Rx: Pills with a Dose of Spirituality
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By Umesh Isalkar
17 December 2008
Doctors in the city these days speak of many more things than just medicines. Dressed in a white attire, senior orthopaedic surgeon K H Sancheti starts his lecture every day with the chanting of the ‘Gayatri’ mantra followed by meditation of the Siddha Samadhi Yoga. Addressing a bunch of 25 post–graduate medical students, Sancheti shares his belief that the body is governed by mind, and mind in turn is largely influenced by spiritual activities.
Unusual it may seem but with increasing competition, more and more medical practitioners in the city are turning to spirituality in search of peace and also to improve their performance. They now realise that medicines sans spiritual well–being may not be the right prescription.
“Doctors are stressed out. Meditation and spiritual activities offer them peace of mind and help maintain composure,” feels Sancheti.
Senior cardiologist Jagdish Hiremath also follows the Siddha Samadhi Yoga. “There are three principles for living a healthy life – good diet, exercise and stress management. Of these, the last one can primarily be managed by following a spiritual way of living. I preach some of these principles to my patients as well,” says Hiremath.
Microbiologist Madhuri Uparikar has started an Art of Living centre on Karve road. “Initially, I approached the centre for self–development. Later I realised that there are number of things which are beyond medical science and need to be explored,” said Uparikar. There is invariably one doctor in each batch. Besides doctors, number of other professionals is also on the rise, she added.
There are around 40 Art of Living centres in the city. “More than 100 doctors are attached to these centres. There are some who prescribe our stress and positivethinking courses to patients alongwith routine medication. Besides, doctors seeking our help to gain mental peace is constantly on the rise,” said Shridhar Damodaran, teachers’ co–ordinator of the city chapter of Art of Living.
Prajapita Brahmakumari Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya has 20 main centres and many sub–centres in the city. “Each centre has at least 10 doctors. There is a perceptible rise in the number of doctors in the last two years,” said Brahmakumari Saratabahen. Courses like self managing leadership, positive thinking, stress free life has evoked tremendous response from doctors in the city. The organisation firmly believes the Rajyoga meditation has solutions to all the problems in this world, she added.
“Undergraduates entering medical colleges with idealistic notions about helping people are soon lost in the sea of biochemical pathways, physiological mechanisms, anatomical details etc. There is marked need to make them aware of the importance of spiritual health. It is really heartening that the percentage of doctors turning to spirituality is rising,” said Devendra Shirole, state president of Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Sharing the same view, Avinash Bhondwe president of the city chapter of IMA said, “Despite advances in medical science, there are still no answers to some ailments. And still we know little about mind and its functioning. Spirituality comes into play here,” said Bhondwe.
A two–day conference on spirituality will be organised at Balgandharva Rangamandir from December 20 and around 1,000 doctors are expected to attend the meet.