June 4, 2010
School of Ayurveda, Amritapuri
When we dive into the depths of knowledge – moving from the gross to the subtle – our understanding can completely change.
Even our concept of what knowledge is, can be transformed, and many wondrous discoveries can be revealed.
– Chancellor Amma
Upon Receiving the Doctorate in Humane Letters from the State University of New York
Amrita School of Ayurveda’s first batch of students graduates this semester. Several key developments have shaped this CCIM-approved institution in its six years of existence and the School has now become known nation-wide for providing the best training in ayurveda.
As awareness around the world grows about the essential inter-connectedness between body, mind and spirit, people everywhere are searching for alternative systems of medicine that heal not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually.
The School of Ayurveda, with fourteen departments, nearly fifty faculty members and three hundred students was founded in 2004, with the aim to restore the glory of India’s ancient system of traditional medicine, in accordance with Chancellor Amma’s vision.
As part of a larger Ayurvedic complex, consisting of a hospital with a panchakarma theatre and an outpatient clinic, a pharmacy, a medicine manufacturing unit and a herbal garden with over 650 species of medicinal plants, the School offers an integrated and holistic approach to learning.
“In addition to undergoing training in all aspects of the ayurvedic system, the student’s mind is also prepared by imparting a deep understanding of classical knowledge systems of India,” explains Medical Director, Br. Dr. Shankara Chaitanya.
“A familiarity with Sanskrit and a thorough study and contemplation of the original works of Ayurveda are a must.”
“Developing a contemplative mind with subtle powers of observation, close interaction with nature, deep awareness of the process of life and nurturing compassion,” according to him, are also of utmost importance for the ayurvedic doctor.
Bri. Sushma teaches at the School of Ayurveda.
“The various ancient texts highlight different aspects of Ayurveda, the science of life,” she explains. “By going over the different scriptures continually, an interwoven body of knowledge is built and consequently a higher level of understanding arises.”
After having survived thousands of years, Ayurveda is a time-proven system. However, in order to gain the same level of global acceptance as allopathic medicine, clinical research is becoming necessary.
“In order to obtain safety and efficacy data, proper documentation of clinical practices is the need of the hour,” informs the Medical Director. “This will help identify genuine practices. Another area of research is drug standardization and quality control.”
Br. Dr. Shankara Chaitanya also enunciates that to create a new breed of physicians capable of successfully practicing Ayurvedic medicine in the present era, the highest quality of modern education is required.
According to him, this means “to blend the ancient Ayurvedic knowledge with relevant advances in the field of allopathic medicine such as highly advanced anesthetic or technical surgery methodologies.”
“Prospects for graduates are very good,” enthusiastically state Sreenath and Basil Johny, graduates of this first batch. “We will continue with postgraduate studies in order to be able to contribute to research.”
Has the time they have been studying Ayurveda changed them?
“One cannot be in Ayurveda for many years and not undergo a deep change of personality,” says Sreenath. Chancellor Amma had personally told him to choose this career. “It has been a blessing for me to study at the Amrita School of Ayurveda with its deep spiritual background.”
“Ayurveda is the science of life, it shows a path where the overall development of a student is enhanced,” adds classmate Basil.
“It is such a vast and complete system that a person during his or her lifetime will only be able to study maybe one percent. Ayurveda is God’s own medicine.”