Zitierweise | cite as: Amarasiṃha <6./8. Jhdt. n. Chr.>: Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana (Amarakośa) / übersetzt von Alois Payer <1944 - >. -- 2. Dvitīyaṃ kāṇḍam. -- 11. manuṣyavargaḥ II. (Über Menschen). -- 1. Vers 1 - 12. (Krankheiten). -- Anhang: Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya [যোগেন্দ্রনাথ ভট্টাচার্য্য] über Arztkasten (1896). -- Fassung vom 2017-04-25. -- URL: http://www.payer.de/amarakosa3/amara211aAnhang.htm
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Bhattacharya, Jogendra Nath [ভট্টাচার্য্য, যোগেন্দ্রনাথ]: Hindu castes and sects : an exposition of the origin of the Hindu caste system and the bearing of the sects towards each other and toward other religious systems. -- Calcutta : Thacker, Spink, 1896. -- 623 S. -- S. 159 - 172
In Bengal [বঙ্গ] the practice of Hindu medicine is the speciality of the caste called Vaidyas [বৈদ্য]. In Assam [অসম ] there is a similar caste, called the Bez [বেজ], who have the same privilege. But no such caste is to be found in any other part of India, and, in the other provinces, the Hindu medical science is studied and practised by the local Brahmans. In Bengal also there are a few Brahmans who are Vaidyas by profession. One of the greatest of these is Hari Nath Vidyaratna [হরিনাথ ৱিদ্যারত্ন] of Calcutta [কলকাতা]. He has not only established a large practice by his marvellous skill in the healing art, but his mastery of Sanskrit medical literature has attracted round him a crowd of admiring pupils such as very few of those, who are Vaidyas by birth, can boast of.
The Vaidyas of Bengal are supposed to be of the caste of mixed descent called Ambastha [ambaṣṭha] in Manu’s Code. Though this account of their origin is accepted by most of the Vaidyas themselves, yet, for practical purposes, their position in the caste system is inferior to only that of the Brahmans and the Rajputs [राज्पुत्]. A good Brahman will not minister to a Vaidya as a priest, but even among the Brahmans of the highest class there are very few who will hesitate to accept a Vaidya’s gifts, or to enrol a member of the caste among his spiritual disciples. When there is a feast in a Brahman’s house, the Vaidya guests are made to sit at their dinner in a separate room, but almost at the same time as the Brahman guests. The Kayasthas [কায়স্থ] neither expect nor claim such honor. On the contrary, the Dakshina Rarhi Kayasthas of Bengal insist that, as they are the servants to the Brahmans, they cannot commence until their masters, the Brahmans, have finished. The Rajputs do not usually eat in the house of any Bengali Brahman, but when they do, they receive generally the same attention as the Vaidyas. The only reason why the caste status of a Rajput must be said to be superior to that of the Vaidya is that while a Brahman may, without any hesitation, accept a gift from a Rajput and officiate as his priest, he cannot so honour a Vaidya without lowering his own status to some extent.
The Vaidyas are, as a class, very intelligent, and in respect of culture and refinement stand on almost the same level as the Brahmans and the superior Kayasthas. The majority of the Vaidyas, wear the sacred thread, and perform pujas [পূজ] and prayers in the same manner as the Brahmans. From these circumstances it might be contended that they are degraded Brahmans, but their non-Brahmanic surnames negative that supposition. In all probability, they are Ambastha Kayasthas [अंबष्ठ कायस्थ]of South Behar [बिहार]. This view is supported by the fact that they themselves profess to be Ambasthas, and also by the circumstance that, like the Kayasthas of Upper India, the Vaidyas of East Bengal consider the taking of the thread as more or less optional, instead of regarding it as obligatory. The Vaidyas of the eastern districts do not take it even now, and as to those of Dacca [ঢাকা] and the adjoining districts it is said that they are taking it only since the time of the famous Raj Ballava, who was one of the most powerful ministers in the Court of Suraj-Dowla, and whose ambition materially paved the way of the East India Company to the sovereignty of Bengal.
