Dr. Dhananjay Vasudeo Dwivedi

Assistant Professor,

Department of Sanskrit, Ranchi College, Ranchi-834002

Jharkhand ,

Mob-09431590113, 09931306859



The Sanskrit Literature is storehouse of knowledge. It goes without saying that ancient science that developed in ancient India has been documented in Sanskrit. Each and every branch of Science has received their share of knowledge from this rich and immortal Literature. Among various branches of knowledge in this scientific era, Botany has drawn attention of knowledge seekers. It can be said without exaggeration that this very branch of knowledge developed by leaps and bounds in Ancient India. Here it has to be pointed out that Botany did not develop in Ancient India as a separate branch of knowledge but it was one of the important accessories to a body of knowledge which was helpful to the practical interest of the ancient Indian. But, it contained practically all the gems of the modern ideas of the science of Plant life. Among various sub-branches of Botany, it is the Economic Botany, which has gained significance in this materialistic world in the present era. Be it Agriculture or Horticulture or Pharmacology or Plant Pathology or Plant Breeding or Plant based industries all aspects have been dealt in length in the Sanskrit Literature.

Key words: Sanskrit, Botany, Agriculture, Horticulture, Pharmacology, Plant Pathology



It is a well established fact that Sanskrit Literature is full of wealth of knowledge, which was based on actual observations of the people of those days and which is of great importance to the Science today. While Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Technology, Astronomy, Architecture etc. have received their own share of knowledge from this literature, Life Sciences like Zoology and Botany have also not been the lesser gainers. In effect, the Sanskrit Literature contains valuable and dependable scientific knowledge.

Among various branches of knowledge in this scientific era, Botany has its significant place. And, one would be highly surprised to note that this very branch of knowledge had developed by leaps and bounds in Ancient India. Our Sanskrit texts have proved this fact. Here it has to be pointed out that Botany did not develop in Ancient India as a separate branch of knowledge but it was one of the important accessories to a body of knowledge which was helpful to the practical interest of the ancient Indian. But, it contained practically all the gems of the modern ideas of the science of Plant life.

The perfection and the thoroughness in the field of Botany in Ancient India can be judged from the fact that a number of sciences developed out of it. A close study of the Sanskrit Literature goes to prove that the ancient people of India had the practical knowledge of the different aspects of plant kingdom as understood by modern Botanists.

The modern science of Botany is studied mainly under following branches-Taxonomy, Morphology, Anatomy, Physiology, Genetics, Ecology and Economic Botany etc. Among these branches, Economic Botany has invited much attention in contemporary era. However, one would be highly mesmerised to know that this branch of Botany was in highly developed stage in Ancient India. Economic Botany, in real sense, is study of plants with reference to the economic activities, which are useful for entire mankind.


Dating of ancient Sanskrit texts has been tough task for scholars. However, efforts have been made in this regard. When it comes to the Mantras of Ṛgveda, Yajurveda, Sāmaveda and Atharvaveda are concerned, they took their final shape between 25000B.C. and 9000 B.C.1 As far as Rāmāyaṇa is concerned, it was composed in around 5500 B.C.2 Mahābhārata was composed in around 3102 B.C.3 The Bhāgvad Mahāpurāṇa was composed in around 2967 B.C.4 Vāyu Mahāpurāṇa was composed in around 2957 B.C.5 Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra came into existence in around 321 B.C.6 Kāmasūtra was also composed before 300 B.C.7. The present text of Kurma Purāṇa was given final shape in around 200 B.C.8 This was the time when the present form available Manu Smṛti took its final shape i.e. second century B.C.9 The Yājñavalkyasmṛti came into existence in first century B.C.10 The present text of Vāmana Purāṇa was given final shape in first century A.D.11 Kumārasaṃbhavam and Ṛtusaṃhāra were composed in first century A.D.12 Matsya Purāṇa with present text was given final shape in around second century AD.13 Though the Agni Purāṇa was also composed along with other Purāṇas some 5000 years ago but the present text was given final shape in fourth century AD.14  Bṛhatsaṃhitā was written in first part of the sixth century.15 Mālatīmādhva was composed in seventh century A.D.16 Śukranīti was composed in around eight century.17 There are controversies regarding the dating of Kṛṣiparāśara. It might have been composed anytime between sixth century A.D. to tenth century.18 Vṛkṣāyurveda came into existence in tenth century A.D.19


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From above observations it is loud and clear, that out ancient seers and poets had an expertise in describing various aspects of Economic Botany. Multiple utilities of plants have placed them in a zone of high veneration. There is hardly any sphere of human activity where plants have no role to play. They have been regarded as an indispensible part of human life. Modern age Botanists should focus on the gems of knowledge scattered in Sanskrit Literature. It would be highly helpful in enriching the science of plants-Botany.



