A new article by Andrey Klebanov has recently appeared in the Festschrift to Prof. K. G. Zysk . Klebanov studies a manuscript in the Government Oriental Manuscript Library in Chennai that is titled simply “A commentary on Suśruta” (Suśrutavyākhyā). The manuscript is MS Chennai GOML R 3422 and has 220 pages. The Chennai MS is a transcription of an older MS described as no. 7 in the collection of V. N. Narayanan Nambudiri Vaidyamatam Tiruthala post, made in the year 1920-1921. Ashtavaidyan Vaidyamadham Valiya Narayanan Namboodiri was an eminent Keralan physician who lived from 1882 to 1959.
While discussing the Compendium of Suśruta, the commentary often “makes use of a debate-like dialectic approach, which routinely utilizes complex nested arguments” that include methodological discussions about the very process of writing a commentary. “Commentators do not learn the sūtras directly from their original composers,” argues the anonymous author, noting that, “sūtras do after all have multiple meanings, so it is legitimate for commentators to propose several different interpretations.”
Another special feature of this commentary is that it bristles with citations from named medical authors. Klebanov lists twenty such authorities, starting with Bhoja, who is quoted most often. (This Bhoja is an ancient pre-Suśruta medical authority whose work is lost.)
This anonymous commentary includes other lively and complex discussions on various aspects of Āyurvedic doctrine and practice.