Many times, without proper medical qualifications some people start practising as a physician. When innocent and needy people come to them, the result can be hazardous. One should be aware of such physicians. Caraka Samhita describes the three types of physicians:
(a) Pseudo physicians: One who is not properly qualified and is unaware of medical science yet may have consulted some medicinal books and studied about the use of some medicines and acts as a physician. They advertise themselves as skilled and eminent physicians but actually are unskilled, spurious imposters.
(b) Fake physicians: Such persons are closely associated with rich, reputed and learned practitioners or they use their family prestige and fame associated with a reputed and skilled medical professional already present in the family. Being associated with a skilled practitioner and having gathered the superficial knowledge, they start an individual practice and advertise themselves as an eminent physician, in reality, they are not true physicians. The people who belong to this category are fake physicians. One should be careful when undergoing treatment from these two types of physicians.
(c) Genuine physicians: An expert, skilful and capable physician is one who saves the life of a patient suffering from a severe disease and gives new life to the patient. Such physicians have thorough knowledge of medicines and different treatment systems. They are successful in the field of medicine and provide relief to the patient. In brief, they have adequate knowledge about causes or aetiology, signs and symptoms, and about treatment and prevention of disease recurrence. A skilled and genuine physician is well-educated, has a pious mind and soul, has a self-controlled lifestyle, is well acquainted with social affairs, has expertise, has adequate equipment for treatment, has strong and healthy sensory organs, has knowledge of disease occurrence through manifested signs, is an expert in surgery, is one who can give proper direction to the patient for the use of medicines, and is one who can take an immediate and right decision at the time of distress. Such a physician provides new life to the patient and relief from the ailment. These physicians have adequate knowledge of human anatomy, physiology and embryology. They are experienced and can easily detect the causes, preliminary signs and main symptoms for the diagnosis of disease and its nature, and knows whether it is curable or incurable. They are confident and free of ambiguity or any sort of doubt while selecting the specific treatment therapy associated with the disease.
(II) Qualities of a drug: Easily available (in quantity and approach) and in multiple formulations (such as tonics, decoctions, tablets, powders, etc.). They have multiple properties and can treat several diseases. They are enriched with attributes such as Rasa-guna-virya-vipaka, and are suitable and beneficial for the patient. These four qualities are essential in a good drug. Selection of an appropriate drug, in proper doses is possible only by an expert physician. Therefore, in Ayurveda, it is of utmost importance that a physician, along with the treatment procedure, should also possess knowledge of the properties of the substances and production methods of the medicines.
(III) Qualities of an attendant: An attendant should be trained enough to take care of the patient. This helps the patient to recover soon. An attendant should possess following qualities: be loving and compassionate towards a patient, be clean and calm, be skilled in his/her work (to give proper medicine at proper time), and have a good knowledge of nursing, and be intelligent and wise so as to make the right decision at the right time, without losing patience.
(IV) Qualities in a patient: For successful and quick treatment, a patient should follow the instructions of his physician, be capable of expressing his symptoms; must have strong will-power, and be tolerant so that he can easily bear the effects of medicines and the misery of a disease. Besides these, treatment becomes easier if a patient is young, brave, can keep a check on taste and control over the mind, and is financially sound and resourceful.
For a successful treatment all four participants are essential, but among them, physician is most important. For example, if cooking vessels, hot plate (firework) and food ingredients are all available but a good cook is unavailable, then preparation of food is difficult. Similarly, if a skilled physician is not available but a good attendant, patient and drugs are all available, then treatment is not possible.
Methods to Assay the Causes of a Disease
Before starting an Ayurvedic treatment, the first step taken by a practitioner is to examine a disease while considering the mentioned facts. The following methods help to examine a disease:
(A) Pramana: The Means of Valid Knowledge
The means of gaining experience or practical and true knowledge is known as pramana. This knowledge or pramana is used while examining a patient and a disease. In Ayurveda classics mainly the following pramanas are considered useful while examining a disease:
(i) Aptopadesa (Authoritative Testimony)
(ii) Pratyaksa (Perception or Direct Observation).
(iii) Anumdna (Hypothesis or Inference)
(iv) Yukti (Reason))