In 1965, while I was a student of Human Anatomy at Kurnool Medical College, I had the opportunity to know about Dr. J. C. B. Grant (1886-1973), the author of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy. The 5th Edition of his Atlas was published in 1962 and was available in India in our Medical College Library.
Born in Loanhead (south of Edinburgh) in 1886, Grant studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and graduated with an M.B., Ch.B. degree in 1908. While at Edinburgh, he worked under the renowned anatomist Daniel John Cunningham.
Grant became a decorated serviceman of the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War before moving to Canada. He established himself as an ‘anatomist extraordinary’ at the University of Toronto, publishing three textbooks that form the basis of Grant’s Anatomy. The textbooks are still used in anatomy classes today, and made unforgettable memories for those who found themselves in his classes nearly a century ago. One of Grant’s many accomplishments was establishing a division of histology within the department.
As a medical student, I used Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy, the seminal work of Scottish-born Dr. John Charles Boileau Grant, who would become the chair of Anatomy at the University of Toronto in 1930 and retired in 1965.
John Charles Boileau Grant (1886–1973)
The author of Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy (1943), Grant used to train thousands of medical students around the world. He came to University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine from University of Manitoba (and previously Edinburgh), and was Chair of the Department of Anatomy there from 1930 to 1965. Although he is best known for this famous atlas, his research and teaching also included biological anthropology, as evidenced by such work as Anthropometry of the Cree and Saulteaux Indians in Northeastern Manitoba (Archaeological Survey of Canada 1929). The human skeletal collection he formed, the “J.C.B. Grant Collection,” is still a core collection for human osteology in the Department of Anthropology at University of Toronto. He is also remembered in the Grant’s Museum at the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Toronto. This museum, with its displays of anatomical specimens, many of which were dissected by Grant himself, continues to be used in an active learning environment by more than 1000 students each year.
Students continue to use Grant’s textbooks today, and for the more artistic anatomist there’s even a Grant’s Anatomy Coloring Book, published in 2018.
At the University of Toronto, Dr.McMurrich, Chair of Anatomy was succeeded as chairman in 1930 by Dr. John Charles Boileau Grant. Dr. Grant wrote three text books, of which “An Atlas of Anatomy” (published in 1943) rapidly gained international prominence and is still, one of the most widely used anatomical atlases in the world. It is now known as “Grant’s Atlas of Anatomy” and is in its tenth edition. The atlas was based on a series of elegant dissections done either by Grant or by others under his supervision. Many of these dissections are currently housed in Grant’s Museum at the University of Toronto.
The Rudi-Grant Connection is about knowing the man, the building blocks and the structural units and organization of the human body. To defend the human existence, the Rudi-Grant Connection lays the emphasis on knowing the person who is at risk apart from knowing the agent posing the risk.
THE IDENTITY OF MULTICELLULAR HUMAN ORGANISM:
Daniel John Cunningham was born on 15 April 1850 in Scotland. After his initial schooling at his home town, Crieff, he took up the study of medicine at the University of Edinburgh and passed with honours. He is best known for the excellent series of dissection manuals, namely Cunningham’s Dissection Manuals. Cunningham’s Manual of Practical Anatomy has provided me the learning tools to know and understand Man’s External and Internal Reality and its Identity as described by Cells, Tissues, Organs,and Organ Systems.
I learned the truths about the living human body and about Life while dissecting the dead human bodies in a systematic manner. The Manual of Practical Anatomy which guides us through this entire process was published in England. The author Dr. Daniel John Cunningham prepared the Manual while dissecting cadavers of British or Irish citizens. He had never encountered cadavers of Indian citizens. At Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India, where I was a student, the Department of Anatomy obtains dead bodies from Government General Hospital Kurnool and most of the deceased are the poor, illiterate, and uneducated people of that region. None of the deceased had the chance to know this man called Cunningham and Cunningham had no knowledge about the existence of these people who arrive on our dissection tables. But, as the dissection of the human body proceeds, inch, by inch, we recognize the anatomical parts as described by Cunningham. The manual also lists some anatomical variations and we very often exchange information between various dissection tables and recognize the variations mentioned. The dissections also involve slicing the organs and studying them, both macroscopically, and microscopically. We did not miss any part of the human body. So what is the Identity of this Human person or Human subject? How does the living Human organism maintain its Identity and Individuality? Apart from the Cultural Traditions of India, several Schools of Religious Thought claim that the Human Individual and its Identity is represented by Human Soul. Where does this soul exist in the human body? What is the location if the soul is present in the living person? Does man have a soul? How does the human organism acquires Knowledge about its own structures and the functions they perform?
