Change of Heart

- Sudhir Kulkarni, Pune

Change of Heart

One tends to come across tough situations in life quite often. If one keeps a positive attitude, it becomes easier to deal with such situations. None other than the Sadguru gives us the strength to keep this positive outlook.
Since my early childhood, I remember having performed Saibaba’s poojan on a regular basis at our house. Therefore, since 1983, I have been visiting Saibaba’s temple at Shirdi at least once a year along with all the members of my family. We used to read Gurucharitra and Saisatchrita on a regular basis as well. At the time of invoking Saibaba in his Nirgun form, I would often think, would I ever meet my Sadguru, the way Saibaba's devotees met him in the Sagun form? Would he ever talk to me for few minutes? Several years passed by and then came the year 1998. During this time, I met a Bapu devotee, Sadanand Vartak and also the grandson of Hemadpant (author of Saisatcharita), Mr. Appasaheb Dabholkar. I came to know about Sadguru Aniruddha Bapu from them. After hearing this, we became very eager to see him. I began to attend weekly upasana at Modern High School, Pune. I also began to travel to Mumbai for Bapu’s darshan and for the discourse every Thursday. Members of my family were reading Saisatcharita for several years. But it was only after we started following Bapu, due to Panchasheel exams, we realized how to study Saisatcharita in its truest sense. I would listen to Bapu’s discourses and was trying to walk on the path of bhakti and seva by managing my job. In fact, before coming to Bapu, I was facing a hard time. I not only had health issues such as diabetes but I was also trapped in deep financial difficulties. I had taken loan from several banks and individuals too. I was unable to repay those loans. I was also worried about my three daughters and was under immense pressure. After coming to Bapu from 1998, two years passed by without any drastic change. From January 2000, positive changes began to take place in my life very rapidly. While studying for Panchasheel examination, one studies the use of a pulley. In mechanics, a pulley is used to lift heavy weight with ease. In a similar vein, one’s Sadguru facilitates a devotee to lift weight heavier than he could otherwise lift. I had a similar experience. I managed to pay off my debts and was saved from a serious financial crisis. My Sadguru smoothly pulled me out of financial and physical difficulties. I am a patient of diabetes since 1985 i.e for about 27 years. I began to take treatment by consulting Suchitdada. He sent me to a well-known diabetologist, Dr. Saumil Mehataliya at Vile Parle. In the year 2011, I started feeling shortness of breath while walking. On April 16, 2011, I had gone to Dr. Mehataliya for some routine checkup. At that time, on informing him that I was feeling shortness of breath while climbing a hillock in Pune, he asked me to get a stress test done in Pune itself. On informing this to Suchitdada, he asked me to get it done fast. However, in the month of May, Varadachandika Prasannotsav was to take place in Mumbai. Bapu had said that this was the first and the last time, such an utsav would take place and I had absolutely no intentions of missing out on attending it. I wanted to participate in this wholeheartedly. As a result, I did not pay much attention to my stress test through the months of April and May. On June 2nd, I got the stress test done at Dr. Sunil Sathe’s clinic in Pune which came positive. On showing the report to Suchitdada on June 4th, he asked me to get an Angiography done at Mumbai. From June 5th till 12th, a week of Bhakti and Seva was to be conducted at Pune’s Upasana Kendra. All the volunteers were literally running from pillar to post trying to make all the arrangements. A week-long celebration of this kind was to take place for the first time in Pune. Needless to say, I wanted to participate in it wholeheartedly. Bapu has always emphasized on the importance of Bhakti and Seva. After this celebration, I met Suchitdada at his clinic on June 14th. He asked me to consult Dr. Loya at Saifee Hospital regarding the Angiography. On performing some preliminary tests on me, Dr. Loya did not feel that I had any chronic or serious condition. He then asked me to come the next day, i.e., on Thursday for the Angiography. However, during Angiography, the doctor found about four blockages. He then told us that I had to undergo a bypass surgery. He informed Suchitdada accordingly. All of us were shocked and became very anxious on hearing this. I had never had