Doctors usually do not have time – especially not when it takes them away from their medical practice and patients. But then Sadhguru announced during a meeting with the Action for Rural Rejuvenation (ARR) doctors that the Isha Foundation had planned a one day program to educate medical students about rural life, health and nutrition. The ARR doctors were excited and motivated to share their learning and the skills that they were applying to the Action for Rural Rejuvenation project.
The word was spread amongst medical students, and soon registrations were pouring in from various Colleges in Tamil Nadu like Annamalai, Kilpauk, Madras, Stanley, Thirunelveli, Trichy and Thuthukudi Medical Colleges.
Sadhguru’s focus was to give the medical students an understanding of the pitiable state of rural life and the need for doctors themselves to lead a balanced and healthy life that would enhance their perceptions and attitudes for reaching out to patients.
As the participants assembled at Spanda Hall on 8 July 2008, only a few of them had already done an Inner Engineering program. Isha Yoga was something completely new for the majority, and their faces reflected their doubts, some were outright sceptical and judgmental while many were curious and eager to experience something out of the ordinary.
The students were initially astonished to see about 20 doctors, including two professors, volunteering to facilitate the program. They were intrigued to see these highly qualified people getting down to the nitty-gritty of shifting chairs, helping out and even serving the food regardless of their rank or hierarchy.
The day started with the welcome address that was delivered by Dr. Krishnamurthy, former Director of Public Health Services, Tamil Nadu and Project Director, AIDS Prevention and Control Project (APAC), Chennai. The participants were spellbound to hear from someone who had spearheaded innumerable projects and managed several thousand people in the official Tamil Nadu health sector about how volunteering in Isha had given a new dimension to his way of working and methods of management.
The vision and magnitude of Isha Foundation’s social projects and the transformation it was bringing about to people’s lives and society was truly inspiring for the aspiring physicians. The doctors currently heading the health projects shared their experience of working with the rural population, the issues that were typical and peculiar to that environment and how the projects were transforming people’s lives in little villages and hamlets throughout the state. At the end of the presentation, many students expressed their interest to become a part of the health projects and services to rural people that would sustainably transform a large section of society, the state and in the future, even the nation.
At midday, the participants had the chance to interact with Sadhguru. Sadhguru talked about how qualities like commitment and love can enrich a person’s life individually and impact the people around them as well. In fact, most of the participants stated in their feedback that this was the take-home message and that they would strive towards making it a reality in their lives. Just one session with the mystic Master was enough to bring about a change in the perceptions and ambitions of this important segment of society – physicians.
The question and answers session at the end of Sadhguru’s lecture was rapid and lively and easily overran the allotted time by an hour. The session wound up with the Master’s blessings.
Making a shift from theory to practice, the medical students were taken to Thanikandi village nearby to see the reality of rural life, got to visit a Mobile Health Clinic and experience the Isha Foundation’s public-service initiatives first-hand.
Science and service was augmented with enjoyment, as the participants took a hike to a beautiful grove with a stream in the nearby forest. Everybody joined in the play on the banks, indulged in literally cooling off in the cool waters of the stream and had a healthy, tasty repast.
On the way back to the Isha Yoga Center, the students were also touched and greatly entertained by the welcome and traditional folk music of the Thanikandi villagers. Students and villagers danced together, sharing their joy with each other, uninhibited by social barriers.
In the evening, after visiting the Theerthakund and the Dhyanalinga Temple, the participants shared their awe and sense of inner silence and wellbeing that they had experienced at the temple. Dinner was served accompanied by the Sounds of Isha and the students gleefully joined the dancing and singing.
The participants were truly enriched by this unique one-day program and requested that it be held again for other medical students for those to benefit as well from the life-changing Isha experience before going out into the world to practice medicine. The next Doctors’ Program has been scheduled in October for a larger group. The day ended with an expression of feelings of love and joy, and a great deal of inspiration.