The Story of Master’s Illness


he Master with nursing home personnel. Front row (from left): Miss Doris Sam, the day nurse; the Master; Mrs Shamin Massy, the night nurse. Back row: Dr Joneja; Dr (Mrs) Mahajan; and, holding Master’s hand, Dr K.C. Mahajan, who performed the operation.

First Darshan, after the Operation
The following eyewitness account of the events of Master’s recent illness was prepared by the Sat Sandesh correspondents at Sawan Ashram.

First Darshan, after the operation.

On 29th June the Master underwent a major operation in a private nursing home in Delhi. By His Grace, the operation was successful and He is recovering.

The Master fell ill while in Dehra Dun, where He was directing the work at Manav Kendra, which as everyone knows has received His constant attention of late. After two days of suffering at His bungalow in Rajpur, during which two doctors were in attendance, the Master announced His intention of going to Delhi on 16th June, and within two hours the journey was under way. Once in Delhi, there began what seemed an interminable time of uncertainty and anguish for those who live in the immediate vicinity of the Master’s physical presence, including the various members of His earthly family. A number of doctors were called in to give their diagnoses and recommendations for treatment, the majority of whom stated that an operation was the only solution.

The Master has taken on many and varied physical ailments in the past, which have appeared from nowhere, and just as mysteriously disappeared, leaving no trace. Many a poor doctor has been confounded by the seeming weakness and ill health of the Master, and then His completely robust recovery upon his visit the following day. But never before has there ever been even a suggestion that such devastating violation and outrage be performed on His Holy Physical Person – that sacred and beautiful form, to touch which the truly devoted disciple would lack both courage and effrontery. It did not seem possible that such a thing as an operation could really happen; one doubted that the Master Himself would ever allow it. But as each day came and went, and the various medicines and treatments that were put forward and tried were achieving no success, the hopes of those who were watching grew dimmer and dimmer. It began to resemble a bad dream, the only difference being that on waking each morning the dream continued. Strict instructions were issued that no one should write abroad or spread the news in any way until the Master had recovered, as this would only give cause for worry to His children everywhere. However, the news leaked out somehow, and telegrams began to arrive from various countries, offering the help of their doctors, and asking permission to come to Delhi. The Master ordered replies to be sent, explaining that there are excellent doctors in India, and it was unnecessary for anyone to come.

It gradually became clear that the Master was going to permit the operation, and after the preliminary tests and x-rays, on 28th June He entered the private nursing home of Dr K.C. Mahajan, a brilliant surgeon of high esteem and national repute. A small group of people accompanied the Master. The operation was scheduled for 9 a.m. on 29th June. At 8:30 the nursing home’s anaesthetist, Dr Bilani, gave the Master an injection of the type intended normally to make the patient lose consciousness within two to five minutes, before being wheeled into the operating theatre. After some fifteen or twenty minutes there was still no effect from the injection, so Dr Bilani administered another. This also had no effect, and when the third and fourth injections were similarly ineffective, the doctors began to look worried; the Master was still wide awake!

He said,

What do you hope to accomplish by these injections? I am a conscious entity – how can you make me unconscious unless I will it? If you want me to withdraw I will do so, but your drugs can do nothing.

Straight away the Master closed His eyes and withdrew from His body, which was then wheeled into the theatre. The operation finally began at 10:20 a.m. and was completed at 11. Also present at the operation, in addition to Dr Mahajan and his staff, was Major Dhir, the Satsangi army surgeon who had been called from his station at Ambala at the Master’s request.

I want one of my own present,

the Master said.

During these brief and painful moments, a group of about one hundred people waited and watched outside the nursing home. The degree of their concern and sadness could be read in their faces.

A few seconds after the operation was over, the Master opened His eyes and asked,

When are you going to start the operation?

Dr Mahajan replied,

Maharaj Ji, the operation is done.