any heart ailment before and now, to go for bypass surgery meant that we had nothing to look forward to. My mind was blocked with thoughts of various kind. I began to realize the difficulties staring into my eyes. We had no one’s support but only that of Bapu. We began to invoke Bapu for help. My daughter Sharmila and son-in-law Aadesh Kotenkar, went to meet Suchitdada with the report. On Thursday, June 16th around 6:30 pm, I got discharged from Saifee Hospital after my Angiography. We thus began our journey home. All of us were quite tense. We did not know what to do next. Around the same time, we got a message that Suchitdada has asked all the members of my family to reach Harigurugram to meet Bapu after the discourse. Bapu emphasized the importance of Shri Gurucharan Maas during his discourse on that day. He also said that Sadguru always protects every devotee. I felt as if the discourse was specifically directed at me. After Parampujya Bapu’s discourse, we met Nandai and Suchitdada. Suchitdada said that I ought to admit myself in Jupiter Hospital at Thane. He asked me to meet Cardiologist, Dr. Vijay Surase. He emphasized that there was no reason to be afraid. He said that we needed to get the surgery done on Saturday. Dada’s reassuring words gave us the much needed confidence and support. After that incident, Nandai began chatting with us. She informed us that we needed to go to Jupiter Hospital for a “change of heart”. She said that we just had to go there, get the change of heart done and simply return. She insisted that we chant Hanuman Chalisa. On hearing her loving words, the anxiety and the stress of surgery began to diminish in my mind. Her words “change of heart” did the trick for us in such a way that the fear of surgery withered away from my mind. We had a darshan of Parampujya Bapu as well. He told me firmly and in extremely confident tone to be totally fearless and that he was there. I felt the pressure ease away. I met Dr. Vijay Surase, the next day on June 17th at Jupiter Hospital. I showed him all my reports. After completing the admission procedure, he performed several tests on me. On looking at the reports, he informed us that he would operate on me the next day at 9 am. Finally, it was the D-day. I was ready by 8 am. All of us were chanting Hanuman Chalisa from the time we stepped inside the hospital. I was confident that Bapu would be with me during the surgery. I prayed to him and then sat in the wheelchair to be taken to the operation theatre. I remember sitting in the wheelchair but do not remember anything from thereon. I did not even experience 0.01% trouble or difficulty. It is nothing but Bapu’s unconditional love and blessings. He had put a protective shield around me to ensure that I had no difficulties of any kind. After the surgery, I woke up straight the next day at 5 pm in the ICU of the hospital. That is when the nurse informed me that the surgery was done. On gaining consciousness, the only thing I realized was that they had put 15-20 tubes inside me at all places. Due to Bapu’s blessings, since my surgery was performed with the contemporary operating practice, there were no other wounds on my hands and legs. Similarly, there was absolutely no need to transfuse blood. Not even one bottle of blood was transfused. On successful execution of the surgery, Suchitdada informed my daughter, Sharmila that I had 90% blockages. Until then I had no idea about the seriousness of my ailment. After the surgery, I kept feeling that I would be under excruciating pain once the effect of painkillers begins to wear off. However, to my surprise, I didn’t even feel any pain. While my Sadguru made me experience the effects of my bad destiny, he ensured that before and after the surgery, I did not experience any discomfort whatsoever. This was by far the most difficult incident I had faced in my entire life. It was only due to Bapu’s blessings that this difficult situation eased out of my life. I went through this tough experience and then realized his love for his devotees in a new light. A Shraddhavan couple, Dr. Raman Umralkar and his wife, Anita Umralkar provided us immense help and support at Jupiter Hospital. It was due to Sadguru Bapu that I not only had a “change of heart” but also a second birth. Let our Sadguru keep looking over us with his protective shield. That is my humble prayer at his lotus feet. I am reminded of few lines from Saisatcharita.

Krutantachya Dadhetun | Kadheen Nijabhakta Odhun |

Karita Keval Matkatha Shravan | Rog Nirsan Hoyeel ||

-Shri Saisatcharitra, Chapter 3/Stanza 17