Soduniya lakh chaturai, smara nirantar Sai Sai! (Set aside all smartness and keep chanting the name of Sai!)
- Rashmiveera Mantri, Dadar
It was a Saturday, the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, on September 11, 2010. This day is permanently engraved on my mind. Just the previous day, Ganapati Bappa had arrived at our home, our beloved Bapu's home. The day of Ganesh Chaturthi passed by with much excitement and fervour. A long queue of devotees awaited to take Darshan of Ganapati Bappa and Bapu on the 7th floor of Happy Home. My seva was on the same floor. Before I knew it, the day had begun and even ended. Parampujya Nandai was personally ensuring that everyone got adequate food and rest.
The evening Aarti began, and I was completely immersed in chanting the same. All of a sudden, I had shooting pain in my back. The pitch and tone of my chanting suddenly dropped by several decibels. I did not pay much attention to it thinking it was due to a long day's exhaustion. After the aarti ended, some of us went and sat in a room. Someone said, "Oh! My shoulder is aching. If I rest well the whole night, I would feel better tomorrow." I said, "Even my left shoulder is aching. Maybe it's because I have been directing all the devotees to move ahead the whole day. Everyone burst out laughing, and the discussion ended there.
Later, we sat down for dinner. Nandai specifically and categorically told all the ladies, "Please take turns while standing for Seva tomorrow. Every one of you must compulsorily take some rest." Everyone discussed relieving one another, and we wrapped up dinner. After our food, devotees were allowed in for Darshan once again. However, I continued sitting on the ledge of the hall. Darshan ended around 2 am late in the night. Komalveera Javle was standing next to me. I casually said to her," My left shoulder and left hand are aching." She said, "You first go and inform Suchit Dada." I said, "Why to bother him. It's very late. Let him take rest as well."
In the nick of time, she went and informed Dada and came back to tell me, "Dada has called you on the sixth floor." I got down the stairs on the 6th floor. Nandai was sitting right there in the drawing-room. She made me sit next to her and put her hand on my back, and enquired very lovingly, "Where is it aching? Do you have some acidity?" I said to Aai, "Not much, but I am feeling slightly uncomfortable in my chest." She gave me some Gelusil and offered me some water to drink. She checked my pulse. Nandai said to Shakambhariveera, ”Please go and call Baba here.”
Parampujya Bapu was in the adjacent room. He came out and said, "Hey, old woman, what happened?" He asked for a stethoscope and checked my heartbeats. He said something like "Gallop." He then asked Suchit Dada and Nandaai to give me some medicines. "Just relax," Bapu said to me. Then he closed his eyes and sat in front of me. In between, he was murmuring something.
"Soduniya lakh chaturayee| smara nirantar Sai Sai | beda paar hoyeel paahi | sandeh kaahi na dharava||"
Then again, he was humming another stanza from Shree Sai Satcharita.
"Me to tumchya charanacha daas | naka karu majala udaas | Jovari hya dehi shwaas | neejakaryas sadhoon ghya ||"
I wondered if he was talking to his father Shree Dattaguru. "Is he doing this to help ordinary people like me sail through the troubled waters?" thought I.
Suddenly he would ask me, "How are you feeling now?" The clock was ticking, and I was not aware of what was going on. He gave me half a tablet of Sorbitrate to place under my tongue. After some time, he asked again, "has the ache subsided?" By how much percentage?" I said, "it has subsided slightly. By 20%, but it is still aching." Then Bapu called Dr Shivanand Nichanaki. He sent Komalveera Javle and Dr. Vishakhaveera Joshi along with me to the first floor for an E.C.G. We brought back the E.C.G. report to show it to Bapu and Suchit Dada. We were informed that the report was normal. Parampujya Bapu said to me, "go into Nishtha's room and take some rest. Unless you feel better, I am not sending you home."