The numerical strength of the Vaidya caste is not very considerable. In the last Census their total number is given as amounting to 82,932. The computation of their number seems to be correct enough; but they have been most improperly placed in the same group with the astrologers, exorcisors and herbalists, implying an insult which is quite unmerited, and against which every one, knowing anything about the importance and usefulness of the class, must feel inclined to protest. If the Vaidyas themselves have not expressed any dissatisfaction at the wanton attempt to humiliate them, made by the authors of the Census Reports, it is perhaps the consciousness that the Hindu caste system, which gives them a position next only to that of the Brahmans, is not likely, for a long time, to be affected by the fiat of a foreign power, however great it may be.
The three main divisions among the Vaidyas are the following: —
There is a class of Vaidyas in West Bengal called Panchakoti Vaidyas, who derive their name from the district of Panch Kote or Pachete now called Purulia [পুরুলিয়া] or Manbhoom. But intermarriages take place sometimes between them and the Rarhi Vaidyas, and they may be regarded as a sub-class of the Rarhis. The Sylheti Vaidyas form a distinct class, not only by their omission to take the sacred thread, but also by intermarriage with Kayasths and even low class Sudras.
The following are the usual surnames of the Vaidyas
Like the learned Brahmans, some of the eminent Vaidyas use as their surnames such academical titles as Kabi Ratna [কৱিরত্ন], Kabi Bhusana [কৱিভূষণ], Kantha Bharana [কণ্ঠভারণ], &c. The Vaidyas are the only non-Brahmanic caste who are admitted into the Sanskrit Grammar schools of Bengal for studying grammar and belles lettres. Not being Brahmans, they are not allowed to study the Vedas and the Smritis [স্মৠতি]. But in respect of general scholarship in Sanskrit, some of the Vaidyas attain great eminence. The name of Bharat Mallik [ভারত মল্লিক], * who was a Vaidya of Dhatrigram [ধাত্রীগ্রাম] near Kalna [কালনা], is well-known to every Sanskritist in Bengal as a commentator on the Mugdhabodha Vyakarana [Mugdhabodhaṃ vyākaraṇam] and as the author of a series of excellent annotations, read by Brahmans themselves as a part of their curriculum, in order to be able to study and enjoy the leading Sanskrit poems.
* Bharat Mallik has left no descendants. His brother’s descendants are now living at Patilpara near Kalna.
The late Kaviraj Gangadhar [কবিরাজ গঙ্গাধর, 1798 - 1895] of Berhampore [বহরমপুর] was perhaps one of the greatest Sanskritists of his time. He was the author of a large number of valuable works on different subjects, and even the greatest Pandits [পণ্ডিত] of the country used to consider him as a foeman worthy of their steel.
For professional eminence and skill the Vaidya names now best known are the following: —
Of these Paresh Nath, Govind Chandra and Dwarka Nath are the pupils of the late Kaviraj Gangadhar [কবিরাজ গঙ্গাধর, 1798 - 1895].
Paresh Nath is perhaps the ablest and the most learned among them, though his devotion to study and certain eccentricities which prepossess men against him, have prevented him from being able to establish a large practice.
Among the Kavirajes [কৱিরাজ] of the Vaidya caste, Bijaya Ratna and Dwarka Nath have the largest practice in Calcutta.
Govinda Chandra is a descendant of the physician to the historical Raja Raj Ballava [রাজ রাজ বল্লভ], and is himself employed in a similar relation to the present titular Nabob [নবাব] of Moorshedabad [মুর্শিদাবাদ].
Mani Mohan is a younger brother of Govinda. He is a young man, but is well grounded in Kaviraji learning, as well as English medical science; and he is fast rising in eminence. He has perhaps the largest number of pupils next to the Brahmanic Kaviraj Hari Nath.
