Seminar on Health and Happiness

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Delivering the key note address Dr Karan Singh MP and Chairman ISSER said that all religions have one thing in common and that is to be in touch with one’s consciousness. Different names have been given to this consciousness but it is the same in every religion.

Dr Karan Singh said that God is the all-pervasive, eternal force which cannot be burnt by fire, cut by a weapon, water cannot wet it nor can air dry it. He is the energized information-based external force or spirit. The consciousness within us is the localized version of the same and is called soul. It is possible to have a union between soul and spirit or Brahman. This can be done by following any of the yoga paths.

He said that the Vedic philosophy talks about two important concepts: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (whole world is one family) and “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudavanti” (truth is one but the wise call it by various names). It clearly states that there is only one God but people may call Aim by different names and that the whole world is a family, where you and I carry the same spirit, an extension of Brahman. Here, it talks about the essential unity of all religions. All ultimately lead to union with the divinity.

Dr Karan Singh was addressing a seminar organised jointly by Heart Care Foundation of India and Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan.

Moderating the session, Padma Shri and Dr BC Roy National Awardee Dr KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India said that all religions are one when we talk about health and happiness. All religions aim at the same destination though the process or path may be different. All religions emphasize on the welfare for all. They talk about “bahujan hitay-bahujan sukhay” (‘the good of the masses, the benefit of the masses.)’ Sh. Ashok Pradhan, Director, BVB, Delhi Kendra and Sh. C. R.Gharekhan, Chairman, BVB, Delhi Kendra also spoke on the occasion.

Religious leaders from various religions also spoke on the subject.The speakers included Mr. Sunil Kumar on Hinduism; Maulana Wahiduddin, President, Islamic Centre on Islam and Health and Fr. Mathew Abraham, CDCI on Christianity, Dr. A K Merchant on Bahai Faith, Ezekiel Isaac Malekar on Judaism, Dr Dinyar Patel on Zoroastrianism, Shri Paramjeet Singh Sarna on Sikhism, Samani Rohit Pragya and Samani Mimansa Pragya on Jainism and Dr. T D Kartsang, Head, Tibetan Medical Institute on Buddhism.

Speaking on “Hinduism”, Mr. Sunil Kumar said that to be healthy means to be established in our own ’self”, which must be a state of not just happiness, but ‘ananda’ because if I am unhappy I struggle to regain my lost happiness. Righteous conduct or dharma is the medicine which guarantees health and happiness. This ideal must be an integral part of education system so that the youth can build strength of mind to ‘walk the talk’.

Maulana Wahiduddin said that according to Islam, health and happiness are two faces of a single coin. Health is external manifestation of happiness, and happiness is internal content of health. Where there is true health, there is also true happiness. Where there is true happiness, there is also true health. A complete personality is one that comprises both.

Fr Mathew Abraham, talking on Christianity said, “Christianity is sometimes depicted as a way of life that stifles our freedom and goes against our desires for happiness and joy. But this is far from the truth. Faith brings happiness and a joy which is true, full and enduring. Jesus appreciated and celebrated a whole range of human joys – those simple daily joys within the reach of everyone. The depth of His interior life did not blunt His sensitivity. He admired the birds of heaven, the lilies of the field, the joy of the shepherd who recovers his sheep or of the woman who finds her lost coin, the joy of those invited to the feast, the joy of a marriage celebration, the joy of the father who embraces his son returning from a prodigal life, and the joy of the woman who has just brought her child into the world. Even when Jesus willingly embraced suffering and death, if he radiated such peace, such assurance, such confidence, such availability, it is by reason of the inexpressible love by which He knows that He is loved by God, His Father. It is a presence which never leaves Him all alone. It is a mutual indwelling. ‘I am in the Father and the Father in me’.

There is needed a patient effort to teach people, or teach them once more, how to savor in a simple way, the many human joys that the Creator places in our path, even in the midst of unavoidable sickness and suffering.”

Dr A K Merchant from Baha’i Faith said that anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy, but if one is happy and contented in times of trouble, hardship and disease, this is the proof of nobility.Mr. Ezekiel Malekar, speaking on Judaism, said that the value of human life is immeasurable both as to its worth and as to its duration.

Since maintaining a healthy and sound body is among the ways of God therefore one must avoid that which harms the body, mind and soul and accustom himself to that that which is healthful. The Talmud says, ” Happy people are less selfish, less hostile and aggressive and more likely to be loving, grateful, forgiving, decisive, creative and helpful.”

Dr Dinyar Patel said that concepts such as happiness and health lie at the very heart of the Zoroastrian ethos, which posits the conflict between good and evil and recognizes mankind as the instrument for the eventual triumph of good through his conduct and dedication to perform good deeds. A Zoroastrian must, by his very nature, strive to bring goodness and happiness to this world. Zoroastrians are encouraged to accrue and enjoy wealth but, at the same time, use this wealth liberally on philanthropic activities. Soundness of body, soundness of mind, a positive nature, and the full enjoyment of life are all considered the blessings of God — disease, negativity, dissension, and indeed death itself are recognized as inherently evil.

Dr. Tenzin Deche Kartsang said that the Tibetan Medical System ‘Sowa Rigpa’ was taught by Buddha himself and in Buddha’s teachings say that each and every sentient being in this universe is related to each other. If we wish to have a Health and Happiness we need to be compassionate and help each other and not harm anybody.

