The following story is from Rishi Tales 2: 21 Ancient Vedic Sanskrit Tales Translated & Retold by U. Mahesh Prabhu
Author of Sushruta-Samhita – Rishi Sushruta – is regarded as the father of Surgery. He was also a great physician of his times. Whatever be the sickness, Sushruta could cure it with his magic touch.
“Sushruta! You are no ordinary human, but an incarnation of Dhanvantari – the physician of the Devas!” many would say. But Sushruta would reply in a composed tone, “My friend, some physicians in this country know as much as I know. If you find my treatment so good, it is because you have faith in me. I should say that it is the grace of Paramatman.”
People were impressed by his skill, knowledge, wisdom, and humility.
One day Sushruta fell ill and suffered from a bad cough. Months passed, but his cough did not subside.
“If you need some herbs, just let us know, and we will get them for you!” said one of his friends. Sushruta replied with a smile.
“It is universally believed that a healer, however effective he may be, cannot cure himself. I should advise you to place yourself under Ayushman’s treatment,” suggested another friend.
“For some time now, I too was thinking of doing so,” said Sushruta. He had heard much about Ayushman, a reputed healer. He journeyed to meet Ayushman, accompanied by some of his friends and well-wishers.
However, on arriving at Ayushman’s home, Sushruta was informed that he was not available. As Ayushman himself had been sick for over a month, he was consulting another physician named Vaidyaman, who lived in a nearby village, a day’s walk away.
“It is best I too visit Vaidyaman. Undoubtedly, he is the greatest physician of us all,” thought Sushruta.
They spent the night at a roadside inn and resumed their journey in the morning. By sundown, they entered the village. To their surprise, they saw the people of the bazaar looking sad. As they approached Vaidyaman’s house, they saw there a crowd, with many in it weeping.
“Did some distinguished patient of Vaidyaman die?” asked Sushruta to a crying bystander outside the revered healer’s house.
“Not any patient, sire; Vaidyaman himself is dead. He was bed-ridden for a fortnight. Tomorrow he was to pay a visit to Sushruta, the famous healer. But death came suddenly,” informed the bystander.
Sushruta brought his palms together and raised them to his forehead, as a gesture of his respect to the departed soul. Then he turned to go.
His companions looked at him meaningfully. Sushruta nodded and told them, “Let us go back. I assure you, I will be fine in no time.”
“How so?” asked his companions.
“While all had faith in me, I lacked faith in myself. Now I have regained it. Faith is the best medicine! I can cure myself,” explained Sushruta.