The Disease

Yogi was in his early eighties. His age became visible in his physical frame. Yogi needed the support of somebody to walk. Yogi seemed to suffer from some unknown ailment. In the mid of 1999, the devotees could observe Yogi’s sufferings. In spite of the sufferings, Yogi met the devotees, listened to their problems and blessed them. His love for his Father was explicit and his passion to remove the sorrows from the hearts of the devotees was a great benediction to watch.

In the mid of 1999, Yogi had blood stains in his dhoti. The devotees were worried. One day a doctor devotee came to the ashram to have the darshan of Yogi. On seeing the condition of Yogi, the doctor examined Yogi’s health and doubted that Yogi had cancer in his private parts. The doctor arranged for a biopsy. In a few days the biopsy report confirmed the disease as cancer. The doctor suggested an immediate surgery. Another doctor devotee also saw all the reports and confirmed the case as cancer. That doctor also suggested surgery. It all happened in the middle of 1999. The devotees whom Yogi loved were kept in the dark. The people around Yogi did not inform about the disease to anybody else. The devotees came to know about the disease only in the middle of 2000, nearly after one year. Whenever the devotees enquired about the ailments Yogi suffered, the people in the administration gave evasive and irresponsible answers. Only after the seriousness of the disease had manifested in the physical frame of Yogi and also on the advice of the doctors, the management revealed about the disease to the dear devotees of Yogi. The devotees were shocked and bewildered.

The second doctor devotee of Yogi prayed to Yogi to take proper treatment for the disease. The doctor also suggested another local doctor working in a Government Hospital nearby Tiruvannamalai to treat Yogi. The local doctor was called and Yogi accepted the new doctor to attend on him. The local doctor was a physician and not a surgeon. That local doctor attended Yogi daily for a few months, but he could not do anything. It was a painful sight to see Yogi suffering with acute pain due to the disease.

In a few months Yogi was not able to walk. Yogi had to be carried wherever he went. The people around Yogi did not allow any other devotee to come near Yogi. The managing trustee of the both trusts had more reverence then for ‘D’ than Yogi Ramsuratkumar. The managing trustee had even written a song on ‘D’.

After a few days, Yogi refused to take medicines. Yogi said that his Father alone knew how to treat the disease and cure him. However the cancer had spread. Yogi’s blood sugar level increased alarmingly. His heart got enlargement. Blood urea and creatinine shoot up high. There was congestion in the lungs too. The urine passage was totally blocked by the disease. Every time Yogi tried to pass urine, he would groan loudly with immense pain. Due to the block, the bladder became full and would give acute pain. All the twenty four hours Yogi suffered with severe pain. In spite of the pain, Yogi blessed the devotees. Even then the devotees were able to feel Yogi’s radiation of pure bliss and peace. His physical frame suffered and he shouted in pain, but his real being, which was the Father Himself, silently radiated the pure wisdom, compassion and bliss. Even in his sufferings, Yogi never complained. He bore all the sufferings of the ailments.

Even though Yogi suffered due to the killing disease cancer, Yogi’s inner state was totally one with his Supreme Father. During a conversation with a devotee, Yogi was telling, “I can only say that, whatever exists is one life. Unity: nothing is separate, nothing is isolated. This beggar is related to the Sun, to the Moon, to the infinite cosmos. This beggar is not limited to this body. All those present here are not separated, isolated. They are part of myself. You see this champak tree, you see this amla tree, they are all part of my life. They are not separate. They are not isolated. Myself is in all these parts with all these leaves. I am the Total. I am the Whole, Absolute, Indivisible, Eternal, Limitless Life, Infinite Life. We are all one together, united, perfect unity in Father. That’s all. That’s all I can say.”

Yogi’s physical condition became alarmingly worst. Yogi was almost all the time with immense pain. The author heard that Yogi was suffering from some unknown disease, but, he didn’t think that it could be the killing disease, cancer. Anyhow he rushed to Tiruvannamalai and reached the ashram. Yogi happened to know about the arrival of author. Somebody came to the author and told him that Yogi wanted to see him. The author went to the abode to have the darshan of Yogi. He was shocked on seeing the health condition of Yogi. He prostrated before Yogi and looked at Yogi. Yogi saw the author with immense love, which was subtle and expressive. One of the so called elite group of people around Yogi asked Yogi whether he wanted to talk to the author. Yogi replied, “What to talk?” The author sat there in front of Yogi for a few hours. A rich breakfast consisting of sweets and variety of dishes was served to all in front of Yogi. Yogi was fed with some sweet and then other dishes by ‘D’. Yogi could eat very little. Yogi enquired Rajeshwari, who was serving food to all other people there whether the same food was served to all other devotees in the dinning hall. Rajeshwari without any hesitation bluntly lied that the same food was served to all.

