Saturday, August 18, 2012

Philosophy's by Prof. Dr. S. Natarajan

3G TO 4E’s– FAQ s’ ON Prof. DR. S. NATARAJAN

Prof. Dr. Sundaram Natarajan, Chairman and Managing Director, Aditya Jyot Eye, Hospital , Mumbai who is a 3rd generation ophthalmologist is well known for his versatility, intuitiveness, undying thirst for the pursuit of excellence. This obsession began very early in his life. In his first standard he had decided to become an Ophthalmologist and the fire within was kindled from the very beginning of his school life. He dreamt big and made all efforts to fulfill them. The second life changing mile stone was his first rendezvous with his Guru Dr. S. S. Badrinath. He was fascinated with the extraordinary personality and he decided to make him his mentor. He wanted to do microsurgery and after meeting him he was convinced that Vitreoretina was his dream field. His association with Dr. S. S. Badrinath was the greatest time of his VR career.

Q. What do you mean by 3Gs?
A.3G refers to Gene, Generation and 3G technology. I am the 3rd generation of ophthalmologist in my family after my Grandfather Dr.Subramaniam Nataraja Pillai and my Father Prof.Dr.N S Sundaram.I feel fortunate that my training in ophthalmology began in my early child hood. For energy, efficiency and enthusiasm which gave me success in my life, I give credit to my genetics. My maternal grandmother is 94 years old, living alone in home town, washing clothes on her own, cooking for herself ,can travel by flight from Mumbai to Tuticorin down south, by walking herself without wheel chair or any assistance. Her energy ,courage and thoughts always fascinated me. In my life these influence me the courage to keep abreast of the fast developing world and technology.This helped me in incorporating 3G technology and its benefits into routine clinical practice.

Q. What do you mean by 4E’s?


Q. Where does this enormous energy comes from?

A. My energy comes from my faith in Mata, Pita,Mitra, Deva and Guru. I am full of energy. Also I have been a good sportsperson, the sportsman spirit gives the first click, the adrenaline rush that starts everything and then the energy keeps it all rolling. After joining Bombay hospital, my drive for efficiency began to cause creeping frustration within as I felt that technologically we were not up to the mark. After all every patient deserves the best. Fortunately my spirituality came to rescue, giving birth to my 4E’s.Creativity is not just going to the moon, but living effectively on earth. This new vision dawned on 15 July 1990 at my own Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital.

Q. Where has the enormous enthusiasm come from?

A. Enthusiasm comes from two Greek words--"En," which means "in," and "theos," which means "God"--"in God." Enthusiasm is that feeling within that inspires and prompts one to act without thought of reward. It is that inspiring, vitalizing, propelling power that takes possession of an individual and causes him to lose himself in that which he is doing. My enthusiasm is attributed to the never ending desire and passion to work for my patients. The patient is God to me, I work for my patients and have dedicated my life to them as a yogi.

Q. What about the 4th E i.e. endorphins and its role in your life?

A. Endorphins are neurotransmitters, with high endorphin levels we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. My life has been full of stress which never can overwhelm my enthusiasm. To facilitate my endorphin levels I exercise, dance, eat chillies and more so enjoy my work. My love for dance is world renowned. And anyone who has shared a meal with me knows about the sweating I experience attributed to chillies in my food ,it’s the secret to keeping fit and young. I eat a lot of chillies. I like everything spicy, I don't eat chocolates, sweets, deserts, etc., I feel chillies are like drugs, gives me a kick.Only thing it is difficult and not possible to get addicted to,for many. I think that laughing loudly, joking, taking life easy, dancing, exercising, eating chillies, gives me endorphins. ENDORPHINS may be anti ageing, anti cancer, anti depressants and Mood elevators. It always keeps me high in life. Hence I don’t need to take alcohol in any form.

