Hindus in Victoria advise Premier on Multicultural issues

By: Makrand Bhagwat.

Hindu Council of Australia Victoria is a member of the Multifaith Advisory Group under the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) , which advises the Premier and the minister for multicutural affairs on faith related matters in the community.
Some of the issues MAG discussed in the recent times were the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, LGBTI inclusion in the broader community, Family Violence, Issues related to Islamic community and achieving social cohesion to name a few.
MAG Chair is Helen Kapalos, who is also the Chair for Victorian Multicultural Commission. Helen organised a meeting with the Premier and the Minister way back in Apr-May this year and scheduled it for 15th August, which was yesterday.
HCA was represented in this meeting. Although the meeting was short, some of the recent issues were discussed. The meeting started on the backdrop of the recent comments made in the Senate by Katter’s party Senator Fraser Annings about bringing back the white Australia policy and opposing to Islamic migration. The MAG unanimously condoned Senator’s comments.
The other issue which was discussed was about the South Sudanese youth violence in the recent past in Melbourne suburbs. Bishop Philip Huggins from the Anglican Church said that he is working with the Sudanese community on this issue. All the faith communities expressed their support and asked if they could help. The Premier also commented that steps are being taken to provide training and job opportunities to the South Sudanese youth to bring them into the mainstream.
The Premier announced financial assistance of $600,000 to MAG which was welcomed by all faith leaders.
HCA will work closely with the MAG in future to positively contribute on all emerging issues.
After the meeting I personally thanked the Premier on attending the Indian national flag hoisting ceremony over the week end at the Federation Square.
Thank you and regards
Makarand Bhagwat

 

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Maharishi Sushruta, a surgeon famous in Melbourne

By:Surinder Jain.

The Royal Australia College of Surgeons (RACS), trains surgeons and is responsible for maintaining surgical standards in Australia and New Zealand.  It aims to foster and promote the pursuit of excellence in surgical education and actively supports innovative surgical research, aid projects in underprivileged communities, skills transfer and education programs.

A statue of Surgeon Sushruta in the Royal Australia College of Surgeons, Melbourne

In its building, among some of the most prominent ancient physicians, one may come across a statue of Sushrata with the plaque mentioning him as Father of Surgery.

When contacted, the RACS were very proud of having the now famous statue in their building. The statue is displayed at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Melbourne and has been on display since early June 2018. It is made of marble with a granite base, is 1.2 m high and weighs a massive 550Kg. It is installed in the Skills lab area, East wing level 1 of the building and according to the RACS college, is a true work of art.

The college also has a collection of many rare and significant books in the field of medicine in its Cowlishaw Collection. A 1907 English translation of the works of Sushruta known as Sushruta Samhita by Kunjalal Bishnagratan is a part of that prestigious collection. According to the college, Sushruta is a foundation figure in Indian medicine and surgery and is hailed as the Indian counterpart of Hippocrates . 

College museum which holds the translation of Sushruta Samhita is open to the public twice a week Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12noon (check with the college here for latest details). The college curator can arrange private tours for groups or if people are interested in viewing a particular item. That can be arranged by contacting the college curator at Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 250-290 Spring Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia, Telephone: +61 3 9276 7447, Fax: +61 3 9249 1219
Email: college.curator@surgeons.org

 

Dr K M Cherian

The statue was donated to the college by one its Alumni, Dr K M Cherian. Dr Cherian performed India’s first successful Coronary Artery bypass surgery in 1975. He also performed the country’s first heart transplant after legalization of brain death. The first Heart- Lung Transplant, the first Paediatric Transplant and the first TMR (Laser Heart Surgery) were also performed by him[1].

He started his career in Christian Medical College Hospital, in Vellore as lecturer in Surgery. He did his FRACS in Cardiothoracic Surgery in 1973 from RACS, while being a migrant in Australia. He also worked in New Zealand and  the United States. He worked as a Special Fellow in Paediatric Cardiac Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama under Dr. John W. Kirklin and in the University of Oregon under Dr. Albert Starr. He is an honourable Prof at the Yangzhou University, China. He was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1991. 