Samani Rohit Pragya said that Jainism teaches that inner purity leads to the outer purity and the inner impurity leads to outer impurity or disorder. The purity of the emotions, chitta (psyche), and the mind are important factors to have good health and happiness and the impurity of emotions, chitta and the mind are an open invitation to illness and misery. Health and happiness are linked to emotions. Illness first enters in the world of emotions and then manifests at mental and physical level. Diseases are caused by negative emotions like anger, ego, deceit, greed, fear, hatred etc. Jainism has described three types of diseases i.e. Vyadhi (physical), aadhi (mental) and Upadhi (emotional) and three types of health, which are Parogya, (physical) Bodhi (mental) and Samadhi (emotional and spiritual). In the presence of Upadhi, one cannot experience real health and happiness. Transformation of negative emotions into positive ones through the practice of contemplation helps a person to be free from emotional illness as well as misery and thereby provides health and happiness.

Following are the essence of the Seminar

• To be in touch with your consciousness scientifically means living in a parasympathetic state of mind, which manifests as calmness and tranquility of mind, lower respiratory rates, lower blood pressure, increased skin resistance.

• It has been shown that all mythological religion-based rituals are directly or indirectly linked to health. For example, the Santoshi Maa Ka Vrat deals with eating gur and chana to prevent iron deficiency anemia in child bearing women.

• The ritual of holy bath in the sun is linked to prevention of vitamin D deficiency.

• Not eating cereals on religious fast is linked to prevention of metabolic syndrome.

• All religions sounds are either vowel sounds or nasal consonants. Vowel sounds are linked to the production of interleukin-2, which promotes immunity and nasal consonants with tranquilizers.

• Those who believe in rebirth would know that the fact that if you don’t get liberation in the last birth, these means that debts still remain to be paid. The purpose of life, therefore, is to pay those debts. These debts appear in the form of sufferings; therefore, the purpose of life is to face those sufferings. Sufferings are periods of happiness and not sorrows.

Doctors are God later and human beings first

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Doctors are regarded as God because their primary job is to save the life of a patient. In fact, they are the messengers of God to look after the health of the sick person. But, Doctors are God later and human beings first.

To err is human and every doctor is likely to make mistakes. The very fact that a doctor is getting himself insured under Indemnity insurance means that medical errors are recognized as a part and parcel of Government policies.

For any error, the Court has decided a financial compensation to the patient and that compensation is paid by the insurance company as the doctor is covered under the Indemnity insurance. Medical negligence on the other hand, if proved, is not covered under the insurance. Therefore, medical negligence has to be differentiated from medical errors.
The error of judgment and difference of opinion are accepted in the law as not negligence and there are ample Supreme Court judgments to support that. Medical accidents are also exempted from being termed negligence by various Supreme Court clarifications/judgments. For a doctor to be punished under medical negligence, there has to be a proof that he willfully did some omission or commission which led to the death or caused harm to a person.

A doctor is also not required to possess the maximum degree of skill and knowledge but is required to possess only an average degree of skill and knowledge. Therefore, when an expert is called for an opinion, he should never give an opinion from his level of perception and knowledge but should take into consideration the knowledge of an average doctor of that specialty.

Recently, one of my friends forwarded a report to me, which showed that in US when the doctors went on a strike, the number of deaths in the city during the strike period reduced. I totally agree with this observation and I am of the firm opinion that if allopathic medical profession ceases to exit, the number of deaths per day will be reduced. But at what cost? It will invariably be at the cost of increased morbidity, impaired quality of life and more sufferings. In that scenario people with sexual dysfunction will live without enjoying sexual life; people with heart failure will live on the bed all the time, patients with TB will be back in sanitariums, patients with fractures will remain on the bed for months together and patients requiring orthopedic surgeries will remain with life-long deformations. To have a better quality of life, one has to pay the price as any intervention or surgery done to improve the quality of life invariably will carry some risk and mortality. Even a simple bypass surgery of the heart carries a mortality of up to 0.5-1%. But for the family whose patient dies that 1%, the mortality is 100%.

In a follow up program on Aaj Tak, the controversial film actor, Aamir Khan, said that every household in India has a negative story to tell about medical doctors. Aamir probably misunderstood or could not differentiate medical errors, medical accidents from medical negligence. People equate money with medical success. Most of the medical disputes occur in private sector when the patient’s relations have to pay money for an unsuccessful surgery or treatment. Attempts have been made to compare the results of medical treatment in India from that of abroad. They are totally incomparable as the amount of fee charged by doctors in India is practically a fraction of a price that is charged in the west. The patients load in India per doctor is also responsible for potential medical errors. One should also remember that the Drug Controller Government of India does not inform doctors about banned drugs, introduction of new drugs or introduction of new equipment. Most doctors depend on technology to be learnt through the manufacturers of respective machines. The manufacturers either bring the training persons from abroad or support the training of Indian doctors abroad. Their interest is ultimately covered as the doctors once trained ultimately end up in purchasing their technology.

When a new drug is launched, as there is no information from Drug Controller of India to individual doctors, they are forced to attend symposia by drug companies, which now come under the purview of unethical doctor-pharma relationship.

Most doctors will write pharmaceutical drugs of a company, which people think is in lieu of a commission they are getting. The reality is that a doctor will invariably write a drug of a company who is constantly spending efforts in educating doctors about new technologies and innovations as both Medical Council of India and the Government of India Health Ministry have no such provisions for the doctors. On the other hand, not attending medical educational programs is considered a professional misconduct by MCI and many state councils.