Stealing the Keys to Health

Medical students quietly flocking towards learning other medical systems like Ayurveda to find keys to health and basics of being a healthy human

By Dr Bhaswati Bhattacharya

MPH MD (Family Medicine) PhD (Ayurveda ‑ BHU)

Archeological evidence has altered the understanding of the Indian subcontinent’s history and oceans. Satellite, astronomical and geological data have shown evidence of the ancient Bhartiya culture and sciences. Still, there are Indians across the world, especially in India, who believe that Aryans conquered India, that the swastika is a cross embellished with angel wings, that Ayurveda is just 2000 years old, and that modern chemistry is more advanced than the rustproof pillars and the healing bhasma that were made in alignment with the laws of nature.

If the modern world, especially Indians, continue to taunt the traditions of Bharata and label its rituals and values as stupid, primitive, and inferior, they will continue to produce people who are lost psychologically, unable to master the potential of their minds, and will lack in basic connections between human potential, health, and the world around.

Ayurveda exudes wisdom and is ready for anyone who seeks to understand the truth of human wellness. Wellness has simple tenets echoed by the world’s great teachers in diverse languages. These tenets emphasize the connection between mind, body, emotion, sense, and soul. They include time in nature, attention to food, cultivation of healthy relationships, forgiveness, effort, and constant growth, laughter and relaxation, proper sleep, and the choice to always choose happiness and see all events as lessons and not as failures.

For the past decades, the people we see as the ‘masters of health’– physicians and professionals who are experts in health– are losing their authority. Insurance companies now decide what a doctor can prescribe. Hospitals limit the creative prescriptions that would help patients. Pharmaceutical companies alter doses to be mildly effective, not curative. Medical schools are outdated, teach outdated science, irrelevant theories, and are disconnected from the needs of people.

Medical students are not taught communication skills– intuition for understanding people by what they do not say. Medical students are fed old, frozen, and processed foods in dormitories and hospitals. They are not taught how to rest, eat, cook, and move regularly. They are taught to compete and made to feel like failures when they make mistakes. These medical students become physicians and often do not understand how to keep their own minds and bodies healthy.

Medical students are quietly flocking towards learning other medical systems such as Ayurveda to find the keys to health and the basics of being a healthy human. However, most senior physicians retain a typical imperialist attitude of insulting other healing systems and discouraging curiosity or exploring modes of treatment other than the chemicals used in pharmaceutics and surgical procedures. When a physician discovers something that works, they co-opt it and plagiarize its principles, allowing it to be taunted by colleagues.

Today, physicians claim naive ignorance of other medical systems such as Ayurveda and yoga but use its tenets. They have invented “breathwork”, which is plagiarism of pranayama, “the mind-body response”, which is actually the bed of manasa-shastra with an integrated understanding of senses/indriya as a bridge between the manas and sharira (body). Resilience training is the elegant re-appropriation of manobala; the mind-gut connection is originally understood as the science of ahara; and lifestyle medicine is ahara-vihara, pathya, or hita in Ayurveda.

As the world awakens to Ayurveda and it becomes a cash cow in many economies, there arises the question of accountability. Competence in authentic Ayurveda must be highlighted and not adopted in half-baked, hybrid, and impotent ways. Only then will the potential of Ayurveda in curing chronic diseases, severe conditions, emergencies, as well as wellness, and prevention will be appreciated.

Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya

MPH MD (Family Medicine) Ph.D. (Ayurveda ‑ BHU)

Images courtesy of (Image Courtesy: Vedi) and thesatimes | Welcome to The South Asian Times

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