Sathya Sai Mobile Hospital - a 'moving' miracle of love

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The story of a Divine Plan

It was in the year 1997 that Swami called a young doctor for an interview. The doctor was very thrilled at this coveted opportunity. It had been quite a journey for him to reach this point in life. He was unable to believe that his first association with Swami had been as a hardened critic who had lashed out against ‘false godmen’. Today, Swami’s overwhelming love for the poor, His unbounded compassion for the needy and His relentless selfless service had brought the doctor at His lotus feet. Having come to Swami, he had experienced His divinity and the doctor soon joined millions in their prayers for an interview. Today, was one such day.

Such was the inspiration he had derived from Swami in the past few years that he told Swami,

“Swami, I want to dedicate myself for service. I shall give up my job.”

Swami smiled at him. The doctor had not the slightest idea of what Swami had in store for him. Swami replied,

“Surely! I shall give you a job in the Super-Speciality hospital.”

The doctor promptly went about with the procedure of resigning from the secure government job that he held. His family was shocked as they did not have faith in this “orange-robed figure”. But he convinced them through fear factor,

“Evil befalls those who do not listen to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. You must support me in this step.”

With that, he arrived at Puttaparthi and was blessed with another interview. In that interview Swami told him to stay around, serve in Puttaparthi part-time and continue his job in Hyderabad. This was a shocker! Again, Swami just smiled.

Today, Dr.Narasimhan is the director of the Sri Sathya Sai Mobile Hospital or the SSSMH and his story is one of unbounded grace in a Divine Plan.

For the villagers, the hospital is a temple of healing. They worship it and erect a special shelter for it!
For the villagers, the hospital is a temple of healing. They worship it and erect a special shelter for it! | Source

A super specialty hospital on the move...

“Of course I work in the Super Specialty Hospital”, he says, “only that it is a mobile one! People have to go to the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital in Puttaparthi and Bangalore to avail medical treatment. Here, we go to the people!”

The story of the Mobile Hospital brought tears of love and joy in my eyes. It is a story that has unfolded over the past 7 years. In 2005, out of the blue, Swami called the Secretary and asked,
“Is it possible to build a bus with all the modern state-of-the-art medical diagnostic equipment in it?”
He replied,“Swami, I shall find out.”

Precisely at that time, the Siemens company had come out with a medical specialty bus. Ah! The divine timing! That bus was procured and Dr. Narasimhan, who was till now in the dark as to what was the exact reason Swami had called him to Puttaparthi, was made the director of the project. The advice Swami gave him was simple and profound,
“A doctor needs to provide care. Then alone it becomes MEDI-CARE. Otherwise, it remains only MEDI-SIN (playing on the word medicine). This is a holy endeavor.”

That has been the guiding light and principle for this ‘moving’ marvel of holistic healthcare. I was privileged to visit one of the nodes today. 6 mandals(sections of districts) have been divided into 12 nodes. Each node is the central point for 25-30 villages. And in a single day, the bus with its set of 15 doctors provides treatment to about 600 patients on an average. Since this service is on for 13 days a month, it translates into nearly 1 lakh patients annually. The detailed statistics of this mobile hospital venture are simply staggering. And the treatment is totally free, rendered with great love. Watching this massive and magnificent service just envelops the heart.

All the villages in the 6 mandals with Puttaparthi as the center are cared for by the Mobile Hospital.
All the villages in the 6 mandals with Puttaparthi as the center are cared for by the Mobile Hospital. | Source

Cambridge is all eyes and ears to the marvel

And this experience is about to go global. The local government medical colleges do not seem to recognize this massive service but when Paul Siklos, Associate Clinical Dean at the University at Cambridge, saw this first hand, he was bowled into silence. In the middle of 2012, he plans to bring students from the Cambridge to study this magnificent model of healthcare and the way it is profoundly and positively impacting people. A small problem arose. Since there is no academic Institute associated with the Mobile Hospital(MH), the students who came for internships or projects could not be issued any certificates.

“That is no issue”, Dr.Siklos said, “We just want to come here and see it. We want no certificates.”