Dr Cherian is very fond of and inspired by Sushruta.

Sushruta statue at RACP East wing 1, Melbourne

The Indian epic Mahābhārata lists Suśruta amongst the sons of Viśvāmitra, the legendary sage.[8] [9] The Bower Manuscript, an early birch bark document, dated to the Gupta era (between the 4th and the 6th century), is an Indian text and is one of the oldest manuscripts known to have survived into the modern era.[3] It mentions the ancient Indian tradition of “garlic festival”, as well as a mention of sage Sushruta in Benares (Varanasi).[6]

The Suśruta-saṃhitā (works of Sushruta) is one of the most important surviving ancient treatises on medicine and is considered a foundational text of Medicine. The treatise addresses all aspects of general medicine, and the translator G. D. Singhal dubbed Suśruta “the father of surgery” on account of the extraordinarily accurate and detailed accounts of surgery to be found in the work.[5] 

A statue dedicated to Sushruta at the Patanjali Yogpeeth institute in Haridwar. In the sign next to the statue, Patanjali Yogpeeth attributes the title of Maharishi to Sushruta, claims a floruit of 1500 BC for him, and dubs him the “founding father of surgery”, and identifies the Sushrut Samhita as “the best and outstanding commentary on Medical Science of Surgery”.

The Suśruta-saṃhitā was known to the scholar Dṛḍhabala (fl. 300–500 CE)[7] and some concepts from it can be found in the Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa, that is dated to the sixth century BCE,[6] 

The Suśruta-saṃhitā, in its 184 chapters contains descriptions of

The text discusses surgical techniques of

It enumerates six types of dislocations, twelve varieties of fractures, and classification of the bones and their reaction to the injuries, and gives a classification of eye diseases including cataract surgery.

 

Nepal, Text- 12th-13th century; Images- 18th-19th century Books Ink and opaque watercolor on palm leaf Gift of Emeritus Professor and Mrs. Thomas O. Ballinger (M.87.271a-g) South and Southeast Asian Art

Sushruta says that in his works, he has presented the teaching of his guru, Divodāsa[16] a physician who taught in a school in Kashi (Varanasi, India) in parallel to another medical school in Taxila (on Jhelum river, ancient India),[17][18] sometime between 1200 BC and 600 BC.[19][20]  The text uses terminology of Samkhya and other schools of Hindu philosophy.[32][33][34]

The text was translated to Arabic as Kitab Shah Shun al-Hindi’ in Arabic, also known as Kitab i-Susurud, in Baghdad during the early 8th century at the instructions of a member of the Barmakid family of Baghdad.[138][10] Yahya ibn Barmak facilitated a major effort at collecting and translating Sanskrit texts such as Vagbhata’s Astangahrdaya Samhita, Ravigupta’s Siddhasara and Sushruta Samhita.[139] The Arabic translation reached Europe by the end of the medieval period.  In Italy, the Branca family[11] of Sicily and Gaspare Tagliacozzi (Bologna) became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta.[10]

The text was known to the Khmer king Yaśovarman I (fl. 889-900) of Cambodia. Suśruta was also known as a medical authority in Tibetan literature.[138]

Ancient indian text Sushruta samhita shastra and kartarika, surgical instruments 1 of 4

A cataract surgery was found by Sushruta and was subsequently introduced to other countries. Sushruta Samhita mentions the operation in which a curved needle was used to push the opaque phlegmatic matter (kapha in Sanskrit) in the eye out of the way of vision. 

“vv. 57-61ab: In moderate season, after unction and sudation, the patient should be positioned and held firmly while gazing at his nose steadily. Now the wise surgeon leaving two parts of white circle from the black one towards the outer canthus should open his eyes properly free from vascular network and then with a barley-tipped rod-like instrument held firmly in hand with middle, index and thumb fingers should puncture the natural hole-like point with effort and confidence not below, above or in sides. The left eye should be punctured with right hand and vice-versa. When punctured properly a drop of fluid comes out and alsoe there is some typical sound.”

