(Last Updated on : 01/11/2010)
Traditional sciences in Kerala have been enriched by the contributions of various scholars. In the sixth century, early mathematicians of Kerala wrote a simplified summary of the great astronomical text of Aryabhata of the fifth century. They also contributed a commentary on the work and an original treatise on the science. The council of astronomers held at Tirunava in 682 corrected and brought up-to-date Aryabhata's Parahitaganita. Kelattoor, who wrote a far more amplified commentary on Aryabhata in the fifteenth century, reveals himself in the work as a distinguished logician, grammarian and metaphysician as well. In the thirteenth century, the authoritative work of Varahamihira of the sixth century was developed in an extensive commentary by Talakkulam.
Texts like the Tantra Samuchaya of the fifteenth century, Manushyalaya Chandrika and Silpa Ratna of the sixteenth century represent the contribution of Kerala
to the theory of architecture. In these treatises the dwelling of man is not considered in isolation, but in organic relation with the surroundings, thus anticipating the ecological perspective that is beginning to get its deserved importance today. The unique contribution of this insight is proved through the reviews of the huge architectural legacy of the land. Further, valuable studies on statecraft have also been contributed by Kerala. Legal principles and practice, as embodied in the various texts of Dharma Sastras
, were codified by Vijnanesvara of the eleventh century in his Mitakshara. The Vachana Mala is a commentary and the Vyavahara Mala is a codification based on the work of over a dozen prior authorities. For about two and a half centuries, till the judicial system was reorganised on British lines in the nineteenth century, the latter text functioned as the most prestigious manual of law in Kerala. The elephants of the forests of Kerala were important to the state in war, in maintaining regal pomp and circumstance and as a source of revenue from ivory. The Matanga Lila of the sixteenth century is a unique work on the ecology, capture and training of elephants.
, the system of Indian medicine founded by Charaka and Sushruta, has had a varied and sustained evolution in Kerala. Ayurvedic books were written in Sanskrit like the Rasa Vaisheshika, Ashtanga Sareera and Brihat Sareera. On the Ashtanga Hridaya alone there are four broad commentaries in Kerala. Translations, with commentaries, of both the Charaka Samhita
and the Sushruta Samhita
have also been contributed by Kerala physicians. In practical medicine, Kerala has specialised in several fields. The Panchakarma
treatment, consisting of oil massages and special diets, is cited in the old Ayurvedic texts, but has not been developed so fully in any other part of India as in Kerala. Toxicology is another speciality, particularly with reference to snake-poisons. Pharmacy is a very well-developed tradition and Ayurvedic medicines, as well as herbals for their production, are being supplied by Kerala to many other states.
Thus, mentioned above are the contributions of Kerala in the various traditional sciences through literary works.