In spite of the laudable efforts made by these and other gentlemen, belonging to the profession, to revive the cultivation of our ancient medical lore, Kaviraji must be regarded, to a great extent, as a lost art. A great many of the leading Sanskrit text-books on the subject are still extant. But the necessary incentives and facilities for studying them are sadly wanting. In the absence of museums and botanical gardens adapted to the requirements of the Kaviraji student, the difficulties in his way are great. Until recently he could not get even a printed copy of Charak [caraka] or Susrata [suśruta], either for love or money. That difficulty has been removed by the enterprise of our publishing firms. But even now the only way to acquire a mastery of our ancient medical science lies in being apprenticed to some leading Kaviraj, and to be in his good graces for a great many years. This is necessarily well-nigh impossible except for a few of the friends and relatives of the teachers. There are no doubt a good many Kavirajes who, in accordance with the time-honored custom of the country, consider it their duty to devote their leisure hours, and their surplus income for the benefit of their pupils. But in the absence of regular colleges and museums it becomes very often impossible for them to give the student an exact idea of a great many of the drugs and plants mentioned in their books. In practice, the Kaviraji student very seldom studies the works of the best authorities on the subject. He reads a Manual of Therapeutics by some latter-day compiler, and then begins his practice. It is this system that has brought discredit on the Kaviraji science. There are splendid works on anatomy and surgery in Sanskrit. But these are neglected altogether. The Kaviraje’s therapeutics no doubt supersedes the necessity of surgery even in such cases as dropsy, stone and carbuncle. But the practice of therapeutics itself is impossible without a supply of such drugs as very few Kavirajes can procure, or their patients can pay for. The majority of those who are known as Kavirajes are therefore quite incapable of vindicating the value of their lore, and the votaries of the English medical science have succeeded in securing the public confidence to a much greater extent. But the great Kavirajes, who have the necessary learning and stock of drugs, are known to have achieved success in cases which the best English physicians had pronounced to be quite hopeless. The very quacks among the Kavirajes often display very remarkable skill, in making diagnosis land prognosis, by simply feeling the pulse, and without the help of any scientific appliance, such as the watch, the thermometer, and the stethescope.
The Vaidya seldom fails to achieve success in any line that he adopts. The name of Raja Raj Ballava [রাজ রাজ বল্লভ], who from a very humble station became the virtual Governor of Dacca [ঢাকা] under Suraj Dowla [সুরাজ দৌলা], has been already referred to. Under British rule no native of the country can have any scope for the display of similar ability. But, even under the present régime, many Vaidyas have distinguished themselves outside their own proper sphere. The late Babu Ram Kamal Sen [রামকমল সেন, 1783 - 1844], who was the friend and collaborateur of Professor H. H. Wilson, held with great credit the post of the Dewan [দেওয়ান] or Treasurer of the Bank of Bengal. His son, Hari Mohan Sen [হরিমোহন সেন], not only held that post after his father’s death, but subsequently became the Prime Minister of the Jaipur Raj [जयपुर]. Babu Hari Mohan’s son is the wellknown publicist and patriot, Norendra Nath Sen [নরন্দ্রনাথ সেন], the proprietor and editor of the Indian Mirror.
