The opening scribal invocation of KL 699 dedicates the work to Kamalahasta “him with the lotus hands.” This is an honorific title used for the Buddhist Padmapāṇi or Avalokiteśvara.
MSS K originally read ādhyāyam, but a scribe corrected it to adhyāyam. N reads the ungrammatical ādhyāyam.
Perhaps N was copied from K before the correction was made in K?
The expression “yathovāca bhagavān dhanvantariḥ||2||” “As Reverend Dhanvantari said,” is present in the Ācārya 1931 vulgate and most printed editions but is absent in MSS K, N and H. This is important for the history of the text, since it removes a layer of divine narration from the work.
The reading of MS K omits reference to Dhanvantari. It may be translated:
Now, then, Aupadhenava, Vaitaraṇa, Aurabhra, Puṣkalāvata, Karavīra, Gopurarakṣita, Bhoja, Suśruta and others addressed Reverend Divodāsa, king of Kāśī, the best of the immortals, surrounded by groups of sages, who was in his ashram.
- In MS K, a later scribal hand has added “dhanvantari” faintly in the margin above “divodāsam aupa[dhenava]”:
“Dhanvantari” is also omitted in MS N but is present in H. This reading with “dhanvantarim” is normal in the vulgate editions. This is a second case where the early Nepalese MSS remove Dhanvantari from the narrative frame.
The above two readings distance this part of the work from Dhanvantari. As has shown, the only section of KL 699 to associate itself with Dhanvantari is the Kalpasthāna, which deals predominantly with toxicology. If this is the oldest form of the Suśrutasaṃhitā, then references in other texts to “the followers of Dhanvantari” (Skt. dhanvantarīyāḥ) might be references not to surgeons but to poison specialists.
- The list of speakers includes Bhoja, a pre-500 CE author of a Bhojasaṃhitā (see HIML IA, 690-691). Bhoja is omitted from the vulgate editions.