With Sai By My Side
Dr. A N Safaya
Former Director of SSSIHMS
Here is the video and the script of the talk from Dr. A N Safaya on the 18th of September 2011 at Samarpan in Sai Ramesh Hall at Brindavan:
My most humble pranams at the Divine Lotus Feet of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.My dear students ladies and gentlemen. Standing here talking to you is not a busy job for me. [1:24] at this podium many times I spoke when Swami was by the side. When I speak today I remember those moments, He is always with us, everyone of us. But everyone of us realise this truly, His physical Presence was magnetic. His message [1:59] like experience of His physical Presence, that we miss. I was very fortunate, to learn at His Feet, the basic principles of Administration. Basic principles of human administration, basic principles of financial administration, basic principles of material administration, and the ultimate principle of clinical administration, that is Love. How to bring the word Love, in treatment of patients who are suffering the disease. They do not require only the treatment of the disease they require Love , they require affection. This unfortunately is missing from our present style of treatment, technically, professionally. There were no curriculum of medical colleges. All over the world human relationship is dealt with for treatment of the human being. It was only Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who emanciated [3:37] this principle indispensible. His come into being in practice, in the so called temples of healing and I would call it the laboratory of healing with love. These hospitals are not only technically good, from the point of view of equipment ,from the point of view of building, from the point of view of personal[4:15] and the free mix medicines[4:20] they are given, but they are also singular, the way the patients are dealt with because all the staff tries to, tries to follow the path elicited for them by Bhagwan. Bhagwan was the originator of the idea of humanization of medicine and made the hospital like a home. A patient should feel that he has now come to some place where he will be butchered, a place where a sort of inhumanely dealt with, but he will be dealt with love and care as if he was coming to his home. The concept of hospital as a whole to a patient, the concept of treating the patient now the future generations of the doctors to come will see this flourishing idea, this idea blooming and this idea developing into a practical form all over the world, I have no doubt about it. The origin was made by Bhagwan. This unique experiment will be a beacon light for all the world to follow, at least the medical world to follow in future. Bhagwan was a phenomenon. He is a phenomenon, very mysterious phenomenon. Nobody can claim to have known him, nobody can claim to interpret him. We meekly,[6:58] understand him and make whatever he says to us. It was this quality of the mystery, mystic in Bhagwan that attracted me right in the beginning, as to who is this Sai Baba? I did not know anything about him till 1970 I think. I had been on an official trip to Iraq and when I returned I went to Delhi to a friend’s place in whose drawing room, just close to the settee, used to be two big beautiful pictures of Shiva on one side and Devi on one side. When I returned he called me for a dinner at his place. I saw in between the two photographs he had put a photograph of somebody with a huge profuse hair and looking like a hippie. Out came from my mouth, “Somnath, what have you put up here? A hippie’s photograph. What has happened to you?” He got very much nonplussed, particularly his old parents. They kept quiet. They were talking. They were looking to me as if I had said something which was blasphemy. I said I am sorry. Have I made a mistake. He said, “No. This person is Bhagwan, God himself. He is a mixture of Shiva, you can see Shiva in him, you can see Shakthi in him. If you have the power and if you have the faith in you.” I said, “Who is anyway this person?” He said, “He’s called Sathya Sai Baba.” He gave me a book in Hindi. I did not know how to read Hindi so fluently, but he gave me a book ‘Sathyam Shivan Sundaram – Part 1”. I took this book home and then next day I started reading it casually turning the pages. Then I got so much interested in the whole book. With great difficulty I read the whole book, from the first page to the last page. That was the attraction. That was the mystic. That was the mystery in Swami. That attracted me and the moment I finished the book, by the time I realized I had missed my classes also – I was a teacher, a faculty member – that day I had [10:31] I had missed by lecturing. I did not know. My[10:38] also. I was busy with the book. I don’t know who was my Guru towards the mysticism of Swami – the book, Sathyam Shivam Sundaram – Part 1 or my friend Somnath. But that is how I got introduced. Then I gradually started coming to the bhajans and all that, made enquiries on what is the organization, what is this, what is that . Gradually I became involved. I became involved to such an extent that I even forgot what was my motivation while working at AIIMS in the department of the [11:40], but when I shifted to hospital in ‘75 and became the in-charge of all the hospitals of AIIMS somehow or the other it dawned on me that this book has come to me and this light has come to me, this awakening has come to me in order to utilize it in the hospital. In the AIIMS hospital also I tried to humanize as much as I could. I had not come in contact with Swami by that time. It was only the book. The mysteries always attracted me. When I was a child, the mysteries, the stories used to attract me and which are the better mystery books than the Puranas and the stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana and all these things. And this I was belonging to a religious orthodox Brahmin family of Kashmir, very ritualistic family. So I was interested in mystery. Who is God? What is God? What is behind all this? All this cannot be untrue. There is some truth somewhere. The moment I read Sathyam Shivam Sundaram , I got this impression that here is a person who can tell the everything. I became his servant forever. Then of course the developments took place and further events happened, when Bhagwan deciced to, must have conceived I don’t know when and how about forming a Super Speciality hospital. I also do not know how he chose me. I had absolutely no contact with him. I had the interviews. I had come in 1983, I had come. He knew I was the Medical Superintendent, Medical Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, but he never talked to me about. Very, very meticulously he developed the faith in me, as a scientific person imbibed in complete scientific way of medicine. I had started disbelieving all the stories, all the things that I had read in Puranas, I had read about the things that are happening through the Mahabharat and Ramayana. I thought most of it was imagination some good novel written by people. Frankly speaking that was my impression. The faith had come to the minimum.
