**Reminiscing the contributions of ‘Achanta Laxmipathi’ on his 59th birth anniversary**
**“Life (ayu) is the combination (samyoga) of body, senses, mind, and a reincarnating soul.
Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans, both in this world & the world beyond.”** – Charaka
Achanta Laxmipathi, popularly acclaimed as the pioneer of Ayurvedic practices in public health is known for his impeccable contributions in the localization of Ayurveda, countrywide.
Today, on his 59th birth anniversary, let’s reminisce about the life and ideals of the Ayurvedic genius.
**Who was Achanta Laxmipathi?**
Achanta Laxmipathi was born on 3rd March 1880 to Janakamma and Ramayya, in Madavavaram village in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.
He obtained an MBBS degree in the year 1909 in Allopathy medicine. However, for his fascination with ancient Indian medicine, he studied Ayurveda under the guidance of Pundit Gopalacharyulu Deevi from the Ayurveda medical college, Madras.
Lakshmipati played an imperative role in the propagation and localization of Ayurveda, all over the country. His extensive knowledge of Ayurveda intrigued and influenced students beyond national boundaries. Students from Germany and America used to come to study Ayurveda from him.
**Pioneer of Ayurveda in Public Health**:
We all have heard the famous proverb “prevention is better than cure”, which propagates the importance of prevention of a disease before it escalates to a level where it can no longer be cured!
**“The great thing about Ayurveda is that its treatment always yield side-benefits, but no side-effects”**- Shubhra Krishnan
Ayurveda works on the principle of preventive medication to stall a disease before it strangles you in its tough grip. However, the potential of Ayurveda in preventive and social medicine (PSM) has not been much recognized by many, over the years.
Consequentially, we Indians have remained uniformed of our own ancient healthcare system. Only a selected few people rightly identified and propagated the true potential of Ayurveda in PSM. And, Achanta Laxmipathi was one of those, who endeavored to re-introduce the principles of Ayurveda back in our society.
He was the pioneer of India’s ancient Ayurvedic treasure in public health. And, the Former President of India, VV Giri reiterated the fact by proclaiming that “Dr. Lakshmipathi’s autobiography is a factual narration of the resurgence of Ayurveda in India.”
**Champion of Preventive Ayurveda**:
Laxmipathi, based on his personal experiences & knowledge of its principles and philosophy, enuncidated these two objectives of Ayurveda:
1.) Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam (preservation of health)
2.) Aaturasya vikar prashanam (cure of disease)
These objectives form the primary basis of Laxmipathi’s profound faith in Ayurveda. For, he believed that medicines can cure, but, emphasized the need for maintaining a healthy diet, lifestyle, and exercise.
– **Samanvayam**: Lakshmipathi believed in the harmonious blending of the ancient art of medicine ‘Ayurveda’ and the new-age ‘allopathy’.Thus, he taught his students more complex & relevant scientific principles to support this integration.
– He led a movement against the laws prohibiting Asavas and Arishtas, thereafter, the Chopra Committee (1948) recognized his integrative approach.
– He became an adviser to the Government of India’s Planning Commission, in 1960 and strongly advocated concentrating on preventive medicine to improve national health.
**Aarogya Ashram Samithi for the advancement of preventive medicine** :
Achanta Laxmipathi established a charitable trust, ‘Aarogya Ashram Samithi’ in 1926 with the aim of advancement of preventive medicine, by making the public aware of the principles of positive health of mind and body.
**Aarogya Yatra to raise awareness on public health**:
Laxmipathi was inspired by the thoughts and principles of Gandhiji and thus, initiated a national health pilgrimage, ‘Aarogya Yatra’ in 1938 to raise awareness on public health.
He traveled on foot, with about 100 physicians to far-flung villages to teach simple principles of Ayurveda, guidance on diet, lifestyle, behavior, exercise, and promoting the cultivation of herbal gardens.
**Ayurvedic practices promoted by Achanta Laxmipathi**:
1.) **Panchakarma**: The five practices that come under Panchakarma are:
– Abhyanga (oil massage)
– Consumption of buttermilk or milk instead of tea & coffee
– Good lifestyle habits & hygiene
– Yoga Asanas
2.) **Panchashuddhi pranalika**: The Panchashuddhi pranalika uses five principles of cleanliness that maintain purity in five areas of life:
– Deha (body)
– Desha (environment)
– Ahara (food)
– Manah (mind) &
– Atma (soul).
3.) **Four weapons to eliminate impurities of mind**: He also suggested four techniques to eradicate the impurities of our mind:
– Atma nigraham (self-control)
– Atma vishwasam (self-confidence)
– Atma tyagam (self-effacement) &
– Swayam krishi (self-help)
**Role in Sarvodaya movement**:
He was invited to join the Sarvodaya (‘Progress of all’) movement by Gandhiji to conduct Aarogya yatras from Sevagram to inform people about:
– The use of roots, leaves, and tubers to promote village health
– The establishment of a herbal gardens
**Contributions to society**:
– Achanta Lakshmipati served as the principal of the Ayurveda Medical College, from 1920.
– He also served as the president of the All India Ayurveda Medical Society & Andhra Ayurveda Board and also as the secretary of the Andhra Sahitya Parishattu in Madras.
**Books on Ayurveda**: He authored several medical journals like “Dhanvantari” in Telugu, “Andhra Medical Journal” in English, etc. He wrote 63 books on Indian medicine, including darshanamulu, aayurveda vignana sarvasvamu, aayurveda siksha, vanoushadha vignanamu, bhaaratiya vignanamu etc.
To honor his contributions in the field of Medicine, Ayurveda, and health in general, several Medical Institutions were named after him in Chennai, like Achanta Lakshmipathy Unit for Research in Ayurvedic Medicine at Voluntary Health Services, Chennai, Achanta Lakshmipathy Neurosurgical Centre, VHS, Chennai, etc