The most gifted and the best known among the descendants of Ram Kamal Sen [রামকমল সেন] was the late Babu Keshav Chandra Sen [কেশব চন্দ্র সেন, 1838 - 1884]. Whatever difference of opinion there many be as to his claims to be regarded as a religious reformer or as to his capacity as a thinker, there cannot be the least doubt that India has not given birth to a more gifted orator. Wherever he spoke, and whether in English or in Bengali, he simply charmed the audience, and kept them spell-bound as it were. In the beginning of his career, he rendered a great service to the cause of Hinduism by counteracting the influence of the late Dr. Duff [Alexander Duff, 1806 – 1878], and the army of native missionaries trained up by him. Babu Keshav Chandra was then the idol of the people, as he was the bête noire of the Christian propagandists. He was, however, too practical a man not to value the friendship of the ruling caste, and when  Lord Lawrence [John Laird Mair Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence, 1811 – 1879], who was a man of prayer, became the Viceroy of India, he developed predilections for Christianity which found expression in his splendid oration on “Jesus Christ, Europe and Asia. ” By this move, he softened the bitterness of the missionaries, and at the same time secured the friendship of the Saviour of the Punjab. Thenceforward his leaning towards Christianity increased, until it was actually apprehended that he was in fact a follower of Christ. Lord Lawrence left India in 1868, and in the next year Keshav Chandra visited England. He there professed such doctrines that he was allowed to preach from the pulpits of many Dissenting churches. The influence of Lord Lawrence, and his splendid oratorical powers, introduced him into the highest society. Her Gracious Majesty herself granted him the honour of an interview. Before his departure a farewell meeting was convened at the Hanover Square Rooms, at which no less than eleven denominations of Christians were represented. While in England he spoke at upwards of seventy different public meetings to upwards of forty thousand people, and created the impression that his religion was only a form of Christianity. This attitude he maintained with consistency till 1879, the year of Lord Lawrence’s death. On the 9th of April in that year he spoke about Christ as follows in the course of an oration delivered at the Town Hall: —
Gentlemen, you cannot deny that your hearts have been touched, conquered and subjugated by a superior power. That power, need I tell you? is Christ. It is Christ who rules British India, and not the British Government. England has sent out a tremendous moral force in the life and character of that mighty prophet to conquer and hold this vast empire. None but Jesus, none but Jesus, none but Jesus, ever deserved this bright, this precious diadem—India, and Jesus shall have it.
At this time the political situation of Keshav was apparently very embarrassing. On the one hand, so long as Lord Lawrence was living, he could not, without gross inconsistency and forfeiture of the esteem of the ex-Viceroy, betray any leaning towards the religion of his forefathers. On the other hand, he had in the previous year married his daughter to the Maharaja of Kooch Behar [কোচবিহার], and, as by doing so and countenancing the celebration of the wedding in the Hindu form, he had exposed himself to the charge of inconsistency and ambitiousness for secular aggrandisement, he could not but feel inclined to profess a liking for those forms. From the point of view of one who did not believe in caste, and desired nothing more than to destroy it altogether, the marriage could be held to be objectionable on the only ground that the parties had not arrived at the marriageable age, according to the standard fixed by Keshav himself. But if the parties themselves desired the marriage, as they certainly did, Keshav could not, consistently with his principles, throw any obstacle in their way. Nor could he object to the form of the marriage which was also a matter entirely between the bridegroom and the bride. But popular voice, in awarding its praise or blame to public men, is seldom very reasonable. The pro-Christian doctrines which Keshav had been professing from the year 1866, and the church-like form of his prayer-house, had made him very unpopular among his countrymen. So the Kooch Behar marriage not only provoked open comments of a very strong character, but actually led to the secession of the majority of his followers. Keshav might perhaps have prevented the split by the line of defence, which, as stated above, was clearly open to him. But he made things worse by declaring that what he had done was in accordance with the order of God, communicated to him in some mysterious way. He said: —
“Men have attempted to prove that I have been guided by my own imagination, reason and intellect. Under this conviction they have from time to time protested against my proceedings. They should remember that to protest against the cause I uphold is to protest against the dispensations of God Almighty, the God of all Truth and Holiness.
“In doing this work I am confident I have not done anything that is wrong. I have ever tried to do the Lord’s will, not mine. Surely I am not to blame for anything which I may have done under Heaven’s injunction Dare you impeach Heaven’s Majesty? Would you have me reject God and Providence, and listen to your dictates in preference to his inspiration? Keshav Chandra Sen cannot do it, will not do it. ”
Such defence as is contained in the above might serve its purpose in the case of the leader of a set of uneducated rustics. But in the case of Keshav Chandra, who had some of the most cultured men of the metropolis of British India among his followers, it served only to shake their confidence in him all the more. The party that he had organised by years of hard work melted away in the course of a few days. He could hope to organise another party only by the more or less complete adoption of one of the faiths of his ancestors. But so long as Lord Lawrence was living that was impossible. And even so late as April 1879, he spoke as a devout Christian in public, as would appear from the passages cited at p. 165, ante. Lord Lawrence died in 1879, and the very next year Keshav gave the following certificate of good character to the Hindu religion: —
“Hindu idolatry is not to be altogether overlooked or rejected. As we explained some time ago, it represents millions of broken fragments of God, collect them together and you get the individual Divinity. To believe in an undivided deity without reference to those aspects of his nature is to believe in an abstract God, and it would lead us to practical rationalism and infidelity. If we are to worship Him in all His manifestation we shall name one attribute—Sarswatee [সরস্বতী], another Lakshmi লক্ষ্মী৯, another Mahadeva [মহাদেৱ], another Jagadhatri [জগদ্ধাত্রী], &c., and worship God each day under a new name, that is to say, in a new aspect. ”—Sunday Mirror, 1880.
