"It is a matter of pleasure for me to be able to visit Kerala and especially Kottakkal once again.
I am particularly happy that my visit to Arya Vaidya Sala (AVS), Kottakkal is on a very important occasion. Today we celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier, a great visionary who brought about a renaissance of Ayurveda, over the course of the last century.
As all of you know, the long years of foreign domination sought to make the country poorer materially and spiritually. However, the hard toil of several national heroes led to rediscovering the real India in all its splendid glory.
I position P.S. Varier in the category of Indian Renaissance leaders who drew heavily upon both the oriental and the occidental treasure troves of wisdom.
His karma mandala, as all of us know, was primarily the organising, updating and contemporising of the traditional Indian health care science of Ayurveda. Let me state here with conviction that he excelled in his mission like no one else did.
Though Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier was an ardent follower of Indian traditions, he was not satisfied by merely dwelling on past glories and had set his vision on the future.
His greatest achievement, I would think, was the finesse with which he incorporated the principles and methods of modern knowledge into the traditional science of Ayurveda. This was done without compromising on the basic essentialities of Ayurveda.
He was also a successful Institution builder. The 117 year-old Arya Vaidya Sala, 100 year-old Ayurveda College , 87 year-old Vishwambhara Temple, 85 year-old Herb Garden of AVS and the 80 year-old Kathakali academy here are living monuments of his institution-building efforts.
He considered it as his mission to give quality, affordable health care to those who could not afford it. The Charitable Hospital, set up by him 95 years ago, is an eloquent testimony to his philanthropy.
I must also compliment the 98 year-old Dr. P.K. Warrier, who has nurtured and expanded this Charitable Organisation as Managing Trustee for the past 66 years.
My dear sisters and brothers,
I strongly believe that India has the capability to become the wellness capital of the world. It is home to centuries old traditional systems of medicine and wellness practices that not only foster physical health but also mental and spiritual wellbeing
From ancient times, India had a very systematic, scientific and rationale approach to the treatment of diseases. The Atharva Veda is a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom in the field of medicine. It is lauded as the earliest source of medical information in India.
Ayurveda has been regarded as an upaveda or a subtext of the Atharva Veda. Its history can be traced back to the 6th Century BC.
The foundations of Ayurveda were laid by the ancient schools of Hindu philosophical teachings-- Vaisheshika and the school of logic named as Nyaya.
The Charaka Samhita, the Sushrutha Samhita and the Ashtanaga Hridaya are the other texts that contain a wealth of knowledge about Ayurveda.
The mantras in the Atharva Veda contain a wealth of information regarding herbs, metals, medicines, diseases and treatments. They speak of the astounding properties and powers that plants possess to cure diseases.
The therapeutic principles of Ayurveda focus on prakriti and tridoshas. These principles propound that every individual has his unique constitution and responds differently to treatment and medication.
In Ayurveda, it is believed, that a perfect balance between the nature elements and the Tridoshas of the human body should be maintained for a healthy state of living.
The practice of Ayurveda is based on a very sound knowledge base which is documented in hundreds of classical Treatises written in the classical language of Sanskrit as well as in several other Indian languages.
It has an uninterrupted history of providing primary and even tertiary health care services to vast populations of India during the past several centuries.
Ayurveda enjoyed the patronage of a number of rulers in ancient India. The Mauryan State is said to have given Ayurveda an institutional base, initiated by the exigencies of trade, commerce and agriculture.
In spite of the non-supportive political environment created by foreign rulers, Ayurveda still survived and thrived. Today, Ayurveda is recognised globally as a benign health care science with time-tested healing and wellness capabilities. It is not just a system of medicine; it is also a philosophy of life.
It perceives humans as an integral part of nature. It entails a holistic way of life where individuals are in harmony with themselves and with the world that surrounds them
Its approach to health and wellness is firmly rooted in the unique Indian philosophy of life. The essence of Ayurvedic healing philosophy rests in the divine diction enshrined in the Vedas.
The Shantimantra from the Brihadaranyakopanishad exhorts:
“Sarve bhavantu sukhinah
Sarve santu niraamayaah”
Meaning “May all be happy! May all be free from diseases!”
Ayurveda has now evolved as an effective health care system based on observations, empiricism and intuitive logic.
I understand that during its evolution during the past several centuries, it has assimilated useful inputs from parallel streams of knowledge and wisdom. It never remained insulated from diverse sciences.
