The Compendium of Suśruta (सुश्रुतसंहिता) is a treatise on classical Indian medicine written in Sanskrit about two thousand years ago. It is one of the foundations of Ayurveda.
Today, The Compendium of Suśruta is normally studied through printed editions from the twentieth century that were in turn based on about a dozen ninenteenth-century manuscripts. These printed editions are full of errors and difficulties.
In January 2007, the Nepal-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project announced the discovery of an ancient palm-leaf manuscript of The Compendium that is reliably datable to 878 CE, MS Kathmandu KL 699. The manuscript is part of the Kathmandu library of Kesar Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana (1892–1964), a former Prime Minister of Nepal, and has been added by UNESCO to the “Memory of the World” register.
This manuscript pushes our physical evidence for the Compendium back by a millennium. Study of this thousand-year-old manuscript reveals a much earlier stage of the work’s textual development. This evidence, together with that of two closely-related early manuscripts in the Nepalese National Archives, places our historical understanding of this Asian medical classic on a new foundation.
The background images on this website are from MS Kathmandu KL 699.