The Master said,

Oh, that’s all right,

and closed His eyes again. The doctors and staff were astounded that anyone could regain consciousness and speak while yet fully under anaesthesia. Dr Mahajan told the Master afterwards,

Maharaj Ji, I saw Your Greatness on the operating table. From now on I come to You as a devotee.

Dr Mahajan continues to serve the Master while He is recuperating, attending Him at the Ashram free of charge.

After the operation, the Master was made comfortable in His room and two private nurses who had been recommended by Dr Mahajan were given the nursing duties, one for day and the other for night. The doctors had advised that it usually takes two to four hours for the anaesthesia to wear off, but when the Master’s blood pressure was found to be low due to loss of blood, and someone ventured to place a hot water bottle under the Master’s feet, He stirred and said,

Have you asked the doctor first, if you should put that there?

It was somewhat disconcerting to find that the ‘patient’ who was supposed to be sleeping peacefully under anaesthesia was checking all movements in the room!

The days that followed were yet anxious ones, watching the Master’s progress in recovering. None of the followers were allowed in the nursing home, except a few with special duties. In this way, the Master was not disturbed, and neither was the nursing home’s orderly routine. At least one and sometimes more sevadars were on duty in the reception hall throughout the day and night, and the steady stream of eagerly inquiring Satsangis were given the latest news of the Master’s progress. A few persistent devotees insisted on pressing further, but at the Master’s door it was politely explained that in consideration for the Master’s rest and peace, no one was allowed to disturb Him. The slow process of recovery seemed very slow. Some days were good, when the Master was fairly comfortable considering the heat of the weather and the confined space of His small room; but often He endured fever, pain and other discomforts. Hardly any night was fully restful, and the doctors became concerned that the Master was not getting enough of either rest or food; solid food had not been permitted at first for several days, but when regular meals were allowed the Master took only very small portions.

One quiet afternoon, Bibi Hardevi Ji was resting in the adjoining room when suddenly she was aroused from her light slumber by the sound of a commotion coming from the Master’s room. She hurried there and found the nurse and the doctor on duty beside the Master’s bed. They were anxiously examining the Master, and the doctor said something about giving an injection. At this point, the Master opened His eyes and said to Bibi Ji,

It’s all right, tell them not to give any injections – I had only withdrawn completely.

The withdrawal of consciousness and the unusual stiffness of the Master’s body had alarmed the nurse and she had run for the doctor. Bibi Hardevi explained to them what had happened, and something of the process of withdrawal. They were at once amazed and impressed at what they had seen with their own eyes.

Regardless of suffering, the Master did not forget His children who were yearning for a glimpse of Him, and as early as the third day He persuaded the doctor to allow Him to appear on the verandah outside His room, in the evening after the sun had set.

The Master sat on a high platform outside His room, so that the people could see Him.


The Master with Dr Mahajan.

Assisted by the nurse and Bibi Hardevi Ji, the Master walked out and sat on an elevated platform for nearly half an hour, giving darshan to the silent and solemn followers below, who numbered approximately five hundred. In the days following there were several evening darshans, and on 11th July the Master spoke to the people, His softly-toned words being amplified by Darshan Singh Ji:

I am so pleased to see you all, and I thank those who have come from far to be here. The sickness which was there has now been cured, and I thank Dr Mahajan for his help – he is not here at present. The remaining one per cent adjustment is being made. My Hazur has accomplished a good deal of service through me up to now, and I can tell you there is much more yet to be done in the future. I request you all to lead a good life from now on – a chaste life – especially those who live in our ashrams. I know you try – but now really do it! I have Great Love for you. I know you also have Love for me, but perhaps you do not realise the extent of my Love for you.

At this point the Master was overcome, and tears came to His eyes. He turned and went into His room, accompanied by the nurse. After a few minutes He returned and gave another final darshan to the people, but this time without the nurse; the effects of the Master’s tears of Love had been too much for her, and she had herself dissolved into tears.

I have never met anyone with so much Love,

she murmured.