This is clearly inculcating idolatry to its fullest extent, though the author of it is careful enough not to enjoin expressly the worship of Siva’s Linga [শিৱলিংগ], Kali’s [কালী]obscenities, or Krishna’s [কৠষ্ণ] battalions of sweethearts. The passage cited above appeared in a newspaper, and was apparently meant only to prepare men’s mind for the coup d'état that followed in 1881 under the name of New Dispensation [নৱ ৱিধান]. Ever since the Kooch Behar [কোচবিহার] marriage, which certainly required something like a Papal Dispensation under which an unlawful marriage might take place among the Roman Catholics, the word “dispensation” [ৱিধান] had evidently taken a firm hold on Keshav’s mind. At least, that is the only explanation which can be suggested of the name which he gave to his new cult. Its manifesto was in form addressed to all the great nations of the world, the chief burden of the document being an exhortation that they should learn to practise toleration. Taking into consideration, however, the events that immediately preceded it in the life of the author, there cannot be any doubt that it was meant only to cover his retreat to the fold of Hinduism, or rather to a position where he could organise a new party, without much inconsistency, and without losing the wrecks of his former party. My review of Keshav’s life has already been carried to a far greater length than what may be deemed proper in this book. I cannot carry the notice further. But what I have said will, I hope, suffice to form a just estimate of his character and powers. His capacity or solicitude to achieve any real good for mankind may be doubted; but there can be no question as to his power to dazzle them in a manner which is rare indeed, and the Vaidya community to which he belonged might certainly be proud of him.
Although the profession of the Vaidayas [বৈদ্য] enables them to acquire both money and power in a fair and noble way, yet the Brahmanical ambition of playing the role of a prophet is rather too common among them, and Keshav Chandra’s case is not the only instance of such craving. Babu Pratap Chandra Majumdar [প্রতাপ চন্দ্র মজুমদার, 1840 - 1905], who was his colleague in his lifetime, and who is, or at least ought to be, regarded as his spiritual successor, is also a Vaidya, and possesses very nearly the same gifts as his late chief. Narhari Thakoor [নরহরি ঠাকুর], who was one of the leading disciples of Chaitanya [চৈতন্য, 1486 - 1534], and whose descendants are, as a result of that connection, now able to live like princes at Srikhand [শ্রীখণ্ড] near Katwa [কাটোয়া], was also a Vaidya. So is also the living prophet “Kumar” Krishna Prasanna Sen ["কুমার" কৠষ্ণাপ্রসন্ন সেন / "कुमार" कृष्णप्रसन्न सेन], who, by his advocacy of Hinduism and his charming eloquence, has made himself almost an object of regular worship among certain classes of Hindus throughout the greater part of the Hindi-speaking districts between Bhagulpur [भागलपुर] and Allahabad [इलाहाबाद]. His want of sufficient command over the English language has prevented him from attracting much of the notice of the Englishmen residing in this country; but the influence which he has acquired among the half-educated classes in Behar [बिहार] and Upper India is very great. The higher classes, and especially the Brahmans, are somewhat prepossessed against him on account of his caste, and the usual shallow philosophy of a stumper. The parade which he makes of the fact of his being unmarried, by the use of the designation of “Kumar” [कुमार] serves to make him sometimes an object of ridicule.
