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'An Introduction to Nighantu of Ayurveda' is an unique work taken up for the first time on the subject of Nighantu. The Nighantu is one of the important aspect in the study of Dravyaguna vijnana. Much importance has not been given to this subject. The importance of Nighantu was highlighted for the first time by Narahari pandita in his work on Raja Nighantu during 14th century A.D. He states that a physician without the knowledge of Nighantu, a scholar without the knowledge of Vyakaranam and a soldier without the knowledge of ayudha are laughing stalk in this world.
It is believed that at the end of each samhita a Nighantu was there. In this work a Nighantu of Susrta named Sausrta Nighantu and another by Vagbhata the Astanga Nighantu are discussed. Totally 60 Nighantu have been arranged in chronological order. For 50 Nighantu details have been collected and discussed in detail.
The study of Nighantu has been included in the CCIM syllabus for undergraduate course and it is exclusively included in Post graduate course of MD Dravyaguna as paper IV titled. "Nighantu swaroopa" by CCIM New Delhi from 1995. Keeping this in mind as a Post Graduate teacher in Dravyaguna this book was taken up by me. This will be useful for the teachers and students of Dravyaguna on the subject of Nighantu. Preface
The Nighantu literature is one of the important aspect in the study of Ayurveda and specially in the subject of Dravyaguna Vijnana. The Nighantu literature also as ancient as Ayurveda. Much importance has not been given to the study of Nighantu. The ancient Nighantus were actually like Kosa, containing the synonyms of dravya. Later on, the drugs were given the description of properties, actions and their uses. In true sence the Nighantu means collection of words, synonyms and the names of the medicinal substances. Ramavatar Sharma in his introduction to Kalpadru Kosa of Kesava uses the term Nighantu for the glossaries connected with Ayurveda. To understand precisely what is aimed at these glossaries are called as 'Ayurveda Nighantu'. The Nighantu may be defined as a glossary containing synonymous groups, the names of the drugs, plants, animals, minerals or anything that is administered either as food or medicine to the human body.
The importance of Nighantu has been explained for the first time by Narahari Pandita, son of Isvarasuri in his work Raja Nighantu during 14th Century A. D. He declares:
A Physician without the knowledge of Nighantu, a scholar without the knowledge of Vyakarana (grammar) and a soldier without ayudha (weapons), all these three are laughed at in this world. This statement clearly states that the knowledge of Nighantu is indispensable for a Vaidya.
The Central Council of Indian Medicines, New Delhi has prescribed the subject on Nighantu under the title of 'Nighantuonka Swaroopa' as Paper IV for Post Graduate studies in Dravyaguna Vijnana from 1995. this subject has to be followed by all the universities in India which are recognised by CCIM.
Many Post Graduate students of Dravyaguna whom I met from different parts of India during conferences and seminars, expressed that they went through my article 'History of Nighantu' Published by Publication Scheme, Jaipur 2002 for the subjects of Nighantu and stated it is the only information they could get about a few Nighantu at one place. This prompted me to take up this work and put all the informations of Nighantus in one place in the form of a book. This covers one of the four aspects of the subject prescribed for Post Graduate studies in Dravyaguna. In this work I have collected particulars about 60 Nighantus. I have arranged them in chronological order to the best of y knowledge. There ay be difference of opinions, but for the time being, this may be taken for consideration. If there is anything to be corrected it may please be informed for future guidance. Out of these 60 Nighantus I have discussed on 50 Nighantus for which I could collect details for the time being.
In the present era. The importance on the study of Nighantu was brought to the light by Prof. P. V. Sharma, Head of the Department of Dravyaguna, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, from early 1971. He has edited and published about 12 Nighantus like Astanga Nighantu, Dhanvantari Nighantu, Sodhala Nighantu etc. which I have referred to in this work. He has published a number of papers on Nighantu Karas like, Date of Dhanvantari, Hrdaya Dipaka Nighantu etc. in various journals. I had an opportunity to publish a paper with him on 'Ayurved Nighantus' in 1970, in the National Integrated Medical Association Magazine in 1970, when I was a Post Graduate scholar working under him. From then I used to collect materials on Nighantu. When ever I used to visit Prof. Priya Vrata Sharma at Varanasi, he will never send me empty handed. He has given me Astanga Nighantu, Madhava Dravyaguna etc. all these things inspired me to take up this work in the interest of the subject on Nighantu and also in the interest of the subject on Nighantu and also in the interest of the students community. For further details, each Nighantu has to be consulted for the study of plants of vargas mentioned in them etc.
I am extremely fortunate to have the work edited by Prof. Dr. Jothirmitra who my teacher at BHU. I am thankful to him for going through the manuscript and suggesting, some of the additions in the list of Nighantus Dhananjaya Nighantu and Saraswati Nighantu. He has also advised to include Dravyaguna Kosa of Prof. P. V. Sharma and Vanaspati Kosa of Prof. Ramesh Bedi.
I would like to acknowledge my sincere thanks to Dr. B. S. Shradha, a Ph. D. Scholar and Dr. Jothi Shanbhag, M. D. Student, Department of Dravyaguna, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi (2003). Dr. Ravi Shankar, M. D. Dravyaguna student of ALN Rao Memorial Ayurvedic Medical College, Koppa, Chikamagalur Dist. (2003). Dr. B. Rama Rao who was a Member of National Commission for History of Sciences, New Delhi and Editor, Bulletin of Indian Insitute of History of Medicine, was kind enough to give me guidance and comments on this work and Dr. Shobha G. Hiremath, M. D. Ay. Ph. D (BHU) Assistant Professor, Govt. Ayurvedic Medical College, Bangalore, and other's who have helped me in this venture. My sincere thanks are due to my beloved wife Smt. Grace Vanajakshi, B. A., B. Ed., Assistant Mistress, Department of Education, Govt. of Karnataka and to my sons Mr. Ajoy Lucas and Mr. Kiran Lucas for their constant encouragement and support. Finally my thanks are due to Smt. Yashodha for getting this work DTP printing and making C. D. Copies.
I thank the publishers for so kindly accepting to publish this work.
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