It is an immense honor for me to congratulate you on the First Anniversary of your program combining yoga, dietary management, and group therapy participation with conventional approaches to the treatment of heart disease. It is entirely appropriate that the celebration will be on the premises of Gandhi Ashram, Sabarmati, because this therapy epitomizes the nonviolent attitude through which Gandhiji helped change the world.
As you know, when I was in India in 1988 through the invitation of the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi , I delivered the annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture. Following the lecture, an incident occurred which I shall never forget. A gentleman came forward and unbuttoned his shirt and showed me his sternotomy scar from coronary artery bypass surgery. He explained that he had severe heart disease and wanted to know if I thought meditation would help his condition. I say yes, of course, but we did not have time to talk extensively. I gave over a dozen talks, and many times a similar event occurred. This was surprising to me ; I was unaware that Indian people were experiencing " our " disease so widely. At that time, in 1988, Dr. Dean Ornish's work was unpublished and programs such as your were unavailable. I therefore hope your program gains the celebrity and notoriety it deserves, and that it becomes widely available through Indian to patients such as those I met hopefully before surgery , not after.
Indian, where yoga was birthed, is now rediscovering its power to reintegrate mind, body and spirit, and to " change the flesh " in the process. Yoga is of course only one of India's gift to the world, but a gift for which the entire body of humanity should be grateful . This does not mean, of course, that we should desert conventional science , for it, too, is a powerful tool to change the body; and the beauty of your program is that it honors both body and spirit, yoga and conventional science.
As you enter your second year, I am well aware that you shall encounter skeptics and cynics opposed to using the mind to change the body. It is ironic that this opposition should occur in India, which has a tradition of honoring spiritual approaches to illness dating from millenia. Yet the emphasis on the exclusive use of materialistic approaches in treating illness is today universal, it seems.
Following a lecture to a large group of medical students in New Delhi in 1988, three of them sought me out following the talk. They said, " Dr. Dossey, do you really believe the mind can influence the body ?" How strange, I thought, that this concept should be doubted in India but the influence of physicalistic science can overpower young physicians who have not yet discovered their own spiritual identity.
In any case, Ramesh, please know that in my opinion, you are on a true path that shall lead to a form of medicine more glorious than any previously known to the human race. I shall continue to think of your program as a star burning brightly in the East, whose brilliance becomes stronger each day.
The radio interview was eloquent, incisive and powerful. My congratulations.
878 Paseo del Sur
Santa Fe, NM 87501
This was received in the form of a letter from Dr. Larry Dossey, M.D.
LARRY DOSSEY, M. D. is the author of Recovering the Soul, Space Time & Medicine, Beyond Illness and Meaning & Medicine. He lectures around the world on Mind-body and Medicine. He is perhaps the most Seminal thinker of our time.