Though the Vaidya population of the country is, as already stated, very small compared with the other leading castes, yet persons belonging to the medical clan are to be found in high positions in almost all the departments that can attract the intellectual classes. Among high officials, the names of Messrs. B. L. Gupta [গুপ্ত] and K. G. Gupta of the Bengal Civil Service stand conspicuous. In the legal profession, the late Babus Mahesh Chandra Chowdry [महेश चंद्र चौधरी] and Kali Mohan Das [কালীমোহন দাশ], who were among the ablest advocates of the Bengal High Court in their time, were Vaidyas by caste. So was also the late Babu Mritunjoy Roy মৃত্যুঞ্জয় রায], who was the leading pleader of the District Court of Nadiya [নদিয়া]. Among the living Vaidya vakils of the Bengal High Court, the names best known are those of Doorga Mohan Das [দুর্গামোহন দাশ, 1841–1897], Girija Sankar Majumdar [গিরিজাশংকর মজুমদার] and Akhil Chandra Sen [অখিলচন্দ্র সেন]. Babu Girija Sankar is a zemindar also. Babu Akhil is a Vaidya of Chittagong [চট্টগ্রাম]. Among District Court practitioners the most conspicuous Vaidyas are Guru Prosad Sen [গুরুপ্রসাদ সেন], Ambika Chandra Majumdar [অম্বিকচন্দ্র মজুমদার] and Baikant Nath Barat. Babu Guru Prosad practises in the District Court of Patna [पटना], Babu Ambika Chandra at Faridpore [ফরিদপুর], and Babu Baikant Nath at Moorshedabad [মুর্শিদাবাদ]. The latter not only enjoys great professional eminence, but is the friend, philosopher and guide of the local zemindars.
In connection with the Press of Bengal, the name of Babu Narendra Nath Sen, Editor of the daily called the Indian Mirror, has been mentioned already. The weekly paper called Hope is also edited by a Vaidya named Amrita Lal Roy, who passed many years of his life in Europe and America, and served his apprenticeship in the art of journalism in connection with one of the leading newspapers of New York.
The Vaidyas are very clannish, and, wherever a Vaidya manages to get into a high office, he is sure to introduce as many of his castemen as he can into the department. Babu Ram Kamal Sen, who, as mentioned already, was the Dewan of the Bank of Bengal, introduced at one time a very large number of his clansmen there. The East Indian Railway office at Jamalpore [জামালপুর] isperhaps still similarly full of Vaidyas, introduced through the influence of its late head clerk, Babu Madhu Sudan Roy [মধুসূদন রায], the father of Babu Amrita Lal Roy, of the Hope.
The Vaidyas are a fast money-making, and a fast money-spending, class. Even the poorest among them are usually quite above want, while a great many of them are in very easy circumstances, either by the practice of their profession, or by their success in other lines of business. But a Vaidya has very seldom a long purse. He spends whatever he earns in feeding his relatives and his pupils. The descendants of Raj Ballava were at one time big landholders. But they have been ruined, and the only Vaidya zemindars to be now found in the country are those of Teota [তেওতা], Bani Bau, Rajbari [রাজবাড়ী], Meherpore [মেহেরপুর], and Agradwipa [অগ্রদ্বীপ]. Among the traders and shopkeepers there is perhaps not a single man of the Vaidya caste.
The word Bez seems to be an Assamese corruption of the Sanskrit word “Vaidya.” At any rate, the Bez caste of Assam have the same position and the same functions as the Vaidyas have in Bengal. Like the Vaidyas, the Bez are an aristocratic and cultured class. Some of the Bez practise Hindu medicine in their native country, while a great many of them are now receiving English education, and adopting one or other of the different professions which are open to the higher classes of Hindus under the present régime. The late Mr. Andi Ram Barua [বৰুৱা], of the Bengal Civil Service, was a Bez. So is also Dr. Golap Chandra Bez Barua [বেজবৰুৱা], who holds at present the charge of a public hospital in British Guiana in South America.
The Bez wear the sacred thread.
Zurück zu: manuṣyavargaḥ II. (Über Menschen). -- 1. Vers 1 - 12. (Krankheiten)