By Frances Bulathsinghala/The Sunday Observer
Colombo, May 16: This article will attempt to juxtapose the challenge of defeating terrorism that Sri Lanka faced and succeeded in May 2009 being the only country to defeat terrorism, with the challenge as well as potential we face to defeat a pandemic the world cannot.
We defeated terror militarily and used Buddhistic compassion to pardon the entire fighting force of the internationally proscribed terrorist organisation that was the LTTE. Because of the clear and swift decision taken by the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was then the Defence Secretary, around 12,500 human beings who were one time terrorists are today honouring the Sinhalese Buddhist ethic of humanism and leading normal lives with their families.
We still have not got the needed global recognition for this humanistic feat that is a basic construct of the psyche of the nation’s ancient Buddhist civilisation.
Today, we are faced with a pandemic that has confused the Western world. It is a literal war that the world is confronted with.
Western science which is around 500 years old is today struggling with vaccines; the only option it sees for tackling a disease which first attacks the lungs and then the human body.
The extent to which the disease impacts the person concerned is dependent on the person’s immunity; which can be described as a combined force of mind-body composition, influenced greatly on the food a person consumes and the mental make-up of the person.
The so-called developed West known for having regular flu infections every winter season and known for a fast food diet are among the worst affected regions of the world.
In Sri Lanka we can see that majority of the persons are asymptomatic which means our immunity (despite us not having the original kind of traditional diet of our ancestors) are still nevertheless protected by the basic rice and curry which we consume (despite the chemicals – and probably due to the many herbs we use and the karapincha which remove the toxins from the food).
Because of the Indian situation currently with regard to Covid-19, maybe it should be pointed out that the Sri Lankan diet is very different to the Indian diet.
Today we live in a world governed by an education system introduced to spearhead the force of industrialisation which began around the 18th century which changed social and economic values of the Western world.
Much of the world including Sri Lanka which has been the victim of colonisation for over four centuries have lost almost all of the ancient sciences which mystifies the modern world.
In Sri Lanka these sciences ranged from engineering to architecture and medicine – these ancient sciences unlike today were bound to all of nature based on the basic premise that we are all part of nature.
The ancient holistic knowledge system that combined ethics with knowledge imparted through the Gurukula tradition of countries such as Sri Lanka is what created accomplishments as this nation’s hydraulic civilisation which to date would baffle the most knowledgeable water engineering expert.
It is a calamity that engineering is taught in this country to ape the Western science of engineering where few current Sri Lankan engineers would be able to explain through what they learn in their professional training at Lankan universities, how the ancient water engineering was done atop the world marvel of Sigiriya.
Likewise no Western so-called specialist will be able to explain how rocks were melted thousands of years ago and carved in ancient structures of this nation.
Yet, the world is today encased with the view that there is only one ‘science’ and those such as oil tycoon John Rockefeller started the trend of influencing Western medical science and the education system which taught it and today we have as a result the medical ‘industry.’
This Covid-19 pandemic; the new war in the world, threatens Sri Lanka, like everyone else.
It is a war no country has yet defeated and vaccines made with Western science based technology has not yet annihilated it.
Reports are now emerging in different parts of the world that those who have taken the vaccine are infected with this virus and likely Western scientists are currently working on investigating this phenomena.
Sri Lanka and India are countries which are heir to ancient medical knowledge – Deshiya Chikitsa – Sinhala Wedakama also known as Hela Wedakama is the pre Ayurvedic medical science of Sri Lanka a country referred to in ancient times as Hela Deepaya.
This science is one that is connected with the AyurVeda (Ayu meaning life) and (Veda meaning knowledge/science) that was discovered through the mental ‘labs’ of the minds of ancient Rishis, Yogis and bikkhus; individuals who perfected their awareness/consciousness and thereby merged with the universal consciousness.
Today Ayurvedic doctors in India and Sri Lanka who wear the Western attire are studying ancient 2nd century CE texts such as the Charaka Samhitha may or may not contemplate that those such as Charaka who authored these texts were sages who were able to come up with the knowledge concerned only because their minds were directly attuned to the universal oneness.
In trying to understand this, we all can pardon ourselves in not being able to, because we have been trained from babyhood to have a totally different mental construct.
We are now ‘industrialised’, ‘technologised’ machine like beings who owing to the dark years of colonisation, have been consciously and subconsciously, subtly and overtly trained to believe that what was ours was ‘backward’, ‘unscientific’ and ‘superstitious.’
