Guruji ko mera shat shat pranam;
Guruji ki mahima nirali hai;
Guruji teri rehmat baras rahi
(I bow at Guruji's lotus feet;
Where the river of His grace ceaselessly flows
Taking ever-unique forms to help His devotees.)
Back in 2007, I felt a swollen lymph node in my neck while taking a shower. I consulted my family doctor and he suggested an urgent biopsy, referring me to the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital. Everything came to a standstill. I was terrified. Memories of my sister in-law who died of breast cancer eight years ago scared me. My husband and I decided not to get the biopsy done for we imagined it created a risk of cancer spreading throughout the body. Over the next two to three years, we chased hope in every direction. We tried every pundit, fakeer and doctor; every kind of medicine-allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda et cetera. But my condition only got worse.
I'm a devotee of Sai Baba. Whenever I have an important and difficult question to settle, I'd mark two chits with 'yes' and 'no', fold them and throw them in front of Him. The slip that landed on His feet gave me the answer. It was always no for my biopsy. That upset all my friends, but I did not budge.
My younger sister-in-law had told me about Guruji long ago, but we hadn't had a chance to go to Bade Mandir at that time. In 2010, we were able to do so for the first time. The moment I stepped inside, I felt really calm and peaceful-as if someone was assuring me that everything will be fine now. Soon, we were going regularly to the Mandir.
An year later, my husband and I went for a holiday to the US in 2011. I was weak and had lost 25 kilos by that time, but I enjoyed my trip and felt healthy. My husband used to get tired there but I was always full of energy, as if Guruji was holding my hand. In retrospect, I feel Guruji gave me a nice well-deserved vacation before starting my treatment.
After coming back, my condition worsened. I could not get out of bed. I couldn't even eat food and my hemoglobin count dropped to six. Gradually after having Guruji's langar prasad
, I began having the urge to eat food again. On a doctor's recommendation, I got a full-body PET scan done. The reports turned out to be worse than expected and a biopsy was urgently required. That day, I decided to surrender myself to Guruji and accept whatever He had in store for me.
The disease had spread throughout my body and one symptom was intense, out-of-control itching all over. One day at Bade Mandir, I was scratching myself really badly and I found a flower. The moment I touched it my itching was gone. For the next two to three hours, I did not get the urge to scratch again. This was Guruji's way of telling me that if He could cure my itching, He could cure me too. Our visits to Bade Mandir continued and one of these found me crying inside the Mandir. A lady devotee came up to me of her own accord and said,"Theek ho jayegi, theek ho jayegi, theek ho jayegi," and left!
After four years of being in denial, I finally got my biopsy done. The procedure happened without complication. Guruji delayed my reports for some reason, and I was diagnosed with cancer of the lymphatic system, Hodgkin's lymphoma, at stage 3B. The cancer had spread its roots throughout the body and the doctors feared that my bone marrow had also been affected. That would make the treatment very difficult. A bone-marrow sample was taken. A day before my reports were due (December 13, 2011), Guruji came in my dream. He was wearing a beautiful red chola
. He kicked my lower back hard (the same spot from where my bone-marrow sample was taken) and said: "Jaa, teri life ke 10 saal aur badaye.
" (Go, I have given you 10 more years.)
The next day the reports were normal and my bone-marrow was clear. The doctors did not expect this and were shocked, yet relieved. My chemotherapy sessions began, one every 15 days. I used to invite Guruji to be with me during the chemotherapy on Monday and after the treatment I used to go to Bade Mandir directly from the hospital. One day, I was in Bade Mandir after my chemotherapy and a devotee asked me how my reports were. When I told him that I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, he said: "Aunty, ye lymphoma-voma kuch nahi hota; jao aish karo.
" (You don't have lymphoma; be carefree.) These were Guruji's words delivered to me through him.
All my chemotherapy sessions went very smoothly and in fact I did not experience a single side effect. I had got myself a wig earlier but never used it. I finished chemotherapy in June 2012 and by Guruji's grace am completely healthy now. One day I was sitting in Bade Mandir. My treatment had gotten over and I was wondering if my cancer was really a big deal. I soon moved to have langar prasad and sat next to a doctor. He asked me about my cancer. I told him about my treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, and he could not help but remark that it was no small thing: Guruji had treated a very dangerous cancer. This was Guruji's way of reassuring me. Jai Guruji!
Reena Kohli, a devotee