At last to everyone’s joy, Dr Mahajan said that the Master could return to the Ashram on 14th July, and at 10 o’clock that morning the doctor himself accompanied the Master to His car, which, with Bibi Hardevi Ji and both nurses, brought Him back to Sawan Ashram.

At this darshan, the visitors from overseas (at left) were allowed to come closer.

To witness the homecoming was a welcome and joyful relief. After a very brief darshan, the people left the Master to relax and rest in the peaceful, airy atmosphere of the large protected verandah of His own house.

The Master’s two nurses – Miss Doris Sam, the day nurse, originally from Dehra Dun, and Mrs Shamin Massy, the night nurse, a native of Firozepur in the Punjab – told the Sat Sandesh staff that they considered it an honour and also a great pleasure to nurse the Master; that He had been a model patient, always very loving and affectionate, and never once complaining, even here they knew He was in pain. In order to find out about the various discomforts in His body, they had to ask Him,

Is there pain here? Is there any pain here?

and so on. – Dr Mahajan also observed that although he knew the Master to be in great pain, yet He never complained of it. He was most cooperative, always trying to make their duties smoother. Both ladies sadly stressed that it was now very difficult to leave Him after fifteen days in His company. They were also impressed by the Master’s followers: their concern for His health, and their subsequent considerate behaviour, contenting themselves with seeing Him from afar and not demanding entrance to His room – with the exception of a few. It is quite a pointer to all the Master’s disciples that one’s behaviour is most certainly observed by others – how much more it pleases Master when our behaviour earns their commendation! So it was a very sad and tearful farewell when Nurse Sam and Nurse Massy took their leave of the Master, and left Sawan Ashram. At the time of the preparation of this report, the Master is steadily recovering and gives darshan for a few minutes outside His house each evening.

Farewell to the nursing home.

Masters have Their own deep reasons for what They do. Among us unknowledgeable beings, some are bold and speculate the whys and wherefores, while others are helplessly content to conclude,

It is all His will.

The Master Himself has said on this subject, that there is a law of give and take – karmas – and there is also a law of sympathy and sacrifice for the sake of others. Suffice it to say that some huge task has been accomplished; though they know not what, suffice it that His children are grateful. Even better, that they review their lives and remove anything that might contribute to a repetition of such a tremendous compassionate sacrifice in the future. We are glad that the dark period is over; we hope and pray that He will never again allow His body to endure such suffering and violation. On the first Sunday after the Master’s return from the nursing home, a large number of people gathered at Sawan Ashram for the usual Sunday morning Satsang. They listened to one of the Master’s talks from recorded tape, and then the Master Himself came out and gave darshan, accompanied by Dr Mahajan Who happened to be visiting at the time. The Master very kindly said a few words:

I know you have been waiting to see me, and are happy to do so after so long; but I am more happy to see you.

You have been listening to the recorded talk; to hear the Master’s voice is a Great Blessing, but to see Him, to have the radiation from His presence, and enjoy His words as they actually flow from His physical form, is a greater blessing.

One is most fortunate to have a a Living Master. A man once telephoned me from USA and said, ‘I just want to hear Your voice.’ […]

While the Masters are in the world, very few really value Their presence, but when They leave, thousands start worshipping the places They frequented – where They sat, walked and lived. To have some respect for holy places is good, but to have a Living Master is different – something beyond price or value. […]

Many times I have asked you to lead a pure and chaste life; today I again ask you to keep your lives clean and pure, and do at least one hour of meditation every day. I generally advocate one tenth as being the least Spiritual Tithe to be observed, which is about two and a half hours. When I ask you to meditate for one hour, I do not mean that you should not devote more time. When I was in Lahore, I was close friends with a very learned professor from the University there. He was deeply devoted to the Islamic religion, and although his leisure hours were closely guarded and private, yet I was privileged to enter his room freely at any time. I once remarked to my dear friend that it was common knowledge that all Muslims do their devotional prayers with rigid strictness at five appointed times each day, and yet at every given opportunity of a few moments, perhaps a dozen times a day, he would return to his devotions with sincerity and relish! How did he account for this extra enthusiasm? He smiled and told me, ‘The five regular devotions are one’s duty, but should we not be anxious to seek His pleasure?’

