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SAI BABA'S FINAL
DAYS - AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT, By Prof. G. VENKATRAMAN
It is not
Emptiness but a Super Cosmic Fullness
"Swami has not gone. He is very much here,
there, above, below, around, etc., indeed everywhere..."
RECORDED ON APRIL 29,
OM SRI SAI RAM - SPECIAL MUSINGS
Swami’s wheel chair was whisked away to the special elevator meant
for patients, and soon He disappeared from sight, having been taken
to we did not know where. Meanwhile, Prof. Pandit and I both were
shown to a room upstairs where the operation theatres, the cardiac
catheterisation lab and ICU’s are located. We waited silently and
anxiously in the room we were sent to, while the clock kept ticking.
One hour passed and not surprisingly, both of us became somewhat
restless. Coming out of the room where we were till then, we tried
to see if there was any doctor nearby who could give us some
information. There was a surgeon around and he was standing at the
end of the long corridor, near to where the cardiac operation
theatres are. He signalled to us to join him and told us that Swami
was undergoing a procedure in the cardiac catheterisation lab which
was further down the corridor. He did not elaborate on the procedure
but, after some time, told us that the procedure was probably
approaching the end, judging by the test equipment coming out of the
Shortly thereafter, we saw the Chief Nurse of the Hospital standing
in the corridor right close to the catheter lab (which, by the way,
was more than 50 metres or so from where we were) giving strict
instructions to some of the staff nearby. It looked like Swami was
ready to be moved from the catheter lab to a special ICU, located
across the corridor. Meanwhile, we saw many people disappearing from
the corridor into what we presumed was the ICU by way of getting it
ready. Roughly about two hours after Swami arrived at the hospital,
we saw a hospital bed on wheels come out of the cath lab, with a lot
of staff in surgical dress, walking along with the bed, one person
holding a drip bottle while others wheeled along the monitoring
equipment to which Swami had been connected.
It seemed as if the crisis had been brought under control, and
everything was looking good, at least for the moment. Swami having
been transferred to the ICU, things began to settle down and we
started getting a clearer picture of what actually happened.
Apparently, Swami’s heart-beat had become irregular and He needed a
pacemaker implantation. That was why He had been taken to the
Hospital, and the pacemaker duly installed. Thousands of people the
world over walk around with pacemakers, and if you saw them you
would never be aware of it. We thus thought, “OK, Swami now has a
pacemaker and everything would be fine in a few days. After that He
would be back in Yajur Mandir, and maybe, after resting for a few
days, life would return to normal, possibly with a revised schedule
to minimise physical strain to Swami.”
By around 7 or maybe 7:30 PM or so, Prof. Pandit and I returned to
the Ashram. All this, I remind you once more, happened on the
evening of 28th March. Next morning, I checked with one of the
people who had access to minute by minute status of Swami’s health,
and the info I got was that the night seemed to have gone off well.
Around 2 PM or so – remember, I am now talking of the day following
the admission to the hospital, i.e., 29th March – Prof. Pandit
called me to say there was hyper activity in the hospital and
Swami’s condition was causing anxiety. This scared me and so both of
us rushed immediately to the hospital. Meanwhile, with the rumour
factory working overtime all cell-phone companies began to mint
money. On our way to the hospital, Prof. Pandit and I saw a
helicopter parked in the Sri Sathya Sai Airport, and that said
When we reached the hospital, Director Dr. Safaya, who knew both
Prof. Pandit and me quite well, showed us a good place where we
could wait. This was quite close to the catheter lab and in a short
while, we saw Swami being whisked into the lab, the trolley-bed
being rolled along and guided by a battery of hospital attendants
and doctors in surgical gowns. Though we were close, it was not
possible to see Swami; there were so many doctors walking along with
and around the trolley-bed. The doors of the cath lab were shut and
we waited. After about forty minutes or so, there was quite a buzz
outside and it seemed as if Swami was being taken back to the ICU.
Sure enough, the two specialist doctors who had come by helicopter
from Bangalore, came out looking as if not only was what they had
come to do had gone off well but also that they were ready to leave.
Indeed, they had already removed their surgical gowns, slipped on
their shoes, and walked away, presumably to be driven to the airport.
A couple of minutes later, I saw the trolley-bed being moved back to
the ICU. This time I was, thanks to Dr. Safaya, able to catch a
momentary glimpse of Bhagavan’s face from just about a couple of
feet away; the rest of the body was of course covered by hospital
sheet. That was the last time I saw Swami before He shed His mortal
coil. Being under the influence of sedatives, His eyes were closed.
That was no doubt to be expected; yet that sight was like a huge
electric shock, considering that until not so long ago, on many days
I would find Swami’s face beaming and having an indescribable glow,
even around 8:30 PM after a long and tiring day.
So why did they take Swami to the cath lab and what did they do
there? And, what about the doctors who had flown in from Bangalore?
I got all the answers about two hours later from Dr. Safaya. Looking
quite tired but somewhat relieved, he dropped into a chair in the
corridor next to me and Prof. Pandit and said, “Hey! You fellows are
drinking tea! What about me?” We were sipping some tea from a paper
cup, provided by some kindly soul doing seva there. We signalled
once more to that person to give a cup of tea to Dr. Safaya. After
taking a few much needed sips, Dr. Safaya told us that while Swami
heart was not damaged, it was weak and the pumping action inadequate.
The doctors from Bangalore had therefore inserted what was known as
a balloon pump. This would considerably lessen the burden on the
heart since the balloon pump would take care of most of the pumping.
Six or so days later, the balloon pump was withdrawn. However, the
procedure had to be done with enormous care and ever so slowly. For
us anxious to hear the news that the pump had been safely withdrawn,
it was a long wait, maybe ten hours, I cannot remember exactly how
many. Shortly thereafter when Dr. Safaya came out he looked greatly
relieved. He even smiled a bit and said to me, “Now He is on His own,”
meaning that Swami’s heart was now functioning satisfactorily
without any external assistance what so ever. Obviously, that was
great news, worth waiting for. ...
|| Samastha Lokaaha Sukhino Bhavanthu ||