Understanding Hinduism

  • By Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London
  • April 18, 2005

Surgery & Contributions     

A. Surgery
1. Plastic Surgery In India 2,600 Years Ago - Shushruta, known as the Father of Surgery, practiced his skill as early as 600 BCE. He used cheek skin to perform plastic surgery to restore or reshape the nose, ears and lips with incredible results. Modern plastic surgery acknowledges his contributions by calling this method of rhinoplasty as the Indian method.
2. 125 Types of Surgical Instruments - “The Hindu (Indians) were so advanced in surgery that their instruments could cut a hair longitudinally.” Mrs. Plunket

Shushruta worked with 125 kinds of surgical instruments, which included scalpels, lancets, needles, catheters, rectal speculums, mostly conceived from jaws of animals and birds to obtain the necessary grips. He also defined various methods of stitching; the use of horses’ hair, fine thread, fibers of bark, goats’ guts and ants’ heads.
3. 300 Different Operations - Shushruta describes the details of more than 300 operations and 42 surgical processes. In this compendium Shushruta Samhita he minutely classifies surgery into 8 types:


=    extracting solid bodies


=    excision


=     incision


=     probing


=     scarification


=     puncturing


=     evacuating fluids


=     suturing

The ancient Indians were also the first to perform amputation, caesarean surgery and cranial surgery. For rhinoplasty, Shushruta first measured the damaged nose, skillfully sliced off skin from the cheek and sutured the nose. Then put medicated cotton to heal the operation.

B. Contributions
“Its is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to the west, such gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and tables, hypnotism and chess, and above all numerals and the decimal system.” Will Durant (American Historian. 1885-1981)

1. Language - “The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.” Sir William Jones (British Orientalist. 1746-1794)

2. Philosophy - “If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problem of life, and has found solutions, I should point out to India.” Max Muller (German Scholar. 1823-1900)

3. Religion - “There can no longer be any real doubt that both Islam and Christianity owe the foundations of both their mystical and their scientific achievements to Indian initiatives.” Philip Rawson (British Orientalist)

4. Atomic Physics - “After the conversations about Indian Philosophy, some of the ideals of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.”  W. Heisenberg (German Physicist. 1901-1976)

5. Surgery - “The surgery of the ancient Indian physicians was bold and skillful. A special branch of surgery was devoted to rhinoplasty or operations for improving deformed ears, noses and forming new ones, which European surgeons have now borrowed.” Sir W. Hunter (British Surgeon. 1718-1783)

6. Literature  - “In the great books of India, an Empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercises us.” R.W. Emerson (American Essayist. 1803-1882)

Receive Site Updates