Dr Paurassinh and my husband, Sunilsinh, were on the ground floor along with all the volunteers. Bapu called Sunilsinh upstairs, and his daughter-in-law Nishthaveera took me to her room. She made me lie down on the bed, covered me with a blanket and sat there massaging my legs. I felt terribly embarrassed. The whole family of my God was being inconvenienced because of my health condition. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. I did not realize how much time passed by. In between, I think, I dozed off as well. Also, Suchit Dada came in and asked, "how are you feeling now?" I said, "It's still aching a little bit."
It was 4 am on September 12, 2010. I was called outside the room. Parampujya Nandai was right there in front of me. While I was wondering if she had slept at all, she said to me in a calm voice, "there is nothing to worry. To get your tests done, let us get you admitted to a hospital." As she said that, she fed me a small piece of mithai.
My husband, Sunilsinh, Dr Paurassinh, Rahulsinh Javle, Dr Shivanandsinh Nichanaki and I, took the elevator and came down. My Sadguru Mauli also came down to drop me to the car. We got into two cars, and my Mauli sent me off to Saifee Hospital at Charni Road. Before that, Parampujya Suchit Dada had contacted Dr Yunus Loya.
After we reached the Saifee Hospital, Dr Paurassinh came by the side of the car and said, "Rashmiveera, wait, please do not get down." He went in and got a wheelchair and said, "Now please get down slowly and sit in the wheelchair." I asked, "Why a wheelchair? I will walk the distance." He said, "Nothing doing. You must sit in a wheelchair." So, I sat on it. He then pushed it forward and began walking in. Once again, I felt embarrassed.
I was taken to the Casualty ward. The Hospital staff made me lie down on a stretcher. They put an oxygen tube in my nose, and then I was shifted to the ICU. Dr Yunus Loya was ready to receive us there. By that time, I did not realize the gravity of the situation. My condition was primarily neither as bad as a patient who is taken into the ICU, nor was I experiencing the kind of pain or discomfort a patient might feel when he is wheeled into the ward. This indeed was my Guru mauli's blessing. They began my treatment in the ICU. It was 5 am in morning. Dr Paurassinh completed all the admission formalities himself. I was emotionally overwhelmed to see and experience the loving care and concern of Bapu’s family. Post my admission, till about 6 am, Dr Paurassinh was waiting at the hospital.
Dr Loya did all the check-up and told my husband, Sunilsinh, "Do not worry, but her condition is not all that stable. There are changes in her ECG. We must perform all the tests and only then take the decision." All the tests were performed on the night of the 12th and in the morning on the 13th. I was then moved into a private room on the 13th.
Dr Loya informed us that we needed to get an Angiography done. Since the Angiography machine at Saifee was not operational, I was moved to Prince Ali Khan Hospital at Mazgaon on the 14th. Despite my critical condition, I walked into the ward on my own before my surgery. During that time, Sunilsinh used to receive calls from Bapu and Suchit Dada every single day. Nandai herself would talk to me.
At the time of the Angiography, Samir Dada and Dr Paurassinh were personally present there. Dr Paurassinh was in the Operation Theatre along with Dr Loya. My mind was calm because I was chanting "Om Manasamarthyadata Shree Aniruddhay Namah|" in my mind.
Thirty minutes after the angiography began, the doctor asked Sunilsinh to come inside. At that time, he was pacing up and down in the hall outside, chanting Ramraksha. He showed him on the computer monitor that the main artery that supplies blood to the heart was blocked to the extent of about 95% to 98% per cent. It is called a "Major Block." The same artery also had some other minor blocks. The technicians and staff were discussing among themselves at that time. Everyone was surprised that a lady with such severe heart condition could walk inside the Operation Theatre without any help. They were also quite astonished as I did not need any oxygen, was not breathing heavily and did not have any lifesaving gadgets. Sunilsinh informed me about all of this much later. These impossible things were made possible only by my Bapuraya.
After that, the doctor informed Sunilsinh that they had decided to perform an Angioplasty by inserting a stent. Initially, the doctor informed us that a minimum of two stents were needed. However, due to my Sadguru Mauli's grace, all the blocks could be covered through the length of a single stent. The artery was cleared, and the surgery was successful.
