A Passionate Advocate and Champion of Holistic Medicine




Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, November 27, 2001

I am happy to have presented the Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios Award to renowned Ayurveda physician Dr. P.K. Warrier of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala. I extend my greetings and congratulations to him and the Arya Vaidya Sala for winning this Award for their important services rendered to the people of the country through their work in the field of Ayurveda. Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios Award is bestowed on those people who have excelled in many important areas that include the area of holistic medicine. Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios was himself a passionate advocate and champion of holistic medicine. It was evident from his work especially the holding of an International Seminar in February 1995 in Surajkund on the theme “Medical Anthropology and Alternative Systems of Healing”. Later he brought out a volume on that Conference which contained four of his articles outlining different aspects of holistic medicine. These articles give valuable material and insights into the subject and help the reader to understand in proper perspective the relevance of holistic medicine in the contemporary world. That international seminar was a milestone in the career of Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios in his quest for health and well being of our people based on balanced blending of both the western system and the indigenous system of medicine. Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios once wrote, “The traditional systems of healing far too long marginalized or totally neglected need to be more than just retrieved. In their present stage they offer but limited hope; they need to be reconstructed and re-activated in order that they may meet the true needs of humanity.” Dr. P.K. Warrier, the Managing Trustee and Chief Physician of Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, has made important contributions in reconstructing and re-activating Ayurveda not only in our country but around the world for the benefit of the suffering humanity. He has been heading Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala for the past 47 years and through his dedicated efforts the Arya Vaidya Sala has opened centers across the country and its medicinal products are available in rural and urban areas and in metropolitan cities. During its existence for hundred years the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala has become synonymous with the excellence and popularity of Ayurveda in the world.

Importance and relevance of Ayurveda as a holistic science of medicine has been recognized not only in India but also outside India. Many celebrated western doctors have been fascinated by the scope and depth of Ayurveda in dealing with vast array of human ailments in their totality of origin and symptoms. They were rather astounded to note that it went deep into the emergence of diseases rather than their symptoms. Ayurveda in that sense is a pioneer in preventive medicine. Dr. G. E. Clarke of Philadelphia wrote more than seven decades back, “If the physicians of the present day world drop from the pharmacopoeia all the modern drugs and chemicals, and treat their patients according to the methods of Charaka, there would be less work for the undertakers and fewer chronic invalids in the world.” Indian Medical Gazette also wrote seven decades back, “Old Ayurveda…modernized and rejuvenated …will not only be the national medicine of India, but will play no small part in the uplift of the international medical system of the world.”

However Ayurveda languished in developing itself due to absence of research and development. As early as 1921 Mahatma Gandhi had lamented, “The condition of indigenous medicine is truly deplorable. Not having kept abreast of modern research, their profession has fallen largely into disrepute.” Efforts have been made to uplift Ayurveda from that fallen status. One of the distinguishing aspects of Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios’ commitment to holistic medicine had been to revitalize the ancient system and make it useful to our modern life and problems. Articulating this concern he had appropriately said, “We need to rediscover and create the wisdom of the Ancients, in all our cultures; we need to grasp it and make it relevant to our time and our situation.” Dr. Warrier has devoted his entire life and career to rejuvenate Ayurveda for modern times. Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala has set up a full-fledged Research and Development Wing to achieve that purpose. Together with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, it has engaged itself in collaborative research for Ayurvedic drug formulations. The Ayurvedic Hospital and Research Centre in Delhi, which I had the pleasure of inaugurating in October 2000, has also adopted modern methods and practices of dealing with disease and its cure. India has always remained a repository of knowledge in Ayurveda. It is only country in the world which has declared Ayurveda as an officially recognized health care system. Under the President-ship of Dr. P. K. Warrier, the fifth World Congress of the World Federation of Holistic Health Science organized in 1994 adopted a Declaration urging all the governments in the world to recognize the holistic approach to health. All over the world a dreadful phenomenon of drug disease arising out of side effects of allopathic medicines, is emerging as a threat to humanity. Excessive use of antibiotics and defining focus only on curative aspects have led to decline of immunity and resistance of microbes to new generation drugs. This has set alarm bells everywhere. It is in this frightening situation that humanity is increasingly reviving the indigenous medicines as the panacea for healthy living.

Since there has been an upsurge of fascination for Ayurveda at the global level, we have to make it further acceptable for the peoples of the world by applying scientific methods and research to this healing system, by documenting the classical formulations and getting it recognized at the world level and ensuring quality and affordable products for the people, patients and medical practitioners. Only by doing such things we can further enhance the status of Ayurveda and complement other systems of medicines to tackle the medical and health problems world over.

The Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala through the efforts of Dr. P. K. Warrier has acted as a pioneer in many areas of medical treatment. It is instructive to know that a team of doctors from the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala was sent to Russia to extend treatment to the victims of radiation from the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. I think in the history of Ayurveda for the first time an attempt was made to treat the victims of nuclear radiation. The fact that the Vaidyas from the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala were chosen to do so speaks volumes for the reputation and extraordinary significance of their work under the leadership of Dr. Warrier. The encouraging response and the positive results obtained from the Ayurvedic treatment of those victims has so much fascinated the Russian specialists, that they have requested for assistance from the Indian Ayurvedic doctors to learn from their treatment and enrich their medical practices. It is in this sense that Dr. Warrier has become a world citizen incessantly trying through his dedicated services and Ayurvedic formulations to alleviate pain, suffering and ailment of people and promote their health and happiness in the world. Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios had once said that, “Pharmacology is not to be abandoned, it is to be recognized as only one element in the healing process. Equally important are life and consciousness as well as the relations of the body-mind … to the whole of reality … It is towards such a holistic healing ministry that both medical personnel and the public should now devote most of their interests.”

It is indeed remarkably appropriate that Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios Award has been conferred upon a person like Dr. P. K. Warrier who has devoted his entire life for holistic healing through Ayurveda. I once again congratulate him and wish him every success in his mission of service to Ayurveda and indeed the humanity. I also commend the efforts of the Sophia Society which is engaged in many constructive activities and is administering the Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios Award.

Thank you.