It was about 4.30 a.m. on 17th May 1972, when I got up to go to the cloak room, that I suddenly felt the whole building rudely shaking as in an earthquake. I had a little vomiting too and there was profuse sweating. Apprehending some trouble, the family Doctor was summoned and under his advice a Heart Specialist too was brought. On a detailed examination, including cardiogram reading, the Specialist declared that it was a case of "Complete Heart Block" and that the pulse rate being as low as 38, I should be immediately rushed by Ambulance to the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit of the K.E.M. Hospital, before I became unconscious or got an apoplectic stroke. Thanks to my resourceful relatives and helpful neighbours, in less than an hour I was admitted to the air conditioned I.C.C. Ward. Within minutes, the most competent, conscientious and ever ready medical staff there, passed a cardiac catheter through my right hand vein and connecting it to an Electric Pacemaker, raised my pulse to over 60 p.m. All other routine tests were also conducted from time to time systematically, and before long they assured my people that, as there were no complications and as I was responding gamely to the treatment, I should be O.K. within a few days. While I was lying flat on my bed, with my right hand tied to the Oscilloscope, I was neither allowed to talk nor be talked to. Luckily I was permitted to read.
It is most truly said that "Man remembers God when he is completely helpless.” I was no exception. I decided to spend my enforced bed rest by reading a couple of Books on Sri Sathya Sai Baba—"At His Lotus Feet" and "Sai Baba—Man of Miracles" by Howard Murphet presented to me by a doctor relation of mine more than two years ago, but which had been lying untouched all the while.
In the meantime, though over a fortnight had passed since my hospitalization, and despite the excellent and latest treatment meted out to me, the authorities, to their surprise and disappointment, observed that, the moment the Pacemaker was disconnected, to check up my real pulse rate, it would invariably fall below 40 and would never rise. After several consultations and meetings between themselves, they ultimately came to the inevitable conclusion that the only way open, to raise my pulse to a reasonably higher level permanently, was to perform an operation below my chest and implant a thin tiny instrument known as "Artificial Pacemaker”, available in the U.K. at a cost of Rs. 7,000. This, they said, was absolutely necessary if I had to move about and lead a fairly normal life. This instrument works with the help of two batteries and helps to raise the pulse to about 70 p.m. The guarantee for the batteries, however, is only two years and hence the patient has to undergo a further operation after every two years for replacement of the batteries at a cost of another Rs. 4,000 each time. Thus, the initial cost was Rs. 7,000 and a recurring cost of Rs. 4,000 every two years, apart from the pain and risk that go with each operation. This position was made known to all my family members including doctors, and they were all reconciled to the same. At last on 6th June they slowly told me all about it, as after all I was the person ultimately to pay the costs and also undergo the operations. This naturally gave me a shock of my life.
I was at my wits end. All that I could do was to surrender myself completely to Sri Sathya Sai Baba and to pray to Him to save me from the catastrophe. I had by then read innumerable incidents from those two Books as to how Baba had rushed to the rescue of His Bhaktas—not only in India but also abroad—in different ways and in different forms. With utmost faith in Him, I prayed continuously that night without a wink of sleep. It was by then about 2 30 a.m. and I was feeling more and more restless. I, therefore, requested the doctor on duty for some light sleeping dose that could put me to sleep and give me some rest. This was done, and in a few minutes I began feeling dozed. What happened from then is undoubtedly a Miracle so hard to describe vividly. I cannot say whether it was a dream, an illusion or a vision. It happened as follows:
I was lying flat on my bed, with my right hand tied to the Oscilloscope through the Catheter and the time was apparently 4 p.m. Visitors were slowly wending their way to the patients. And suddenly I saw a most distinguished visitor and who could it be? Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba! With a saffron silken robe flowing from shoulders to feet, with His soft dark luminous eyes shining with love, and with hands folded behind in His characteristic style, Sri Sai Baba slowly entered the door of the Ward. In a trice two sisters rushed to Him to know whom He wanted to visit. He spoke nothing, but with majestic steps, Baba came straight towards me. With His awe inspiring smile and standing so close to me, keeping His left hand a little above my head, Baba addressed me in a soft but assuring tone "My son, I know how much you are worried about the Artificial Pacemaker and the operations. Do not worry in the least. I have decided to give you back your own pulse. No Pacemaker will be needed for you. Forget all about it. From now on, your pulse will gradually improve. Count the days from today and on the 11th day, which will be Saturday 17th June, you will be discharged from here straight to your home and from then on you will be perfectly O.K. Have faith in me and continue to do always the little good things you have been doing.”
In a moment I was fully awake, only to find that it was 4 a.m. and not 4 P.M. It was still dark all around and only the sisters were seen reading silently in the middle around a dim table lamp.
That very morning at about 6.30 a.m., a sister came to record my B. P., Pulse and Temperature as usual. When counting my pulse, however, I saw on her face some sudden surprise. I also noticed her repeating the counting over again. When asked what the matter was, she replied that my basic pulse rate, which had been all the while below 40 since about three weeks had suddenly risen to about 46 p.m. In a flash my thoughts silently went to Baba's blessIngs only a couple of horse ago. I even confirmed that the 11th day from then was Saturday and 17th June. What further proofs should there be to instill that unshaken confidence in Baba's blessings? The next day the pulse rose further to 50 and the third day it was 54.
By this time the authorities had another Conference and decided that gradually and by stages, over a period of a week, I should be made to sit down, then stand up and then slowly made to walk-first within the Ward and later outside in the Corridor, of course under the guidance and supervision of a Physio Therapist and also recording each time the B.P. and Pulse rate, both before and after each exercise, to ensure that there was no adverse reaction. After being satisfied with my steady progress, on the morning of 15th June, one of the senior doctors examined me very carefully, and after going through all the relevant papers, asked me how I was feeling. I replied that I felt very much better and humbly asked him when I could be discharged. The doctor assured me that I was progressing nicely, but that I should not be worried about my discharge. The moment they found me fit enough, he said, they would automatically send me away in order to make room for more urgent cases waiting in the queue. He also added, in a soft tone, that mostly I would be kept in that very ward for about a week more and then shifted to an adjoining ward for another week for observation and check up. This naturally upset me considerably, because I was pinning my faith on Baba's blessings that I would be discharged on 17th June; all the more so, because every other thing had proved too true.
The next day, 16th June at about 12 00 noon, the top-most doctor came to me on his usual rounds, after the conference and discussions. After examining me in all minute details, and also consulting the cardiograms taken from time to time, to my utmost pleasant shock, the Doctor declared that they had decided to discharge me the very next day Saturday, 17th June. He also added that the improvement was so rapid and so marked, that there was no need for my being kept in the other ward for check up and that I could go home straight. Permission was also granted for going to cloak room, self shaving and for even taking bath daily, if I so wished. He also advised that I could completely forget about the Artificial Pacemaker and even the fact that I was ill. He only insisted that I should observe certain diet, take medicines regularly and come to the O.P.D. for periodical check up. What amount of Ananda, Excitement and Ecstasy was experienced by me could better be imagined than expressed.