Every crisis, be it war or calamity has always had its management tainted with the poison of race, caste, nationality; but in a medical crisis, with a magnitude as large as the one we face today, we see doctors working tirelessly, selflessly, with absolutely no biases.
What they see before them is a patient who needs their help, who they can help, who they will help. As helpless panic stricken patients make their way to hospitals, doctors don’t think of the numerous times they were beaten by grief stricken uncooperative relatives of patients who couldn’t make it, they think of how many more patients they can accommodate with their given resources.
In the present crisis, doctors carry the power to instil calm in the chaos. But this power is a double edged sword. There is always the fear that power may give way to vanity and today more than
ever, it is the ones standing tall with power that must have their feet rooted firmly on the ground.
I remember the excitement with which I ran to the front of the line to enter the dissection lab. It was just the second day of medical college and we were already going to be unravelling the mysteries held within the human body! I walked in, welcomed by a blast of the most putrid smell, strong enough to stop me in my tracks. Shaking that off, I gathered my dissection instruments and found my way to the cadaver I was assigned. What I saw on the table was a woman- lifeless, naked, a pile of flesh and bones ready to be cut open. I found myself lost in a sea of thoughts I had never swum through before. It suddenly hit me, that lying on the table before me was just a body that meant nothing to anyone anymore. At one point she lived her life, went through each day interacting with people, making a difference in someone’s life or not; but not anymore. Today she had no identity, no purpose, no responsibility, no life. ‘She’ had disappeared, what was left was ‘it’, a body. From there on my thoughts started to roll on of their own accord. I began to wonder what the purpose of life was. What if I went through life having done nothing meaningful at all?
And I thought back to a book I had read on karma and destiny- Karma Sutra by Hingori.
The book explained that life as we know it, is all pre-written. It is the script of a movie, the lead role of which is you and me; and this movie is only being played now. This pre-written script is destiny. It explained so beautifully in such simple words that life in this physical realm is an illusion. We believe what our five senses perceive, and that becomes our reality. But so does every mirage until we discover otherwise. Within this illusion, your every action amounts to your karmic balance.
Every act that is considered positive will add karma to your account, and anything negative you do will land you in karmic debt. It spoke about what we owe every living being that provides for our existence. We owe not just our parents for raising us, but cows for the milk we drink, plants for the vegetables they provide, chickens, goats, pigs for their meat. It explains how you can give back- by planting trees, feeding cows, dogs, ants even! The purpose of life is to exhaust your karma (positive and negative) and evolve to a spiritual level where you see through this illusion, that is Maya, and the path to this is non-doership. If you don’t take ‘ownership’ for any action of yours, you will free yourself from karma. It was a revelation. Never had I heard of such a concept.
I began to look at how this concept could apply to the medical profession as well.
Could non-doership perhaps be the route to the selflessness and magnanimity characteristic to the healthcare profession?
Could it be that the doctors working ceaselessly in Wuhan and Italy and all over the world, could work as they are because they set aside any ego leading them to stray from the idea that they were only the medium through which the patient’s as well as their own destiny played out? Perhaps the field demands that they learn not to put ‘I, Me, My’ in their work? It wasn’t about ‘I saved a patient’s life today’ or ‘My treatment provided relief to the patient’. They put their patients’ lives and comfort above their own. They worked overtime without a thought of their own health or time off to spend with their family. As a medical student, something I admire and would like to emulate from doctors is that they look past any thought that gratifies themselves. Isn’t that a brilliant way to live life for every person?
If every individual could stop looking for gratitude and simply look at their actions as something they are meant to do as per their destiny, everyone could be as selfless. Your selflessness leads you to burn your karmic debts and clear your karmic balance leading you to evolve spiritually. And so, in selflessness lies selfishness.
I also realized that the purpose of life was bigger than a profession or our daily life routines, and the path to it was selfless service. I want to give to the less fortunate, what I was fortunate to receive. I want to make a difference in someone’s life when they most need that difference. Or perhaps this is destiny’s play for the pawn I am in her game.
I had a very interesting conversation once, about what makes the best doctor. Countless views, opinions, values, qualities came up; but the one that stuck with me was this-
“A doctor is only as successful or not as his destiny decides. An adept doctor receives a clinic full of patients destined to be saved. An inept one receives a clinic full of patients destined to suffer or die. So is it the patient’s destiny that rewards or punishes the doctor with the labels of adept or inept?”
I feel like every doctor needs to hear this, given the number of times they encounter the loss of a patient or on the other hand, think that they are next to god.
If you lose him even when you’ve done all you can,
Know this, taking him away, was always destiny’s plan.
Then again, in saving him, if you think you’re the greatest man
Know this, letting him stay too, was destiny’s plan.
Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, Thane
About Hingori Sutras:
The Hingori Sutras are a series of easy-to-read books that collectively distil the spiritual wisdom of the ancient Indian siddh gurus.
Written by someone who, within a span of a few years, transcended the journey from student to teacher of spiritualism, these books bridge the gap between ignorance and wisdom by demystifying spiritual concepts and practices. They could help you identify your path and hasten your footsteps.
Led by the mission of connecting people to their spiritual selves, the Hingori Sutras have a vision of leading hundreds into sainthood within the next 10 years. While to some this may sound outlandish, this is an achievable task because we have already seen 40% traction in results.