Q. What does Guru means to you?

It is he who is reminding me that" mind caught in FEAR lives in conflict ,confusion and therefore is distorted,violent and aggressive. Until we are free from FEAR we will remain in darkness".It is guru who reminded me that "learning is a constant movement with out the past and never to get satisfied with the knowledge in the form of memories"and it is he who reminded me "of cultivating sensitivity-that to be sensitive to the things of the earth so also to our patients -is as important as books and degrees; and once we neglect ,it destroys the pursuit of success".I believe it is he who holds the torch light of life showing way in the darkness created by us. Many great personalities and gurus have crossed my life. Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam who is my greatest Guru as well as friend taught me how to continue with motivation and courage , Dr.S.S.Badrinath imbibed in me positive attitude and thirst for perfection and Dr.Relja Zivojinovic inspired me with his surgeries.

Q. How do you do things so efficiently?

I had this child like philosophy which always wanted to do the forbidden especially when warned .The philosophy of Bhagavat Gita is ”Thy business is with action only, never with its fruits, so let not fruit of action be thy motive nor be thou to inaction attached..” It is indeed difficult to practice mental detachment. However the “Gita” has helped me practice retinal detachment repair surgery and simultaneously learn mental detachment. Balanced thinking has helped my specialty work. Hence my reiteration about one knowing one’s purpose of life and practice. During my athletic practice in 1976, my mentor my own classmate Mahesh Kumar taught me to do vigorous practice and take adequate rest. But I naturally defied him. I used to sleep less, sleep erratically, not eating healthy food always. Later I read a book Age less Body and Timeless mind by Dr.Deepak Chopra. He says defy normal physiology, if you feel 2 hrs sleep is enough, but if you say I need 6 or 7 hrs sleep, then anything less will make you tired. Dr. Amalyu Sahu has asked my secretaries to record my daily activities to watch how I enjoy sleeping only few hours and still be energetic and youthful. Mr. Sivanandhan, my best friend says, more loud I laugh, I have more problem. Actually I do not have any problems. I find solution to all the problems.

I have done about 27,000 vitreo retinal surgeries. My colleagues say I am a master class surgeon with excellent craftsmanship. My mentor used to say in 1980s, I am a gifted Vitreo Retinal surgeon with golden fingers. I enjoy doing surgery, which is yoga for me . I constantly acquire any new instruments that I want to buy and always learn newer techniques.  It’s the same with learning new computer skills. I learn and unlearn. Change is the only constant in my life.

I read books on Sony, Einstein, Steve jobs. Etc., I listen to pleasant Tamil songs whenever I m in the car travelling, and on my I pod while in flight .Everyday our personal trainer Elton encourages, teaches to drink adequate water, breathe in oxygen as much as possible. He says you can be youthful and makes me run on the treadmill, which I love to do now. I travel every week, meet different people, far away from a daily mundane, boring life.
Q. How has spirituality inspired you?

I have spiritual landmarks which had inspired my life. Salutations to Mata, Pita, Guru and Deva and their blessings. I can never underestimate my fathers role in helping me overcome hurdles that he faced as an ophthalmic surgeon in Govt. service. Rigorous training and talents have been truly honed by the meticulous Dr.Badrinath and from this stems my stamina for long hours of surgery. As Dr.G.Venkataswamy told, I wish to quote”..if work is approached from a spiritual perspective then it becomes divine work. If in your actions you allow the divine force to flow through you, you will accomplish things far greater than you might have imagined” .As my perseverance bore fruits in the face of so many adversities I learnt the benefits of positive thinking. Swamy Vivekananda’s saying ‘Arise, Awake, Stop not until you achieve your goal’ is now ingrained in my living. My staunch belief on words of Swami Vivekanada “They alone live who lives for other” leads the motive of my work to incorporate soul and spirituality in success. I feel I live at the centre of a pyramid, walls of which are constructed by Spirituality, Efficiency and Technology. This obsession of living at the edge of precision and technology has led to virtual success of an evolved soul as well as visible success of Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital.

I have lot of problems in life, I follow Thirukural, written in tamil as a two liner saying by ThiruValluvar  (whose statue is in a small island in amalgamation of three oceans a few metres from tip of Southern India Kanyakumari,  adjacent to rock memorial of Swami Vivekananda, I follow both of them from my childhood) , ThiruValluvar says, a man who has maximum tragedy, problems, etc., should laugh at it so loudly, the problems vanish. I am always happy, smiling, laughing, cracking silly jokes, child like. No body can make out my problems. My best medical college friend Dr.Kumar says, that if he would have had problems like me, he would have broken and become insane. He is amazed , how I can face life's problems.

