CHAPTER – 11 GUIDE
It was at this stage that I got a highly distinguished man as my guide. I could only attribute my luck to the grace of God.
I refer to Vaidya Bhoopati S. Krishna Rao, an expert in three systems of Indian medicine – Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani. When it came to philosophy, he was a genius. As regards the extent of knowledge and a well-regulated life he was a model. He lived first in Nadu Street, Mylapore, and then in Taachimuthu Arunachalam Street, also known as Baker’s Street. In the evenings one could find him in his dispensary on Brodies Road, Mandaiveli.
I happened to pass that way one day. I found him discussing spiritual truths with someone there. I listened with close attention to that talk standing at the edge of the premises. He called me near and asked. “Who are you, please? Why are you standing here?”. “I belong, sir, to Guduvancheri. I am on a visit to Doctor Shanmuga Mudaliar. He is my brother in law. I am working at a race club”, I said.
“Come in please, and take a seat,” he said. The tenderness in that tone reminded me of my parents.
When their talk was finished, he turned to me. “You can come here whenever you are free”, he said. I said that I would, and got back home. Soon, it became a habit with me to meet him at least on four days in the week. All my leisure hours I spent either at his house or in his dispensary. I stayed with him several nights. He was then sixty-five. He taught me the Science of Ayurveda systematically. The Siddha System also came in, from time to time. He took up standard treatises on Ayurveda like Charaka Samhita, Susruta Samhita, Maadhava Nidhanam, Ashtanga Hridayam, and Rasa Ratna Samuchchayam, and taught me these, translating them for my benefit. He taught me philosophy too with exceptional clarity.
The science of medicine I mastered in a span of two years. I had an equal mastery of philosophy also. There was nothing that I could give him in return.Yet my master accepted me, as he would accept his son, and made a man of me. I love and adore him.
All that he taught me on Ayurveda was clearly imprinted in my mind. As my brother in law too was a physician who practiced both the Ayurveda and the Siddha systems, I acquired the skill to prepare medicines of various kinds-powders, conserves, medicated oils, potent residues obtained by combustion and so on.
My master, Vaidya Bhoopati S. Krishna Rao, who was happy with the way I had shaped, wanted me to be a physician with a diploma. At that time there was in Madras a branch of the organization known as the All India Ayurvedic Maha Mandal and Vidya Peed. The finest brains in this field were members of the management at its headquarters. They ran Ayurvedic colleges, conducted examinations and issued certificates to the successful candidates. Such certificates had won recognition and respect in the land.
Those who wrote the examination in Sanskrit and passed, got the degree, Vaidya Visaarada. Vaidya Bhishak was the title awarded to those who wrote the same examination in any other language.
Captain Srinivasamurthi and Doctor Muthulakshmi Reddy held responsible positions in the All India Ayurvedic
Maha Mandal in those days.
My master urged me to take the examination. I did so.
There were in all nine parts. In the first year, I passed the first six parts with credit. The next year I could not attend the examination. In the third year, I took the three papers left over and passed in them too. It is not possible for anyone else to sense the amount of happiness my success gave to my beloved master. I was able to note it in every smile of his, in every word he spoke, and in every glance, he directed at me.
His heart was full. Had he not provided a quite honorable means of livelihood to a young man on the lookout for it, and set him on the road to prosperity?
Only such candidates as had studied in the specified Ayurvedic Colleges for full four years could manage to secure a pass in that examination. There were practical tests in all those papers too!