Dr. C. Nagarajan (Swami Sankaramritananda Puri)
Dean & Principal
Amrita School of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the science of life where the knowledge of both Hita and Ahita Ayu, Sukha and Dukha Ayu, wholesome and unwholesome things in relation to life and the Pramana of life are explained.
The doctrine of Ayurveda is not exactly meant only for the medical practitioners. Its principles and practices can be learnt even from the peasants also. Our Grandmothers and cowherds knew the uses of many drugs for common problems, simple formulations, healthy food preparations and many more such things which were according to the principles of Ayurveda. Slowly we see that such knowledge and practices are declining from the society and even though we think that we are protecting the science. But in reality seldom we remember that it is the same science which has given us material prosperity and self respect including health. So we all have a duty toward Ayurveda which has provided everything to us we need.
An incident from the life of Swami Vivekananda will illustrate this point
Once, when Swami Vivekananda was wandering in India, he was travelling in a train. He became acquainted with the T. T. R of the train and they were conversing many things about spirituality. Swamiji was invited to the house of the TTR. When they were having dinner a beggar was begging for food which was a normal custom during that time. Vivekanda moved into tears and could not eat further. Seeing the agony that Swamiji was having, the Guest consoled him saying that he will offer enough food for the beggar also and Swamiji need not worry. Swamiji said “I am not worried about this beggar alone. They are thousands of beggars in India. I am worried about them also.” The TTR could not say anything. He humbly said “Swamiji, Whatever you command I will follow. But please eat now.” Swamiji replied “You join me as Sanyasi and help me in my mission”. The TTR laughed “ Swamiji, You yourself are without food and you are begging. By joining you I will also become a beggar. Do you really want me to do so?”
Swamiji replied. “Yes. That is the way the tradition has been. The disciple has to continue where the Guru has left. In whatever way possible the disciple has to contribute and participate in the mission of the Guru.”
It is needless to say that the TTR became his sanyasi disciple and served the country for many years.
Ayurveda, the great tradition has been kept alive by the great and selfless Vaidyas of past. Most of them lived a very simple and traditional life envisaged in the scriptures. Through their words and action they could inspire people around them to practice Ayurveda. They educated many students in Gurukula freely and propagated the science for the past thousands of years. Now the Ayurvedic students cannot find many role models or Gurus whom they can follow totally.
It is told in Bhagavat Gita “Whatever the elders do, the younger ones follow them automatically”. So it is not enough if we advise our patients or prescribe medicines also but to practice the principles of Ayurveda in our lives and lead a life which is mentioned in the Shastras.
This way we will be contributing and participating in the Great Mission of our Rishis and enriching the mankind.
May Ammas blessings and guidance help the Ayurvedic community to achieve this!