I was discharged from the hospital after five days. I was asked to go to Happy Home straight on the 7th floor right after my discharge from the hospital. As soon as I stepped out of the elevator on the 7th floor, I was surprised to see Nandaai at the door. She gave me a tight hug.
I had tears in my eyes, and so did she. "Now, do not think about anything. Everything has been accomplished due to the grace and blessings of Dattabappa. Just take rest here." She held my hand and took me to the guestroom. Nandai asked Sunilsinh also to come and stay at Happy Home. She was very vigilant about my food intake as well as my medicines. Tea, Breakfast, Lunch, everything was provided to me right at my bedside. The lunch plate would be full of all the essential food items. All the family members would come and lovingly enquire about my health.Before I returned home, Bapu and Suchit Dada came to the guestroom to meet Sunilsinh and me. That is when Bapu told me if I would have gone home on the 11th of September, I probably would not have walked even two steps. I would have just collapsed right there. He further said, "Your heart had to be revived." It took quite some time for all of this to sink in. It meant that Bapu had pulled me out from the jaws of death. I felt dumbstruck. Sadguru was telling me, "Now, please do not take any stress and worry about it. Be happy." Since I was choked, I could not say anything to him.
Only after meeting my doctor, I realized the meaning of reviving a heart. At the time of the surgery, the doctor observed that arteries to the left were clear. However, when he looked at the main artery to the right, he was shocked. The main artery, which takes the purified blood to the body, was blocked 95%-98%. We can presume that the other arteries and veins to the right did not have much blood circulation at all. In such circumstances, by the time one admits the patient and performs all the tests, a human life toggles between life and death. You need respirators to ensure that the person can breathe. For a patient to walk in this condition is next to impossible.
I was admitted on the morning of September 12th, and the Angioplasty was performed on the 14th afternoon. There was no change in my physical condition during this time. Medically, it meant there was no blood supply to the right side of the heart. It was a matter of immense shock to the doctors that a person could survive and carry out his normal activities in such a critical condition. There was absolutely no doubt that the heart and that life had the support of only my Sadguru.
At the time of the Angioplasty, a tiny tube is inserted at the spot of the block in the artery for the sake of ballooning. After the ballooning is done, the blood supply of that artery stops for a few seconds. That is when the stent is inserted. When the blood supply was stopped, my pulse rate and blood pressure dropped so low that my heart stopped beating. Doctors had to inject a lifesaving drug to revive my heart. It's next to impossible for anyone to be alive after such an experience. This was a sheer miracle!
“Soduniya lakh chaturayee…..” I was reminded of a time from two years ago. At the time, my stress test report was positive, and I was detected with hypertension. Suchit Dada had recommended me to Dr Rajiv Karnik. He had asked me to get some tests done along with an MRI. He indicated that I did not need an angiography. My reports had shown no blocks in my arteries; they were clear.
At that time, Dr Karnik had asked me to take some medication regularly, and he had asked me to come back for a consultation after a few months. Bapu had called Sunilsinh and me to inform us about our diet and the type of food I needed to eat. First 8-10 months, I followed all that very religiously. My blood pressure would drop sometimes, and I would have some acidity as well. So, I decided, on my own, that I did not need any blood pressure medication. After that, for almost one year, I had stopped my medication and gave up my diet. However, I paid a huge price for my "over-smartness". Along with myself, I troubled my Sadguru as well. "Smara nirantar Sai Sai" I ignored my Bapu’s instructions, and that is why I slowly kept getting stuck in a deep ditch, and I had to face a life-death situation.
Despite that, my ever-loving and forgiving Sadguru pulled me out from the jaws of death. Even though we do not keep a single promise, this ever so forgiving son has never forgotten his promise to his mother (Maa Chandika). Neither the promise of Devotion nor the promise of Service! Despite that, he is always ready to pull us out of the stickiest of situations without fail. He never demands an explanation. In fact, we keep creating difficult situations, we keep getting stuck in sticky situations, and we keep calling out to him. And yet, he always comes.
Bapuraya, I need to change now. I really need to change!