Navantika Ancient Indian Medical Text On Drugs In Oxford

Starting in August 2009, I have been writing this blog on the antiquity of Sanatan Dharma, it’s ancient texts, its presence throughout the world and the almost ignored history of Tamil and Tamils and their intricate links and contribution to Sanatan dharma.I have with adequate evidence presented facts and am presenting on these aspects.My object is to make people aware of the hoary past of India, which has been denied to them by mis/ disinformation and outright lies.Anything about these topics are dismissed as myths, not proven, despite compelling evidence.However, I shall continue so that readers may take my articles as reference and start researching to find out for themselves the truth from original sources. I am providing links, excerpts in each article and have provided a list of references as ‘ Sources for RamanisBlog’ in my Page.

One important point is to find out where the ancient texts are now . One must remember that most of Indian philosophy,nay nearly all of it, has been transmitted orally since five thousand years ago.We should thank our ancestors for their foresight as sound cannot be destroyed as the Library at Alexandria or Nalanda University.Thus Vedic texts have survived.Yet texts were also written on Palm leaves and were left with select families who either compiled them or who knew the value of them. The same procedure was adopted in Tamil Literature too.But for the effort of Late.Sri.U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer, called Tamil Thatha, Grandfather of Tamil,Sangam Literature wouldn’t have seen the day.He travelled through the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu, collected these ancient Tamil tresearures, published them,which otherwise would have been lost.( Incidentally , he is related to me on my mother’s side,though I am branded as anti Tamil).

In the same way, many ancient manuscripts, written in scripts, Devanagari,Pali,Brahmi, Tamil Vattezuthu were spread throughout the world ,as may be attested by the fact these manuscripts are found in Sri Lanka, in China,Tibet and elsewhere.Christian missionaries and East India company officials procured them,both intentionally and unintentionally and doctored them to help them in proselytisation and rule India by misinformation, thus making people lose respect for their Scriptures and scientific texts by calling them ‘Legends,Myths,Stories..’.

Yet our history is there for the Searching. You can find them in our temple Epigraphs, local folklores, texts in Indian languages.One can cross check them to arrive at facts.I have written series of articles on these.

Some of our ancient treasures/ manuscripts are in Germany,Austria,UK, US …and also with private collectors.An exhibit found in London museum was returned to the Private collector after heat was turned on it .It was Egyptian Tomb II which contained Bhagavad Gita verses. I had personally checked it when in visited London Museum in 2019.

One such manuscript is the Navantika Manuscript. It was found in Central Asia, by Hamilton Bower, Lieutenant, when he was chasing a criminal there. The Bower Manuscript, sometimes referred to as the Yashomitra Manuscript, is preserved in the collections of the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

The Bower Manuscript, Navantika

The story of the purchase goes in this way – On the night of 2nd or 3rd March 1890, a man came to his tent and offered to sell him old manuscripts and artefacts that his treasure hunters had found. Bower bought them. This proves that the European explorers, army officers, members of the Society of Jesus and others had been in the vigorous searchers and purchasers of Indian manuscripts[1]. James Waterhouse, the then President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Waterhouse mentioned that the Bower manuscript had 56 leaves (the edition now preserved at Bodleian Library has 51 leaves). That is five pages / leaves were missing from the recovered collection. He reported that the Bower manuscript was bound with two wooden boards on either end and a string running through a hole. The fragmentary manuscript was analyzed, edited, translated and published by Rudolf Hoernle in 1897 in instalments.

Navantika ( Bower) Manuscript.

It is bound in sodden board with 56 leaves and it is on Medicine.’

  1. The first chapter will give prescriptions of powders ;
  2. the second of clarified butter;
  3. the third will be concerned with oils.
  4. The fourth will be about the mixtures which are used in the treatment of various diseases.
  5. The fifth will give prescriptions of clysters,
  6. the sixth rules about elixirs.
  7. The seventh will be about gruels,
  8. the eighth about aphrodisiacs,
  9. the ninth about eyewashes,
  10. the tenth about hair-dyes.
  11. The eleventh will be concerned with applications of the yellow myrobalan.
  12. The twelfth will be about bitumen,
  13. the thirteenth about castor-oil.
  14. The fourteenth will be concerned with the treatment of children;
  15. the fifteenth will deal with the treatment of barren women.Lastly the sixteenth will be about the treatment of women who have children.

 These sixteen chapters will constitute the Navanitaka.

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