Tradition-Making and Education in Modern Ayurveda

Guest lecture by Anthony Cerulli, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY, and Research Fellow at Institut d'Études Avancées de Paris.

"This talk explores the modern history of ayurvedic education in India, looking in particular at how and to what effect the colonial encounter of ayurvedic practitioners with purveyors of western biomedicine during British colonialism shaped the development of India’s nationwide curriculum for Ayurvedic Colleges. It also considers a precolonial institution of medical education, the gurukula (“family of the teacher”), that fell into near total disuse as the western-style college became the primary place to teach Ayurveda during and after the colonial period. Drawing on my fieldwork at two south Indian gurukulas and Ayurvedic Colleges in south India, I take up questions of medical synthesis and tradition formation in light of India’s colonial history and, in the contemporary training of ayurvedic physicians, the changing role of the Sanskrit medical classics, which are generally seen by educators and students in ayurvedic colleges and gurukulas as the cornerstone of Ayurveda."