When I used to go for Swami’s bhajans and all these things, I used to go to the Delhi suburb, we had adopted a village, Sultanpur village, we used to go there. I used to give free medical treatment to the patients there. All through, gradually my faith started developing. How did Swami did that? That in my life, I used to smoke a pipe and was very fond of smoking a pipe I was. It looked very fashionable and once I had gone to a friend’s place,another friend’s place, a saintly person was there. He gave me some prasadam of cashewnuts and I put them in my pocket and when I tried to come out of after all listening to him for one hour or so, feeling a little bored. I came out and tried to smoke the pipe. But this cashewnut got stuck up in the pipe. It would not allow me to fill in the pipe with fresh tobacco. So I had to reach home. With a knife I probably I tried to break the coconut, the cashewnut and fill the pipe. When I took a knife and tried to open it, the pipe broke, the pipe broke and thereby suddenly I realized that there is a message in this whole phenomenon. I should not smoke. God does not want me to smoke. By the time, attending the Bhajans , beautiful bhajans of Swami, they are very attractive. This is the Swami’s philosophy’s cutting edge is the bhajan. Everybody is attracted to Swami primarily also apart from his own personality, because of the bhajan. He had already started transforming me probably and this idea suddenly came. I left all this smoking, all the social drinking and everything else that goes with it because being in Delhi at a very senior position would mean, my having a lot of social life which I was having like the dinners and lunches with people of eminence and people like ambassadors and all those things, in those parties you get lots of such things. I left everything. This was how the faith started. It was because of that little faith, quantum of faith that I started making small sacrifices and walked ahead,till I must have come to that degree to what Swami wanted to come to.
In 1984 after we married our children , I came to Puttaparthi. I had my first interview and a series of interviews after that. In each interview, my ego was broken. In each interview, the whole idea was to show me the glimpses of the truth. I was having a ,it was some good function I don’t know, my birthday or something , I wanted to take a rose to Swami and my wife said you take it and I said why don’t you take it and we started quarrelling about it a little. Ultimately I took it and Swami called us for the interview. Luckily Swami called us for the interview and there he told me the whole story that you started quarelling about the rose and who should carry it and all that. I thought to myself that this person is a very clever thought reader. This came to me in my mind as a doctor that thought reading is a process that can be practiced and probably he reads the thoughts. I kept quiet.