In a few hours the group around Yogi, took Yogi to Sathanur Dam for sight seeing, in spite of Yogi’s unwillingness. It was a hot summer day. Yogi was taken in the ashram car. Sathanur dam was 37 km away from Tiruvannamalai. Yogi suffered a lot during the journey to and from Sathanur dam. He was groaning with immense pain. His physical frame could not withstand the stress of traveling on the bumpy road. During the return journey, Yogi preferred to come in the author’s car. Only during that travel, the author became aware of the acute pain Yogi suffered. After reached the ashram from Sathanur Dam, the author enquired the managing trustee about the disease. The author was informed that it was cancer, the killing disease. He also heard that Yogi didn’t want to get medical treatment. The author was baffled and was very angry with the people around Yogi. However he was helpless. The author explained the situation through e-mail to Smt.Anuradha, who was then in the US with her son Dr.Sankar. Dr.Sankar was a cancer specialist. The author requested Smt. Anuradha, who was a great devotee of Yogi to send her doctor son to India to treat Yogi. Dr. Sankar was an efficient doctor. At the same time he was spiritual from the very early age and had tremendous devotion for Yogi.

Smt. Anuradha sent her son to India in the next possible flight. Dr. Sankar came to Tiruvannamalai directly. Sri Ganeshan, the great grandson of Ramana Maharishi’s brother took Dr. Sankar to the abode, in the ashram. Yogi greeted Dr. Sankar and enquired about his mother. Finally Yogi told Dr. Sankar that Sankar wanted to see Yogi, had seen Yogi and he should go back to the US. Dr.Sankar told Yogi that due to Yogi’s grace he had completed the medical course and he should be permitted to treat Yogi. Yogi did not answer. Sankar stayed with the other people around Yogi. He was shocked on seeing the seriousness of the disease.

A local doctor used to clean the wounds daily and dressed them. The time when Dr.Sankar visited Yogi, the local doctor was absent continuously for a few days due to some personal reasons. Because of the absence of the local doctor, the wounds couldn’t be cleaned and dressed properly. Dr. Sankar was not permitted to attend to Yogi. Yogi was groaning with great pain. For two days Yogi struggled with immense pain as he was not able to pass urine due to the block in the passage. Finally ‘D’ had to request Dr. Sankar to attend Yogi to clean and dress the wounds. Dr. Sankar while cleaning the wounds forcibly removed one big block. Yogi shouted with great pain. The people around Yogi told Dr. Sankar to dress Yogi gently, as Yogi’s body was very sensitive and delicate. Dr. Sankar completed the dressing. Within a few minutes, Yogi passed urine. It was a great relief for Yogi. After that Yogi slept well too. It was a long time since Yogi slept well. The people around Yogi believed that Yogi was treating his own body with his mystic power and everything would become all right soon.

Dr.Sankar consulted over phone with Dr. Rangabashyam, a senior and very popular surgeon at Chennai. The latter was a great devotee of Ramana Maharishi and a great lover of Yogi. The senior doctor shared his opinion with Dr.Sankar. Both the doctors had the same opinion that the disease could be treated only by surgery, by removing the portions affected by the disease. But Yogi did not like to be operated. Yogi wanted to withdraw himself. Yogi earlier told that as soon as the construction work in the ashram was over, Father would recall Yogi. Dr. Sankar pleaded with Yogi to agree for the surgery. Yogi did not answer. In a few days Yogi called Dr. Sankar and told him that he had come to see Yogi, had seen Yogi and he should go back to the US. Dr.Sankar felt helpless. Yogi refused to undergo surgery and there was no alternative remedy for the disease. So, he could not do anything for Yogi. With a heavy heart Sankar went back to the US.