The people of a village are very different compared to those in the city. They are ignorant and have many misconceptions of a disease. In fact, more sick a patient is, lesser the chance of him/her going to a hospital. In such a scenario, the MH provides top quality care in the fields of pathology, radiology, medicine, surgery, ENT, ophthalmology, dentistry, gynecology/obstetrics, pediatrics and dermatology.

A pediatric counselling and treatment session in progress at Chowthaguntapalli
A pediatric counselling and treatment session in progress at Chowthaguntapalli | Source

Care with entertainment too!

It is not only curative medicine that is rendered here. Doctors speak to the patients on how to prevent many diseases and how to manage ones like diabetes, hypertension and epilepsy. The villagers are also entertained with movies of inspiring personalities in the evening while the kids are shown cartoons for a while. When this was done, Dr.Narasimhan had a doubt on whether these few cartoons could be shown to the children in the evening. He thought he would seek Swami’s guidance in that matter. When he did so, Swami said,

(I first quote the sweet Telugu words for those who understand because the translation does not do justice.)

Vilasamunte Vinodam Untundi
Vinodamunte Aanandam Untundi
Aanandamunte Aarogyam Untundi
Aarogyamunte Aadhyatmikam Untundi

It translates as:
“If there is entertainment, there will be merriment. If there is merriment, there will be joy. If there is joy, there will be health. If there is health, there will be spirituality.”

And so, while the patients are treated for skin problems, dental problems and even cancer, they are treated to a fare of healthy entertainment as well. Talking of cancer, the latest addition to the MH’s repertoire, two women were surgically operated upon to cure them of cervical cancer and breast cancer. These surgeries along with all the other ones are done at the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital at Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi.

The patients waiting patienly and in a disciplined manner for their turn. Each line is for a different specialty.
The patients waiting patienly and in a disciplined manner for their turn. Each line is for a different specialty. | Source

Impact on the villagers

I wanted to see how the service had impacted the villagers. I will not be exaggerating when I say that many of the villagers love the doctors like their parents! They respect and revere them. They consider them a part of the family. In fact, in one village, Chowthaguntapalli, the people built a building on their own to provide working space for the doctors. Another person came forward and offered his home to be used as a dental clinic. When the villagers saw that the bus was unable to move through a narrow section of the road. Within a week, they had themselves laid the road which is now used even by the government buses!

The people consider the MH as their temple. They enter it reverentially with folded hands. Hundreds of patients who have been healed and treated go around villages telling their story. They also share with the people the importance of prayer, love and service in one’s life. And all that has been silently inspired by Swami.

The speaker here has benefited from the orthopedic care of the Mobile Hospital. Today, he attends all camps to share his experience in health and on the efficacy of prayer, meditation and service
The speaker here has benefited from the orthopedic care of the Mobile Hospital. Today, he attends all camps to share his experience in health and on the efficacy of prayer, meditation and service | Source
The dental department functions out of the home of a grateful villager who shifts to a little hut on the day of service!
The dental department functions out of the home of a grateful villager who shifts to a little hut on the day of service! | Source

A new perspective...

The doctors too are no exception. They are simply moved. There are about 400 of them on Dr.Narasimhan’s roster and they come once a week, once a month or few times annually, as per their convenience. Dr.Narasimhan revealed something very fantastic,

“Half of the doctors who come here were not devotees of Swami. But seeing the service and experiencing the bliss that this service gives them, they have become devotees. They say that the fulfillment of having truly helped a patient completely comes only here. Every doctor in the country has that intention to serve. Sadly, the system has never given the doctors a chance.”

This was a complete reversal of what Aamir Khan had concluded on the 4th episode of the popular Indian TV show, Satyameva Jayate, about the nature of doctors.

“Swami has given a chance for the goodness to sprout and it is happening on a massive scale. Even after the physical departure of Swami, the MH has only been growing”, the doctor says. I find it true as I visit the pharmacy and see the most expensive medicines being given away freely.

“Who is sponsoring all this?”, I ask

“Of course, it is done completely by the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. But I must say that many medicines have been donated to the Central Trust by Dr.Reddys Laboratories. They give us even the expensive medicines free of cost.”