Q.After excellence in Efficency,high technology and high quality services,what is next?

A.To write text books on Ophthalmology and preaching positive thinking.I am also enjoying spirituality, as good servant of God, through counseling patients. I believe that spirituality and science is convergent. Hence I have to practice science and spirituality. My ultimate aim is to succeed in ophthalmology and receive the NOBEL PRICE through contribution to humanity.

Q. How do you keep yourselves smiling always?

A. The smile comes from the internal bliss, which I feel is the output of the spiritual energy . We have known of many saints who have suffered with cancer and other diseases. But while an ordinary man is finished, the realized person finds that his true atman is not affected by any of these and so he carries the bliss and joy. This is close to my heart and so I overflow myself with joy.

Q. How do you keep your youthfulness?

A. The secret lies in my youthful thinking..Let me explain, when you deeply desire, you accomplish. I decided in younger days, to look ever sixteen. I decided not to wear glasses. I don't wear glasses. I decided and prayed since I was five years old, that I want to be internationally renowned ophthalmologist .My friends also feel, that my skin is good because of cosmetics, I think basically because of my youthful thinking, I am looking youthful. 
Hence my source of FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH is my youthful mind , Energetic body and spiritually evolved soul. Simply believe yourself, be youthful. Some of my schoolmates met me 36 years later ( I finished schooling in 1974). They mentioned I have frozen, they wanted to know how I have the baby face and good skin same as in school. Another reason, I feel and look young is to be with youngsters as much as possible. I have a dance teacher, I learn Latin American dance, cha cha, salsa, tango, hip hop, etc., ball room , bachata, meringe, jive, fox trot, Venetian Waltz, etc., by learning new things you grow younger. 
Once a week I dance vigorously with happiness, for 3 to 4 hrs non stop. All my friends ask me how I have so much energy. We have Caves in an island, which is very small and few kilometers from Mumbai in the Arabian Sea, where there is a statue of Lord NatarajaShiva (Dancing Lord) which says, the lord gets energy from dancing. Swami Sukhobhodananda says Dance out of happiness , not for Happiness. My mother whom I lost, when she was 75 years old blessed me to live happily and ever young.   I have friends in Antwerp , who know me since 1990. They have nick named me as Benjamin Button!. All my patients say I am growing younger, they are growing older. I used to go for early morning walks with my best friend D.Sivanandhan, ex Director General of Police since 1988. Since last three years, we are in Gym daily. Move with a positive friend, be cheerful from heart. Do not act, do it from bottom of heart. Some times I go for night show movie and go to sleep at 2 am and get up at 6 am and go to gym, sometimes, I sleep for more than 8 hrs and still feel lazy to go to gym. I know now, everything is in the MIND. EVERYHING IS CREATED TWICE, FIRST IN MIND , THEN IN REALITY ! ! ! !.

I always salute my Mom, Dad, Guru, my best Friend and God, I respect elders, respect old age. I go out of the way to make old people very happy. I think I get blessings to be young in abundance from all my older patients and older ophthalmologists.

(FAQs prepared and compiled by Dr.Anoop Sivaraman, Dr.Navendu rai, Dr.Shachi Desai, Dr.Vinay Prasad ,Dr.Rishi Bharatwaj and Dr.Samita)
Fountain of Youth

