the detail of Marma with contemporary relevant aspects is described in the fourth chapter of textbook of Shalya Tantra. The part of the textbook from 5th to 13th chapter deals with the management of inflammatory conditions, abscess, wound/ulcer, burn, therapeutic cauterization, removal of foreign body, Rakta Mokshana Chikitsa (bloodletting), use of caustics, cauterization, plastic and reconstructive surgery. It can be interpreted that the description of the aforementioned part may be done briefly but preciously in the textbook.

The recent advances in diagnostic and therapeutic tools such as radiation therapy, endoscopic technique, laparoscopic, and cryosurgery have brought revolutionary changes in surgical methods.[7],[8] Therefore, introducing such technologies is must for increasing insight into interdisciplinary approaches relevant to surgery. Understanding such portion is also an important part in academic syllabus for Ayurveda undergraduate and postgraduate syllabus. Thus, inclusion of necessary description of aforesaid technologies has increased the academic value of the textbook of Shalya Tantra.

Infection occurring after medical or surgical management is known as iatrogenic infection.[9] Awareness toward preventive aspects for iatrogenic infection is crucial for postsurgical care. Therefore, a separate chapter related to iatrogenic infection is included in the textbook of Shalya Tantra for surgical practice in AIDS-HIV and hepatitis patients. Manifestations of poisoning are a bit similar to infection and the prevalence of poisoning due to scorpion, spider bites, and spider stings was high during ancient times. Hence in Sushruta Samhita, detail of poisoning due to insect bites and its treatment has been narrated. Therefore, this special contribution of Sushruta Samhita is incorporated in the textbook of Shalya Tantra. As the Ayurveda content related to insect bites is far different from the modern aspects, the last chapter in the textbook of Shalya Tantra is systematic summarization of insect bite and its management mostly in view of Ayurveda.

The overall review of the textbook represents that the emphasis of Textbook of Shalya Tantra is toward dissemination of information of Ayurveda surgery in modern language which can help the academic scholars in comprehending the essential portion. The modern aspects and practical graphics included in this textbook can increase its practical utility.

  Concluding Remarks Top

Textbook of Shalya Tantra: Surgery in Ayurveda (part I) is one of the contributing texts based on the need of the contemporary era. The textbook is basically related to academic purpose; however, the practice-centered approaches can increase ease of understanding of Ayurveda surgical principles.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Champaneria MC, Workman AD, Gupta SC. Sushruta: Father of plastic surgery. Ann Plast Surg 2014;73:2-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Baburaj A, Resmi B. Scope of manuscriptology in Ayurveda. J Ayurveda Integr Med Sci 2021;6:284-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Anonymous. Textbook of Shalya Tantra: Surgery in Ayurveda. Index page, Volume I, 1st ed. New Delhi: Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India; 2020. p. 6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sharma HS, Sharma HI, Sharma HA. Sushruta-samhita: A critical review part-1: Historical glimpse. Ayu 2012;33: 167-73.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Tadasad S, Katti BH, Sajjanshetti MR, Kannolli GN. Concept of Rakta Dhatu wsr to Rakta Pradoshaja Vikara. J Ayurveda Integr Med Sci 2018;3:187-97.  Back to cited text no. 5
Jain S, Dange M. Clinical importance of Marma wsr to role in pathological condition: An Ayurveda review. Himal J Health Sci 2021;6:40-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
Vanella G, Capurso G, Arcidiacono PG. Endosonography-guided radiofrequency ablation in pancreatic diseases: Time to fill the gap between evidence and enthusiasm. J Clin Gastroenterol 2020;54:591-601.  Back to cited text no. 7
Satava RM. How the future of surgery is changing: Robotics, telesurgery, surgical simulators and other advanced technologies. J Chirurgie 2009;5:311-25.  Back to cited text no. 8
Darchy B, Le Mière E, Figuérédo B, Bavoux E, Domart Y. Iatrogenic diseases as a reason for admission to the intensive care unit: Incidence, causes, and consequences. Arch Intern Med 1999;159:71-8.  Back to cited text no. 9


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