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A Medical Student’s Perspective on Vedantic Wisdom

A Medical Student's Perspective on Vedantic Wisdom

When I joined Gautamji’s classes three years ago at my aunt’s recommendation, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I joined one of his virtual Zoom sessions, which had just started up at that time due to the pandemic. Throughout most of the session, I was on board with what he was saying until he said one thing that I could not wrap my head around. He said that no matter what a person is pursuing in life, he is convinced that he will be happy, satisfied, and content as soon as he obtains the goal of his original pursuit. However, this person does not realize that his pursuit and cravings will never end, and he will never be satisfied with his goals. 

At the time, I was in the process of applying to medical schools. The first thought I had when I heard all this was, “What is this person talking about?? Once I get into medical school, that’s going to be it for me, I will have no more desires or aspirations, and I will be completely and totally 100% satisfied with where I am.” Little did I realize the falsehood in that statement. Almost right after I gained admission into medical school, I started thinking about the next thing. “How am I going to pass all these exams? How will I get enough research experience on my CV? How will I get on the leadership board for all these clubs? How am I going to pass Step 1 of the boards? How will I look like a good medical student on my clinical rotations? What about shelf exams? What about Step 2? Specialty choice? Residency applications?” That’s when I realized it truly never ends. A bell rang in my head, and I remembered Gautamji’s wise words – and so I returned.

While I have been religious and spiritually inclined my whole life, I started attending lectures and studying Vedanta seriously since late March of this year. However, my study of the scriptures and philosophy was extremely superficial before. While I had extensive knowledge of the famous ancient epics, including the Ramayana and Mahabharata, I needed to understand how to transform the teachings from those stories into wisdom. In other words, I had yet to learn how to put that knowledge into practice in my day-to-day life, and I had no clear goal of what was worth pursuing in life other than just the next stage of my career. 

With the weekly lectures on the Vedanta Treatise, Bhagavad Gita, and the Q&A sessions, I am continuing to gain a stronger foundation of the Vedantic wisdom and truth that underlies all of existence. While I am far from understanding everything about this comprehensive subject or approaching that high state where nothing affects me anymore, I have noticed several changes in myself and how I have been handling my work. As a medical student, it isn’t easy to zoom out and appreciate what is important in life. While I have a good amount of intelligence, as do all the students in my class, I don’t have a powerful intellect, which tends to get overpowered by the desires and needs of my stronger mind. The purpose of Vedanta is to build your intellect so you can unveil your true Self, and I will highlight a couple of experiences where the effects of my pursuit of this knowledge shine through. 

I recently finished my first two medical school rotations – I earned a distinction of “Honors” on one rotation and “High Pass” on the other. Last year, I would have been agitated at myself for only earning a “High Pass.” Still, I was not upset about it when it happened because I had understood the mechanism of destiny and karma, knowing that for the work I put in, I received the result I deserved. In another situation, I was unexpectedly called in to observe a C-section procedure on my OB/GYN rotation. Because I was unaware that I would be a part of that procedure, I had not previously read up on the surgery. The doctor I was working with was known to be ill-mannered while teaching students. While I was at the operating table with her, she asked me a series of questions about the surgery and anatomy of the patient that I did not know because I had not read up on it, resulting in me likely appearing as an unprepared student in front of her. Last year, I would have completely broken down after an episode like this. However, after leaving the operating room, I was shocked at how unfazed I was by my experience and how easily I let it roll off my shoulders and laughed it off because I realized how small it was in the larger scheme of things. 

By attending the weekly lectures and beginning E-learning, I am learning to strengthen my intellect. Even in the first two years of medical school, I used to worry about every little thing and the potential consequences if something didn’t go my way. I’ve noticed that the things that used to bother me, irritate me, and agitate me don’t do so anymore. But I started to realize that all those little things don’t matter in the wider scope of things; in front of understanding the true Self, where ultimate bliss and ecstasy lie, this all comes down to almost nothing. 

“The blog above are thoughts of a student of the online weekly lectures”

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