Media must play a greater role in promoting Indigenous Medicine – Minister Sisira Jayakody | Sunday Observer

Media must play a greater role in promoting Indigenous Medicine – Minister Sisira Jayakody

5 September, 2021

The following is an interview with State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurvedic Hospital Development and Community Health, Sisira Jayakody.

Q: Minister Jayakody, what have you done to prevent the high number of daily deaths due to Covid-19?

A: I am reluctant to talk to the media. Whatever I do I am attacked. I am working daily and not just idling. I have just met wedamahattayas in the area. I meet them daily alongside Ayurveda doctors.

I know their problems. You ask what I have done. I now avoid the media because they distort everything. They used Dhammika Bandara to ridicule our efforts of raising Sinhala wedakama.

When we introduced Suwa Darini and released a press statement on that what the media caught was the negative aspects of Dhammika Bandara and used that to attack me. I am going on in this task only as a person who feels for the traditional medicine of my country and as a Buddhist.

After the next few years, I am out of all these. You ask what I have been doing.

I have been talking daily to traditional physicians, Ayurveda doctors, our politicians and various other stakeholders on how to raise public awareness on using our traditional medicine for ridding the nation of Covid-19. We will update the media soon. Last month, we released a directory of Traditional Physicians and Ayurveda doctors. I have instructed all Ayurveda doctors to support traditional physicians.

Q: What is the support you have received from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for using traditional medicine for Covid-19?

A: Early last week, the President called me and wanted to know in detail about diverse aspects of our traditional treatments. I explained to him as well as I could.

Q: The problem seems to be that we are all products of the Western science based imperialist education system isn’t it?

A: Well, I think we cannot separate ourselves fully from Western science. We should test our traditional cures through this channel to prove to the world the accuracy of our cures, especially for Covid-19. We can debate this at a later interview.

Q: When Robert Knox was captive in Sri Lanka in the 17th century. He saw an advanced medical science in the country and mentioned it in his book. He said that every citizen was a physician unto himself/herself and that the forests were our pharmacy. Your comments?

A: Yes, this is true. Our society has vastly changed today. We have to rectify this. We have to grow our herbs. We have to promote Deshiya Beeja.

We have to create mass scale awareness in Sri Lanka and internationally on our traditional medicine and its uses. I am working on this. My conscience knows this. I don’t have to lie to you. The media have to assist in this endeavour.

Q: You seem to be somewhat under stress and, therefore, struggling in this?

A: Yes I am. I ask the media for their goodwill to take traditional medicine to the masses and to create awareness on it among everyone concerned. I have been attacked badly during the Dhammika Bandara sage and, of course, I am under stress.

Q: Dhammika Bandara is a Kapuwa. In ancient times, the roles of the Kapuwa and the Gurunanse and the Wedamahattaya were all represented through the Wedamahattaya. Use of universal dark and light energies is a part of ancient Ayurveda. Your comments?

A: Yes, but the media do not stop to think of all these, isn’t it.

Q: The Covid-19 vaccine is not a magic bullet of instant cure – it is the Covid infection being injected into the body. If the body is not strong enough to handle it, it crumbles. We see now the world over the high number of deaths after the Covid-19 2nd dose. What can you do about this?

A: As I repeat many times, our media have to play a major role in the creation of mass scale awareness. This is the vacuum that we have.

Mid last year, we started a major campaign to promote our desheeya ahara (traditional food) as a medicine to naturally boost the immune system to be pandemic resistant. We are continuing this campaign and now in the mission to a heightened level.

Q: But outwardly your efforts seem to be either slow or non-existent. We do not see that you are very pro-active.

A: You can think what you want.

Q: You have On Thursday You were the Chief Guest of the Sinhala Weda Uruma Baraya launch of a special in-house paid treatment centre in a 3- 4 star hotel in Kelaniya administered by wedamahattayas and headed by veteran physician of the Neelakadi Thailaya lineage, Kalupathiranalage Priyantha Dharmawansa. Your comments?

A: I am thankful for this endeavour. This physician is a great asset to the nation. I am supportive of the work of the Weda Uruma Baraya which harness the expertise of these physicians.

I ask other Sri Lankans to follow suit and come up with similar initiatives, especially for non-paid in house Covid-19 treatment centres. We need philanthropists to come forward. We get many inquiries from the public daily asking for such facilities.

Even if it is a paid centre, we need more private initiatives such as this. I am due to visit the Barberyn Ayurvedic Resort in Beruwela. Private initiatives such as this is one key way to build awareness of the public – local and international on the stature of Sinhala Wedakama/Sri Lankan Ayurveda.

I will give my fullest support to such endeavours that will wisely handle this situation governed by principles of Sri Lankan Ayurveda/Deshiya Chikitsa (Sinhala Wedakama) and general pandemic regulations.

Q: Can you ensure the support of health officials (which is under Allopathy dominance) so that they do not disrupt this kind of initiative?

A: No, they will not disrupt. The Director General of Health has said that any person can choose any medical system recognised in Sri Lanka as a treatment for Covid-19. We have to appreciate these statements and work with these officials positively.

Q: How do you connect Buddhist philosophy with the basic ethics that binds the ideological framework within Desheeya Chikitsa (Sinhala Wedakama)/ Sri Lankan Ayurveda?

A: What should be foremost in our minds is this connection. We have to remind people of this. The Buddhistic principles of loving kindness is encompassed in the traditional medical system that developed within Sri Lanka after the advent of Buddhism, encompassing the previous medical science knowledge of ancient Lanka. The Sinhala wedakama is for all Sri Lankans and all of humanity. We are also promoting Siddha and Unani which are practised by the Tamils and Muslims.

There is a lot of work to be done. Support this. Tell the media not to only find our faults – its ok, find faults - but constructively so that we can learn and proceed to save lives.

I have with me over 700 medicinal wattoru (prescriptions) sent by traditional physicians around the country. I was also told by one weda that he saw in a dream of using mukunuwenna, another two herbs and the kehel kole for removing poison from the human body. Now am I to believe this? – I don’t know maybe it is true also, but how can I certify this without scientific testing.