Meeting young budding scholars!

Meeting young budding scholars!

The annual sessions of IHC, SIHC, APHC, TNHC etc, have been the occassions, where we can meet many inyeresting personalities, in spite of several inadequecies, shortcomings and other deficiencies. I used to meet eminent historians, historians, history teachers, history writers, history lovers and others interested in history.

In this way, this year (happened to be the 150th birth year celebrations) I met two youngsters at different occasions  S/Sri Ezhil Raman and D Mahendranth, the former has been doing Ph.D in Puducherry University and the latter has just become a member of SIHC. Not only both have been youngsters, but also written a book each.

Ezhil Raman has alaways been enthusiastic researcher on Siddhas presenting papers on the related subject matter. He showed me a book “Special Schools in Puducherry” published by some German publishers.

Ezhil Raman

He was so happy in showing the book!

D. Mahendranath has been a young history writer, as he has written book on the history of Thiruvanathapuram. It was released on December.14th, 2008 by HH The Maharaja Sri Uthradom Tirunal Marthandavarma at his Palace in Trivandrum. That means, he wrote the book, when he was studying 8th standard!


In the photo, the following could be seen:

  1. His grandfather K.S.Nair (Rtd. AG’s office,Trivandrum).
  2. His father D. Sudhindranath
  3. His maternal uncle K. N. Sreekumaran Nair
  4. HH the Maharaja.
  5. The secretary padmanabha swamy temple trust, Janardhana Iyer
  6. The PS to Maharaja Somasekharan Nair.
  7. Former VC Kerala university Dr. Balamohan Thampi.
  8. D Mahendranath, the author.

Now, he is doing +12 in Kendriya Vidhyalaya and he shows immense interest in history.


In another occasion, he met the former President, Sri. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam also.

Perspectives of different Health Knowledge Systems on “The Mind and Body”

Perspectives of different Health Knowledge Systems on “The Mind and Body”

The workshop on “Mind and Body” in the perspectives of different knowledge systems was held at the Vyasa Block of the premises Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine (I-AIM)  and Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FLRHT), Bangalore on August 24th and 25th 2012. Their activities have been detailed in the booklet[1]. The premises have been located in natural surroundings with herbs and trees and the participants of the workshop were also accommodated there and they were from different disciplines and traditions.

The background of the workshop[2]: There are fundamental differences between the manner in which the body and mind are viewed and understood in western medicine, and in streams of Asian medical systems. The variations arise from their differing perspectives as a result of which they have different world views, concepts, categories and theoretical constructs.

The Asian streams of health sciences, for example Ayurveda, is based on a holistic perspective that permits view of large fields or fundamental states of nature (panch-mahabhutas), their properties and the dynamics of systemic changes that occur in these fields or states. This perspective gives rise to systemic theories (tridosh vichar) that explain the functioning of the body and mind. Within the various streams that constitute Indian Medical Heritage (Ayurveda, Yoga, Sidha, Sowa-rigpa, Unani) by and large the theoretical constructs are similar, although they have different cultural symbolism and variances as well.

The perspective of western science in contrast allows an incredibly detailed view of fundamental units of nature (atoms, cells). It is a reductionist perspective that gives rise to structural theories that view the body and mind as constructed from well defined physical and biological structures, their properties and the dynamics of changes that occur within them.

This workshop will discuss in a comparative, non judgemental way the varied perspectives and highlights of different cultural streams of knowledge recognizing their difference in perspective. It will outline the physiological differences of the diverse knowledge streams focused on their understanding of the body and mind.

All streams of health sciences share a common ground in that they are all trying to understand the patho-physiology of the same entity viz; the body and mind. However, the approaches, tools, diagnostic processes and solutions take different paths. Despite the overlapping of aims, it is not easy to attempt to draw parallels across the various streams of knowledge because of difference in perspectives and paradigms. The section nevertheless will present the outcome of different perspectives on the body and mind from various health knowledge systems.

It was inaugurated by Dr Darshan Shankar[3], advisor FRLHT and Chairman IAIM on August 24th morning.

Photo: Dr Ram Manohar, Dr Unnikrishnan, Dr Darshan Shankar, Dr Dorjee Neshar

The presentation, in the form of papers, sharing personal experience and discussion, was rendered by the following doctors, professionals and researchers:

  1. Dr Ram Manohar
  2. Dr Kishore Patwardhan
  3. Dr P. M. Unnikrishnan
  4. Dr G. Sivaraman[4].
  5. Mr K. V. Ramakrishna Rao
  6. Mr K. P. Arjun.
  7. Dr Amina Athar[5].