Its operational modality is what has been proclaimed by the Vedas: ''Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah''
Meaning “Let noble thoughts enter from everywhere”
(Rig Veda, 1.89.1) Interestingly, just like many other oriental bodies of knowledge, Ayurveda has also evolved and developed many regional traditions adding to its versatility.
We must safeguard and promote this tradition of meaningful assimilation of ideas. Ancient systems of medicine using herbs and plants exist all over the globe. There should be a regular exchange of information between nations to further strengthen healing protocols based on natural remedies.
This dialogue between natural healing practices of nations should be constantly nurtured so that knowledge does not stagnate and innovation happens constantly. However, any protocol or practice must be evidence-based.
Today, Ayurveda is increasingly being recognised, especially for its time-tested capabilities in dealing with non-communicable diseases, musculo-skeletal disorders, degenerative and life-style ailments and pre-and-post natal care.
India is now witnessing a disturbing trend of increasing incidence of life-style diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
There is an urgent need to shift our focus from the treatment of these diseases to their prevention and general wellness.
Ayurvedic practices and wellness solutions coupled with yoga and other forms of physical exercise can go a long way in preventing and controlling these life-style related illnesses.
As a matter-of-fact, there is a need to integrate and harmonise traditional systems like Ayurveda with the modern allopathic system for enhancing the efficacy of treatments. The holistic and comprehensive approach adopted in Ayurveda could play an important role in treating chronic and lifestyle diseases.
I am told that institutions like AVS are evolving new therapeutic modalities to deal with the ailments of modern times like Cancer, Motor Neuron Diseases and Autism.
I must also refer to the Governmental initiatives in this regard. Whether it is education, drug manufacture, marketing, clinical institutions, or pharmaco-vigilance, there are strict Governmental regulations.
Drug manufacturers need Government license and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) approval from Drug Licensing Authority. Hospitals can opt for NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals) accreditation. I am told that the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee of India has brought out several Technical Monographs.
There is a dedicated Ministry of AYUSH and a Department of AYUSH for promotion of traditional systems of Indian medicine. As you all are aware, thousands of Public Wellness Centres have been established across the country with the participation of AYUSH department and many more are being set up.
As a practising science, the system of Ayurveda needs to be strengthened through research. The ancient wisdom in this traditional system of medicine is still not exhaustively explored.
New arenas of science such as ‘Ayurgenomics’ that bridge the gap between genomics and Ayurveda, serving as an aid in understanding of inter-individual differences in responses to therapies, are coming up.
We must make use of the latest technologies in the fields of Molecular Biology and DNA profiling to learn more about plants and their properties. Exploration for new knowledge must happen constantly.
All the new knowledge acquired must also be diligently documented so that it is transferred to the next generation.
I am happy to refer here to the support of the Government in this matter. The CCRAS (Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences) and its different centres are undertaking extensive research activities.
More recently, a Task Force in Ayurvedic Biology has been set up under the Department of Science and Technology to extend support to National Research Institutions and Ayurvedic institutions to strengthen fundamental research in Ayurveda.
I am happy to note that several research papers have been published in peer-reviewed International Journals like Nature and Plos-One on Ayurvedic concepts like prakriti and rasayana.
Nature is a natural healer. Several plants found in nature have some medicinal value. India is a treasure trove of botanical wealth. Exploration, identification, collection, documentation and conservation of medicinal plants should be accorded the highest priority by everyone associated with the study and promotion of Ayurveda.
I note with appreciation that Arya Vaidya Sala has partnered with modern institutions like IIT, BARC and BHU for undertaking research.
All research must lead to evidence-based improvement in treatment protocols and help in producing medicines of excellent quality so that India becomes a thriving centre for natural healing and wellness in the world.
Before concluding, I must pay my tributes to Vaidyaratnam P.S. Varier.
P.S. Varier was an exceptional person, an effective clinician with a unique healing touch, an academician-cum-educator par-excellence, a benevolent entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a man of letters, a promoter of fine arts and above all a representative of Indian renaissance.
As the Arya Vaidya Sala embarks upon a series of academic, social and public functions in the coming months as part the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of the illustrious P.S. Varier, I wish Arya Vaidya Sala and its Management Team and all the staff members who work under the leadership and guidance of Dr. P.K. Warrier, a very bright future in the coming years.
I hope that Arya Vidya Sala will remain a name that is synonymous with authentic Ayurveda.