The cataract operation method described by Sushruta continued to be used throughout the Middle Ages and is still used in some parts of Africa and in Yemen.[20] For the most part, it has now been replaced by extracapsular cataract surgery. The first references to cataract and its treatment in Europe are found in 29 AD in De Medicinae, the work of the Latin encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus, who used Sushruta’s method and called it Couching.

Sushruta Samhita manuscript

 

The Sushruta Samhita states, per Hoernle translation, that “the professors of Ayurveda speak of three hundred and sixty bones, but books on Salya-Shastra(surgical science) know of only three hundred”.[125] The text then lists the total of 300 as follows: 120 in the extremities (e.g. hands, legs), 117 in pelvic area, sides, back, abdomen and breast, and 63 in neck and upwards.[125] The text then explains how these subtotals were empirically verified.[126] The discussion shows that the Indian tradition nurtured diversity of thought, with Sushruta school reaching its own conclusions and differing from the Atreya-Caraka tradition.[126]

Anatomy and empirical studies

The different parts or members of the body as mentioned before including the skin, cannot be correctly described by one who is not well versed in anatomy. Hence, any one desirous of acquiring a thorough knowledge of anatomy should prepare a dead body and carefully, observe, by dissecting it, and examine its different parts.

—Sushruta Samhita, Book 3, Chapter V
Translators: Loukas et al[8]

The Sushruta Samhita is best known for its approach and discussions of surgery.[44] It was one of the first in human history to suggest that a student of surgery should learn about human body and its organs by dissecting a dead body.[44] A student should practice, states the text, on objects resembling the diseased or body part.[130] Incision studies, for example, are recommended on Pushpaphala(squash, Cucurbita maxima), Alavu (bottle gourd, Lagenaria vulgaris), Trapusha (cucumber, Cucumis pubescens), leather bags filled with fluids and bladders of dead animals.[130]

Reconstructive surgery techniques were being carried out in India by 800 BC.[8] Sushruta made important contributions to the field of plastic and cataract surgery.[9] The medical works of both Sushruta and Charak, are originally in Sanskrit language.

British physicians traveled to India to see rhinoplasties being performed by Indian methods.[12] Reports on Indian rhinoplasty performed by a Kumhar vaidya were published in the Gentleman’s Magazine by 1794.[12] Joseph Constantine Carpue spent 20 years in India studying local plastic surgery methods.[12] and finally in 1814, he performed the first major surgery operative procedure on a British military officer who had lost his nose to the toxic effects of mercury treatments.[13] Instruments described in the Sushruta Samhita were further modified for use in the Western world.[13] 

Indian method of nose reconstruction, illustrated in the Gentleman’s Magazine, 1794

Sushruta, states Tipton, asserts that a physician should invest effort to prevent diseases as much as curative remedial procedures.[124] An important means for prevention, states Sushruta, is physical exercise and hygienic practices.[124] The text adds that excessive strenuous exercise can be injurious and make one more susceptible to diseases, cautioning against such excess.[12] Regular moderate exercise, suggests Sushruta, improves resistance to disease and physical decay.[124] Shushruta has written Shlokas on prevention of diseases.

A number of Sushruta’s contributions have been discussed in modern literature. Some of these include Hritshoola (heart pain), circulation of vital body fluids (such as blood (rakta dhatu) and lymph (rasa dhatu), Madhumeha, obesity, and hypertension.[46] Kearns & Nash (2008) state that the first mention of leprosy is described in Sushruta Samhita.[135][136] The text discusses kidney stones and its surgical removal.[137]

With so much in his book (Sushruta Samhita), no wonder Maharishi Sushruta has been called Father of Surgery and it is no surprise that a prestigious and learned college like The Royal Australian College of Surgeons has given Sushruta such a place of honor in its temple of learning.

(Credit:Wikipedia)

 

 

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Hindu Chaplaincy course in Melbourne

Hindu Council of Australia, Victoria chapter is conducting a refresher course for Hindu Chaplaincy on 23 and 30 June in Melbourne. This course is a part of an ongoing commitment by Hindu Council of Australia to increase the number of trained Hindu Chaplains in Australia. Hindu Council offers scholarships for practicing Hindus to train as Hindu Chaplains. Further information about the scholarship can be obtained at http://hinducouncil.com.au/new/hindu-chaplaincy/

Location: Sankat Mochan Temple –  1289A North Rd, Huntingdale VIC 3166 Map Link
Time : 10.00 am to 1.00 pm
Dates : Saturday 23 June and 30 June
There will be a short break in both the sessions where light refreshments will be served.
 
