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Maharishi Sushruta

Maharishi Sushruta
  • Most historians place the time of his life to 600 BC and he lived in Benares, a city on the banks of the river Ganges.
  • Maharishi Shushruta is a legendry scholar of the Indian medical science and founding father of surgery. 2600 Yrs ago Maharishi Shushruta together with his colleagues had conducted the variety of complex surgeries such as caesareans, artificial limbs, cataract, urinary stones, fractures, and most specially the plastic surgery.
  • A famous book (Shalya Tantra) has been described by the Shushruta about all the surgical procedures. Shalya Tantra was later named as the Sushruta Samhita (have details about the ancient medical science of India, well known as the Ayurveda).
  • Maharishi Shushruta, a great sage, is commonly considered as the son of wise Visvamitra.He wrote a treatise on surgery called the Sushruta Samhita, only one copy of which is extant today. It was written in Sanskrit and largely unknown to medical historians of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • The origin of the plastic surgery had his roots more than 4000 years old in India, back to the Indus River Civilization. This era is referred to as the Vedic period (5000 years B.C) in Indian history during which the the four Vedas, namely the Rigveda, the Samaveda, the Yajurveda, and the Atharvaveda were compiled.
  • All the four Vedas are in the form of shlokas (hymns), verses, incantations and rites in Sanskrit language.‘Sushruta Samhita’ is believed to be a part of Atharvaveda
  • ‘Sushruta Samhita, which describes the ancient tradition of surgery in Indian medicine is considered as one of the most brilliant gems in Indian medical literature.
  • It consists of 184 chapters contains descriptions of 1,120 illnesses 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources.
  • The text discusses surgical techniques of making incisions, probing, extraction of foreign bodies, alkali and thermal cauterization, tooth extraction, excisions, and trocars for draining abscess, draining hydrocele and ascitic fluid, removal of the prostate gland, urethral stricture dilatation, vesicolithotomy, hernia surgery, caesarian section, management of haemorrhoids, fistulae, laparotomy and management of intestinal obstruction, perforated intestines and accidental perforation of the abdomen with protrusion of omentum and the principles of fracture management.


  • The Sushruta samhita has two parts, first one is known as the Purva-tantra (have five sections) and the second one is known as the Uttara-tantra.
  • Hence, The Sushruta samhita is an encyclopaedia of the medical learning for doctors .
  • There are five books of the Purvatantra having 120 chapters are Sutra sthana, Sarira sthana, Nidana sthana, Chikitsa sthana and Kalpa sthana.
  • The Uttaratantra is entirely known as the Aupadravika (have description of many complications of surgical procedures like hiccough, fever, krmi-roga, pandu, dysentery, cough, kamala, etc. The Salakyatantra has description of the various diseases of eye, ear, nose and head.)
  • The exact period of Sushruta is unclear but most scholars put him him between 600 to 1000 BC. Sushruta lived, taught and practiced his art in the area that corresponds presently to the city of Varanasi (Kashi, Benares) in northern part of India.
  • The followers of Sushruta were called as Saushrutas. The new student was expected to study for at least 6 years.
  • He taught the surgical skills to his students on various experimental modules, for instance, incision on vegetables (like watermelon, gourd, cucumber etc.).
  • In 1960, he suffered a heart attack. He was treated by top doctors in India, including his friend Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal.
  • His health started deteriorating and he died on 7 March 1961 at the age of 74, from a cerebral stroke. At that time he was still in office as the Home Minister of India.