Dr. Shriram Chaturvedi is an assistant professor in the Panchakarma department of Ajivan Swasthya Mahavidyalaya, Chitrakoot, Satna, Madhya Pradesh. With over 7 years of experience both as a practitioner and teacher, Dr. Shriram Chaturvedi has been contributing to both Ayurveda education and people’s health in a significant way. Read his interview below.
Dr. Shriram, please tell us about how your Ayurveda journey began.
My journey in Ayurveda started from my home because my father is an Ayurvedic Physician. As a child, I used to see him many times giving self-prepared Ayurvedic medicines. I got curious and I asked him how this all works and that’s when he started teaching me all about Ayurveda little by little.
I completed my B.A.M.S. from R.D. Memorial Ayurvedic College, Bhopal in 2011. I also have an M.D. in Panchakarma. I am currently teaching at Ajivan Swasthya Mahavidyalaya, Chitrakoot in Satna and practising in my free time at Sewa Dham Chikitsalaya.
How did you see the Ayurveda education as a student earlier and how do you see it now as a teacher? What are the challenges?
Since my Ayurveda education began at home, I already knew how to prepare Ayurvedic Medicines and what raw Herbs or Drugs should used to bring results. Ayurvedic books later taught me each and everything and my teachers said that Ayurveda is the best medical science, but at that time no used to believe because students were yet to see what it could do.
As a teacher, I think Ayurved is really good. Ayu knowledge means understanding the lifetime from birth till the end. Ayurveda treats the healthy as well as the ill. It advocates for preventive health care because nature and health conditions change like rainy, winter, and summer seasons. I think as a teacher I have learned far more now.
About challenges I’d say there are many, from education to practice. from preparation of medicines to varying standard of education in different places. I think there should be a focus on quality education, uniformity in standards, regular national and local level seminars to help the practitioners become aware of latest developments and breakthroughs, initiatives to recognize medicinal plants in rural areas, updated curriculum with courses like MCH, etc.
What do you see in the younger generation of students now? Are they confident about Ayurveda?
What I am witnessing as a teacher is that many students want to become allopathy doctors and not Ayurvedic Physicians because most of them are the ones who could not compete in the PMTS satisfactorily and hence they came to Ayurveda. Unfortunately, their vision is that they want only the Ayurvedic Degree and then go on to practice modern medicine. Only a handful of students are confident about Ayurveda.
How do you see Ayurveda's future?
Ayurveda has a very bright future because a lot of patents have started to come specifically for the Ayurvedic treatment. Many complex diseases have no effective cure in modern medicine.
What do you think of the integrated medicine and the bridge courses that are being brought in?
It is a good move because patients want fast treatment and Ayurveda demands more patience and faith. Modern medicine has a lot of new things which was not there in ancient times due to the lack of technological advancements. The best of all medicine systems should come together to safeguard the health of the society in the best way. Integrated medicine is much needed in this light.
What more should be done in Ayurveda today?
The focus should not just be on the theoretical Ayurvedic education but clinical practice as well, in groups under the supervision of expert physicians.
What about the quality of medicines? a lot of practitioners are not happy.
Yes, we need to strictly follow Acharya Charaka’s guidelines while preparing medicines. Technology should play a crucial part and ensure long-lasting and quality medicines.
Coming to complex and chronic diseases, can Ayurveda really help?
Yes, because even in ancient times, it cured many complex and chronic diseases like Kapha Avarita Vata, Tamaka Sawah, Rajayakshma, etc.
Please tell us something about the achievements of your institution in Ayurveda?
It is a good Institution. It has the right learning Atmosphere. Many students have topped at the university level because we have quality teaching faculty, our Panchakarma chair got first prize in a national level competition and was felicitated at the president house.
Dr. Shriram, please tell us about your hobbies?
I like reading, spiritual work, and social work.
What's your advice to the students?
Read Ayurvedic books and magazines, keep in touch with your Ayurvedic Physician for routine counselling, and promote Ayurveda among others so that everyone is healthy and happy.
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Just around two weeks remaining, registration for the largest class of charak samhita is going on in full swing. This Nasya Event to be held on 26th may in association with the international book of records (IBR) and Vijnana Bharati has gained a lot of buzz in the Ayurveda community since the time the registrations opened in mid-april.
The largest class of Charak Samhita is a unique attempt by Nasya to revive the teacher-disciple tradition and emphasize on the importance of studying the classical texts besides the prescribed textbooks. Of late, Ayurveda students have been more inclined toward reading the curriculum books for their studies and a trend like this has made them more and more distant from understanding the vast wisdom hidden in the original texts. Such an event will bring the focus back to the ancient texts which contain a brobdingnagian amount of knowledge, a good proportion of which is lost in translations and interpretations otherwise.
Nirogstreet reached out to Dr. Prashant Tiwari, a devoted Ayurveda practitioner and national coordinator, Nasya, for his views on the upcoming IBR event. He stressed upon the need for such an exercise that was long due for the students as well as the practitioners of Ayurveda in order to understand this age-old health science in a comprehensive and integral way. “Studying Ayurveda does not just mean learning the theories and postulates. Rather it requires you to develop insights toward integral inferences. Samhitas are the original classical texts and every student must read it again and again in order to hone their comprehension and expertise. Reading Samhitas should be as regular as practising Ayurveda. The more you study it, the more you enrich your understanding,” he said.
“Now the real question is, how many Ayurvedists are going to attend this class on may 26th? Students of Ayurveda have to be self-aware and proactive about this event. As Nasya president, Dr. Jangid, wrote some days back, we need to develop faith in Ayurveda. This can only be attained by revisiting our original literature and sources, such as the Samhitas. Charak Samhita is the most important subject or text in entire Ayurveda and its relevance is applicable in all manners of life. Reading Charak builds a perspective through which students and practitioners can co-relate the texts in a practical way. It is the very aim of Nasya to bring confidence in students and create an interest so that they can actively lead themselves in the right direction,” Dr. Tiwari further told Nirogstreet.
International book of records largest class of Charak has seen a great response so far and close to 1,000 Vaidyas and students have registered for the event in the past couple of weeks. With just a few days remaining, more Ayurvedists are expected to enroll as the availability fills up to the maximum capacity.
Recounting his student life, Dr, Tiwari remarked that he learned a great deal from the classical Ayurveda texts during his early Ayurveda days. He said that he found it so impressive that the Sthanas and diseases explained by Charak has exact proceedings in daily life. “When I started reading the texts, I applied them directly in life and got really positive results. Charak also tells a lot about how you can improvise your personality and raise the quality of your life. At the clinic too, I give lectures on adopting Charak Sutras and using them for a healthy and happy life. There can be so many take aways and we have been continuously inferring multiple formulations from the texts, applying them in different areas, such as pharmacy. Mahakashay is one example of the same.”
“Charak is relevant in so many things, whether it is personal issues, finance, health, or anything else. It has in fact a trikaal, timeless ring to it, lest we forget to take notice. We have been doing many events keeping all these points in mind, from Charak Chintan to day to day Ayurveda series, etc. Collaboration of IBR will ensure the propagation of our objectives behind the event to all far and wide. We will take inputs from the participants at the IBR event and in coming times we might call our representation in the 22 states to organize a national level webinar where even far more people can connect and participate in another such event,” Dr. Tiwari added.
The registration for the ibr largest class of charak can be done on the Nasya website.
image credit: darsana