Autumn reigned supreme and a purple haze bathed the concrete jungle of Bombay. The celestial aura of yet another glorious sunset would have captivated a poet's imagination, as long as he would have craned his neck heavenwards. If he had cast his vision downwards — towards the dustbin of India — his spirits would have been lowered, witnessing the monotony of the futile pursuit of pelf, power and peace among the four walls of their offices and houses, walls? The saying goes: "Walls have ears". But that day the walls of our flat in Bombay heard something other than the usual din of the massive and petty traffic jam below. Nine storeys above, there was another traffic jam, in the Jamnagar House between two conflicting views.
My mother was sandwiched between the yearning for relief from the convulsion of gall bladder pain by surgical means and the advice of resorting to Ayurveda from her mother. My grandmother — a staunch believer of Ayurveda — deemed it wise to exploit the great treasure of knowledge left by our saints and seers. While mother, on the other hand, with all her due reverence for this great legacy of true knowledge, was not so sure whether she would like to endure the agony of this ailment and wait with stoic patience for the slow, but sure remedy or finish off with it, in one sweep of a knife, as advised by the top doctors of Bombay.
As the day faded into night, so did her hopes of convincing my grandmother. Another 48 hours glided away, and yet she was still in the grips of a profound dilemma, fervently praying to the Lord to guide her. Came the third morning and the sun peeped in through the window to say hello, and aroused her from a very disturbed slumber. Awake or asleep it was one continuous nightmare. But still, as the sunlight filtered through the curtains, it beamed on her as a ray of hope: "perhaps today, Bhagavan may give some indication as to what to do." This ray made the beads of melancholy sparkle on her glistening cheek Alas! half the day was over and yet it held no promise of anchorage in the tempest of her life, as there was no cue from Bhagavan.
But this silence that exacerbated the misery into a doleful jeremiad was really an irenic preface to a wonderful chapter of her life, where she saw, felt, and enjoyed Bhagavan's grace. By then the sun god had reached his zenith across the heavens, and bestowed some warm upon an already heated argument. The head of the family did not yield to the idea of her daughter being a victim to what she called "Legal butchery". Then all of a sudden, a maid servant announced the arrival of a friend of ours. She was least expected then; and after the exchange of a few pleasantries, which are incidental to the main subject, she explained that she was to deliver a letter from Parthi.
With trembling hands, my mother opened the envelope. Her eyes could not keep pace with the heart's eagerness to interpret the message. It was no hard code to decipher "With lots of Love and Blessings, Baba" could only mean that He would shower His grace on them. The letter was in type and signed by Bhagavan Himself. It read: "Conduct an operation, there is more to it than just gall bladder stones, before that, come to Parthi for blessings". Our friend had brought to us Gospel of Joy.
For the second time that day, I saw droplets over brimming mother's grateful eyes and trickling down her cheek but its salinity was caught in the wrinkles of a happy smile. The verdict was passed by the Divine Judge.
|Rajmata Gulab Kunwarba (Indreshwar's grandmother) with Sri Sathya Sai at Kodaikanal|
Soon mother and grandmother were in Parthi's interview room seeking solace from the Divine Mother. And from the conversation between the mothers, was born a wonderful experience to be cherished. In a few minutes, Bhagavan explained the vast expanses of trouble that existed within a few inches of her tummy. With the treasure of His melodious words in their hearts and hands filled with Vibhuti, they proceeded to Bombay.
This rescue from state of hopeless depression by our Beloved Lord was narrated to Dr. Niranjan Maniar, our good friend and family doctor. Amaranthine, as he was in his devotion to Lord Sai, he at once commenced the preparations for the operation of gall bladder stones and a highly critical hytes hernia, which the doctors had not yet discovered but was revealed by Bhagavan, who had also mentioned some other complexities. It was difficult to convince the non- devotee doctors, who were experts in their own fields, about the intuitive powers of Dr. Maniar.
The D-day dawned, and a telegram from Bhagavan conveying His blessings made her blissful and then the anesthetist sent her temporarily into the ninth heaven. But the clash between the doctors continued even when the Chief Surgeon's knife had delved deep into the patient, beyond the traces of pinquidity, when Dr. Maniar declared that he had not renounced his clear diagnosis that the hiatus hernia was torn, and that it required urgent aid. Much as they would have loved to disregard it as an exercise in futility, Dr. Maniar's determination, borne out of his implicit faith in Bhagavan, ended the dissentious scene when he placed his career at stake by accepting to shoulder the responsibilities in case it redounded for the worse.
Discountenance adorned the faces of the experts as they set out in search of what they were sure they would not find. But there it was, a torn hernia gaping, as if laughing at the surgeons, waiting to be repaid to relieve Dr. Maniar and most important to testify to the veracity of Bhagavan's words.
Trying hard to be blind to what their eyes had seen, the doctors completed the operation, only to discover that all other complexities pointed out by Bhagavan were true. At last their constant utterances of "Impossible" changed to "Incredible". The very meridian of their career looked dull, as they started making amends regarding their precocious attitude. And they agreed that our family doctor, had been used as an instrument by Lord Sai, not merely to let the Surgeon's instruments to be used in a three hour major operation inside my mother's belly, but to prove that He envisaged to be right, to prove His love for one insignificant soul, who prayed for help.
When the floating rays of amber light her eyes swooned,
The agony unrevealed itself from the chasm of her wound
Quivering she soared awake from the wings of artificial sleep,
To know that from the fount of Sai Grace she had drunk deep,
That when in the bliss of oblivion, she had lay,
The ever loving Lord had given her yet another day
Another day, a week, a year and more to witness.
That joy of this world is dallied with distress.
But no tear, no scar should rob you of mirth,
As it’s in the depth of sorrow that faith takes birth
Thereafter when clouds of Titanic Gloom obscure the view
You'll never fail to find a patch of blue
And that is a peep hole to be delivered from doom
When in floating rays of His love, you'll swoon.
The operation was a success and the ship of her life had endured the tempest and was majestically ruling the waves with the flag of Lord Sai hoisted high, fluttering beautifully against the odd winds.
|Sri Sathya Sai at the Rajmata's house in Brindavan during a feast arranged for the students; Indreshwar is standing on the right|
At this juncture sometimes the cavillous mind tends to wander off to the realms of doubt. As to why doesn’t the ever compassionate one cushion the fall of His devotees even before they slip. If this were the case, then the beneficiary in this trust of love would never realise the gravity of the situation so as to appreciate the invisible hand, he would never taste the nectarine sweetness that arises than the yearning for grace, and its fulfillment. It is for the same reason that Mother Kunti prayed to Lord Krishna for a life sprinkled with misery, so that in her Elysium royal life she may not forget God.
Thus with a minute amount of the mortar of devotion from our side, His love had bridged this lacuna from a gloomy state to a glorious revelation of this grace which to this day is indelibly sealed in our hearts.
- Indreshwar Singh Sirohi
Student (1988-1991), Department of Commerce
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus
Source: Sai Vandana 1990