Dr. Rangabashyam visited Yogi. He examined Yogi. He explained the seriousness of the disease to the people around Yogi. If the situation continued like this, within a very short time everything would come to an end, he warned. The people around Yogi awakened. They realised the seriousness. Till then, they were in the belief that Yogi would cure himself. They now understood the conviction of Yogi to withdraw once for all. They tried to persuade Yogi to accept for the treatment and get the cancer affected portion be operated by Dr.Rangabashyam at the latter’s hospital in Chennai. But Yogi vehemently refused to go through with operation or any other treatment. The people around Yogi were frightened and baffled. They called Sri Krishnapremi Maharaj to persuade Yogi to accept for the treatment. Sri Krishnapremi Maharaj came to the Sudama house to see Yogi. ‘D’ informed Yogi that Sri Krishnapremi Maharaj had come to see Yogi. Sri Krishnapremi Maharaj came inside and sat by Yogi. He talked to Yogi and prayed to him to agree for the treatment. He told Yogi that the body of Yogi belonged to the devotees and for the sake of devotees Yogi should accept the medical treatment. Yogi did not respond. Yogi blessed Sri Krishnapremi by touching the cheek and chest of Sri Krishnapremi. Sri Krishnapremi left after some time.

The administration sent Sri Swaminathan with another devotee in a car to Puttaparthi to take the issue to Sri Sai Baba. The devotees could not get the audience of Sri Sai Baba. They gave a local fax narrating the disease of Yogi and sought Sri Sai Baba’s blessings to make Yogi back to his normal health. Even after they gave the fax they could not get the audience of Sri Sai Baba. They waited for another one day for the response of Sri Sai Baba. They could not get any response. So they had to return to Tiruvannamalai.

The administration also informed Swami Satchidananda of Anandashram about the sickness of Yogi. Swami Satchidananda immediately sent Swami Muktananda and Sriram, the grandson of Swami Ramdas with some homeopathy medicines. Both Swami Mukthananda and Sriram saw Yogi and offered the medicines Swami Satchidananda sent through them. Yogi saluted the Swami and Sriram. Both were staying for a day there and left for Anandashram again. Yogi took the medicine sent by Swami Satchidananda for a day or two to satisfy the devotees and then stopped.

Yogi was in the ‘D’s house, when Sri Krishnapremi Maharaj and Dr. Rangabashyam visited Yogi. Dr.Rangabashyam had narrated to the people around Yogi, how the disease would spread and what were the symptoms that would appear to indicate the final days. As per the experienced doctor’s narration, the condition of Yogi worsened and the people around Yogi panicked. One day in the month of July, 2000, the situation became alarmingly worse and the people around Yogi bewildered. They took him by a car in the midnight from their house to the ashram.

In the meantime the author, who was staying in a room near the ashram, informed Sri Janardhanan about the sickness of Yogi. Sri Janardhanan also came to Tiruvannamalai. He too couldn’t see Yogi. During that time Sri Anjaneyalu was with Yogi in the night to serve Yogi. He would come out early in the morning to attend his work. The author and Sri Janardhanan went to ‘D’s house and heard from the watchman that Yogi was taken to the ashram in the midnight. They rushed to the ashram to know something about Yogi’s health from Sri Anjaneyalu. It was around 3 o’ clock in the early morning. They stood in front of the gate of the ashram. They were able to see the trustee of the ashram, walking here and there near the abode with great anxiety. The author and Sri S.P.Janardhanan sensed something might have gone wrong. They wanted to know from the trustee about Yogi’s health condition. They asked the watchman to open the gate and entered the premises of the ashram. On seeing the two, the trustee ran towards his cottage and did not turn up till the two went back. God knows why he ran away from the devotees. Sri Anjaneyalu came out from the abode and narrated about what happened during the midnight. It worried them a lot, but anyhow, they felt helpless. They returned to their respective places.

The disease gave acute pain and Yogi’s body was almost all the time groaning with pain. The people around Yogi prayed to Yogi with all the sincerity to allow them to take Yogi to the Ramana Clinic at Madras to be operated by Dr. Rangabashyam. Yogi’s blood sugar level rose alarmingly. It was around 400 plus. There was congestion of the lungs and there was a mild heart enlargement. The blood urea and creatinine were elevated. Yogi was not responding and he was apparently in coma.

