Sri Narhari Pandit's Raj Nighantu
Subject: Dravyaguna Vighyan (Pharmacology and Material Medica)
The author of the book "Raj Nighantu" is Sh. Narhari Panditit of Kashmir, a scion of the Kashmir dynasty. He was the king of Kashmir, a great devotee of Lord Siva, great scholar, writer, physician, administrator, poet, warrior, and had command over eighteen languages. The book is known as 'Raj Nighantu', written by Sh. Narhari Pandit of Kashmir was originally named as "Abhidhan Cudamani" or Dravyabhidhan-gana-Sangraha". The book was written after studying and considering all the Nighantus (Glossaries), available at that time, and mainly follows the pattern of Dhanvantari Nighantu. Thus, the author has tried to ensure that some shortcomings, which were present in the earlier Nighantus, do not find a place in Raj Nighantu. Further, it has many special features like being better arranged and having notable additional chapters and material. When it was nearing completion, the writer felt that of all the Nighantus, available at that time, his work was the best, so he changed its name to "Raj Nighantu". With a view to making this Nighantu (glossary) more popular, for better identification of drugs, to give it a scientific basis and make the knowledge more useful for the Ayurvedic professionals, the INSA (Indian National Science Academy) decided to undertake this the project, "English Translation of Råj Nighaƒ¢u with critical commentary", which was allotted to my father, late Dr Satish Chandra Sankhyadhar. The importance of Narhari's work lies in his straight-forward approach to the subject of Dravyaguna that is the drugs/minerals/or animal origin substances used as a medicine, and their actions. He is the first writer of a Nighantu (Glossary), who dared to declare the subject of Dravyaguna as one of the main eight branches of Ayurveda. By attaching such an important place to the subject, he successfully assimilated almost all the drugs of classical literature, as well as some of those from the Materia Medica of Greek, Arabian and Chinese, which were in use during his period.