Karma Yoga in healthcare

Doctor Ratnasinghe talks about how offering selfless service at our seva project Skanda Vale Hospice has deepened his spiritual life. 

I am Doctor Damitha Ratnasinghe. People call me Didi. I am a paediatrician. A consultant working at the Glangwili Hospital, since July last year, when I moved over from West London.

The intensity of what we’ve got to do as carers when we’re dealing with somebody who is very sick, struggling to breathe, or obviously in pain, with tears in their eyes because of their own understanding of what they’re going through can be very draining.

All of us have got that inner potential strength within us.Dr. Didi Ratnasinghe

But the beauty is that most of us, I would venture to say, all of us have got that inner potential strength within us, that wells up to the surface when we’re faced with an individual who we’re looking after, who is experiencing those awfully painful feelings and moments. It’s in us. It wells up. It bubbles to the surface and we can access that.

Of course, it’s not to say that we don’t have that feeling of giving people comfort and care when we’re sweeping up the ashram, or picking the petals to throw on the murthi, and making garlands and things like that.

That too gives us a feeling of giving and love of God. But like I said before, the kind of things that you experience or access within you when you are dealing with a patient who is going through those emotions and feelings, it’s a completely different level.

And when you’ve done it once you want to do it again. It’s kind of addictive. It’s addictive because it’s a two-way thing – you’re giving comfort and you’re getting comfort, you’re getting reflection.

Our Guru, who you all love has given us this insight, to look and say ‘This is one way to worship God and venerate God that surpasses everything else’

Looking after the sick and infirm. Let’s do it. Let us come in our tens, twenties and hundreds and just give of one or two days a month.

People may ask well why don’t you just go and get lots of grant applications and other funding, and have lots of money so you can employ staff, employ qualified nurses, employ care workers and things like that, who then do the job 24 hours a day as a job.

It’s possible, others do it, but our philosophy is a bit different from that. We’d like a rich mixture, but we’d like the majority if possible to be people who do this out of their volunteering heart, of giving of themselves. It’s a very significant difference.

When you give something out of love, not because of some monetary gain, it becomes an opportunity. Forget about what it’s doing to our patients. What is it doing to me?

I would be that much more poorer in my spiritual journey without this opportunity.Dr. Didi Ratnasinghe

Most people who want to give up the world of going to work and educating their children and blah blah blah. The stuff of everyday life, and join an Ashram as a swami, or a sadhu or a priest. Want to give all that up and meditate and just do a completely different thing. Not to take on another hive of activity.

And it is so easy for our swamis or our Guru to have stopped there as well. Right? There was no need to leap into something else. That is much more tougher.

The government regulations, the people’s oppositions – with the best will in the world the people can oppose something that they’re not used to. The organisational nightmares, the funding crises, and trying to develop. You know, it’s a lot of extra effort.

But our swamis and Guru have done that, have gone that extra step. And the question is why? And the answer is – they’ve given us another opportunity. Us, as devotees. Another opportunity, a different way to worship. Above and beyond just going and lighting a candle and doing our prayers.

I’m not saying those things aren’t good, they are fantastic. But this brings it to a different level. And I appreciate that. The only way I can say thank you, is this.

Join in

Take your skills & experience to a new level

Share this Post