Healing the healers: Medical universities in Punjab, Rajasthan prep budding doctors through The Art of Living

The Art of Living International Center Bengaluru
February 22, 2024

More than 1,700 medical students in the two states have learned to handle their stresses and emotions through The Art of Living course so they can perform well in their professions

Through Memoranda of Understanding with The Art of Living, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) and the Rajasthan University of Health Sciences (RUHS) have ensured that more than 1,700 medical students learned valuable tools to handle their stress and emotional challenges. Following the signing of the MoUs, The Art of Living Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!+) is being offered as part of the induction program for first year students in hundreds of colleges coming under these universities in the two states. The tools and techniques taught by The Art of Living have equipped students to handle the pressure of their rigorous medical education programs made more challenging by the pandemic.

Five of these students in Punjab were so inspired by the tangible health benefits offered by The Art Of Living Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!+) that they have become teachers of these programs. Understanding the value of service and the ethical grounding it gives, many of the medicos have become trained volunteers to serve their communities. As doctors, the training they underwent will help them become strong individuals who can handle their own minds and serve people with dedication.

Addressing medical college entrants and faculty at the BFUHS on the occasion of the signing of the MoU in November of 2019, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living, cited research by scientists at Oslo and a research paper published in the Journal of Neuroradiology and said students should learn tools to manage stress. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said practicing meditation increases the gray matter in the brain which is required for mental health and cognitive processes. “Mind should be free from stress. You cannot claim to be healthy when society is full of tension and fear,” he said. “Medicine, Meditation, and Morality,” was the topic of the talk.

Speaking during the event, Dr Raj Bahadur, the then V-C of the BFUHS, said: “In the recently held V-C conference, it was advised that students would be exposed to luminaries of the country who would inspire them towards learning ethics, communication, morality, leadership, yoga and meditation. So, we have invited Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar to motivate our students for service to humanity.”

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said: “A disease-free body, quiver-free breath, stress-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, obsession-free memory, ego that includes all, and soul which is free from sorrow is the birthright of every human being.” In keeping with that, The Art of Living intends to take these programs to both UG and PG medical students across the country and build a community of stress-free, happy doctors. Recalling the high suicide rates among PG medical students, Tanushree Gupta, a microbiologist and an Art of Living faculty heading the project in Punjab, says a holistic approach in education is important, especially for the ones who are going to be healers.

Art of Living programs have been conducted all across Punjab in colleges such as GMC Patiala, GMC Amritsar and at GGSMC, Faridkot. They are a regular feature at AIIMS, Bathinda.

A high point of the project were the Har Ghar Dhyan sessions – meditation sessions conducted across India in institutions, commercial establishments and residences with the support of the Ministry of Culture -- for the entire student fraternity and faculty at AIIMS Bathinda last year. The Har Ghar Dhyan program culminated in a rock music concert, but involving soulful bhajans and songs set to fast-paced music.

The BHUCS governs ten medical colleges and 14 dental colleges besides more than a hundred nursing and physiotherapy institutions.

In January of 2023, the RUHS signed an MoU with The Art of Living and introduced the YES!+ program in the induction program. The RUHS recognizes that such programs serve the Competency Based Medical Education Curriculum designed by the National Medical Commission.

Speaking on the occasion of the signing of the MoU, Dr Sudhir Bhandari, V-C of RUCS, stressed on the spiritual component of The Art of Living programs. “Spirituality will help doctors treat patients with more sensitivity,” he said. Twenty-four medical colleges and 500 paramedical, dental and pharmaceutical colleges are affiliated to the RUCS.