If you would like to join this course and become a chaplain, please contact Mr Makarand Bhagwat.
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International Yoga Day celebrations by Hindu Council

Hindu Council of Australia is celebrating International Yoga day in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Details of the events are given in the brochures below.

 

 

 

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Quarterly update from Victoria Chapter

A quick update from Victoria chapter on activities during the first quarter of 2018
 
1 Quarterly participation at Multifaith Advisory Group within the Premier’s Cabinet Office
2. Feb 18 : Participation in the multifaith consultation called by the PM on freedom of religion, chaired by Philip Ruddock
3. Presentation of Certificate of Honour to HH Mahant Swami of BAPS by HCA on behalf of participating organisations – 10 Feb
4. Ongoing Chaplaincy funds distribution from Spiritual Health Victoria to volunteer health care chaplains through ISKCON Melbourne. 
5. Review of last year’s contact made for prison chaplaincy to identify ongoing needs. Currently ISKCON handles this on their own.
 
Upcoming events
 
1. 18 March 18 – Spiritual Discourse by Sri M , visiting accomplished Yogi from India.
2. International Yoga Day 21 June
3. Diwali in Vic Parliament with BAPS – date TBD
 
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Hindu Council chapter in Victoria hosts Sri M’s discourse

By : Makarand Bhagwat
Hindu Council of Australia’s  Victoria chapter organised a spiritual discourse by Sri M on 18th March, which also happened to be the Hindu new year. The event was jointly organised by Victoria Chapter and Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Melbourne (HSS). Seva International, Melbourne, Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) Australia, Melbourne and Kerala Hindu Society Melbourne also participated in the event.
 
 
The title of the discourse was “Vedanta for the Modern World – Deeper Aspects of Hinduism”. The program was well received and was attended by approx 135 persons at Ashwood Hall, Ashowood in Victoria. Shri Abhijit Bhide of HSS Melbourne welcomed Sri M by offering flowers and a shawl. The discourse was for one hour followed by interesting Q&A.
 
The event was presided over by Makarand Bhagwat, the Victorian resident director of Hindu Council. The event was concluded by offering Tea/Coffee/Biscuits.
 
A complete video of this event can be found on this YouTube Link  and is about one hour long.
 
In all four different events were organized for Sri M’s discourse in Melbourne and all of them were well received.
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Vedanta for the modern world – Victoria lecture

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Vic Govt funds $160,000 for Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple

 
 
Australia’s Victorian State Government announced that it will provide more than $160,000 to the Hindu Society of Victoria to upgrade its Cultural and Heritage Centre, also known as the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple. Consecrated in 1994, the Society’s spiritual and cultural precinct, the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple, is now largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere. [Read More…]
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VIC 2017 Report

HINDU COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA (VICTORIA) REPORT CARD 2017

 

  1. HCA continues to actively participate in the Multifaith Advisory Group to the Premier of Victoria which meets on a quarterly basis. The visibility of HCA in this group is important and is now well recognised. The lamb meat ad was debated in this meeting, the video was played during the meeting and Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Chair Helen Kapalos has promised to take up the matter personally with Advertising Bureau Director. The outcome of this meeting is awaited.