Next day night I had a dream, in which Swami, I very rarely have dreams. But Swami came to me in the dream , He said have Padanamaskar. Very clearly take off your specs because during earlier padanamaskars,with my specs on, I could not touch with my eyes His Feet and I did not want to hurt his feet with my spectacles. So it was a half padanamaskar actually.So He told me take off your spectacles, and I did the padanamaskar. Next day again I had an interview. We that is myself and my wife and Swami told me, “Did I come to you in the dream”. I said, “yes Swami”. “I gave you the padanamaskar”. I said,” yes Swami”. So it’s not thought reading. From medical point of view, thought reading would come in the conscious brain. It had gone deeper than that. How could He go to the depths of the mind unless He had great spiritual powers. That was quiet clear to me. No doubt about, to a doctor to convince and a scientific person. So this is how my faith gradually He built up. Then ultimately on the day when the hospital was to be opened, it’s a big story so many books can be written about it my experiences how I reached that stage , but anyway when the hospital was to be opened, the operation theatre was not ready in the sense that the colony[23:51] count was very high in the operation theatres. The colonies we cultured [23:57]. The culturing was done by Mrs. Prema Bhat in a pressure cooker rather than in a incubator of proper type. Anyway but I became very nervous. I lost all my wits. I came back home must have been 9, 9.30 from the hospital in the evening and I started weeping at my bed. My wife came and I rarely become emotional but this is how it happened. She was surprised and she told me to have faith in Swami. The very Swami that has told you to do this, who has built up all this will just solve this small problem. Don’t worry. Have faith in him. Have faith in Him. Swami spoke to me through Him to her. I slept a little. Early in the morning I rushed back to the operation theatre, to the hospital what is the result of the culture. Absolutely negative. There were no bacteria. It was a clean theatre and I could on my conscience we could operate. We could have operated when the results were positive even, but that would be deceiving and that would not be a correct procedure professionally. But it was to be done scientifically and it was to be done according to the rules and Swami saw to it, I don’t know what power did it and when we were able to operate, four operations were done. And all the four were major operations of the heart and all of them healed up very quickly. That was in the International average of such operations. This is how my faith got strengthened. The faith I ultimately came to this conclusion that if there is a God, he is the God. He is to be followed impeccably. He is to be followed without any contradiction. He is to be followed without any doubt. When that happens then things start happening. Then it is not you who are doing, but it is He who is doing. He takes over.
There was a case, a medical case sent for a very difficult operation. Some close relation of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh at that time, I don’t remember the name, and he was settled down in London and he had a heart trouble. He had a heart attack. Angiography etc was done and it was thought that he was to undergo the coronary bypass surgery but the London hospitals refused to do the coronary bypass surgery because his lungs were very bad, he was a chain smoker and then he had other ailments. This gentleman was brought by his close relation with his ailments to Bhagwan’s Feet and told him that this patient is there, You are the only respite. Bhagwan said alright. He called me and said to deal with this situation. I called the best heart surgeon available at that time Professor Venugopal from AIIMS. This fellow had something wrong with the abdomen also which we did not know at that time. I called the professor and the head of department of surgery from AIIMS also and they all flew and everybody was waiting for His command. No question. He could just say come and people would come. They came, they examined the patient. The patient had a very bad lungs and a cancer of the colon in the abdomen. His appendix was bad. He had bad coronaries. What to do Bhagwan with such a patient? He said two surgeons will operate. This is what Bhagwan said, not the surgeon and not myself. Bhagwan said two surgeons will operate. One will operate on the abdomen, one will operate for the heart simultaneously. I was exasperating. Such a bad patient with very bad lungs and a great drinker also his liver must also have been compromised , the progress for such a patient is very bad, but Bhagwan’s command was there. The surgeons started operating and believe me the operations went on very successfully. Three major operations were done – one on the heart, one on the colon and one appendix also was removed. The patient recovered remarkably well to the extent that he left smoking, he left drinking and he became a good man also in the process because he got a lesson of his life. This is practically a medical thing which is documented, which anybody can see the facts for themselves. This is what faith can do. The faith from those doctors in Bhagwan and the blessing of the Bhagwan and least ego on the part of the physician, treating physician or of myself. There was no doubt about it. It’s a remarkable thing.