The Path to find God, Truth, and Life:
‘The Order of the Star’ was an organization built around Jiddu Krishnamurti by Ms. Annie Besant and other Theosophists with the hope that he would be the vehicle for the return of the Christ or ‘Maitreya’ (the reincarnation of the Lord of Compassion).
The Dissolution of ‘The Order of The Star’
Aug-Sept 1929: I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. You must climb towards the Truth. It cannot be ‘stepped down’ or organized for you.
1933: I feel that no one can lead another to truth, because truth is infinite; it is a pathless land, and no one can tell you how to find it. No one can teach you to be an artist; another can only give you the brushes and canvas and show you the colours to use.
1948: You cannot discover the path, because there is no path, Truth is a thing that is living, and to a living thing there is no path – it is only to dead things that there can be a path. Truth being pathless, to discover it you must be adventurous, ready for danger; and do you think a guru will help you to be adventurous, to live in danger? To seek a guru obviously indicates that you are not adventurous, that you are merely seeking a path to reality as a means of security.
1957: There is no path to reality. Reality is a pathless land, and you must venture out and discover it for yourself. It is because you are frightened inwardly that you depend on something, on the priest, or on a belief, and so you get caught in the net of an organized religion.
1976: But as truth is a pathless land, you can’t lay down a line, a direction, a path to it and practise it, discipline yourself, learn a technique. It is immovable. There is no technique to truth.
1982: So one has to be totally free from all that because truth has no path to it. It is a pathless land, like a ship that has no rudder. You have to walk out of darkness, out of your own chaos, out of your own confusion, out of the forest of ignorance and come to that by yourself, your own comprehension of perception.
1982: Because if there is any form of conditioning, psychically, inwardly, truth cannot be found. Truth is a pathless land, and it must come to one when there is total freedom from conditioning.
The Story about The Star of Bethlehem:
The New Testament Book Matthew, Chapter 2, verse 1 and 2 describe the visit of the ‘Magi’. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his Star in the East and have come to worship him.”
And Matthew 2:9-10 further states, when they heard the king, they (Magi) went on their way, and the Star they had seen in the East went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the Star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.
The Magi, the three wise men of the East did not traverse on a beaten path to discover the newborn Jesus. As there is no beaten path, the Star of Bethlehem clearly guided them to find the truth or reality of the newborn baby.
Jesus shows the Way to The Father, Truth, and Life:
In the New Testament Book John, Chapter 14, verse 6 describes Jesus as the way to the Father. Jesus answered, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“TRUTH IS A PATHLESS LAND”
‘Truth is a pathless land’ was the speech made by Jiddu Krishnamurti in 1929 when he dissolved the Order of the Star. “I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you can not approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organised; nor should any organisation be formed to lead or coerce people along any particular path.” Krishnamurti believed that the individual must establish his uniqueness, he should discover for himself that absolute, unconditioned Truth.
The Fear of the Beaten Path:
The much traveled or a beaten path is recommended if you are aware of your destination. The beaten path provides the wayfarer a sense of security and comfort.
In India, thinkers tend to believe that the principles underlying macrocosm (Universal) and microcosm (Individual) are related. According to Vedas which guide the Indian mind, the ‘BRAHMAN’ (the Absolute Reality or ‘The Father’) cannot be known by any empirical means of knowledge. Socrates states, ‘Know thyself, and you will know the universe and the gods.’ In a similar manner Indian thinkers have always encouraged the values of introspection, to reflect upon your own mind and thoughts to understand self and self-knowledge is a tool, is the way and the path to the Truth. As an Indian, I always experience a sense of fear about the ‘Beaten Path’ and the assurance given by Jesus that He is the Way somehow does not dispel the sense of fear to travel on that path. I need an unbeaten path.