Nourishing blood with love - The haemometer episode with my Master Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
I did only two years of my schooling in the Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. But those two years were the foundation years for my Divine romance with Swami. It was during those years that my Love for God was nourished and my trust in human values was strengthened. In an interesting episode, I learned another beautiful facet about my God - that nothing is “too big” or “too trivial” for Him. What is “big” for me, however minuscule or trivial it may seem to the world, is “big” for Him too. It was such experiences that made Swami my best friend and fostered my faith in Him.
I was studying my 11th standard. It was in the year 1998. I was relatively new to the concept of being a student. I had only one desire in my heart - to go near to Swami and become dear to Him. The journey had been quite eventful till then and it promised to get better and more profound. My first experience of His omniscience had me thrilled. Everyday, new concepts about God in general and Swami in specific were formed in me and old ones demolished. On the 22nd of July, 1998, I got a chance to experience His all-knowing nature, once again.
Before I dive into the happenings on that day, a brief note on faith. When it comes to matters of faith, Swami has always been very scientific. He says, “Come, see for yourself, experience and then develop faith.” Testing is allowed and the Lord is more than willing to undergo such tests by students, devotees and new comers. But He expects the tester to be scientific in accepting the results as well. Once something is proved, one is expected to develop faith. And that I think is not a huge ask.
For instance, when cars are crash-tested, it is not done on each and every car, every time. Once a car has withstood the crash-test, it is taken on faith that all the other cars too are strong. People just go ahead and drive knowing that in case of an accident, their car will stand by them. But with God, everyone seems to want to experience everything and then only think about faith. Swami encourages that, nevertheless. All He asks is, once you have experienced, develop faith. Do not get carried away by what others say or do for is it not your own experience?
Returning to the episode, the story begins in the post-lunch session of the classes. It was the biology practicals and we were doing an experiment entitled - Haemometer. The haemometer is a compact device to measure the haemoglobin levels in the blood. It is reliable and simple and consists of diluting one’s blood sample with distilled water till its color matches the color of a standard solution provided.
There was one classmate of mine of a small build. He was the first to do the test and his haemoglobin levels were detected to be around 14.8. Our teacher said that this was excellent. He then told us that for women a reading between 11-14 was good and for men, it was 12-16. I thought,
“If this puny guy has 14.8, my reading should be quite high.”
Eager to find out my haemoglobin levels, I did the test. To my shock, it showed 11.6 - the least in the entire class of 14. And I was the only one who did not seem to qualify being a ‘man’ as far as haemoglobin levels were concerned!
(Well, I have a slightly lesser haemoglobin count which the doctor has told me is perfectly normal in my case. It affects me in no way and so, I have accepted it now. I take no medication or diets for it. But back then, I thought I had some serious disease or affliction!)
The bad news was that the bell rang and the teacher did not have enough time to explain what the results meant. I was very worried. I told one of my friends that my haemometer might be problematic. We re-did the test. And the result was worse than before - 11.4! I mentally thought that with every passing minute, my haemoglobin was dying away! ( Feel like laughing about it now that a sampling error made me feel that I was going to die.)
As we walked back to the hostel, I was lost in thoughts. How was I to tell my parents that I seem to be suffering from some strange condition or disease? They would get scared. But I too was scared. I turned to Swami. I prayed,
“Swami, my haemoglobin levels are low and seem to be falling. Am I going to die? I don’t want to. I want this life so that I can get close to you. Please give me vibhuti and cure this ailment of mine.”
When I reached the hostel, everyone was talking about inviting Swami to the hostel. In fact, that had been the ‘happening’ thing in the hostel for the past one week. For the hostel anniversary, the students wanted Swami to come to hostel and everyone wrote letters, made cards and prayed verbally for the same. Today, a concerted effort along all fronts had been planned.
I joined the lines to the mandir. I carried a letter in my hand and a prayer in my heart. The letter and prayer were both not for His arrival to the hostel (what if I was not healthy enough to witness that?) but for my health. When we reached the Sai Kulwant hall, we saw that the students from the Institute had not yet arrived. As we were entering the mandir, the music filled the air and Swami glided out for darshan. Darshan was an ethereal experience (like always!). But those days, the Darshan had a distinct flavor of its own.
Since the huge marbled area in the centre of the hall was unoccupied, we rushed in and filled up the spaces meant for the Institute students. Today seemed to be a lucky day and many of us got to sit in the first lines. As Swami neared us, I thought of going up on my knees and asking for vibhuti. But, sadly for me, the theme of that day seemed to be Swami’s visit to the hostel. Every one who rose to speak with Him, only asked about His visit to the hostel. Swami kept walking and I did not deem it right to place my personal agenda before the hostel agenda.
And so, when He came right in front of me, I got up and said,
“Swami please come to the hostel.”
Swami’s reply was,
He moved on and I sat back. My medical letter remained in my pocket and the tragedy that I thought I was undergoing outweighed the joy of having spoken a few words with Him.
Swami moved a little ahead and I saw that He was circling His palm. He was creating vibhuti for some devotee.
Another small piece of information here. These were days when the students were allowed to carry handkerchiefs for Swami. Whenever He materialized vibhuti for someone, any student who had a handkerchief could go to Him and offer the same. Swami would wipe His hands on the handkerchief and the student would return to his place with the blessed piece of cloth in his hand.
I had a handkerchief in my pocket. As I saw Swami twirling His palm, I rushed to Him. Swami gave the vibhuti to the devotee. Then, He looked at me, kneeling by His side with a handkerchief in my hand. That look simply melted me. I wished I could merge in Him at that very instant. Much to my surprise, I found myself speaking in a mesmerised tone. As I offered the handkerchief, I said three words,
“ I love you.”
How else could I tell what was going on in me? If my ‘disease’ got worse and I would not be allowed to stay in the school and hostel, that was as good as death for me. So I thought that the most important thing to do was to tell Swami that I loved Him. Swami response was also in three words,
“Po, Po, Po” ( meaning, “Go, Go, Go”)
I returned to my place. A tear was forming in my eye. When you tell someone that you love them, you expect them to reciprocate. I did not think Swami would respond in this manner.
As I bent my head down, tears simply streamed from my eyes. No! They were not tears of sorrow. They were tears of joy because I saw Swami’s response.
Instead of wiping His hand on the kerchief, He had wiped the entire vibhuti on to the top of my hand!
I do not know about how that vibhuti changed my haemoglobin levels. But it instantly shot up my love levels for Him.
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