Doctors and Religion.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“You are in our prayers everyday”.. one of the greatest achievements in becoming a doctor is hearing this sentence.
But hey! You all are also there in our prayers every day!
Whatever the religion, whichever faith one may come from, whether rich or poor, whether our concepts, philosophies or traditions match or clash, we doctors treat each patient with the same devotion: making his / her health better. A doctor will only ask about your religion to know your genetic risks and tendencies, lifestyle and diet. Beyond that, no doctor thinks differently about patients from different religions. Who knows better than the doctor, the oneness of human body, inside out?
We don’t have to kill, sing, dance, wear T shirts or shout to prove our unique tradition of “Humanity”: we carry it upon our head from the day we are born as a doctor, till the day we die. Every day in every casualty anywhere in the world, elixir of humanity flows from the doctors and nurses to the patient, and in their prayers lie the true wish of every doctor: “Let all suffering end”.
Most of those visiting religious places ask for health and life. Doctors too work to safeguard these two, all over the world, irrespective of their beliefs. Science gives us the knowledge, Experience hones our wisdom, but the prayers of millions in different religions give us the ability and responsibility to make the right choices.
Our patients, whichever religion they belong to, bring us religious gifts from their highest places of devotion. From Varanasi and Mecca, From Jerusalem and Amritsar, Ma Vaishno Devi, Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni, Lord Ayyappa temple, Khwaja Ajmer Shareef, Shri Tirupati, Bodh Gaya and many other holiest places, I have received Lord’s blessings via my patients, just like most of my colleagues I know. Abe Zamzam and Gangajal have both felicitated the work of many of us, via God’s messengers to the Doctor: the patients.
Any patient from any country and any religion holds some basic respect for the doctor they go to, for their education, and also for their presumed ability to help.. This “trust of a stranger” is probably the greatest endangered human connection upon earth today.There is no better opportunity to serve humanity than to become a doctor. If there is any social place where everyone is really equal, it is the heart of a good doctor. There are offenders of faith, and misusers of the system everywhere in the world: few doctors and few patients, but not all.
There is so much for the doctor to learn from different religions. The art of medical practice is incomplete without basic knowledge and understanding of human behavior, faith and mindsets. While “scientific” is the highest and umcompromisable criteria for a doctor’s action, this will only bring the patient health, which is incomplete without happiness. Happiness will only come from a doctor who understands human nature well. There, in the wish for happiness in each mind, resides the Lord. Some call it science, some God. Some do not believe in God, both doctors and patients. If themselves genuine, they still connect well via bonds of honesty, kindness, truthfulness and mutual respect: similar foundations as that of most religions.
Many patients will not believe this, but most doctors pray for all their patients everyday before starting their work.
In the good of their patient, they know, lies their own good.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande