March 1995 happened to be the end of my 2nd year of service at the Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi. Before we left for Australia on holiday, Swami graciously called us for interview twice. I had asked Swami in the 1st interview if He would give us one of His Robes for our Homebush Sai Centre in Australia. Swami brought a Robe from the inner room and gave it to me saying, "This is for you."
4 days later we had our second interview when Swami asked my wife, "Have I given you the Robe?" Even before she could say a word, Swami walked into the inner room and brought a Robe and gave it to her. Presuming that Swami may have intended this Robe for our Sai Centre, we gave it to the Centre, placing it on Swami's chair during the Centre bhajans.
Within a week of our arrival in Australia, I had a phone call from an old friend. He sounded desperate and told me that his son, David, has been admitted to the pediatric psychiatric wing at a major teaching hospital in Sydney. Since he had attempted suicide twice during this period the authorities had decided to transfer him to a high security juvenile psychiatric unit, specially built for such cases at another hospital.
David was 16 and came from a loving and well-to-do upper middle class family. For some reason he developed resentment towards his parents and, unknown to his parents, he became extremely depressed. Australia had the highest juvenile suicide rate in the world at the time.
With a caring psychiatrist, counseling and medication David had shown some improvement within a couple of weeks. When he was sent home one weekend, it proved disastrous when David attempted suicide by jumping through the 2nd floor window at his home on to the concrete driveway. Luckily he fell on the sunroof of his father's car and caused extensive damage to it. He was miraculously unscathed.
One day the boy stealthily tried to electrocute himself by poking something into a live power socket in the ward but the safety trip switch thwarted his attempt and caused a power cut to some appliances in the adjoining critical care ward. The authorities decided to send him off to the High-Security Unit immediately.
His father managed to persuade the hospital authorities to delay the transfer until I saw David. I remembered to carry Swami's Robe with me. First I had to win the boy's confidence and told David that I had just returned from India I gave him the Robe to hold and told him that Swami had given it to me only a few days back. David couldn't believe that such a precious gift could be in his hands and he held it dumbstruck for a moment.
This new wing for juveniles, the only one of its kind in Australia to tackle the unprecedented rise in juvenile suicide rate, came into existence after I had left for India. The High-Security Unit was considered to be one of the most modern of its kind in the world, with psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, counselors and social welfare workers, all working as a team.
With my regular visits, David showed great improvement and the staff there encouraged my visits. The only furniture in his tiny room was his six-foot bed and we were seated on it next to each other. When I saw my face in the mirror I had a flash of intuition that we should swap places. After swapping seats I asked him if he could see his face clearly in the mirror and he nodded his head.
I told David softly, "I will sit in silence next to you and let us continue with this precious moment of silence ('Sai-Lens')." 2 minutes passed and suddenly David let out a scream and grabbed me tightly. He appeared to be terrified over something and his whole body was shaking.
"What happened … what happened?" I asked and he replied, "Those eyes … those eyes…" gasping away. I queried, "What eyes?" and he said, "That face!" I quizzed him, "What face? What are you talking about? Tell me!" and he answered, "Those hairs!" Instantly I was able to piece together something astonishing happening and wondered if he had seen Sai Baba in the mirror.
Then I pulled out Sai Baba's photo from my wallet and asked, "Is it Him that you saw?" and he replied, "Yes." He was still in utter turmoil and breathing heavily and I persisted, "Where were you then?" and he replied, "I disappeared and Sai Baba alone was there!"
I was overjoyed and said, "How blessed you are! For over 15 years I have been visiting Baba every year and never had any vision of Him. You have had this amazing vision of your true self, which even evolved souls strive to experience. Can you realize the truth of yourself that you are Divine? You have seen Sai Baba in you with your own eyes without even going to India, haven't you?"
Sai Baba is revealing to you that He is the Christ and God within you and is going to heal you."
David eagerly awaited my visit the following day and I gave him a copy of the book 'The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist' by Samuel Sandweiss. He looked bright, cheerful and excited and wanted to tell me about his overnight dream. In the dream he was alone and Baba suddenly appeared at the door, holding a gent's umbrella with a metal shank that had a pointed tip. David saw many cut bits and pieces of his body strewn all over the floor. Staring at David, Baba walked into the room and poked the sharp pointed end of the umbrella into a small piece of his body lying in one corner. Lifting it up and pointing it towards David, Swami said, "I am taking this piece away, you don't need it anymore!" and disappeared.
The very same night David's mother too had her first dream of Baba. She and David were together alone in a room with Baba. She showed her reverence by bending down and touching Swami's feet, padanamaskar, and David followed suit and the dream ended. The two separate dreams the mother and son had that night, possibly at the same instant, was a sign of Swami's grace and divine intervention.
On my next visit David and I discussed about his amazing dream as well as what he had seen in the mirror. When David saw Swami's face in the mirror when his own face disappeared, did it mean he saw Sai Baba as a reflection of himself?
If your body was cut into several pieces you must have been dead. Then how could you have seen anything?" He replied, "I had no doubt that they were pieces of my own body." David was discharged from the High-Security Unit.
His parents were happy to accede to David's wish and got him admitted to another school. He did well in the university entrance examination, completed a 4-year course at the University of Sydney with honors and even did a postgraduate degree. He is now doing well in his career and the family is happy.
This extraordinary story shows us that we are reflections of God, and He has revealed Himself to humanity in the form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The dream David had reveals the existence of a conscious 'subtler person' within each one of us, who can see, hear, feel and interpret, even when the physical body is in pieces or dead, confirming that this physical body is merely an instrument, a psychosomatic apparatus!
Dr. Sara Pavan is an Anaesthesiologist from Australia, who came to Baba in 1980 and has been residing in Prasanthi Nilayam since 1993 serving in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.
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