Q: deafness etc. in Indian medical literature

Birgit Kellner kellner at ue.ipc.hiroshima-u.ac.jp
Fri Mar 28 00:37:02 UTC 1997

I am looking for sources on whether, and if so, how deafness, blindness
and other complete losses of sense-faculties are dealt with in ancient
Indian medical
literature. I have browsed through the Carakasam.hitaa and checked some
secondary literature - as far as it is available to me -, but could not
really find anything. 

My curiosity applies particularly to the
following three points: 

(1) How can a doctor diagnose the complete absence of a certain
sense-faculty's function? 

(2) Which causes - if any - are recognized as inevitably leading to the
loss of a sense-faculty?

(3) Is there a distinction between the inborn inability to use a certain
sense and an inability that is brought about by extraneous causes later
in life? And if so, how does that reflect in the diagnosis?

Along the same lines, I would like to know what kinds of sensory defects
Indian medical literature recognizes, and, in particular, to what extent
and in which way their causes are investigated. Philosophical literature
deals with perceptual errors a lot, and with the question whether and
how such errors could or should be attributed to defects in the actual
sense-faculty/sense-organ, but I have so far not come across any
secondary literature where such discussions are linked to a medical

Any references will be greatly appreciated, 

Birgit Kellner
Department of Indian Philosophy
Hiroshima University
Birgit Kellner
Department of Indian Philosophy
Hiroshima University

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