– the ‘Lazarus’ of our times
How Baba gave Radhakrishna a new
lease of life
Mr. Howard Murphet narrates this amazing
episode in his book “Sai Baba:Man of Miracles”:
There happened in the latter part of 1953
an event almost as dramatic in its way as Christ's raising
of Lazarus from the dead. I heard of it from a number of people,
including the man most closely concerned, the "Lazarus"
of the case, Mr. V. Radhakrishna. Then I finally had the facts
carefully presented by Mr. Radhakrishna's daughter, Vijaya,
who was an eyewitness, and who wrote down the details at the
time of the happening in the diary she has always kept of
her experiences with Sai Baba. While relating the experience
to me she had her diary before her.
Mr. Y. Radhakrishna, who was an industrialist
and a well-known citizen in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh, was about
sixty years of age when in 1953 he paid a visit to Puttaparthi.
With him on this occasion went his wife, his daughter Vijaya
and the latter's husband Mr. K. S. Hemchand.
Vijaya was about eighteen and had not been
long married. Her father, she told me, was at the time suffering
from gastric ulcers, with various complications. He was really
in a very bad way, and one of his reasons for visiting the
ashram was the hope that he might get relief from his frightful
suffering. He had known Baba for some time.
The great religious festival of Dasara was
on, and a good number of people were visiting Puttaparthi.
Mr.Radhakrishna was given a room in the same building where
Swami lived, and spent all his time on his bed there. Once
when Baba came to visit him, Radha Krishna said that he would
prefer to die rather than go on suffering the way he was.
Swami simply laughed at this, and made no promise of either
healing him or letting him die.
One evening Radhakrishna went into a coma
and his breathing was that of a dying man. Alarmed, the wife
dashed off to see Swami. Swami came to the room, looked at
the patient and said, "Don't worry. Everything
will be all right," and left.
On the next day the patient was still unconscious.
Mr. K. S. Hemchand, the son-in-law, brought a male nurse of
the district who, after failing to find any pulse and making
other examinations, gave his opinion that Mr. Radhakrishna
was near death that there was no possibility of saving him.
So, about an hour after this, the patient became very cold.
The three anxious relatives heard what they thought was the
‘death rattle’ in his throat and watched him turning
blue and stiff.
Vijaya and her mother went to see Baba who
was at the time upstairs in His dining room. When they told
Him that Radhakrishna seemed to be dead. He laughed and walked
away to His bedroom. Vijaya and her mother returned to the
room of the ‘dead’ man and waited.
After a while, Swami came in and looked at
the body, but went away again without saying or doing any
thing. That was on the evening of the second day since Mr.
Radhakrishna had become unconscious. The whole of the next
night passed while the three stayed awake and anxiously watched
for any signs of life returning. There were no signs. Yet
they still had faith that Baba would some how or other, in
His own way, save Radhakrishna, for had He not said that everything
would be all right?
On the morning of the third day the body
was more than ever like a corpse - dark, cold, quite stiff
and beginning to smell. Other people who came to see and sympathise
told Mrs. Radhakrishna that she should have the corpse removed
from the ashram. But she replied, "Not unless Swami orders
it." Some even went to Baba and suggested that, as the
man was dead and the body smelling of decomposition, it should
either be sent back to Kuppam or cremated at Puttaparti. Swami
simply replied, "We'll see."
When Mrs. Radhakrishna went upstairs again
- to tell Baba what people were saying to her, and ask Him
what she must do, He answered: "Do not listen
to them, and have no fear; I am here." Then
He said that He would come down to see her husband soon.
She went downstairs again and waited, with
her daughter and son-in-law by the body. The minutes dragged
by - an hour passed – but Swami did not come. Then,
when they were beginning to despair entirely, the door opened
and there stood Baba in His red robe, copious hair, and shining
smile. It was then about half past two in the afternoon of
the third day.
Mrs. Radhakrishna went towards Baba and burst
into tears. Vijaya too began to cry. They were like Martha
and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus, weeping before their Lord
who, they thought, had come too late.
Gently, Baba asked the tearful women and
sorrowful Mr. Hemchand to leave the room. As they left, He
closed the door behind them. They do not know - no man knows
- what happened in that room where there were only Swami and
the ‘dead’ man. But after a few minutes Baba opened
the door and beckoned the waiting ones in.
There, on the bed, Radhakrishna was looking
up at them and smiling! Amazingly, the stiffness of death
had vanished and his natural colour was returning. Baba went
over, stroked the patient's head and said to him, "Talk
to them, they're worried."
"Why worried?" asked Radhakrishna,
puzzled. "I'm all right. You are here."
Swami turned to the wife: "I
have given your husband back to you," He said.
"Now get him a hot drink."
When she brought it, Swami Himself fed it
to Radhakrishna slowly with a spoon. For another half an hour
He remained there, strengthening the man He had "raised".
Then He blessed the whole family, placing His hand on Mrs.
Radhakrishna's head, and left the room.
Next day the patient was strong enough to
walk to Bhajan. On the third day he wrote a seven-page letter
to one of his daughters who was abroad in Italy. The family
stayed a few more days at Prasanthi Nilayam, then with Baba's
permission returned to their home in Kuppam. The bad gastric
ulcers and complications had vanished forever.
When I spoke to Mr. Radhakrishna himself
about the experience I asked if he had any memories at all
of the time he was unconscious and to all appearances dead.
He replied, "No. When I became conscious again I thought
at first that it was just the same day. Later they told me
it had been three days I was unconscious, that I was 'dead'
and actually starting to stink. But Swami can do anything
he wishes. He is God."
Reference: “Sai Baba:
Man of Miracles” by Mr. Howard
Publisher: Macmillan India Limited, 1972.
This episode is also recorded in the book “Anyatha Sharanam
Nasthi - Other Than You Refuge There Is None” written
by Mr. Radhakrishna’s daughter, Smt. Vijaya Kumari.