The people around Yogi decided to take Yogi to Madras to admit him in the Ramana Clinic. They requested one devotee to lend his personal van he used, to take Yogi to Madras. The handicapped devotee instantly obliged and asked his driver to be ready to take Yogi to Madras. On 17th August 2000, early morning around 5 o’ clock, the people around Yogi took Yogi in the van to Madras and admitted him in the Ramana Clinic at Madras around 11 o’ clock. Yogi was in coma apparently. His condition was very serious. During the time of admission the senior doctor Rangabashyam was out of station to attend some medical conference. He was contacted by his juniors over phone. Dr. Rangabashyam instructed his juniors about the course of treatment and asked them to communicate to him over phone regularly about the developments. The junior doctors as per the instruction of their senior treated Yogi by administering the medicines. Dr. Rangabashyam returned the same night and examined Yogi. He told that the blood sugar level and the blood urea level should be brought to normal and then alone he could think about the surgery for the cancer. He also conveyed that he was to do a minor surgery to create drainage for urine passage. The very next day on 18/8/2000, Dr. Rangabashyam conducted a minor surgery on Yogi. It gave great relief to Yogi. Dr. Rangabashyam invited the doctor couple Dr. Kumareshan and Dr. Punitha, the dear devotees of Yogi to be with him during the minor surgery.

Dr.Kumareshan, the great grandson of Sri Subbaiah Nadar and a great devotee of Yogi, along with his wife Dr.Punitha volunteered their services to attend to Yogi. They were living in Madras, working in Government hospitals. Dr. Rangabashyam gladly accepted their services and shared his views and opinions with the young doctors. Also some specialized doctors, who were the devotees of Yogi, living in Madras offered their services to Dr. Rangabashyam, who was very happy to accept their services. Dr.Kumareshan and his wife Dr.Punitha volunteered to stay in the hospital during the night to attend Yogi.

One day, after the minor surgery, while Dr. Kumareshan was attending on Yogi in the night shift, with tears in his eyes he prayed to Yogi, “Swami, do not make us orphan. Please get well soon Swami.” Yogi responded immediately by opening his eyes. Yogi patted on Dr.Kumareshan’s cheek with all love and compassion and smiled. The people around Yogi did not like the proximity of Dr. Kumareshan and Dr. Punitha with Yogi. They complained to Dr. Rangabashyam about the doctors and requested him not to encourage them to attend on Yogi. But Rangabashyam felt the other way. He told that those doctors were actually helping him in treating Yogi and there was no reason to send them away. Actually, he said, it was safe to be attended by doctors instead of untrained devotees of Yogi. Anyhow within a few days Dr.Kumareshan and Dr.Punitha couldn’t render their service to Yogi, due to the consistent protests from the people around Yogi.

In the meantime, a devotee gave her car with the driver to be at the disposal of the managing trustee for the service of Yogi all the 24 hours. Similarly several other devotees contributed huge amounts for the treatment. Anyhow, for the first two days after the admission of Yogi in the hospital, the managing trustee could not find time to visit Yogi, due to a marriage function at his brother’s house.

In the meantime, a young devotee called Parthiban, a transport operator at Aruppukottai, who had the experience in handling the old sick people, was called to attend on Yogi. Already, another young confidential devotee Saktivel, who was working as a teacher in a higher secondary school at Madras was staying in the hospital, doing all sorts of service to Yogi. Both these boys took care of Yogi in several ways. They washed the clothes of Yogi regularly. Those two youths’ sincere and devoted service to Yogi attracted everybody’s appreciation.

Yogi had great regards and love for the senior doctor Rangabashyam. Dr. Rangabashyam’s wife, Smt. Chitra would take care of the food for Yogi and the people around Yogi. Smt. Chitra was a noble and great soul. She attended to the needs of the people around Yogi without any hesitation. She instructed her servants to attend to the people around Yogi with great regards and reverence. The doctor allotted one whole floor in the hospital building, consisting of several rooms to Yogi and the other people. The doctor’s home was just behind the hospital. Dr. Rangabashyam and his wife Smt. Chitra had tremendous love and reverence for Yogi. A few times Yogi visited their home during his stay in the hospital after the major surgery.

Yogi’s blood sugar level had been brought under control. Dr. Rangabashyam brought all other health parameters under the control so that he could conduct the major surgery for cancer. It took 25 days for him to bring Yogi’s physical condition to withstand the major surgery. On 11/9/2000, he conducted the major surgery. He successfully removed the whole part, which had been affected by cancer. The date became unforgettable to the whole humanity later. On the same date and at the same time in the very next year 2001, the majestic World Trade Centre Buildings in New York and other important targets in the US were destroyed by the cruel, terrific attacks of the ruthless terrorists, burying thousands of innocent people under the wreckage. God knows whether there is any link between the removal of a Yogi’s physical part and this great human loss.

