What is a ‘sutra’?

What is a ‘sutra’?

Sutra is a Sanskrit word, which literally means string or thread. But in the literary context, sutra is a concise i.e. using few words and meaningful expression of a truth. All vedic knowledge is in the form of Sutras.

To put it simply, a sutra is a sentence or a statement, which has a complete meaning by itself. Every word in a sutra is non deletable, every word is a chapter by itself.

For example, a sutra to create awareness about child sexual abuse can be as follows: “Child sexual abuse, evident or suspect, is a common, preventable, punishable, acute medicolegal emergency.”

• ‘Child’ means any person below the age of 18 years
• ‘Sexual’ means sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography as defined in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012
• ‘Abuse’ means unwelcome/uninvited behavior – involvement of all senses, touch, remarks, gestures, showing pornography, etc.
• ‘Evident’ means obvious or clearly visible
• ‘Suspect’ means to consider to be true
• ‘Common’ means both boys and girls can be victims
• ‘Preventable’ means avoidable
• ‘Punishable’ means imprisonment along with fine
• ‘Acute’ means of extreme importance, urgent
• ‘Medicolegal’ means the police has to be informed
• ‘Emergency’ means immediate action is required; stressful

Public education is an important part of health care and doctors have a duty to educate not only their patients, but also the community about the significance of a healthy lifestyle.

Sutras can be effectively used in health communication for dissemination of health messages as they are easy to remember. Credible health sutras convey scientific information in a simple language, making it easy for the patient as well as the public to understand and adopt in their daily life.

This is how I teach.

I often use sutras and formulas as a module to educate the general public about important health issues. Some examples of these one-line health messages, which are evidence-based and I have successfully used are as below:

• Any food of plant in origin does not contain cholesterol.
• Any fat that is liquid at room temperature is saturated fat.
• Any fat that is solid at room temperature is unsaturated fat.
• One percent increases in cholesterol increases the chances of heart attack by 2%.
• One percent increase in good HDL cholesterol decreases the chances of heart attack by 3%.
• High BP, blood sugar and blood cholesterol can remain silent for up to a decade.
• Longer the waist line, shorter the lifeline.
• Even one whiff of cigarette, active or passive, is not health-friendly.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are entirely my own.

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