While all this was going on another thing happened which was very important and still is very important to me. My mother-in-law suddenly fell ill. I got the message in Puttaparthi. I told them to shift my mother-in-law to All India Institute of Medical Sciences. I did some telephoning and all that. She got admitted there. I told Bhagwan that I have to go to Delhi and problem is my wife’s mother is not well and all this. Bhagwan said go. Don’t worry all will be well. Both of us went. She was admitted there and her abdomen had swollen up. There was a knot that had developed in her large intestines that knot was not resolving itself, a surgery was needed. She was severely diabetic and a [33:45]risk for surgery. The Head of department for surgery was a friend of mine and an erstwhile colleague. He said it is very difficult to do this operation and be prepared for anything,her children may be called and this and all that. My wife probably has more belief and more faith in Bhagwan at that time. She rubbed the vibhuthi after everybody left, on the abdomen of her mother and believe me during the night itself the knot resolved, she passed huge amount of stools and the whole swelling was reduced. In the morning when the surgeon came for the morning rounds to see how to plan the surgery and what to do, he found a perfectly normal patient. He said there is nothing wrong what happened. My wife said I rubbed the vibhuthi of Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba on her abdomen and this is what happened. He said Oh and cut off his visit and went out of the room. Private room. Next day unfortunately for her and we, the same melody appeared again. Again the abdomen got swollen up and again the same treatment was done. The surgeon said look I told you, these things don’t work , surgery has to be done. I said if it has to be done then why don’t you do it. Why to see the risk point of view and all that. She again rubbed the vibhuthi and it rectified. Second time and afterwards it did not, My fellow surgeon felt there is something more to be thought this vibhuthi. It is really working he said. It’s better than surgery and he said no no I will send her for the sigmadoscopy [36:34] and the X-ray examinations and all those things. I said by all means. She came out perfectly okay and there was nothing wrong. A misdiagnosis probably, that’s what the radiologist said. You see, the surgeon the son of [37:00] the department of surgery, became a devotee. That’s what I say it has a greater significance for me. It was not now A N Safaya alone,but it was his colleagues also erstwhile colleagues also in AIIMS who were very very skeptical about free high-tech medicine. How can it be given free? And how will it work? They saw it working. Swami became a household name in AIIMS because of such things. Many doctors started now travelling to, ringing me up, kindly make arrangements for me for accommodation and for sitting and want to have a darshan of Swami. You see how this change took place. This is how faith developed. This is what is lacking. In the medical profession everything can be done but this faith in God and divinity, faith in love has disappeared. That faith has to be regenerated that has to be recreated that was the whole idea of creating these two Super Speciality hospitals. Even in high degree of medical specialization, it is possible to give free medicine and it’s possible to give free medicine with love and care. This is the journey to Swami, journey to divinity, step by step on the path of developing the faith. You have trust in him and if you walk one step, he will walk 10 steps. All these,there are innumerable examples which I can quote for which I quoted these examples because these are recorded medical records in the form of records, which anyone of you can go and check the veracity and the truthfulness of these records. This is not an imagination or a psycho fancy on my part. This is really what has happened and these are recorded medical facts. These are the main features of my being with him and my journey towards divinity, that Bhagwan incarnated Himself. Bhagwan gave me the ultimate experience of being with him, being with us and my colleagues in the Super Speciality hospital of Prashanthigram during his last 28 days, we had the glimpse apart from anything else, apart from our feelings, apart from what was going on, we had the glimpse of an ideal patient. All sorts of manual procedures were done on him. Cardiac [41:37-41:44] Bhagwan never and never and never even winced. He tolerated it like I have never seen any patient do it. This is the ultimate chapter in” My Life is My Message”, He has given His message to all of us, how to behave in the ultimate suffering also. He must have been suffering as the human body is going. But he never winced. He never even raised a finger. He never moaned till quietly he dissolved himself in the divinity. It was an ultimate experience and I must be the one of the few, along with my colleagues who not only saw the glory, who not only saw the blooming of the rose, who also saw the drooping of the rose.
It will always be an ultimate experience with us for which I cannot I am not still able to cross over. I have submitted my resignation to the Central Trust, for not being the Director because I feel in my heart of hearts, that one person which I wanted to save, which we should have wanted to save, which we could not save because he wanted it that way I know that. It’s a matter of faith. But it’s very difficult to convince myself. And I cannot work in the same hospital now. That is why I want to take leave from the administration of that hospital. The years of closeness of twenty one years with Him by His side to work with Bhagwan was just walking on the edge of this world. Most of you must have known. You cannot make a mistake. He was nothing like 99% with him. Everything had to be 100%. There is no compromise. You have to work for 100% and you had to work if you are His devotee and if you have faith in him, you have to do it that way. He was a very ,very, very hard task master. There is no question. All of you who have been his students or ex-students must have known or must be knowing. For me, he was close and I was feeling the heat every moment. Anytime I used to go away from Puttaparthi to Delhi, I was heaving a great sigh of relief. I am away from the heat, let me enjoy. But reaching Delhi, I was longing for that heat again. When shall I come back? That was Swami and that is Swami. It is very difficult to think of a world without his physical form, for me at least. Mentally He is always with all of us. He is even guiding us. The only message that I have for the students is that the mission which He started, the purpose of the mission, don’t go over the [47:27] but at the depth of the mission the real purpose of the mission you kindly stick to that. In whatever walk of life you are, whether in business , whether in Government service, any place, spread Swami’s knowledge, Swami’s words and Swami’s message of love. The whole medicine concept is born out of love, that is healing. Not that because he has money, not he is a rich man and let me plunder his pocket and therefore let me treat him. No, love him. And similarly this love can be practice anywhere, in any branch in any service of life you are working in. Thank you and Sai Ram to all of you.