Day 1 – Q 1. A fascinating treatise on medicine and science exists in India’s ancient literature. Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.

  • IASbaba
  • November 28, 2022
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Art & Culture, GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. A fascinating treatise on medicine and science exists in India’s ancient literature. Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.

भारत के प्राचीन साहित्य में चिकित्सा और विज्ञान पर एक आकर्षक प्रकरण मौजूद है। उपयुक्त उदाहरणों की सहायता से स्पष्ट कीजिए।


Candidate can start the answer with highlighting how India’s ancient literature had fame in the medical and science, how science and practice of Ayurveda are narrated in ancient texts. Explain how great level of knowledge and intelligence cultivated medicine, astronomy, geometry, chemistry etc.


Three ancient books known as Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Aryabhattiya, Brahmasphutasiddhanta, Siddhanta-Siromani, written years ago, are considered the main texts on ancient Indian medicine and science.


Medical Science

  • First written knowledge about the Indian system of medicine is found in ‘Atharvaveda’. The treatment of various diseases is given in Atharvaveda’s ‘Bhaisjya Sutra’. A detailed description is found on the topics of general medicine and mental medicine.
  • The texts of a veterinarian named ‘Shalihotra’ are available in Ayurveda, ‘Ashva Symptoms’ and ‘Ashwa Praja’. These include the description of diseases of horses and medicines for their treatment.
  • These texts reveal ancient natural healers who delved into plastic surgery.

Rational Medical Science:

  • Three ancient books known as the Great Trilogy — “Charaka Samhita,” “Sushruta Samhita” and “Astanga Hridaya” — written in Sanskrit more than 2,000 years ago, are considered the main texts on Ayurvedic medicine.

Field of mathematics:

  • By the third century AD, mathematics had evolved into a distinct field of study. The Sulvasutras are thought to be the source of Indian mathematics.
  • The knowledge of the description of trigonometry in Varahamihira’s ‘Surya Siddhanta’ (sixth century). Brahmagupta also provided sufficient information on trigonometry and he also constructed a sine table.
  • Brahmagupta’s Brahmasputa Siddhanta was the first book to mention ‘zero’ as a number; thus, Brahmagupta is known as the man who discovered zero.


  • The Jyotishvedanga texts established systematic categories in astronomy, but Aryabhatta(499 AD) dealt with the more fundamental issue.
  • Varahamihira described all of these observations in Panch Siddhantika, which summarizes the five schools of astronomy prevalent at the time.

Scientific Multi-Disciplinary approach:

  • For example, Varahamihira’s most notable works was the Brihat Samhita, an encyclopaedic study of architecture, temples, planetary motions, eclipses, timekeeping, astrology, seasons, cloud formation, rainfall, agriculture, arithmetic, gemology, scents, and many other topics.
  • Baudhayana discovered Pythagoras at least 1000 years before his birth. He would have had a very high level of education, but he was most likely just interested in using mathematics to support his religious ideas, not for its own purpose.


In the presence of scientists such as Varahamihir, Aryabhatta, and Nagarjuna, ancient India was undeniably technologically advanced in the fields of mathematics, medicine, and physics. Scientifically self-sufficient, and as a Vishwaguru, India was the world’s leader.

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