Patienthood, Body, and Life Span

Approaching Death in the Carakasaṃhitā

In: Asian Medicine
View More View Less
  • 1 St. John’s CollegeSanta Fe, NMUSA
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



Changes in medical technologies have increased questions about how best to handle end-of-life care at the same time as raising questions about the extent to which death can be held off or the life span extended. This article is an offshoot from a broader examination of medical approaches to the dying in two South Asian medical traditions. In this piece, tensions between letting go of life and extending it are illuminated by an exploration of patienthood and body in the context of dying via the Carakasaṃhitā, a foundational text of Ayurveda. These tensions continue in the tradition and speak to questions raised in biomedicine as well. An acknowledgment of the limits of medicine comes up against the desire to continually do more, to cure us of our mortality. Much work has been done on the concept of the body in South Asian medicines, but little has focused on the stage of dying.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 173 85 9
Full Text Views 18 11 3
PDF Views & Downloads 35 20 8