Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rantideva and Dr Padmanabha Rao

Ramakrishna Ashram and National College are two well known landmarks in Basavanagudi area of Bangalore.  The road connecting the two and further reaching the west gate of Lalbagh is known as Vani Vilas Road, sometimes also referred as North Road, named after one of the queens of Old Mysore State.  Kempa Nanjammanni Vani Vilasa Sannidhana was the wife of Chamaraja Wodeyar and mother of Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV.  Chamaraja Wodeyar died at the young age of 32 years due to Diphtheria on a visit to Calcutta.  As Krishna Raja Wodeyar was still a minor, she was appointed as  Regent and managed the affairs of the state for a period of eight years.  Sheshadri Iyer, after whom Bangalore's Sheshadripuram is named and the beautiful  red coloured Public Library building in  Cubbon Park is constructed, was the Diwan at that time.  After Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV attained majority, she handed over the reins of the state to him, but continued to guide him thereafter.  Krishna Raja Wodeyar is considered as one of the most popular rulers of Mysore state and his tenure was one that saw progress and peace.   Many monuments carry his mother's name and include Vani Vilas Water Works, Vani Vilas Hospital near Krishna Rajendra Market in Bangalore, Vani vilas Mohalla in Mysore and this Vani Vilas Road.

Another landmark on this road standing between Ramakrishna Ashram and National College is Magadi Karanikara Vaidika Dharma Pathashala.  This school has produced many vedic scholars over the years.  Amruth Ayurvedic Center is located next to this Pathashala on the eastern side.  I had been to this center last week for fixing an appointment with Dr Padmanabha Rao for one of my elderly relatives.  When I went there I was only looking forward to meet another doctor, like hundreds I have seen, met and interacted before.  I had no idea as to how interesting a personality I was going to meet.

Just as I entered the Amruth Ayurvedic Center, I saw a wooden wall hanging presented to Dr V R Padmanabha Rao by his elder brother and sister-in-law.  On that were written the following lines:

नत्वहं कामये राज्यं न स्वर्गम् न पुनर्भवं |
कामये दुःख तप्तानां  प्राणिनां अर्तिनाशनं ||

Natvaham kaamaye rajyam na swargam  na punarbhavam,
Kaamaye duhka taptaanam praninam artinaashanam

I do not desire a Kingdom, not heaven and no rebirth.  All I want to have is the capacity to give succor to the needy and give them relief.


Rantideva was a King in the "Chandravamsha", the moon dynasty to which the Kauravas and Pandavas of Mahabharaa fame belonged.  Rantideva's name is mentioned with utmost respect in Mahabharata as well as Bhagavata.  Rantideva was known to be one of the greatest "Daani", one who gives, of all time.  He was once very rich and in due course gave away all he had to those who came to him seeking something.  It is mentioned that there were several hundred cooks in his kitchen and only golden vessels were used for cooking and serving food to the needy.  It is also said that every day more than two thousand cattle were killed for providing meat to the hungry and needy.  He would never send a seeker empty handed and never look down upon those who came to him seeking something.  He always remained grateful to those who gave him an opportunity to give them something.  In due course of time he gave away everything he had and became very poor and did not even have food and water for his own family members.  This never worried him and he carried on the same way even in poverty.

Once he fasted for 48 days and got some Paramaanna, a sweet dish like paayasam, made of rice, ghee and milk.  The gods wanted to test him and came to him in different forms and as persons from different castes.  He never made any difference and went on giving away the food without even worrying about the hunger of himself and his family members.  Finally he was left with only some water and then came a man with four dogs and said he was very thirsty as were his dogs.  On the verge of death due to hunger and thirst, Rantideva still gave away the water he had for him and said as mentioned above; that all he wanted was to give relief to the needy.

Rantideva is a supreme example of giving relief to the needy.  And these are the ideals that Dr Padmanabha Rao's elders set for him.


Dr Padmanabha Rao comes from a family of ayurvedic doctors.  His wife Dr Shubhankari Rao is also a well known Ayurvedic practitioner in Bangalore.  Their son, daughter and daughter-in-law are all Ayurvedic doctors.  In short, their entire family is dedicated to provide relief to patients through Ayurveda.  Dr Padmanabha Rao secured first rank and Gold Medal in graduate degree in Ayurveda.  He has secured several other degrees and distinctions during his illustrious career thereafter.  F.R.A.S. fellowship from London's Asiatic society and F.I.C.A from America are among them.  He is also a prolific writer and has written many books and contributed over 300 articles to various newspapers and journals in Kannada and English.  His book "Janapriya Ayurveda" (Popular Ayurveda) has won the "Kuvempu Vaidya Saahitya Prashasti", named after the Jnanapeetha award winner and well known poet, Dr K V Puttappa.  His book on treatment of Asthama is equally popular.  "Ayurveda Bhushana" and "Ayurveda Dinakara" are some of the titles that have been conferred on him by the community of doctors and journalists.

Dr Padmanabha Rao has established "Amruth Ayurvedic Center", a well equipped Ayurvedic treatment center on Vani Vilas Road in Bangalore.  I found a rare picture of Lord Hanuman carrying the "Sanjeevini Parvata" for treatment of Lakshmana, on the wall of the center.  When I asked him about the rare photo, Dr Rao said that he found it in one of the photo framing shops and immediately purchased it. 

My five minutes meeting with Dr Padmanabha Rao was an oppurtunity to meet a doctor and writer at the same time.  A doctor who puts the patient in comfort zone from the very first moment.  Above all, a good human being dedicated to healing the sick and providing relief to the suffering.  Rantideva was the ultimate example of sacrifice and helping the needy.  It may be too far fetched to reach that level.  But one can certainly try to walk on the path set by him.  Like Dr Padmanabha Rao does.


  1. THis is very nice information about a pious human being who is in service of the man kind.Ranti deva mention comes in drama Nachiketa written by sri C K S Rao and it is mentioned in mahabharata while Bheeshma narrating stories of Danis to Yudishtara

  2. In this commercial world it is very rare to see such a dedicated
    person in his profession like Dr.padmanabha Rao.Thank you bringing
    out this nice piece of information for the benefit of the needy.

  3. Very nice to kow about Dr. Padmanabha Rao. Made me feel good
    to know that such personalities are still part of our community
    serving this way.

  4. It was very nice to read about your experience with Dr. Padmanabha Rao. They had started up with a very small clinic in chamarajpet.But now both husband and wife run 2 different clinics, both being very popular.I worked with his wife for around 6 months when i had just started my career.She is highly profiled. She has treated many infertile couples and has helped them experience parenthood.She is also famous for doing pumsavana karma (a treatment done to have a male progeny) and hombale treatment during pregnancy.Their whole family is well known to me and their son is a very good friend of mine.

  5. nice to know about Dr.Padmanabha Rao and family.Atleast till now i had not heard his name.Thanks Keshu

  6. Nice to know about the great man and family.Until now atleast i had not known about him. Thanks Keshu

    1. Nice.. the sloka translated here and previous one(Yaam chintyaami)by you or taken from any book?

    2. Nice..the sloka here and the previous one you posted (Yaam chintayaami) is translated by you? or taken from any book?

    3. There are many translations available for both these slokas. What is given in these blogs (these two and many others) are my translations. Similarities elsewhere are quite possible.

  7. Namaskara Mr Keshava Murthy,

    I am Dr Padmanabha Rao's son. I must admire your words. You have painted a realistic picture of how things are with my father. Amruth Ayurvedic Centre is indeed a healing temple where many have received cures for their ailing ailments.
    I also particularly like the Rantideva story.