Everything happens for the good...
A spiritual 'cliche'?
There are some ‘spiritual cliches’, if I am allowed to use that term. Please do not mistake me and I do not speak negatively of ‘them’. I call them so only because we hear them so frequently in our lives that, many times, we forget their implications. One such ‘cliché’ is - God’s delays are not His denials - about which I wrote before. Though I have used that statement many times to console a despairing one, it is only this experience which reminds me of the powerful truth of this statement.
Another such statement is, “Everything happens for the good.”
Once again, this is a statement which is usually offered in consolation to a person going through a rough patch. What I mean is that when someone wins a medal or gets a promotion, we never go to him/her and say,
“Don’t worry! Everything happens for the good.”
When I have been down or going through a rough patch and someone has offered this statement to me, I try very hard not to get agitated or irritated. This is because, though I know that this statement is true, it is so hard to accept that something so difficult or rough could actually be for my good. At such times, it is the reassurance of many experiences that helps me keep my anxiety and temper in check. And recently too, I had another powerful experience about the truth of this statement. It happened via my father’s health problem.
The stone that troubled...
One weekend, towards the end of June 2012, I was travelling to Bangalore with my wife when I received a call from my mother who was back at home in Puttaparthi. She said that my father was complaining of fatigue and vomiting. She also added that he had a sharp pain in his left lower-back.
“Oh no”, I thought, “he seemed fine when we left Puttaparthi this morning. Why did this have to happen just when are reaching Bangalore?”
“Don’t worry. I just wanted to inform you. It might be indigestion,” my mother said.
I too had a slight bug in the stomach and I accepted my mother’s explanation. We spent two days in Bangalore at my sister’s place and were soon back at Puttaparthi. By that time, dad seemed quite fine and I felt he was on the road to recovery. The next morning changed it all.
Monday morning saw dad in a very pained and tired state again. Since he is a heart patient, I was worried. But all the pain seemed to be only in the left lower-back and it was shooting. I called up a close friend at the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences and he said that it might be kidney stones. We sought and got an appointment immediately and made our way to the hospital.
The ultrasound and X-Rays revealed several stones. But the most worrisome one was a stone,over 1cm in length, in the left ureter. 1cm is a small measure when you look at it on a ruler in your geometry box but when it comes to a stone in the ureter, it is a real ‘big’ problem.
“Not a big problem really”, said the doctor, “we can do a surgical procedure and evict that stone.”
I was relieved and so were my mother and wife. But since my father was a heart patient, the doctor needed some tests and clearances before the surgery could be done. Foremost among these were the blood-sugar tests and blood-pressure tests.
My father is also a diabetic but he has always maintained good control over sugar levels. However, on that day, when the ‘random-sugar’ test was done, the sugar levels in his blood read 298! This is way beyond the acceptable high of 180 for a surgery. The blood pressure read 200/100 - again well over the acceptable high of 135/85 for the surgery!
This shocked me. It meant that the doctors would not touch him surgically. The doctor prescribed some medication and pain-killers. He said that the parameters would have to come below the acceptable highs and stabilize before they could do the surgery. And that would mean a minimum 4 weeks of waiting. I wondered as to how my father would bear the pain for almost 30 days. (His pain tolerance is very low.)
It was at this time I thought,
“How can it be said that everything is for the good? Why did the blood parameters shoot up so high just now? How can that be for the good? High BP and high sugar are bad anytime!!”
We were worried to say the least. We put him under strict diet control. We prayed that we should remain firm in our conviction that everything is for the good.
Perfectly in resonance with my fears, my dad began to experience bouts of severe pain. That stone in the ureter had become a huge rock as far as my dad was concerned. It was a pain for me to see my dad writhing in pain on the bed. Such was his pain that he would often use the muscle-sprain spray on his back to get psychological relief (even after taking pain-killers).
Three days passed thus and my tolerance was also reached. I could not see him in such pain. I gave him vibhuti. At the same time, my sister and brother-in-law at Bangalore also were doing special prayers for him. My mother and wife also prayed and this much I can say that my father had a lot of ‘prayer’ vibes flowing towards him, for him.
And then the magic happened.
The next day morning, he got up as if nothing was wrong! He went for his walk and was cooking breakfast. He was cracking his jokes and sounding quite garrulous for the morning. And that continued throughout the day...and the next... and the next... and the next! It was amazing and we began to doubt whether he even had any pain to start with.
2 months after he first complained of the severe pain, his blood-sugar and blood-pressure were more ‘normal’ than even mine! And they had been so for more than a month now! Just for the sake of being ‘medically sure’, we decided to consult the doctor again - after all he had said that we could return for the surgery when the blood parameters had stabilized.
Even as we met the doctor and explained to him about how the previous 40 days had been, he ordered for another X-Ray and ultrasound to be done. My father was with the doctor and the technician doing the tests. I waited for him to come with the results.
He came out with tears in his eyes.
“This is really a temple of healing... this is a temple of healing...”, he was saying.
“What did the doctor say dad?”
“He said that Swami had blessed me. He said that he could not believe that there was no stone in the ureter anymore...”
“He told me to go home and come back only if the pain comes back. I think I am healed without the surgery!”
I drove my dad back home.
“I know why my blood parameters went high that day”, my father began.
“And why was that?”
“If they had not gone high, then I would have undergone an unnecessary surgery. I would have also missed experiencing this wonderful grace of the Lord. See, everything happens for the good!”
The experience of Ms. Karunamba Ramamoorthy
At home, I opened the pages of the June 2012 edition of Sanathana Sarathi. Exactly in the center was an article entitled, “Miracle of Vibhuti”. It was awesome. This is the experience in brief.
It is August 1962 and Ms. Karunamba Ramamoorthy is visiting Puttaparthi with her family. Her son, Satish, develops a severe ache in the left leg which progressively intensifies in pain. IN a couple of days, he also develops high fever, sleeplessness and delirium. Physical access to Swami (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) is quite easy (it is 1962) but Swami avoids the issue of Satish’s health. On top of that, He tells them ‘angrily’ that He is leaving Puttaparthi for a tour and that the family should return to their native place, Mysore.
By the time the family completes the arduous journey of 15-16 hours, Satish is almost unconscious. He is admitted to the Sri Krishnarajendra Hospital. The leg had swollen and is accumulating fluid in copious amounts. The doctors say that the only alternative is to amputate the leg. The operation is scheduled.
The day before the operation, Swami lands up in Mysore. The desperate Ms.Karunamba rushes to Him and informs Him about the operation. He jokes,
“What else will these doctors do? Cut legs, cut hands and also cut throats. I will give you a pinch of vibhuti. Put it in His mouth. Everything will be alright.”
In a day, Satish is much better and the operation is cancelled. The whole family goes for darshan to offer gratitude to Swami. He tells them,
“Dear ones! You must have felt bad when I spoke rudely to you in Puttaparthi. Had you stayed there, one of you was destined to die. I wanted you to leave. If I had spoken softly, you would not have listened. So I had to do what I did.:
And then, Swami provides a gem of an insight on how faith should be,
“Do you know how your faith should be? Even if you throw a stone chanting My name, it should turn into a diamond. Now, everything will be fine. Go home. Satish will be cured. Return to Puttaparthi for Dasara festival.”
Faith is a very powerful thing. So difficult to define, yet easy to reap benefits from. Faith has the ability to cure even the dreaded cancer. Well, faith is a topic for another article!
The point is, everything indeed happens for the good. Is it any surprise that Swami defines Surrender as “Whatever happens to you, think that it is for the good. That is true surrender!”
If you enjoyed this miracle, you might also enjoy:
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© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya