Melbourne, 6 October 2018
It was my my pleasure to speak as one of a keynote speakers in the Ayurveda Conference, organized by Australasian Association of Ayurveda in Melbourne, Vic (6-7 October)
Namaste Good morning
-It’s my great pleasure to be here, speaking on Ayurveda in presence of learned people.
Ayurveda is, as you know, a holistic system, focused on the whole body. It isn’t just about physical health, it is as much about mind and spirituality. Its focus is restoration of balance in life. It’s science of life as Ayur & Veda, the two words depict.
Ayurveda has been around for ages, taking its origin as a sub-Veda from Athar Veda, one of the 4 Vedas.
Our sages learned Ayurveda from their observations and experiences as well experimentation and verbally passed it on to their pupils. Subsequently, Rishi Charak compiled it in Charak Samhita and Rishi Sushruta did that in Sushruta Samhita. With 8 subspecialties, it was much ahead of any other health systems. I was pleased to see a plaque/recognition of Rishi Sushruta at the RACS building in Melbourne recently.
Ayurvedic medicines are used by about 80% of people in India and it’s use is becoming more common in Western World including Australia due to diligent and sincere work by many including Dr Santosh Yadav in Melbourne and Dr Naveen Shukla in Sydney.
Unlike Western Medicine, which is mostly about treatment of a manifested disease, especially acute medicine, Ayurveda is about prevention and making sure that a human attains the best health in its all dimensions and has restored balance. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t treat when people suffer from ailments. Of course, it does.
Ayurveda is multidimensional and employs herbs, yoga, meditation and others to achieve what it sets out to achieve.
There have been anecdotal reports of excessive amount of lead etc in some Herbal/Ayurvedic medicines, but it’s possible that it happened due to less than standard quality control in their production. Quality control is a wonderful concept, which is applicable in so many facets of our lives. Ayurveda is no exception, whether it’s about training of Ayurveda practitioners or preparation of medicines.
In modern medicine ie allopathy, science has been increasingly used in its progress. It’s a norm now that we seek evidence of efficacy by controlled trials and studies. In my own sub speciality of cardiology, almost all of our practices are based on evidence of efficacy from controlled trials.
This is something, which Ayurveda may need to adopt to get more wide spread acceptability and assurance that it is a science based system.
Ayurveda has been used by many and that does include father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi. His preference for Ayurvedic/herbal medicines as compared to Allopathic medicines is well documented. His use of Neem leaves, made more palatable by Tamarind, is documented. He believed in Ayurveda’s efficacy, but did allude to the need for some experimentation and science. He was in favor of propagation of true Ayurvedic philosophy. He was candid and open in his views when inaugurating Ayurveda clinics.
I myself have an experience, a beautiful experience with Ayurveda and herbal medicines to share with you. In my early teens, I was a sickly kid. Not gaining weight and perennially sick. At the suggestion of my father’s friend, I saw a Vaid, living about 30-40 kms away from my village in a remote hamlet. He asked me questions and felt my pulse. Herbal medicines recommended by that great soul, prepared by my loving mother and cousin sisters, did wonders. I was cured. After I joined medical school, I went to the village of the Vaid, but found that he had passed away, without anybody else getting his knowledge passed on to. What a sad loss of knowledge!
Ayurveda and Western medicine must interact and collaborate for the sake of complete and wholistic health. They can be complimentary to one another in many ways.
Then only, we will achieve the goals of Ayurveda:
Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha, Sarve santu niramayaaha;
Sarve bhadraani pashyantu, Maa kashchit dukhabhaak bhavet.
“May all be happy, May all be free from disabilities;
May all look to the good of others, May none suffer from sorrow.” How beautiful!
Ayurveda is our heritage and Ayurveda is our pride.
In the fast and furious race to become modern, we shouldn’t ignore or forget our heritage and history.
Everything should be done to take it to even higher status not only in India but all over the world. It can be done, and it must be done.
Thank you and Namaste!
Dr Yadu Singh