by Sandeep Nangia

Doctors in Kaliviḍambanam

कलिविडम्बने वैद्याः

स्वस्थैरसाध्यरोगैश्च जन्तुभिर्नास्ति किञ्चन।
कातरा दीर्घरोगाश्च भिषजां भाग्यहेतवः॥२३॥

The healthy and those with incurable disease are of no use to the Doctors. It is the agitated (hypochondriacs) and the ones with chronic diseases who are the cause of fortune for the Doctors.

नातिधैर्यं प्रदातव्यं नातिभीतिश्च रोगिणि।
नैश्चिन्त्यान्नादिमे दानं नैराश्यादेव नान्तिमे॥२४॥

Let the Doctor not give too much courage, nor too much fear to the diseased. In the former case, they won’t pay up because of freedom from anxiety and in the latter due to hopelessness.

भैषज्यं तु यथाकामं पथ्यं तु कठिनं वदेत्।
आरोग्यं वैद्यमाहात्म्यादन्यथात्वम् अपथ्यतः॥२५॥

Let the Doctor prescribe medicine at his will but the diet must be hard to follow. If the patient gets cured the Doctor can claim credit and if the patient is not cured, it can be blamed on not following the diet regimen.

निदानं रोगनामानि सात्म्यासात्म्ये चिकित्सितम्।
सर्वमप्युपदेक्ष्यन्ति रोगिणः सदने स्त्रियः॥२६॥

The diagnosis, name of the disease, what to be eaten and what to be shunned - all these are instructed by the women in the house of the diseased.

जृम्भमाणेषु रोगेषु म्रियमाणेषु जन्तुषु।
रोगतत्त्वेषु शनकैर्व्युत्पद्यन्ते चिकित्सकाः॥२७॥

Once the diseases have spread and men are dying, the Doctors slowly become proficient in understanding the nature of the diseases.

प्रवर्तनार्थमारम्भे मध्ये त्वौषधहेतवे।
बहुमानार्थमन्ते च जिहीर्षन्ति चिकित्सकाः॥२८॥

Initially to engage, then to administer medicine and in the end to seek gratitude - in this way the Doctors deprive the patients again and again.

लिप्समानेषु वैद्येषु चिरादासाद्य रोगिणम्।
दायादाः सम्प्ररोहन्ति दैवज्ञा मान्त्रिका अपि॥२९॥

Alas, when the greedy Doctor has engaged a patient for a long time, there prop up astrologers and reciters of spells as co-inheritors of that wealth!

रोगस्योपक्रमे सान्त्वं मध्ये किञ्चिद्धनव्ययः।
शनैरनादरः शान्तौ स्नातो वैद्यं न पश्यति॥३०॥

In the beginning of the disease, the patient speaks very sweet words, in the middle spends a little money. Upon the alleviation of disease he becomes indifferent and once he has convalesced fully (literally taken the bath of convalescence), the Doctor becomes persona non grata.

End note

  • These are satirical verses from कलिविडम्बनम् by Nīlakanṭha-dīkṣita.
  • The book कलिविडम्बनम् is part of a collection that can be downloaded from here. Or you can view it here.
  • जिहीर्षन्ति is the frequentative plural third person form of the verb हृ.