The proceedings of the next day August 25th was with the presentation of papers from the following:

  1. Dr Roopa Devadasan
  2. Dr S. Sridharan.
  3. Dr Latha Satish
  4. Dr Dorjee Neshar[6].
  5. Dr Sumantra Chatterjee[7].

Dr Darshan Shankar in introductory address delved upon their “travelling exhibition” on the Indian Medical Heritage, briefed about the theme of the workshop.  He pointed out the importance of getting materials from the classical and folk medical traditions. He wondered about the lack of Jain and Buddhist contribution to Indian medical system.

Dr Ram Manohar explained the Ayurvedic basis of Tridosha, Panchavhuta etc., and then developed the idea of two, three, four and five-dimensional view about the mind-body relationship.

  1. Body
  2. Body and mind.
  3. Body, mind and self.
  4. Body, sense organs, mind and self
  5. Body, sense organs, mind, self and intelligence.

According to Ayurveda, mind is material and creates body, and therefore, it is nourished by food, however, mind is not consciousness. He relied upon Charaka Samhita.

Dr Roopa Devadasan, Dr Kishore Patwardhan, Dr Unnikrishnan, Dr Ram Manohar

Dr Kishore Patwardhan pointed out that there was no Indian contribution towards physiology and anatomy and it derived from the western concepts and models from 18th century onwards. Giving many references from the research papers appeared in different national and international journals, he put forward his ideas two categories – scientific and unscientific, approach in dealing with Indian traditional views on mind-body issues.

Dr P. M. Unnikrishnan explored into the Ayurvedic concepts of tridhosha, panchabhuta etc., in relation to mind-body problems.

DrG. Sivaraman, SiddhaDoctor

Dr G. Sivaraman traced the Siddha medicine to 3000 BCE based on Trimular and explained the atheistic basis inspired from the Ajivakas. Taking clue from the names Vellaichamy, Vellaiyan etc., he interpreted that the Tamils were inspired by the Ajivaka cult, as they were wearing white robes. He also gave some formulations thereby mind could be manipulated thus affecting body.

Mr K. V. Ramakrishna Rao explained the conceptual basis of “Siddha” derived from the Sangam literature and delved much on Tirumanthiram. He pointed out that the popular Siddha literature known as “Siddhar padalgal” has nothing to with the Siddha medicinal system. He tried to show that there was not much difference between Siddha and Ayurvedic, as the Indian Medical System existed had been affected, changed and modified under differebt periods of Indian history.

Mr K. P. Arjun claimed that he had been the 47th traditional Vaidhya tracing to his Guru – Sri Puttur Maharishi who existed around 1516 CE. He has given the following interesting details:

Sookuma Udal (Gaseous state, Vatham 35,00,00,000 roots of white musceles).

Kaarana udal (Liquid state, Pitham 72,000 nerves) and

Bootha udal (Solid state, Kabham 206 bones)

Dr Amina Athar explained about the Unani tradition of medicinal system developed in the Islamic world.

Dr Roopa Devadasan delved upon her personal experience with the Kurumbha tribes of Gudalur.

Dr S. Sridharann traced the mind-body concept to the verse of Bhagawat Gita, wherein, the psychosomatic condition of Arjuna was brought out succinctly. Rendering Sanskrit slokas in the context, he explained symptoms and causes, principles of Astanga Yoga, evolution of mind and body, location of Panchabhutas in body, Panchamayas, mind-body connection through Prana and Food and application of Yoga for therapeutic purposes.

Dr Latha Satish starting with the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, explained the mind-body connection in the western medical versus Yoga view. The issues affecting Yoga research on health had also been identified and explained.

Dr Dorjee Neshar explained the mind-body relationship with reference to Tibetan Medical System (TMS) known as “Sowa-rigpa”. According to tradition, the origin is traced back to Buddha or Lord Shenrab Mewo who lived 3800 BCE i.e, c.1800 BCE. Though, the terminology used to explain the concepts appeared to be different using Tibetan language, they are evidently Ayurvedic.

Dr Sumantra Chatterjee introduced “Brahmi Ghritam and the Brain” based on the clinical tests conducted with the mice subjected to stimuli of different categories and environments. He explained that Hippocampus is the seat of memory and Arnydala, of emotions.

