Sushruta and his Saṃhitā — Part 9— Sushruta graced Bharat at least 5561 BCE!
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
In the previous post we demonstrated Hoernlés erroneous dating methodology. In this part we present a more plausible time period based on the following information:
Lunar months, corresponding seasons & timing of Sushruta Samhita
Sushruta Samhita states the following lunar months for the specific seasons of the year. If we understand lunar month of Bhadrapada as the beginning of the Varsha season, i.e. lunar month of Bhadrapada coinciding with the time of summer solstice, it leads us to the time of ~4000 BCE.
If we align the timing of Kartika/Margashirsha with the Sharad season to mean the point of fall equinox was at the intersection of Karitka/Margashirsha, it lead us to the time of ~3000 BCE.
If we perform sensitivity analysis by taking into account various sources of variations (Adhika masa, delaying of corrections to seasons/lunar months shifts, etc.) we may thus define this time interval to be a broad time interval of 5000 BCE through 2000 BCE.
Unusual descriptions of Seasons
There is a peculiar problem with descriptions of seasons, somewhat unique to Sushruta Samhita.
Sushruta Samhita thus maintain 6 seasons. However the text does not explain what caused this change and does not explain the correspondence of its own seasons with that of standard list of seasons.
Per this arrangement, the timing of Sushruta Samhita can be considered to be that of our times or may be about 2000 years ago. This then remains the limitation of dating effort based on internal evidence of Sushruta Samhita.
Dating of Sage Sushruta via evidence of Ancient Indian Narratives.
We will evaluate references to Sage Sushruta and his genealogy from three different ancient Indian texts. The triangulation of genealogy evidence from these three texts asserts the timing of Sage Sushruta to be before 5561 BCE and more likely long before 5561 BCE!
Sage Sushruta & his genealogy from the Mahabharata text.
Sage Sushruta and prominent members of lineage are mentioned in the Mahabharata text. The reference appears in the Anushasan Parva CE4:49–58, GP 50–59.
Two points are worth noting from the above list are:
(1) The genealogy list includes names of Madhucchanda, Devarata, Sushruta and Vishwamitra.
(2) If this list is assumed to have listed prominent members of Sushruta’s genealogy and in the generational sequence, then there were numerous prominent individuals, after Sushruta before the time of Mahabharata.
Shri Nilesh Oaks’ original research work, over a period of 25+ years, using multidisciplinary evidence of astronomy, hydrology, geology, oceanography, climatology, seismology, physical anthropology, genetics and its triangulation with 300+ pieces of internal evidence of the Mahabharata text has established 5561 BCE as the year of the Mahabharata War and 6th millennium BCE as the time of the Mahabharata text.
Sage Sushruta is described as existing prior to this timing of the Mahabharata war. Thus, Sage Sushruta existed before 5561 BCE or long before 5561 BCE!
One may wonder if the mere occurrence of name ‘Sushruta’ in the list sufficient to identify this Sushruta of Vishwamitra-Madhucchanda-Devarata family to be same as Sage Sushruta of medicinal Samhita — Sushruta Samhita.
This is indeed a valid doubt/concern. Fortunately references to same family genealogy in other ancient Indian narratives provide helpful validation.
Sage Sushruta and his genealogy from Garuda Purana
Fortunately, Garuda Purana (Adhyaya 139:8–11) mentions the same genealogy of Vishwamitra-Madhucchanda-Devarata. The list does not mention ‘Sushruta’ explicitly. However, let’s note down the name ‘Divodas-atmaja’ from Shlok 139:10.
The list refers to ‘Vaidya-Dhanvantari’, an obvious reference to the family of ‘medicine men’. To complete our triangulation, we will look at the Sushruta family connection from Sushruta Samhita, itself.
Sage Sushruta and his genealogy from Sushruta Samhita
Sushruta Samhita (Adhyaya 1:3, 10 & 12) refers to the connection of the medicine men — Sushruta and Divodasa. It tells us that Sage Sushruta was the son of Divodasa and also his disciple. Divodasa of Kashi imparted this knowledge of ancient Indian medicine to Sushruta along with many other disciples.
Future research efforts may provide additional clues in determining exact timing of Sage Sushruta; however based on the available information we can confidently conclude that Sage Sushruta existed before 5561 BCE and more likely long before 5561 BCE.
We had made a few other claims at the outset which we will address in the concluding part. Stay tuned!
Follow this series for a fascinating journey to find out more.
1: Oak, N. (2018). Bhishma Nirvana: An Astronomy Poison Pill. Bhima LLC.
2: Oak, N. (2011). When Did the Mahabharata War Happen? The Mystery of Arundhati. Danphe Inc.