Many in Sri Lanka may not know that from December 2019, at the very beginning of the virus spread in the world that there were Sri Lankan traditional physicians who were investigating into this Covid-19 disease.
They were examining whether the thousands of ways of curing respiratory and immunity attacking illnesses that Sri Lanka has with the diverse herbs and plants – much of it ordinary food, can be carried out for this virus and take it out of the system at the very first stages when it shows ‘semprathishyawa’ signs.
Due to lack of recognition of physicians and lack of opportunity for them to clearly discuss such matters openly these efforts were mostly confined to themselves. We are therefore still confined to the fear psychosis of Covid-19.
Despite many of Sri Lanka’s plant varieties facing near extinction due to the seven decade chemical industry after effects, these traditional physicians in every district were actively doing their own research by March 2020 gathering the rarest of herbs.
This writer who was researching for a book and several academic research papers on Lanka’s traditional physicians/ancient methods, from 2015 directed my research in March 2020 towards Covid-19 and traditional physicians.
There were many issues they faced when trying to solve the saga of Covid-19 through ancient science and around over 98 percent chose silence and obscurity.
Among the earliest traditional medicine based researchers/physicians who were searching for herb compositions for Covid-19 are senior traditional physician D. D. Hettiarachchi of Ganemulla, Physician-bikkhus such as Ven. Algamawaththe Sumanawangsha Himi, Embuldeniya Weda Mahattaya (who is also a systems engineer who created a traditional vaccine equivalent based on his success in treating Dengue for over 10 years) traditional physician Kalutharage Sampath and traditional physician Amila Sanjeewa.
Physician D. D. Hettiarachchi was one of the first physicians to send to countries such as Italy his medicines which prevented the spread of Covid-19 among Sri Lankans in Italy.
Embuldeniya Wedamahattaya is today courted by many countries who wants him to share his knowledge with them.
Other earliest traditional medicine researchers who discovered that many simple herbs that we use as everyday food such as ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, karapincha, pepper, bees honey and lime could boost immunity to a very high degree and possibly safeguard against any respiratory ailment, did not come out to the Lankan media and speak out because they did not want to be misunderstood or face any protocol based complications at a time when the word ‘health’ is dominated by the Western scientific ideology.
Sri Lanka is one of the few Buddhist countries which still retain the tradition where almost every temple has Buddhist bikkhus learning and practising the ancient medical science that survived a nation prior to Western science and several monks took it upon themselves to provide herb compositions to safeguard the immunity of anyone who came to the temple.
Some young wedamahattayas such as Amila Sanjeewa of Gampaha and Kalutharage Sampath managed to use social media and other contacts to communicate that they have sent their medications to quarantine camps and prisons.
They produced written evidence of stopping the spread of the virus in these places and won the trust of many persons who gave these written evidences.
Some such as Amila Sanjeewa robustly promote their success through social media and many others do not.
Algamawaththe Sumanawangsha Himi had created a herbal mask and also at the initial stages of the virus spread last year created preventive and curative medications (which he has stopped now) and when contacted stated he does not need ‘publicity.’
Ven. Sumanawangsha thera is the author of the book Maha Sinhale Thel Beheth Potha and is to shortly release an entire compilation of the Yanthra Manthra Shasthra and has created a national body for promoting traditional knowledge of Sri Lanka for all Sri Lankans and especially among the youth.
The vapor inhalation method of Sri Lanka’s traditional medicine system promoted by Hela Suwaya and supported by MBBS doctors such as Dr. Kumudu Dahanayake was used in quarantine centres with excellent results. There are written records of these.
Those such as Dhammika Bandara who is not a traditional physician or a registered physician, who were practicing ancient methods of using the assistance of unseen forces were also using herbs to boost the immunity and providing in liquid form to those who wished.
Just like it is being revealed now pertaining to the Covid-19 vaccine, this kind of method worked and it also did not at times.
This writer is yet to study the vaccine successes and failures and hope to do so for an article in the near future.
Just for the record the number of traditional physicians of Sri Lanka – Weda Mahattayas/Weda hamines run up to thousands and there are several weda sangam such as the Deshiya Waidya Krama Surekeeme Sangwidanaya.
Some of the wattorus (herb compositions) used by many traditional physicians have once been general knowledge to the average person of this country.
Blinded by chemical based imported substances which passes off for food in the supermarkets, few Sri Lankans today would know the immense immunity enhancing medicinal value of herb based food such as our traditional tubers/yams/traditional rice spices, the hundreds of varieties of mallung leaves, garlic, ginger and coriander and it is possibly this ignorance that has made us demand ‘medicines for Covid-19 with the expectation of an instant medicine as in the Allopathic Western medical system.