Only copies of five papers[8] were distributed among the participants during the workshop. The entire proceedings have been moderated by Dr Darshan Sankar, co-ordinated by Ms. Lina Vincent[9] and videographed to develop the content f0r an exhibition of mind and body. However, as that purpose was not explicitly conveyed to the participants, they generally presented their papers. As the subject matter deals with abstract conceptual and intangible hypotheses and theories at one side and material, tangible and physical theories and at the other side, it is difficult to convert such intangible, subtle and unobservable phenomena to tangible, gross and observable conditions.


There was an active interaction, however, after every presentation with specific querries, clarifications and suggestions. Definitely, the Medicinal system of different professions had an opportunity to know about the existing other systems, compare with their system, point out the differences and come to a consensus to unify the existing systems in the Indian context.

A careful observation of the proceedings has brought out the following points:

  1. There has been unifying factors among the different Health Knowledge Systems followed, practiced and systematized in India by various medical practitioners.
  1. There are only few differences – nadi-pariksha, order of chakras, usage of non-vegetarian substances – between the Ayurvedic and Siddha medicinal systems.
  1. The intrusion of different cultures the Greeks, the Persians, the Arabs, the Mughals and the Europeans during the 2000 years has to be taken into consideration about the exchanges of Medical knowledge taken place or changes and modifications introduced into the Indian medical system.
  1. The dominant Jain and Buddhist factors had also impact in the modification of the Indian medical system, as they were controlling the educational system during their period of reign.
  1. The contribution of Jains and Buddhist towards Indian medical system is there and it has to be apprised chronologically taking their concepts into account.
  1. To find out the exact position about the knowledge of anatomy and physiology prevalent in Indian Systems of Medicine, a multidisciplinary study is required.
  1. The “scientific” or “unscientific” nature traditional medical system is debatable, as the scientific medical system itself has been evolved out of the so-called unscientific medical system.
  1. It is not semantic struggle, but ideological that has only divided the existing Indian medicinal system.
  1. It has to be decided as to whether the western recognition of the Indian system of medicine is required or not, to proceed further.
  1. Consensus has to be arrived at in branding native, folk, tribal medical systems prevalent as “unscientific”, in contrast to other Indian traditional system of medicine and western allopathy.

[1] This booklet “Integrating Ideas  for Integrative Healthcare” was distributed to the partipants. For more details, the following website can be visited:

[2] Based on the note circulated through e-mail among the participants of the workshop by the organizers.

[3] Dr Darshan Shankar  is currently Chairman Institute of Ayurveda and integrative medicine at FRLHT, Bangalore, India. Mr.Darshan Shankar has held several responsible & prestigious positions in the areas related to Traditional Health Sciences and sustainable harvest of medicinal plants. He is a recipient of a number of prestigious awards including Norman Borlag Award, Common Wealth Youth Service Award, Equator Initiative Prize and ColumbiaUniversity’s Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines International Award and many others.

[4] Dr. G. Sivaraman B.S.M.S., Ph.D., (Profile) the managing Director and Cheif Siddha Physician of the Arogya Healthcare, is a graduate from Govt Siddha Medical College and Doctorate from Tamil University. Started his carrier as residential Siddha Doctor in 18 Siddhar Siddha Hospital at Annanagar, Chennai in the year 1993. He started his own clinic Arogya Siddha Hospital in the year 1995. Incorporated as Pvt Ltd Company in the year 1997 Arogya has grown in many faces. Dr. Sivaraman is now Member of National Siddha Pharmacopeia Committee, Member -Working Group of AYUSH, Planning commission of Govt of India, Member- TKDL Expert group and many key committees of Siddha research.

[5] An expert in Unani medicine and a team lead at the Indian Foundation for Rediscovering Traditional Knowledge, Bangalore, she has been writing in health magazines, and a health column in Islamic Voice. She specializes in research oriented trainings and workshops for globalization of traditional medicine. Can be reached at

[8] K. V. Ramakrishna Rao – A Brief outline of the Siddha understanding of the Body and mind: New Research.

K. P. Arjun – Body and mind – According to Guru-Shisya or family based Traditional Siddha Vaidhyam.

Dr S. Sridharan – Mind body connection – A brief outline of the understanding of body and mind according to Yoga practice.

Dr Latha Satish – Yoga

Dr Dorjee Neshar – Essentials of the Tibetan medicine and its practice.

[9] Consultant, writer living Bangalore.