with Premier Daniel Andrews

  1. HCA continues to consolidate its position with Spiritual Health Victoria and attended a recent AGM where HCA has voting rights. SHV continues to fund HCA for about $18000 per annum towards providing chaplaincy in the health care system since 2015. This is a prestigious role for HCA as a Hindu organisation which we are proud of. There is an ongoing challenge in this area for getting the voluntary chaplains accredited as per the new guidelines issued by SHV in 2016. At this stage all the working chaplains from ISKCON are now accredited. Due to the sad demise of previous Director of HCA Mr AbhayAwasthi, the Hindu Foundation which he was running for last several years is now folded and dissolved as there was no one to look after the activities after his death. All the assets of Hindu Foundation are now acquired by SankatMochanSamiti, an upcoming temple in Melbourne. Consequently all the voluntary Hindu Chaplains who were working under Hindu Foundation but supported by HCA for funding are now under SankatMochan. There has been a resistance from this batch of volunteers to get the accredition work completed. This issue is now expected to be resolved by end of the year.
  2. HCA has also made inroads into Chaplaincy with Corrections Victoria. HCA was informed that there are about 39 Hindu prisoners in the system out of which 5-6 were actively looking for chaplaincy support. This area also faces challenges due to linguistic issues and a request was made for a Tamil chaplain. With the help of VHP Victoria, HCA has managed to get to Hindu Tamil speaking chaplains to commence this voluntary work. This is a potential area where in future HCA can approach the government for funding agreement but at the moment the numbers are low.

4.HCA actively participated in a series of meetings and discussions with several multifaith representatives to defend the integrity of the Racial Discrimination Act to ensure that the vulnerable are protected from hate speech and vilification based on race and religion. As a result of this submission the Federal Government’s proposal to dilute the RDA was shot down in the parliament.

5.HCA has established an ongoing relationship now with the Federal Greens leader Sen Richard De Natale and his office. Senator’s office is increasingly getting engaged in the multicultural community and HCA is a part of this engagement as a Hindu organisation in Victoria.

Greens Senator Richard De Natale

6.HCA successfully hosted its first interfaith event on the occasion of “VarshPratipada” inviting all faith representatives to speak about the concept and philosophy of New Year in their religion. Keynote speech for Hindu religion was by Dr Jayant Bapat and other representatives were Dr Helen Light from Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Susanne Haake from Bahaai community, Jasbir Singh Suropada from Sikh Interfaith Council, Rev Sharon Hollis from Uniting Church, Bishop Paul Barker from Anglican Diocese, Rev. Ian Smith from Victorian Council of Churches. Victorian Multicultural Commission’s Commissioner Mr Chidambaram Srinivasan summarised the event.

  1. HCA also actively participated in the debate over the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in the Victorian Parliament and was a signatory to a joint statement issued by the multifaith group to the Dy. Premier of Victoria Mr James Malino requesting him to withdraw the legislation. Currently this legislation is in the upper house and HCA was a part of a discussion group with Senator Simon Ramsay, who along with 4 other senators are potentially vote against this legislation in the upper house.

HCA along with other faith members on Victorian Parliament steps with Dy Premier James Merlino handing over the multi-faith statement on Voluntary Assisted Dying

  1. Diwali was celebrated at the Victorian Parliament for the 4th year in a row and HCA was actively involved in this celebration together with BAPS and 16 other participating organisations.
  2. Earlier in June this year, HCA raised the issue of conflict of interest within the parivar organisation. A meeting to discuss and sort out this matter was organised during Swami Vigyanandji’s visit to Melbourne. After a lot of persuation, a working document was prepared and agreed upon on how to address various activities within HCA , VHP , and HOTA. HCA looks forward to a meaningful outcome in implementing this framework within the coming months. (See separate document)
  3. HCA participated with other organisations in celebrating International Yog Day where about 150 persons participated.
  4. During the recent visit of Man Manmohanji and Man Soumitraji , HCA together with HSS organised a program “Bharatnama- The idea of India” which was well attended and well received by the community.
  5. HCA enjoys ongoing representation on Faith Community Council of Victoria, which is an apex inter-faith organisation in Melbourne. Due to this ongoing presence HCA has developed close relationship with Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Victorian Council of Churches, Sikh Interfaith Council, Islamic Council of Victoria to name a few.
  6. The biggest challenge in Melbourne is to network HCA with the HOTA members and the working document prepared in October is expected to be a basis for working towards this goal.
  7. HCA is now at a stage in terms of its visibility to other community organisation, where a small team must be put in place and steps are being taken to identify persons to form a small team and is expected to be known by December 2017 or early 2018.

 

Makarand Bhagwat

Director, Victoria Chapter

20 November 2017

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