So whatever you offer, over and above the specified time, will be a source of pleasure to the Master, and a source of progress to yourselves. […]

Now, this is Dr Mahajan, through whose efforts the operation was successful. […]

Arrival at Sawan Ashram, 14th July.

Here the people clapped enthusiastically, and Darshan Singh Duggal, the Master’s son, gave a short introduction to, and a few words of praise for, Dr Mahajan. He concluded by saying how grateful everyone was to him for the success of the operation and the recovery of the Master, but the Master corrected this by saying,

We are grateful to God and Baba Sawan Singh, for it was God Who worked through him, and by His Grace everything was all right.

A Solemn Anniversary

The Master on the porch at Sawan Ashram, after returning from the nursing home.

In strong contrast to previous years of joyfully celebrating the Birth Anniversary of the dearly loved Grand Guru, Baba Sawan Singh Ji, this 27th July proved a strangely solemn day. There were the same gaily-coloured awnings, the many thousands of people thronging every available square foot of space, the huge dais decorated with green leaves and flowers, the shrieks and scufflings of uncontrollable children – but to the sensitive heart there was something missing: no effervescence, no excitement, no joy in the atmosphere – none of the usual happy expression of festivity. The people had come, they had come many miles in numerous cases, but on arrival they had found their beloved Master lying on His bed, still recovering from the recent operation, and furthermore, undergoing relapse, due to which the doctor had ordered no walking, no talks, no interviews, no visitors – the Master must rest completely if progress in recovering is to be made. Any doubt lingering in a disciple’s heart over the necessity of such strict admonition was quickly erased when learning how even the slightest exertion caused the Master exhaustion.

When the morning Satsang began on the 27th, the Sangat waited expectantly. Religious speakers had arrived according to program, but the dais seemed empty without the Master’s radiating presence. It is something of an understatement to say that the people were disappointed, and to hear His voice from a recording was only partial consolation. Taking pity on the aching hearts, the Master summoned the microphone to be brought to His bedside in the glazed verandah of His house, where He has been lying since arriving from the nursing home on 14th July. With loving words, the Master spoke of His Love for them, His sorrow at not being among them, and said that the program should continue as planned.

After the morning program, the people were allowed to file past the front gate of the Master’s house, from which they could have a fleeting darshan of the Master lying in the open doorway of the verandah.

One American brother remarked,

I went around the line up twice – I got pushed a bit by the crowd, but I had two glimpses of the Master.

On the Sunday following, 1st August, the Sangat again gathered in Sawan Ashram, and after the Master’s talk had been amplified, the Master Himself was carried out on His bed, and in reclining position spoke for a few minutes:

If you think I am ill, you should correct that thought at once. I am not ill; only the body has endured, and that endurance is nearly finished. Today I am requesting two things of you all first, speak only the truth, don’t tell any lies. If you purify your thought and speech this way, you will become purer and you will see a change in your life. The atmosphere which surrounds you will also be purer, and if you have children they will be influenced and will live in honesty – they will not know what it is to lie. But if parents tell lies, the children will automatically grow up as liars – ‘mummy and daddy tell lies, so why should we not?’ […]

The second thing I ask you is, for those of you who are initiated on this Path – do your meditation regularly. Do not allow one day to pass without it. […]

How can a person be really clean if he goes on changing his clothes without washing them? Wearing clean fresh clothes gives a refreshing fragrance around the person – others will delight in his company – but he who wears filthy clothes not only smells offensive but makes the surrounding atmosphere foul as well. The cleansing power of Naam, when contacted daily, washes away the unwanted offensive odours of worldly thoughts and deeds which have polluted our being. So today I am asking all Satsangis to do these two things. […]