Ātreya or Punarvasu Ātreya was probably the physician of an ancient king of Gāndhāra. The name Ātreya implies that he was either a descendant or a disciple of Atri, a sage mentioned in the Veda. The date of Ātreya may be fixed before the grammarian Pāṇini (seventh century BCE) and after the Atharvaveda (1200 BCE), ca. 1000 BCE.
On the basis of his teachings, six of his disciples composed medical treatises. One of them, Agniveśa, wrote the Agniveśatantra or ‘System of Agniveśa’, which became known as the Carakasaṃhitā after its revision by Caraka. Another disciple, Bhela, wrote the Bhelasaṃhitā, which has fragmentarily been preserved in a single manuscript. Unfortunately, the text is mutilated and full of scribe's errors. Some scholars are of the opinion that the Bhelasaṃhitā may be older than the Carakasaṃhitā. The Hārītasaṃhitā is ascribed to a third disciple, also called Ātreyasaṃhitā. But the text that has come down to us is regarded as a relatively late work of an apocryphal...
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