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Prof. Anton Jayasuriya that I knew…..

The clinic is a beehive of activity. A man complaints of his severe nerve


pain while the other has diabetes, the woman round the corner has
eczema while the child is asthmatic, it goes on and on, and this was a
typical day where an endless stream of patients were seen milling at
the Medicina clinic that was operating at the Colombo South Govt.
General University teaching hospital after the formation of Medicina
Alternativa at the Alma Ata declaration in 1962.

A large number of local and foreign practitioners could also be seen in


a flurry of activity working in unison at this clinic and other clinics in
the evenings under the able tutelage of Prof. Anton Jayasuriya
popularly known as Anton or Kara by his friends, whose voice was
silenced by the sting of death that spread a dark veil over him most
unexpectedly on 6 th April, at a time when the world that was heading
towards integrated medicines needed him the most.

This man who was a legend in his time had treated around 3.5 million
patients free of charge
( probably deserving an entry in the Guinness book of records), and
even provided the very needles at his own expense when the need
arose. He used to regularly say that there is ALLOPATHY AND
HOMEOPATHY BUT WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT IS SYMPATHY. He
hosted over 60 medical seminars and world congresses in 110
countries and trained over 150,000 doctors from 140 countries . Anton
was born on 20 June 1930 and had his primary and secondary
education at St.Sebastian’s College Moratuwa before entering Medical
college and passing out with a M.B.B.S degree (University of Ceylon) in
April 1954 at the age of 23. He was in England for some time and was
a Post graduate Fellow at Guys Hospital from 1957 – 1959 and made a
Fellow of The Royal Society of Medicine in 1957. He also has a B.SC
from Toronto and RCP and RCS England and D.Sc Wellington Cum
laude, plus several dozen honors , accolades , appreciations, gold
medals and tiles too numerous to mention here . He was sent to China
in 1974 as a W.H.O Fellow to study acupuncture.

The wall hanging on the clinic says “ IF YOU CANNOT BE A KING BE


A HEALER” taken from an ancient Sinhala Ola manuscript of ca 500
B.C., and one of Anton’s own sayings” There is only one
important person in the clinic – the patient” . True to his
saying he took great trouble to speak with patients and get to know
them closely because he maintained that “ To know about the
patient is more important than to know about the
disease”. He was a firm believer in service and without fail, come
rain or sunshine, made his way to the clinic every morning and
evening. He took trouble to instill these disciplines in the clinical
practitioners and staff and worked till his last day on earth.

The Anton I knew for long years was also a multi - faceted person with
an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine and I personally enjoyed every
lecture he gave at the clinics the memories of which would never
leave me .His versatility and aplomb won many friends , admirers and
some enemies who took opportunity to criticize, many in ignorance
and jealousy , perhaps due to lack of anything better to do, than to
improve and help the greater advancement of knowledge or encourage
a fellow Sri Lankan to do better.

Prof and I used to meet often on Sundays to have a quiet private lunch
together sometimes out -but more regularly at his own dining table.
Even here his main concern was what I was eating, serving from one
dish and ordering to take from another . This is where we discussed so
many deeper things , such as, quantum theory, consciousness etc..,
and I was amazed at his grasp and contributions that came only from
an accomplished master. This knowledge was enlivened by his own
brand of “ Antonian humour” which resulted in a small publication
titled” Laughter is the best Alternative Medicine”.

During his life Prof. Anton published around 80 books of which just one
book titled “ CLINICAL ACUPUNCTURE” has sold around 10 million
copies worldwide. I am happy and honored that during this time I was
able to jointly author with him three books , firstly a book on Clinical
Psychology and two volumes on Buddhism and Christianity. At the
time of his death he was working on a Dictionary of Acupuncture , and
we had completed the drafts of three more joint books, one titled “ The
Psychology of healing” and two others on Islam and Hinduism.

When necessary he was not afraid to challenge accepted theories and


one such was on the origin of Acupuncture. Going after the findings of
the Ice man Oetzi, discovered in the Tyrolean Alps in 1991, and the
acupuncture points discovered on his body which showed that he was
treated for a spinal disorder complicated by lumbar discopathy, Prof.
Anton delved deep into our own discoveries in Beli-lena, Fahien lena ,
Balangoda man etc., and proposed that evidence existed of the use of
acupuncture in Sri Lanka during those ancient time even before
Chinese and probably went to Europe and far East along the famous
spice and silk routes. It was a memorable experience for me to be
involved with this research team of experts and liaise with Dr.Diane
Hawkey an International expert on Dental Morphology and DNA
analysis to set dates of artifacts.

The 42 nd World Congress of Complementary Medicines held at the


BMICH in November 2004,happened to be his last. It was also one of
the best congresses I have attended, which had around 2500
participants attending from all over the world. Little would they have
realized as they were showering him with various accolades that it
would be his last. This was also the year when after much indefatigable
effort of Prof. Anton, the Nobel Foundation of Sweden had consented to
consider nominees for Nobel prize in Complementary Medicines and
the laureates received their medals amidst much applause, for the first
time in the world.

There is a saying that no prophet is honored in his own home town


which seems very true in the case of Prof. Anton too. He was a Hero,
the Leader ,the Guru, the revered Teacher par excellence and the
Champion of many a cause yet he did not receive much appreciation
in his own mother country for the great contribution he made. Perhaps
we will never see another like him in our own land and my wish is that
his work continues unabated for the millions worldwide who deserve
such treatment, and may Sri Lankans who are notorious for their short
memories, continue to cherish his memory for many long years to
come. This will also help us learn an important lesson in life –to give
honour where it is due.

Thus the curtain falls on a great healer who performed caesarian


operations using only acupuncture anesthesia while the patient was
fully conscious , way back in 1978 at Kalubowila, reminding us of the
famous saying
” The world is a plain paper white, whereupon you and I may
write …..our word or two…..and then comes night”.

How elegant you appeared in your “ Knightly Attire” and your


amassed fleet of Rolls Royces , and still readily available to serve the
suffering patients of all walks of life.

Good bye great teacher and friend, I will miss you and will always
fondly remember the great times we had together.

Prof. Lakshman Madurasinghe