When it came to medicine in medieval India, it was hard to know who to trust. Physicians and philosophers employed in royal courts disputed the competing claims to medical authority, using debates initiated around religious scriptures to assess the authority of canonical Sanskrit medical texts. This talk will focus on arguments made by Ugrāditya, a physician who was one of many Jain scholars working in the court at Mānyakheṭa of the Rāṣṭrakūṭa king Amoghavarṣa Nṛpatuṅga (r. 815-877). From his position at the center of political power, Ugrāditya challenged the Sanskrit medical classics and argued that a new understanding of medicine founded on Jain principles was necessary, negotiating a new space for Jain scholars and physicians in a wider world of medicine.
Eric Gurevitch is a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University. His research explores the complex interplay of science and religion in precolonial South Asia and seeks to establish a central place for the sciences in Religious Studies and South Asian Studies. His current book project, Everyday Sciences: Making Knowledge Local in South Asia, focuses on a group of Jain authors in southwest India who rewrote the terrain of scholarship in medieval and early modern South Asia by introducing a novel archive of Sanskrit and vernacular texts described as “everyday sciences.”