A very few people I know age gracefully and Nutty is one of them. I know now, that he is in the possession of an elixir that provides him with unlimited vigour and youthfulness. The elixir I speak about is his thought and approach to even the most trivial things of life. I know him since my childhood days and thus I think I can confidently say I know him inside-out.
The first thing anyone has ever noticed about him is the stark contrast between his skin and teeth. This is because he is always smiling, showing off his white set of sparkling china (I, however, attribute the whiteness of his teeth to the contrast of his skin colour). Believe it or not, he has been like this, grabbing compliments about his teeth from everyone right from school days. 
I once remember asking Nutty as to what the secret of his youthfulness was. To this he replied promptly, “What you deeply desire, you accomplish. I am youthful because of my youthful thinking, my energetic body and my spiritually evolved soul.” At first I didn’t quite understand. I looked perplexed and looking at my expression, he volunteered to explain (Nutty is prone to bouts of philosophy. Anyone who knows him well enough will vouch for this.). He said, “Whatever you deeply desire, you accomplish!” A few years later this “Secret” got published under the same title and went onto be a best-seller. I remember Nutty’s dream since the time he was I thing five or six. He used to constantly express how he would want to grow up and be a world-renowned ophthalmologist. This memory came gushing to my mind the moment he shared with me his secret. And guess what, it’s absolutely true! His dreams have today, manifested in the form of Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital which is indeed renowned, globally. Another dream of his, I recall, is to undertake research in vision sciences and get the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Not only do I believe but I know for sure that he will achieve this and he will do it in style. For people like him, of his calibre, the sky is NOT the limit!
We recently had a reunion where all my school-mates had met up after 36 odd years. Nutty was there too. I wasn’t surprised when all our school mates asked him about his youthfulness, his flawless skin and his baby face. I emphasise again that these features have been frozen, untouched by time. 
Many people who know him on a more personal level would also know that he is a “Disco-Deewana!” An article about the same was printed in The Bombay Times several years ago. He has a personal dance teacher from whom he learns various styles, of which, Cha Cha, Salsa, Bachata, Fox Trot and Venetian Walts are a few. He dances vigorously once a week for three to four hours; non-stop! God alone knows how he makes time for so much and more. He is like Lord Nataraj who draws his energy from dancing. Nutty often quotes Swami Sukhobhodananda who says, “Dance out of happiness and not for happiness.”

He also often jokes that his addiction to spicy, red chillies, his easy attitude towards life are his driving forces. These, he says is the reason he is always high on Endorphins, the happy hormone. This is probably the reason why Nutty hasn’t till date ever indulged in vices like alcohol. 
Nutty is a very spiritual person and is an ardent follower of Swami Vivekananda. One might often see him quote the Swami. I remember him saying once, “They alone live, who live for others.” This statement encapsulates the approach of my beloved friend too. 
I shot Nutty an e-mail, asking him how he manages to make time for everything he does , yet remain young and how he manages to be so energetic despite having an erratic sleep pattern. Following was his reply:

“During my athletic practice in 1976, my mentor and my own classmate, Mahesh Kumar taught me to do vigorous practise and take adequate rest. But I naturally defied him. I used to sleep less, erratically and not eat healthy food. Later I read a book called, “Ageless Body and Timeless Mind” by Dr. Deepak Chopra. What he preaches can be paraphrased as, “Defy normal physiology if you feel 2 hrs of sleep is enough but if you say I need 6 or 7 hrs of sleep, then anything less will make you tired.”

Sometimes, I go for a night movie show and hit the sack only by 2 am. Yet, I get up at 6 am and go to gym. But sometimes, I sleep for more than 8 hrs and still feel lazy to go to the gym. I know now that everything is in the mind. Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality!

I have done about 27,000 vitreo retinal surgeries till date. My mentor used to say in the 1980s that I am a gifted Vitreo Retinal surgeon with golden fingers. I enjoy doing surgery, which is yoga for me. It helps my mind and body calm and in sync.

I always salute my mom, dad, guru, my best friend and God. I respect those older than me. I respect old age and I go out of the way to make old people very happy. I think I get blessings to be young in abundance from all my older patients and older ophthalmologists.

Like Swami Vivekananda, I also am a follower of Thiru Valluvar. He teaches us to laugh at our problems so hard that the problems simply vanish. That is why I keep cracking silly jokes like a child. This is another “secret” of my youth.

I think a lot of credit also goes to my genetics. My maternal grandmother is 94 years old. She lives all alone in our home town and does her daily chores by herself. She washes her clothes on her own, cooks for herself etc. She can travel by flight all by herself without needing a wheel chair or any attendants at the airport. My maternal grandfather too lived till the age of 94.

Last but not the least, I travel almost every week and as a result meet many energetic, charismatic people. I think these encounters have an effect on me and slow down my ageing greatly!”

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