Former railway engineer strives to create a museum on Ayurveda – The Hindu

The Hindu Retired engineer Pammi Satyanarayana Murthy at his residence-cum-library at Ayodyanagar in Vijayawada. Photo. Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Pammi Satyanarayana Sastry, 74, is known to all who care about Ayurveda. After retiring from the Indian Railways as an electrical engineer, Mr. Sastry has earned a name for himself in the field. Though he has no formal degrees, he earned the title Uttama Vaidya.

He is so passionate about the science that he has converted a large part his apartment house into a library which houses some of the most valued texts and books. His house is a veritable hub for the research and development of Ayurvedic medical sciences.

The origin for his strong passion for Ayurveda seems to be his maternal grandfather Chivukula Satyanaryana Sastry who was a legend in the art of Rasasastra, which is a study of medicine that “converts the mortal to the immortal.”

The Dr. Achanta Lakshmipathi Ayurveda Library has over 3,000 books in six languages. Most of the books are in Telugu, but there are also books in Sanskrit, English, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada. He has some Ayurvedic recipes written on palm leaf (Tala patram) and tree bark (Boorja patram).


Keeping in mind the need to preserve the knowledge for posterity, Mr. Sastry has started digitalising some of the valuable books. Using a digital camera, he has prepared soft copies of as many as 1,000 volumes so far all by himself.

His engineering background has come in handy to him. Currently, he is using DVDs to preserve the data and has plans to shift to BluRay in future. To facilitate future research in Ayurveda, Mr Sastry collected all the Ayurvedic journals he could lay his hands on and even indexed articles in them.

Showing a copy an old Ayurvedic Lexicon, Mr Sastry said the book was published 125 years ago in 1889. His library-cum-residence is full of several other articles, substances like “Garalam” snake venom in crystalline form and Ramasila, floating stone, that is used in the making of Ayurvedic preparations. “Ultimately I want to create a Museum of Ayurveda,” he says.

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