Modern medicine is only couple of hundred years old. Prior to that it was traditional medicine being used based on the local needs of the country. The oldest of them being Indian ayurvedic system of medicine originating from atharveda. Unani, Chinese, and Tibetan medicine probably are all off shoots of Ayurveda.
Doctors in India since Vedic time have been equated to God. This has continued even today even after modern medicine has taken over. No other profession whether it is priest, lawyers, judges, politicians, occupies the same status as that of the medical doctors. Medical profession is the noblest profession.
The role of a doctor is to remove the miseries and save the life of a person and that is one reason most of us think that a medical doctor has been given designation equivalent to that of God. But it has many other perspectives also.
A common man’s perspective of God is a force that can do and undo anything, for whom nothing is impossible, who is the final decision maker, whose decision cannot be challenged, who can give an instantaneous relief, who can punish and reward and he who overcomes miseries. He can also answer the unknown as he is supposed to know everything. In Bhagwad Gita and other vedic texts, GOD is equated to consciousness, a network of energized information, a force which cannot be burnt by fire, wet by water, dried by air or cut by weapon; a force which is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient and still ever-pervading.
A trained qualified medical doctor who has his understanding based on the mind, body and soul has nearly the same characteristics. He overcome miseries, mystifies his presence as soon as he touches the patient, gives immediate relief which starts at the time he gives a healing touch to the patient, his decision often is considered final and whose decisions are almost predictable to 100%.
God is the person on whom one has blind belief and faith. At the time when a person is sick or in acute emergency the same belief and faith is seen in doctors.
According to Deepak Chopra in his book ‘How to Know God’ he has explained God of different levels. According to him a God is a person from amongst the society with one step higher level of consciousness. He describes, as per the Vedic text, seven different levels of consciousness a person can posses and they are at the level of fight & flight, reactive consciousness, restful alertness consciousness, intuitive consciousness, creative consciousness, sacred consciousness and unified consciousness. If we take this as the classification then even a ruler of the society may be considered God by many people. But if you take universal criteria then a person who has achieved sainthood, who sees the same consciousness in everybody, treats individuals without caste, creed and religion who overcome miseries of people irrespective of their age, status or paying capacity is the GOD. Doctor fits into these criteria.
For him every patient is the same and his job is to remove his or her miseries at that particular moment. Probably, this is another reason why doctors have been considered God at every level of perception and from every segment of the society.
Most people have fear of death, fear of unknown, fear of loss and fear of disability. Whenever there is an unknown fear they think of the God. A medical doctor is also remembered whenever there is a health crisis.
Ayurvedic text describes clearly chapters & chapters on the subject ‘how to predict death’. It describes symptoms, which, if present, with certainty one can say that this person is going to die in how many hours, days, months or years. That level of prediction gives public a feeling that doctors are God because they have seen doctors for thousands of years giving verdict that this person is not going to survive after a particular period and that used to happen.
According to Bible every work God does he does through his messenger. Medical doctors are the only certified universal messenger of God in the society. Rest all become God for a particular period, for a particular instance or a particular person.
Health is not mere absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, social, spiritual, environmental and financial well being. This definition fully was used by the Eastern philosophy and Eastern pathies. The modern doctors, however, practice more often an instant practice with emphasis on quick treatment, handling acute emergencies and lifestyle illnesses. They hardly take mental and spiritual health into consideration. That may be one reason why slowly people are withdrawing the status of God from the doctors. They have started equating a medical doctor with any other marketing profession.
Out of four purposes of life: dharma, artha, kama & moksha, dharma is the most important. The literal meaning of dharma is to hold. God is the force with 100% dharma in his life. Dharma of a doctor is to treat and save the life of a person at any cost. One recalls the movie Achanak where the doctor saves the life of a person who has been sentenced to death and the day he saves him the police officer takes him for hanging. The movie ends with a message that a doctor has to do his dharma and police officer has to do his.
At the time of miseries, a doctor is treated as a healer. Nobody bothers whether the doctor came from which religion, caste, race or whether the doctor is male, female or from third gender. People do not bother about the ill habits or out of profession activities of the doctor; they are only concerned about the fact that doctor is a universal healer and overcomes the miseries of everybody who approaches him. A doctor provides free treatment to those who cannot afford or comes to an emergency ward without any money.
Putting doctors under Consumer Protection Act is the biggest blunder done by the government. How can one make God accountable? Can a child born blind at birth abuse or curse God for making him blind.
I think all of us should introspect and remember that doctor is the messenger of god born to remove miseries of the sick individuals.