DEIVATHIN KURAL # 164 (Vol #3) Dated 17 Dec 2009.
DEIVATHIN KURAL # 164 (Vol #3) Dated 17 Dec 2009.
(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. To day we are proceeding from page No 754 of Vol 3 of the Tamil original. The readers are reminded that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too, mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitam. blogspot. com constantly updated.)
63. We as Indians were the pioneers in many fields of human endeavour. Our track records say that we were masters of excellence in all those fields. It is just pathetic to note that both Charaka Samita and Susrutha Samhita have gone in to oblivion and are now making a recovery. Between the two, Susrutha Samhita has not yet made a full recovery into practice!
64. Let me tell you as to what is pathetic about this. You may be knowing about the set of books known as Encyclopedia Britannica, which gives us information about every art, science and other disciplines in detail, about their history of evolution and development. Every 30 years their editions are updated to add newly obtained knowledge. What is given there is that, surgery was born in India. From India the knowledge of Surgery got exported to Greece via Arabia, then to Italy from where it spread all over Europe.
65. In Susrutha Samhita, there is talk of all sorts of surgical instruments. People researching in to etchings on palmyra leaves relating to descriptions in Rik Veda, to Purana-s, to literature on Epics, have opined that surprisingly subtle details of methods in surgery were known to our ancestors. A brave queen, named Visbala the wife of Kelan in Rik Veda, lost her leg in battle and she was given an iron prosthetic leg in lieu, by Aswini brothers, who were physicians of the Gods. In Valmiki Ramayana, there is mention of Indira losing his male organ for having misbehaved with Ahalya. A goat's male organ was transplanted, as reported. Syavana and king Yayati got their old age replaced by youth as described in Maha Bharata. These are all not just mythical information but supported by research scholars of the present day who have presented papers in our 'Vidvat Sabha-s'. Because, in the Vaidya Saastraa-s we find very clear expositions on 'artificial limb surgery, transplantation of body parts, rejuvenation and skin grafting'!
66. The important critical stages in surgery are, saving the body part from becoming septic, sedation for ensuring that the patient does not suffer from extreme trauma due to high levels of pain, avoidance of blood loss and temporary stoppage of the functioning of some body parts and their restart cum revival after the surgery is over! There is clear evidence that in all these four areas, expertise was already existing even in very olden times!
67. Kulasekara Aazhwaar has expressed an idea in his song to God which means, 'as the patient is not antogonized even when the doctor cuts his body and cauterises, whatever you may do to me, my love for you will not be any less'. In Tamil it says, "... vaalaal aruttu(ch) chudinum...".
68. I can think of two reasons why, despite all the far advanced expertise of the past, surgery has become almost forgotten in Ayur Veda. One is that surgery anyhow is a risky business as the after effects are diverse, unpredictably so. So, surgery was not widely practiced but, restricted to a select few. Then the Vaidyar-s were rather strict in observing the rules and regulations of cleanliness, diet and behaviour. So they were capable correctly identifying and locating the uncommon herbs and plants from which ever corner of Podigai or Vindya or Himalaya or whichever range of hills. They knew as to which particular herb was to be used and the method of its application for whatever the disease or fever or boil or abscess. Hence surgery was resorted to only when unavoidable! (KTSV adds:- It is known that unscrupulous doctors all over the world, despite their professional Hippocratic Oaths are quite hypocritical about it. I am not only punning on the words but am on the spot about it! In the 1950’s and 60’s every other child was operated for tonsils. Later it was the poor small appendix at the end of the large intestine which was conveniently removed, as the villain of the piece! About a year back the world was agog when Oprah Winfry revealed that 90% of mastectomy operations for cancer were unnecessary. As every Nation of the world is in a quandry as to what should be done about the likely medical bill, which is increasing by leaps and bounds every year, one is reminded of what Mahatma Gandhi said. He said that, “there is enough in this world to cater for the needs of everyone, but there is not enough to cater for even one man’s greed!” Especially the greed of doctors’ and Multi National Medical Companies of the world!)
69. When the whole army was lying unconscious, Hanuman brought the hill feature containing the herb Sanjivini. The moment the troops smelt the herb, they could wake up with renewed vigour. That was the effect of a whiff of that herb. So the power of the herbs were such that there was not that much of a need to cut, dig and grope around inside the body! This was another reason why the intricacies of surgery might have gone out of practice and so forgotten! Other than partaking the medicine and surgery, there are other methods of taking care of the patient described in Ayur Veda.
70. ‘Lepam’ is another method. Application of ointment, plaster and covering the affected portion of the body with a wet dressing of clay known as poultice, are all part of the lepam method, quite prevalent in Kerala. ’Vamanam’ is to make the patient vomit, when you want to clear the person’s stomach of unwanted toxins. ’Virechanam’ is to cause the evacuation of the stomach by way of loose motions. ‘Swetanam’ is to cause the person to sweat out the toxins in the body. ‘Snehanam’ is to instil the oil bound medication through the pores of the skin by massage. This is also much in use in Kerala till date. ‘Nasyam’ is to cause sneezing for the body to be rid of the unwanted elements. Then there are two types of enema known as ‘Niruham‘ and ‘Anuvasanam’.
71. In addition to treatment of the visible diseases, there were methods to correctly identify and diagnose when something went wrong with the intestines, brain, bones, nerves, blood and blood vessels, blood pressure, diabetes, eye sight and so on. Ayur Vedam concerned itself not only with medicines made out of herbs (known as ‘oushady’ ) but also minerals (gandakam), stones (pashaanam), metals (uloham). These put together were called ‘rasa vargam’.
72. We hear about ‘kaya kalpam’ as a method of rejuvenating this physical body. Though Aswattama, Bali, Vyasa, Krupa, Parasurama, Hanuman and Vibhishana are supposed to be seven immortals called, ‘chiranjeevi-s’, practically speaking, for us they are all ethereal and not real! But in olden times it is understood that there were people who having done ‘Kayakalpam’ maintained their body without diseases for fairly long periods of life, like three to five centuries or even thousands of years! This they did for greater practice of Ashtanga Yoga of, Yama, Niyama, Pratyahara, Pranayama, Asana, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi! They could not have done ‘Kayakalpa’ for the purpose of sensual gratifications! They would have realized the futility of trying to obtain immortality for the physical body and that as an Atma, they are already immortal! Those who did rejuvenation of the body through ‘Kayakalpa’ for the sake of proplonged sensual gratification, would anyhow have worn out literally!
(To be continued.)
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