Plus - Appreciation

The good doctor behind a volunteer army of healing hands

Dr. Vajiranath Luxman De Silva

The nation mourns the demise of Dr. Vajiranath Luxman de Silva, who passed away after a long illness, at the age of 82. He was the founder of the Sri Lanka Saukyadana Movement, a truly national medical and first aid movement, Dr. Luxman (as he was known to his friends) was a rare combination of medical talent, commitment to serve, and leadership. He led thousands of youth volunteers in the service of the nation. He believed in self-reliance, and he refused to yield to external forces.

He drew on Meththa and Karuna in his service to needy communities. The Saukyadana movement provides health and medical services to the needy, free of charge, with loving kindness, through dedicated volunteers.

The idea for the Saukyadana movement came to Dr. Vajiranath Luxman de Silva 50 years ago, when he was leading a team of young doctors up Sri Pada. He was impressed by the pilgrims’ determination to reach the shrine at the top of the mountain, despite the physical difficulties involved, including extreme weather conditions. He wondered what he could do to make the journey easier.

He then came up with the idea of a dedicated medical unit to provide pilgrims first aid and medical aid, free of charge, in a spirit of compassion.

Thus was born the Saukyadana Movement. Young medical doctors, nurses and well-wishers set up posts along the path up Sri Pada and provided free medical services. The Sri Pada initiative was subsequently extended to all places of religious significance, and also at festivals, regardless of the religion.

The state declared the movement an approved charity, and the Ministry of Education provided facilities for schools to spread the benefits and services of the movement to the community.
The Saukyadanians work on one golden principle – that all who join the movement offer their services in a spirit of volunteerism, with no desire for personal gain. The only returns would be the satisfaction and contentment that come with doing good for others.

Through school programmes, the movement groomed young people to be social leaders, giving them organisational, management and leadership skills.

Many know about the movement, but not much about the good doctor behind the movement. He shunned publicity. The story of Dr. Luxman is the story of the Sri Lanka Saukyadana Movement.
May he be blessed with the Supreme State of Nibbana.

Yasapala Nanayakkara

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