Causes of Suffering: Unravelling Suśruta and Sāṅkhya


  • Vitus Angermeier University of Vienna
  • Anja Vukadin


Ayurveda, disease causation, Suśrutasaṃhitā, medical literature, South Asian Studies


A passage on suffering (duḥkha) in the first section of the Suśruta­saṃhitā (SS), one of the foundational compendia of Āyurveda, elaborates on three kinds of suffering. The very same scheme also occurs in the commentarial literature of Sāṅkhya, one of the oldest and most important philosophical systems of South Asia. In the SS, however, this account leads a solitary life, never referred to in the whole work again, nor in other contemporary medical literature. This article will determine the actual position of this passage within the work and its relation to the Sāṅkhya parallels, and examine other approaches regarding the causation of suffering and disease in the SS. To this end, not only its representation in the vulgate edition of the SS, but also the version appearing in three early Nepalese manuscripts will be considered.




How to Cite

Angermeier, V., & Vukadin, A. (2024). Causes of Suffering: Unravelling Suśruta and Sāṅkhya. Studia Orientalia Electronica, 1–23.