Human Anatomy in Ancient Stone Sculptures and Epigraphy as Evidence of Human Health Care Science in Ancient India
By Deepak Bhattacharya 1; L M Mukherjee 2
( i ) Arteries, veins & gut not depicted @, ( ii ) Knowledge of anatomy appears to be restricted to skeleton and role of muscles,( iii ) The musculo - skeletal anatomy as presented in these sculptural art are very much in consonance with actuality, ( iv ) A possible conscious attempt to demonstrate the skeletal format, functional positions and role of joints and muscles as is done in medical texts ,( v ) The almost sure possibility of a blue print ( for the crafts-men ) which in turn must have evolved out of exercise in dissection,( vi ) The associated mythology is surprisingly in consonance with the idea that sans muscles the skeleton would collapse 14,16,18 and thus further reinforce the above as a possibility; so do the art or Chitra Bhasa 20 of the twin sculpture indicate ( vii ) Both being presented in a very important placement i.e. the front façade, the subject or the message may be sought to be given a very high importance indeed. ( viii ) Undeniable data input is that by 9th AD at Bhubaneswar was a surgeon who was s/o of a physician i.e. medicine & surgery are mentioned separately ( ix ) He moved in from Jajpur – 100 kms north of Bhubaneswar ( x ) It means health care science was also practiced elsewhere in Orissa in 9thAD ( xi ) To practice health care a hospital was built ( xii ) This hospital has been called as Arghya Bharati. In ancient Prakrit phone Arogya would be pronounced as ‘Arghya’ i.e. it could be Aroyga Bharati ( healing center ) !
@ - It is shown in sculptures of latter date & a evolutionary series is noted.
The art of many a Hindu cult icons including the Jyana Yoga Dakshina Murti ( learning & knowledge bestowing icon ) of Mahadeva ( super deity ) is shown holding half skull in inverted position, is a subject that invites study.
Monuments and Temples as almanacs of human knowledge and achievements of civilizations have been in vogue since the days of Pyramid or even earlier. Assuming that this monument is of 7th A.D and not earlier, it means 1600 yrs ago dissection of human body was probably in vogue in territories as presently known as India ( Orissa in particular ) in Occidental term & as Bharata in ancient Indian & indigenous term.
More importantly public presentation of such skeleton in Chitra Bhasa ( narration via bass relief art ) 20 with associated facets was an accepted means and an essential one. Intimate knowledge could only allow such striking accuracy, lively presentation. Extant archaeology of 7th A.D. & onwards has many a comparable presentation, many better evolved.
Clothed in mythic lore these two sculptures & its series may in actuality have been presentation of anatomy & associated knowledge to the initiated ( medical texts & practice being lost with rise in rabid Brahmanism & conceit 1 ), the general beholder & to the faithful. Each would receive from such almanac to his own capacity, & liking.
On all India basis much may be awaiting for similar correlation to complete the missing link. Such archaeology is not limited to Orissa. In variety, size, finish, numbers, placement, independent presentations, time scale spread, Orissa stands out. Epigraphic evidence seals the issue.