The doctors do not have to think only about available cheap medicines. They give the best to the patients.
The doctors do not have to think only about available cheap medicines. They give the best to the patients. | Source

Swami always believes in delivering the necessities of life at the doorstep. (Has he not been doing it for all the creatures on land, in sea and in the air for aeons together, since the beginning of creation?) And that was His instruction to Dr.Narasimhan too - holistic medical care at the people’s doorstep. Even the most complex of medical reports that are needed by the patient are delivered to him/her free and within a few hours.

“Even after paying in hospitals, the patients are told to return the next day for reports. We work hard, without food sometimes, to ensure that the reports are made and given to the patients before they leave to their respective villages from the nodal center.”

But that is not the only service that Swami’s bus renders. It holds in its side boot, a 20 KVA generator. This generates electricity not only for the equipment on board but also for the lights, fans and medical equipment set up the in village schools as well! Even imagining tertiary care in a place where electricity is a luxury, becomes difficult.

I walked around the whole place. I was shooting pictures - pictures of love, hope, caring and service. I only had tears and more tears. My heart erupted with rejoicing. What a miracle this service is! This moving marvel of a hospital has so many stories to tell. These are the stories that we should disburse in the world! It inspires us to do service in our own little ways at least.

The beautiful instrument of Swami - Dr Narasimhan
The beautiful instrument of Swami - Dr Narasimhan | Source

But what about Dr.Narasimhan’s livelihood. How does he earn it?

“I live off my savings. My wife is salaried and my in-laws also help us a bit. But I cannot live without this service.”

He raises his heavily bandaged arm and continues.

“I fell in the bathroom. I prayed to Swami that the pain should be postponed till the 13th so that I could do my monthly work. It is His grace that the pain has not yet come. I shall get it treated after the 13th!”

My heart silently sent prayers to Swami for this great serv(e)ant of the Lord. It also prayed that the government and NGOs get inspired by this model and replicate it, partially at least. Finally, there is hope that this awareness is passed on to as many as possible...


UPDATE:

CNBC-TV18 in partnership with ICICI Lombard instituted the India Healthcare Awards in 2010 to honour and recognise the healthcare providers in the country who are doing a great job in the given situation. The wonderful seva by Dr.Narasimhan and his team of dedicated doctors won this prestigious award for the Sri Sathya Sai Mobile Hospital. When the channel later presented this programme on National television, the mobile hospital was the FIRST to be mentioned.

Given below are some pictures of from the event and that is followed by a short, 8-minute video on this magnificent service.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Everything in place for a glittering ceremony to honour truly glittering examples of service. Dr. Narasimhan (right in black suit), the champion of the project and Mr.S.S. Naganand, representative of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust receiving the award. Mr.S.S. Naganand makes an attempt to convey the grandeur of the project and the Trust envisioned by Bhagawan Baba.
Everything in place for a glittering ceremony to honour truly glittering examples of service.
Everything in place for a glittering ceremony to honour truly glittering examples of service. | Source
Dr. Narasimhan (right in black suit), the champion of the project and Mr.S.S. Naganand, representative of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust receiving the award.
Dr. Narasimhan (right in black suit), the champion of the project and Mr.S.S. Naganand, representative of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust receiving the award.
Mr.S.S. Naganand makes an attempt to convey the grandeur of the project and the Trust envisioned by Bhagawan Baba.
Mr.S.S. Naganand makes an attempt to convey the grandeur of the project and the Trust envisioned by Bhagawan Baba.

A brief glimpse into the miraculous mobile hospital

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© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya

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Comments 29 comments

Prathab Kumar. 12 months ago

Service to humanity is service to God, Sai Ram,


Pakora Sai 2 years ago

OM JAI SAI RAM


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 2 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

Dr. Arti Dwivedi,

If you mail me via the mail form on the site here, I shall put you in touch with the people concerned.

VIA: http://aravindb1982.hubpages.com/#email


Shankaran 3 years ago

This is truly a work of Swami and I wish one day I can serve him. Thank you Arvind for posting this.

"LOVE ALL, SERVE ALL"


dr arti dwivedi 3 years ago

Sairam Arvind sir.I am an ex student of balvikas and a dental surgeon by profession .I am interested to offer mymy services


P V SASTRY 3 years ago

Sairam, Thank you very much for sharing.......