These Western medicines are known to only control non communicable diseases in many instances- such as diabetes, but has no cure.
Western medicine has no complete cure for diabetes or cancer or dengue but where all three ailments, including heart blocks are curable (nittawata suwa kirima) in traditional medicine of Sri Lanka as many, many actual records show.
By the 17th century Sri Lanka had passed the strongest phase of its Deshiya Chikitsa knowledge proliferation which ebbed and waned according to different monarchs and their interest in promoting the nation’s vein of survival; its health.
Yet it is in the 17th century that Robert Knox, the sailor who spent 19 years in captivity in Ceylon explained in his memoirs compiled as An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, that every person was a physician in this land and that the forests were their pharmacy.
All of Sri Lanka now has a duty to the ancestors of this country who strived to protect the medicinal heritage of this country to ensure its sustenance at this crucial stage.
We do not need experts to talk about it – we need people to use its expertise although this expertise may have dwindled to a large extent.
Stating that all those who are young and trying to promote it are ‘frauds’ is not the way forward and Ayurveda and Deshiya Chikitsa physicians must be encouraged to be united and encourage each other.
It is known that the ancient Sri Lankan Armies had specific diets and the heirloom rice of the nation such as Kalu Heeneti was one of the foods used for strength and immunity of the fighting forces of the country.
It has to be reiterated that prior to the advent of Western medicine in this nation, there was a thin line dividing food and medicine. At that time we did not have the illness manufacturing chemical industry.
Today, if there is ever a time to revive our traditional identity and educate ourselves on it, it is now. We have to do away with the mere theorisation of ‘our heritage’.
Our heritage, our intangible cultural heritage is needed now. The same premise we used to defeat terrorism should be used to defeat the terror of modern pandemics which our ancients may have used the term ‘deiyange ledak’ to describe.
Indeed it looks as if this virus is a curse from nature itself to the modern man which has raped and exploited mother earth.
The world is weary of education that is only used to destroy nature and what is happening now is true to the two warnings made by the ancient Kogi tribe within the past 30 years.
They warned that nature will reciprocate to man how man has abused nature in the name of development.
The answer to this calamity seems also to be only through nature. One of the few medical systems that are retained in the world in its original form is in Sri Lanka – Deshiya Chikitsa – Sinhala Wedakama which although having both similarities and differences with Ayurveda remains one of the few ancient medical systems in the world which can stand alone in its unique and still non unindustrialised connection to the natural world.
India Ancient Ayurveda is today almost completely technologised and industrialised which while also having its good side (such as instant pill based remedies using herbs) nevertheless is a far cry from what Sri Lanka has – the still surviving knowledge of age old practices that are deeply connected with mother earth; the ultimate bestower of the herbs that create the difference between life and death, illness and wellbeing.
Hence what Sri Lanka now needs is the same fearlessness and the same assertiveness it showed in defeating terrorism militarily and the same compassion it showed to those engaged in terrorism by de-radicalising these terror brainwashed human beings and re-integrating them with society as no nation in the world has done.
Sri Lanka now has a similar opportunity to de-radicalise Lankan minds from believing that Western science is the only science and to empower and embolden the army of its traditional physicians to heal the nation, to advice the nation on how to use the methods and knowledge of the ancient science of Deshiya Chikitsa (Sinhala Wedakama/Hela Wedakama) for national wellbeing and economic security as no nation in the world has done.
To do this we need not look at any nation for emulation. We did not emulate other nations or depended on their advice when we ended terrorism.
It is Sri Lanka’s fortune to have as President the same man who as Defence Secretary used bold decision making.
From 2015 to 2019 Sri Lanka’s traditional medicine was destroyed systematically. Now is the chance to change that.
This article is best ended with the wisdom of Ven. Alagamawaththe Sumanawanse thera who calls for unity of the different medical systems practiced in the country for fighting the national battle on Covid-19.
“Nagisithiya heka eksath wee, Bedi Giyoth Rata yayi sun wee.” This is the same logic we used for defeating terrorism and for trust-building in the aftermath of military victory achieved on 18th May 2019.
“There are strengths and weaknesses in each medical system in how it can treat different ailments.
For example if we look at this Covid-19, one of the ways it attacks is by creating breathing difficulty where oxygen is needed – hence we can use the Western method in providing oxygen for such a situation faced by a patient and then use the traditional herbs according to the complications of the patient.
There are many ways how this integrated method can work for other ailments.”