The date of operation was kept secret by the management but somehow the author came to know the exact date and time of the operation. The author informed the date to various institutions functioning in the name of Yogi and the devotees about the operation. The devotees remembered Yogi’s name throughout the day, praying that Yogi should come out of the disease successfully. The prayer was answered. After the surgery, Yogi recovered a lot, but still he was not able to walk. The best physiotherapist was called in and he gave regular massage to strengthen Yogi’s legs. But still Yogi could not walk till the end of his life.

After the surgery, devotees thronged to see Yogi at the hospital. The managing trustee arranged some volunteers to register the names of the devotees, who wanted to see Yogi. They would fix the date and time for a batch of devotees daily to have the darshan of Yogi. Accordingly the devotees had the darshan of Yogi every day in the morning and evening. Devotees from far off places also came to the hospital and had the darshan of Yogi.

The people around Yogi had to stay in the hospital with Yogi. They couldn’t breathe the outside wind quite for sometime. They wanted to visit places in and around Madras city taking Yogi with them. Yogi was pressurised once to visit a spiritual place at Madras by ‘D’ repeatedly. Yogi uttered a proverb in Hindi. The proverb is “Gar ka jogi jogra, bahar ka jogi sidh!” The driver of the van, Sri Mahendra Yadav, who used to carry Yogi along with the other youths, laughed on hearing the proverb. He was a man from Uttar Pradesh and knew Hindi well. On seeing Mahendra Yadav’s laughing, the lady sensed that Yogi said something mischievous. She asked Yogi the meaning of the proverb. Yogi didn’t respond to her. The meaning of the proverb is: “Treating the Yogi in one’s house like a joker, one assumes the Yogi there outside as a sidha purusha.”

Day by day the health of Yogi’s physical frame got improved and slowly regained its strength. But still Yogi was not able to stand upon his own legs. He had to be carried in a chair. However Yogi wanted to go to the ashram at Tiruvannamalai. But the doctor wanted Yogi to stay for a few more days in the hospital to take some preventive steps to avoid recurrence of the cruel disease cancer. He also wanted Yogi to regain some strength so that he could walk without anybody’s support. He arranged a physiotherapist to treat Yogi. But still Yogi could not walk till his end.

The people around Yogi got bored staying in the same place for months together. They wanted to breathe the outside air. They again and again requested Yogi to go somewhere. But Yogi was reluctant. He simply told them to get doctor’s permission. The people contacted the doctor. Initially the doctor was hesitant, but later he suggested them to take Yogi to his farmhouse, which was situated on the seashore. The people informed Yogi that they had obtained the doctor’s permission to go to the latter’s farmhouse. Yogi finally accepted to go with them. They took Yogi in the van to the doctor’s farmhouse. The doctor had arranged everything for the whole group’s stay and food. He also had sent his best staff nurse to attend Yogi in case of emergency. They stayed there for a night. The farmhouse impressed the people. After a day’s stay, the whole group returned to the hospital. As days went by, Yogi was feeling well and insisting to go back to Ashram at Tiruvannamalai. Finally the doctor gave clearance for Yogi’s discharge and the date was fixed. In 23/11/2000 Yogi was discharged from the hospital. On the same day Yogi reached the ashram at Tiruvannamalai.

During the serious sickness, the administration did not bother to inform the sickness to the family of Yogi at Ranji. Dr. Kumareshan, who had contacts with Yogi’s family members, informed them about the sickness of Yogi. The youngest daughter of Yogi, Smt. Beena came from Hazaribagh to see her father. She was not allowed to be with her father. It seems Yogi allowed her to see him, but not allowed her to stay with him. It also seems Yogi got annoyed when she insisted to stay with Yogi. In a few days Smt.Beena had to return to her home at Hazaribagh.

In mean time the management purchased a new van for the use of Yogi. Even though the devotee from Bombay, Sri Asish Bagrodia offered his personal van for the service of Yogi, the management wanted to buy a new van of their own. The devotee, who was a handicapped, had designed the van for his own use. When he was asked for the van for the use of Yogi to take the latter to the hospital, he instantly handed over his van with his driver. The van was at the disposal of Yogi for months together. It was returned to the owner only after the Mahasamadhi of Yogi. Till then, the great devotee managed without his van, but with great inconvenience. The driver Mahendra Yadav had done a great selfless service to Yogi for months together leaving his family at Bombay.