Dec 30, 2009
Health Sciences Campus, Kochi
In the Indian tradition, Lord Dhanwanthari is worshipped as the deity of medicine. Ayurveda colleges and hospitals around the country celebrate Dhanwanthari Jayanthi every year, but the celebration is not so common in hospitals and colleges of modern medicine.
Amrita is an exception. There is a life-size statue of Lord Dhanwanthari in Amrita’s ultra-modern, super-specialty hospital in Kochi. For many years now, enthusiastic Dhanwanthari Jayanthi celebrations are part of the annual calendar at this Health Sciences campus.
This year was no exception. Students and faculty of all four Schools on this campus came together on December 21, 2009, to honor the God of Medicine. Vaidya Kalanidhi Dr. C. K. Ramachandran was the chief guest for the event.
After aarti and worship, this authority in Ayurveda, modern medicine and spiritual literature planted an Asoka sapling to symbolically inaugurate the Herbal Medicine Garden, a joint initiative of the Amrita School of Pharmacy and the Department of Holistic Medicine at AIMS.
“The garden will house a collection of both common and rare and especially endangered medicinal plant species,’ the audience was informed. “The main objective is to preserve the knowledge of medicinal plants, herbs, spices and herbal remedies, which humankind has received from the past generations, for posterity.”
Dr. Kamath, Head of the Department of Holistic Medicine spoke. He explained the concept of holistic medicine. Traditional and ayurvedic methods of treatment should also be available to patients seeking treatment for diseases at this modern super-specialty hospital; thus the Department was born a few years ago, at the behest of Chancellor Amma.
Dr. Kamath spoke about values that can be incorporated in the medical curriculum. Students at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham attend mandatory classes in cultural education that are a key part of the value based education they receive. Dr. Vasudevan, former Principal of the Amrita School of Medicine, coordinates the cultural education program for students.
The annual Dhanwanthari Jayanthi celebrations are also coordinated by Dr. Vasudevan. “There is great erosion of values in society,” Amma had told him, when he joined Amrita in 2002. “We must start a medical college and impart value-based education to the students. Doctors graduating from the Amrita School of Medicine should be service-minded.”
The third batch of students will graduate from the School in a few months’ time. Has Amma’s dream been realized? Are these doctors service-minded? Perhaps yes. As the Dhanwanthari Jayanthi celebrations drew to a close, three student volunteers of Sevamritam, narrated their experiences of the past year, wherein they had interacted with patients at their bedside and consoled them.
What had prompted them to do it? “The value based education, we received at Amrita,” they said.