The author acknowledges the valuable guidance of Prof. Dr. N.R. Dubey, Former Head, Department of Sanskrit, Doranda College, Ranchi University, Ranchi in shaping this research article. The author also acknowledges all the authors, researchers, scholars, scientists etc whose contributions are referred to prepare this paper.


Notes and References

  1. Dube S.R., 2006, p 102
  2. Vyāsaśisya, Dr. Kunvarlal, 1980, p 19
  3. Ibid, p 43
  4. Panda Prof. Gangadhar (Ed.), 2006, p 189
  5. Vyāsaśisya, Dr. Kunvarlal, 1980, p 102
  6. Shamasastry R. (Tr.), 2005, p v
  7. Dwivedi Dr. Parasnath (Ed.), 2004, p 9
  8. Panda Prof. Gangadhar (Ed.), 2006, p 485
  9. Deshpande Maitreyee (Ed.), 2010, p v
  10. Rai Dr. Gangasagar (Ed.), 2007, p 4
  11. Panda Prof. Gangadhar (Ed.), 2006, p 423
  12. Upadhyaya Baldeva, 1983, p 150
  13. Panda Prof. Gangadhar (Ed.), 2006, p 466
  14. Vyāsaśisya, Dr. Kunvarlal, 1980, p 104
  15. Bhat M. Ramakrishna (Ed.), 1995, p xi
  16. Upadhyaya Baldeva, 1983, p 543
  17. Śukranīti, p 42
  18. Kṛṣi Parāśara, p xxii
  19. Vṛkṣāyurveda, 2004, p 54
  20. Śrimad Bhāgavata Mahāpurāṇa, 1982, 10.22.32, 34
  21. Panchamukhi AR, 1998, p 1
  22. Yajurveda,22
  23. Ṛgveda Saṃhitā,23.15, 1.176.2, 10.34.13, 1.117.21
  24. Ibid, 10.34.13
  1.  Atharvaveda, 8.10.24
  1. Ibid, 3.17.4
  1.  Kṛṣi Parāśar, 1.8
  2.  Ibid, 1.2
  3. Atharvaveda, 8.2.19
  1. Ṛgveda Saṃhita,1.127.6
  2. Yajurveda,45
  3. Ibid, 18.13
  4. Ibid, 16.43
  5. Ibid, 16.43
  1. Ṛgveda Saṃhitā,1.116.4
  1. Panchamukhi A.R. 1998, p 19
  2. Manu SmÅti,330
  1. Ṛgveda, 4.57.4
  2. Ibid, 4.57.8
  1. Ibid, 5.55.5
  2. Yajurveda,18.9
  3. Ṛgveda,101.4
  1. Ibid, 10.101.5
  2. Ibid, 10.101.6
  1. Ibid, 10.64.9
  2. Śukranīti, 3.276
  1. Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra, 2.24.7
  1. Atharvaveda,17.2
  2. Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra,24.11
  3. Ṛgveda,94.13
  4. Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra,24.1
  5. Atharvaveda,14.3
  6. Ibid, 6.128.3
  7. Ṛgveda,164.43
  8. Ibid, 10.62.2
  1.  Agni Mahāpurāṇam, 282.10-11
  2. Bṛhatsaṃhitā, 55.17-18
  3.  Atharvaveda, 3.17.5
  4.  Yajurveda, 30.7
  1. Ibid, 18
  2. Ibid, 19
  1. Ibid, 16.18
  2. Ṛgveda, 8.1.13
  3. Agni Mahāpurāṇam, 70.1-8
  1. Matsyamahāpurāṇam, pp 215-217
  1. Bhaviṣyapurāṇāṅka, pp 205-206
  2. Agni Mahāpurāṇam, 282.1
  3. Ibid, 282.6-7
  4. Ibid, 282.8
  5. Kamasūtra, p 44
  6. Ibid, p 234
  7. Ibid, p 234
  8. Sampath RN, 1998, p 100
  9.  Subhāṣitaratnabhānḍāgara, 3.111
  10. Bṛhatsaṃhitā, 55.31
  11.  Dwivedi Dhananjay Vasudeo, 2007, p 22-24
  12. Atharvaveda, 12.1.57
  13. Vāmana Purāṇa, 61.2
  14. Matsya Purāṇa, 227.92-95