Mark Aspa 3 years ago

truly heart warming...words cannot do justice to the service that is being rendered by this team of 400 instruments of Swami and how so many thousands of the poorest people are being helped beyond measure.

thanks for telling/ reminding us about it in such a wonderful way


Thandav 4 years ago

A marvel indeed !


4 years ago

all HIS love.i don't have any words


naimishika profile image

naimishika 4 years ago from India

Nice and good idea..


pavan guggilam 4 years ago

Dear Arvind i am very happy to read this article and swami does things where government is not doing these days HATS OFF TO BHAGWAN SRI SATYA SAI BABA

pavanglm@gmail.com


Himanshu Nayak 4 years ago

Swami's love is boundless


Chetna 4 years ago

Several Salutes to Dr.Narasimhan and all the people associated with him. One only dreams of being able to similar life dedicated to God.


Sushama 4 years ago

Very inspiring. Swami has always thought us to - Love All Serve All. This is a beautiful example of how he implemented it. With Swami's guiding hand let the work continue and multiply.


G.Vineeth 4 years ago

Swamy used to say. Hands that serve are holier than lips that pray.


anju dhingra 4 years ago

V. beautiful & eye opening....really was concerned & pained after watching Satyamev Jayate. Swami is great HIS Works are great. We should spread this in each corner of d world. Om Sai Ram


Shruti 4 years ago

Very touching....


bkmisra 4 years ago

Dear Arvind,

Thank you for this article. After I watched Amir Khan in his Satyameva, I wondered with a catch in my heart how did they miss Swami's work! He lived His entire earthly life for others close to a century, and the humanity hasn't yet woken up to its saving message! And next day I stumbled over this page.

I guess just as knowledge is explosive, ignorance too is, on a dif plane!


Kersi Rustomji 4 years ago

Once again our beloved Swami has guided us to a loving, caring venture, through which those who are not so blessed with worldly care, not only receive it, but receive it with DEVINE LOVE.

This love spread by his devotes all over, emanates from Swami and it becomes our devine duty to give it to all, freely.

Sai Ram. Kersi Rustomji. Australia.


S.Ranganathan 4 years ago

Excellent article.Good Work.These are the kind of news that should be disseminated to all in the media. Kudos to all those who work behind the curtains in sharing love and joy to the persons who experience pain and suffering physically.


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 4 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ Jai -

Thank you for that link.

Have linked my article to that beautiful official website.


Jai 4 years ago

Have a look @ www.sssmh.org.in/


JP Reddy 4 years ago

A wonderful,servicefull article to open the eyes of many who are ignorant of Swami's love for poor through the Mobile hospital.If any one got the email of Aamir Khan i humbly request them to forward the mail to him.


Pumalay Mudliar 4 years ago

Dear Arvind,

This article is really touching core of the heart.this is truly a service done with Love.Oh! dear Lord keep inspiring other doctors to become part of this MH mission and expand the service in other remote villages. Sai Ram


Somasekhar 4 years ago

Great news. Aamir khan was able to talk to Narayan Hrudyalaya but he failed to speak about Swamy's free serice or his Super Speciality Hospitals


Elenin profile image

Elenin 4 years ago from So Cal

Thank you so much for sharing this Aravind.

Good medicine, not medi – sin.

Voted Up , Beautiful and Funny as well.

Take care, El


aravindb1982 profile image

aravindb1982 4 years ago from Puttaparthi, India Author

@ Shankar - Oh Yes! Thank you for that important input. Sri Rajiv Mahajan contributes immensely to the mobile hospital.

@ Aarthi - You have got it perfectly... There is bound to be a collective rise in consciousness...


Aarthi 4 years ago

Yes bro, we should share this with many people. And I'm sure Swami is working at various levels and layers of consciousness to bring about a change in medicare in society. His plan will unfold slowly but surely.


Shankar 4 years ago

Dear Arvind,

Nice article on MH. Being associated for nearly 20 years, i would like to add a word about yet another S(a)ilent worker Sri Rajiv Mahajan. He gave these wonderful buses and is here every month at start of mobile hospital. though he is a very busy person but he make sure that nothing is lacking for MH.

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