I was searching commentaries on various classical literature of Ayurveda. I personally found that going thorough the recent commentaries are the best and the easiest way to learn the subject. There are lots of books available both by Indian authors and Western authors, but I don’t find them useful enough, especially when you have the original text available with you. I also didn’t find any good book either by Western or an Indian that shows their experience. So, after doing some googling on Internet, I found following list that looks very good to me -
|S.No||Name of the Text Book||Author/Commentator||Year of Publication|
|1.||Sushrutarthsandipan Bhasya||Harana Chandra Chakravarthy||1908|
|2.||Charakopaskar||Yogindranath Sen (Calcutta)||1920|
|3.||Charakapradipika||Jyotishchandra Saraswati (Calcutta)||20th Century|
|4.||Nighantu Ratnakar||Duttaram Chaube (Mathura)||-do-|
|5.||Commentary on Charaka Samhita, Chikitsa Kalika & Bhaisajya Ratnavali||Jaideo Vidyalankar||1970|
|6.||Commentary on Charaka Sushruta & Astanga Samgraha||Atrideo Vidyalankar||20th Century|
|7.||Commentary on Charaka, Astanga Hrdaya etc.||Pt.Ram Prasad Sharma (Patiala)||-do-|
|8.||Commentary on Sushruta Samhita etc.||Bhaskar Govinda Gharekar (Varanasi)||-do-|
|9.||Commentary on Rasaratna Samuchchya||Duttatraya Anant Kulkarni (Varanasi)||-do-|
|10.||Critical Commentary on Astanga Hrdya, Bhava – Prakash & Ashtanga Samgraha.||Lal Chandra Vaidya (Varanasi)||-do-|
|11.||Rasa Hrdaya Yantri, Rasa Sara and 14 Other Books||Yadavji Vikramji Acharya||1910-1911|
|12.||Padarth Vijnana||Pt.Ramrakshaji Pathak||20th Century|
|13.||Ayurveda Kriya Sharira||Vd.Ranjeet Roy Desai||-do-|
|14.||Abhinava Prasut Tantra||Pt.Damodar Shastri Gaur||-do-|
|15.||History of Medicine in India, Dravya Guna Vijnana (Varanasi) and Indian Medicine in Classical Age etc.||Acharya Priyavrat Sharma||1972|
Though I don’t posses all above commentaries mentioned above, but out of whatever I have, I personally found Lal Chandra Vaidya’s commentaries very good and well written. I also like commentaries by Pt. Ram Prasad Sharma. The one I didn’t like is Sushrut Samhita’s commentary by Atrideo.
The article from where I have taken the list talks a lot about other commentaries as well at different period of time. The details article can be found here.
All of above commentaries are Sanskrit-Hindi commentaries. I am still looking for some good commentaries in English language. If you know good commentaries in English language, please let me know.
A comprehensive list of books on Ayurveda can be found at https://www.vedamsbooks.com/ayurveda.htm
When you start studying any subject, it is important to get the right books. This is even more important for Indology subjects because more than 90% books are written by authors who even don’t understand the basics of subject.
There are some other problems as well. First of all the original text (Charak, Sushrut, Vagbhat) etc. are very old and not written keeping the present time in mind. Even some of the recent commentaries are pretty old and the language used is not very easy to understand. Also most of the books lack the practical approach and are almost with no examples. So here are few of my recommended books that I found the best available in the market -
1. Chikitsa Chandrodaya by Babu Haridas Ji Vaidya (in Hindi)
Publisher: Haridas & Company (P) Ltd., Mathura
When I was searching for books I never thought that the best books will be from my neighbouring city. I am from Agra so I am very pleased that these books are published from Mathura. These books are talk in details about theory as well as practical. Almost all important diseased are dealt in this book. Also the author has also given Yunani medicine at many places.
2. Aadhunik Chikitsashastra by Dharmadutt Vaidya (in Hindi)
Publisher: Motilal Banarasidas
This is another gem of the book that I found. It is around 1000 page book which talks in detail about the Ayurvedic medicine as well as Modern medines for various diseases. There are other sections on medical emergencies and clinical method which make this book really useful. This book also bridges the gap between modern medicine and Ayurveda by using both the systems in complimentory way. Also use of Hing-lish make this book easy to read. I am not sure whether an Eglish translation of this book is available or not but definately hope for one.
Truly speaking I have not found any good book in English on Ayurveda. One thing that I don’t like about the books in English is that these book mix Ayurveda with other systems and hence diluting the subject. Some of the popular books are books by Vasant Lad, David Frawley and Svoboda. Out of these books, I liked Textbook Of Ayurveda (two volumes) by Vasant Lad. This is a good book from the theory perspective and dealt with theory in details. But once it come to the practical examples, this book cannot be compared with other books. In fact, in both the volumes, the author keep talking about theory which is very disappointing. Though seeing the dearth of good books on Ayurveda in English, this can be easily rated as the best book available in market. There is another popular books in English named Ayurveda Healing by David Frawley. Though keep in mind that this books is for beginner level and lacks the depth and details of the book by Vasant Lad.
Please note that above list of recommended books is written for people who want to get into the details of the subject. I’ll rate the level of all above books from Intermediate to Advanced. In case you are just casual reader of Ayurveda, these are not the recommended books.