  15.  Manu Smṛti, 9.64
  16. Ṛgveda, 10.97.6
  17.  Ibid, 10.97.10
  18. Atharvaveda, 8.7.25
  19. Ibid, 6.96.1
  20. Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki, 6.101.29-32
  21. Mittal Dr. Dipali, 2009, p 14
  22. Vāyu Purāṇa, Ch. 43,45 and 46
  23. Matsya Purāṇa, 210, 218 and 219
  24. Khemka Radheshyam (Ed.), 1997, P-47, U-18
  25. Agni Purāṇa, 141, 229, 279, 281, 283 and 285
  26.  Caraka Saṃhitā,  I, II and III
  27. Suśruta Saṃhitā, I, II, and III
  28. Aṣṭāṅga Hṛdayaṃ, I, II, and III
  29. Bhaisajyaratnavalī, pp 1-749
  30. Rāja Nighaṇṭuḥ, pp 1- 705
  31. Soḍhala Nighaṇṭuḥ, pp 1-490
  32. Dhanvantari Nighaṇṭuḥ, pp 1-294
  33. Madanpāla Nighaṇṭuḥ, pp 1-301
  34. Bhāvaprakāśa Nighaṇṭuḥ, pp 1-797
  35. Kaiyadeva Nighaṇṭuḥ, pp 1-648
  36. Priya Nighaṇṭuḥ, pp 1-134
  37. Sharma Dr. PV, 2000, p 38
  38. Yajñavalkyasmṛti, 2.245
  39. Atharvaveda, 6.50.1-3
  40. Bṛhatsaṃhitā, 55.14
  41. Trikha Nirmal, 2009, p 97
  42. Vṛkṣāyurveda, 165
  43. Ibid, 166
  44. Ibid, 167
  45. Ibid, 168
  46. Ibid, 169
  47. Ibid, 170
  48. Ibid, 171
  49. Ibid, 172
  50. Ibid, 173-182
  51. Ibid, 183
  52. Bṛhatsaṃhitā, 55.15
  53. Ibid, 55.16
  54. Agni Purāṇa, pp 732
  55. Sukra Nīti, 4.4.54
  56. Vṛkṣāyurveda, 186
  57. Ibid, 187
  58. Ibid, 188
  59. Ibid, 192-193
  60. Misra dr. Shiva Sheikhar, 1982, pp 140
  61. Kūrmapurāṇāṅka, 206.12
  62. Bṛhatsaṃhitā, 55.4,5
  63. Ibid, 55.6
  64. Ibid, 55.7
  65. Ibid, 55.8
  66. Bṛhatsaṃhitā, 55.9
  67. Kauṭilīya Arthaśāstra, 2.24.20
  68. Bṛhatsaṃhitā, 55.27-28
  69. Vāyu Purāṇa, 8.88
  70. Vāmana Purāṇa, 14.63
  71. Ibid, 51.59
  72. Ibid, 51.45
  73. Kumārasaṃbhavam,  7.3
  74. Mālatīmādhavam, 6.5
  75. Devdhar CR, 1977, 7.3
  76. Kurma Purāṇa, U-12.14
  77. Devdhar CR, AS, 4.5
  78. Vāmana Purāṇa, 51.64, 67.36
  79. Ṛtusaṃhāra, 6.12
  80. Bṛhat Saṃhitā, 77.1
  81. Ibid,  77.2-3
  82. Ibid, 77.4
  83. Ibid, 77.5
  84. Ibid, 77.6
  85. Ṛtusaṃhāra, 2.18
  86. Ibid, 2.20
  87. Ibid, 3.19
  88. Ibid, 6.5
  89. Ṛgveda, 9.112.1
  90. Atharvaveda, 7.83.1
  91. Ṛgveda, 10.101.2
  92. Ibid, 8.44.5, 10.21.3
  93. Atharvaveda, 2.84.5
  94. Ibid, 4.15.16
  95. Yajurveda, 28.21
  96. Ibid, 30.20
  97. gveda, 8.69.9
  98. Ibid, 8.69.9
  99. Ibid, 1.117.21
  100. Ibid, 1.28.5
  101. Atharvaveda, 3.25.1; 5.29.8-9
  102. Ibid, 5.17.12
  103. Acharya Prasanna Kumar, 2001, p 302
  104. Ṛgveda, 7.55.8
  105. Acharya Prasanna Kumar, 2001, p 98
  106. Ibid, p 76
  107. Ibid, p 305
  108. Bṛhat Saṃhitā, 55.20
  109. Chakravarti P.C., 2010, p 152
  110. Ibid, p 153
  111. Ibid, p 175
  112. Ibid, p 176
  113. Ibid, p 28



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