Ayurveda, with its eclectic healing prowess, is considered a redeemer around the world for its impervious yet effervescent methods. Away from the humdrum of day-to-day life, people find solace in this cathartic therapy, while indulging in its pure non-toxic methods.
Except, the world sees ayurveda in a totally different light today. In the name of ayurveda, numerous massage parlours are thriving around the cities as part of tourism. Some genuine, some not so much.
Hence, following the feisty path of moneymaking, this age-old medicine is losing its credibility. This is where the story of Dr C S Kannadas, an Ayurveda Ophthalmologist, who works in Thiruvanananthapuram Ayurveda College, stands out. Kannadas conducts free medical consultation at his home taking bare minimum monies for the medicines he provide.
Around 72 diseases pertaining to eye are listed beneath Shalakya Tantra in Ashtang Hrudaya and even in the oldest book written about ayurveda, Susrutha Samhitha. And the sad factor is that not many are familiar with ‘Shalakya Tantra’, a branch of ayurveda that handles eyes, nose, ear and throat.
Kannadas, with the aid of Shalakya Tantra, has been healing eye diseases for the past 30 years. With his set of faithful patients, this eye doctor who has both an MBBS and ayurveda degree with a PG in nethra, (ophthalmology in ayurveda), has been revisiting the ancient cures for eye diseases while treating his patients.
Ayurveda was no coincidence for this doctor, who hails from a traditional ayurveda family, with both his father and grandfather being ayurveda pediatricians. Kannadas who initially intended to learn Mathematics, had to take up medicine as there was no one else to carry his family tradition forward. He pursued his degree in ayurveda from Thiruvananthapuram Ayurveda College.
“It was after my degree, which I scraped out barely from the Ayurveda College, I realised that I have no other means to live. Then I joined Thiruvananthapuram Medical College for my MBBS degree. Later for PG I came to Ayurveda College once again. My fixation with eye started when one of my friends mentioned about glaucoma which affects diabetes patients, even causing complete blindness. I wanted to find a cure for this condition,” says Kannadas. Kannadas’s friend mentioned it as an incurable disease, but today, he is a firm believer in this healer’s healing powers.
A stickler in eye diseases, Kannadas’s field do not limit to ophthalmology. From stomach diseases to cancer, this doctor has treated them all. At home his consulters vary from eye patients to skin patients.
“I have a consultation at home only because it has been there ever since my grandfather’s time. So I just wanted to take that tradition forward. It has nothing to do with money making. I am trying to help people with the best of my skills, that’s all,” says this physician.
The Ayurveda College, which has five other ophthalmologists in its service, boasts of a range of eye checking instruments such as fundus and many others, for its Salakyathantra Department. However, they do not have any surgical facilities.
“We cannot survive without allopathy as our methods lack technical development, however they very well can survive without us. But I will never recommend lasik treatment for eye ever. Instead, with our ancient proven methods, we have reduced short sight and eye sight problems by religiously following them,” says Kannadas.
Leech therapy is another method Kannadas swears by. Leeches collected from Aakkulam Lake are kept in various bottles in the therapy theatre for this purpose.
“Leeches can suck the impure blood from your eye and there is no better method to cure blindness caused by diabetes. The interesting part is these leeches, while inside your eye, will not cause any irritation, unlike hairs or eye lashes, instead you will not even know they are there,” says Kannadas.
From more than 100 patients lining up to see doctors in the Ophthalmology department in Ayurveda College everyday, this hospital has around 100 or more in-patients just for eye-care.
The doctor, while showing off his patients to therapy tables to eye testing instruments to leeches, reminisces his most satisfying moments. From his stint with a person named Shaji, who fought with cancer and recovered his sight, to 10-year-old blind twins who can now identify their mother to colours of their food, this doctor has many magical stories to recall.
With oodles of respect people stand up to this man when he walks past them in the hospital and with absolute humility he says they do that with every other doctors. “It is our culture and tradition that we impart through ayurveda.”