Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Restores Dr. Ravi Kumar’s Eyesight Twice
Sathya Sai Baba
This is the story of how Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba restored the eyesight of Dr. Ravi Kumar, twice! Dr. Ravi Kumar is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry in the Brindavan Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. He came to Swami decades ago as a young boy and ever since then has been with Swami, first as a student and now as a teacher in Bhagawan’s College. His entire family is greatly devoted to Bhagavan, and all of them have had many thrilling experiences.
In 1985, while engaged in some experiments in the chemistry laboratory, hot acid splashed into Ravi Kumar’s eyes and he became blind. Here, in his own words, is the story of how Swami restored his eyesight:
It was July 1985. I had by now enrolled for the Ph.D degree, and busy with my research. One morning, I was working in the lab when the lunch bell was given. A fellow-student asked me, “Are you not coming for lunch?” “Not immediately,” I said adding, “I shall finish this experiment and then come. You go ahead.”
I was trying to detect steroids on a thin layer plate. For this, it was necessary to prepare a special reagent by mixing acetic anhydride and concentrated sulphuric acid. Even as I was busy doing this, there was a sudden explosion and the next thing I knew was that the chemical I was preparing had splashed into both my eyes. I shouted ‘Sai Ram’.
Hearing my cry, a few students were still in the neighbourhood, came running towards me. They anxiously asked, “What happened?” I just cried out, “Take me to the nearest tap please!” My eyes were just burning and the pain was terrible. There was no water in any of the taps in the lab. (Later I learnt that the water line had been closed for doing some plumbing work for the library building that was just then coming up) By the time my friends found a tap with water flowing, the acid mixture must have burnt my eyes for nearly two minutes. My eyes were washed continuously; meanwhile I discovered that I could not see anything.
“Let’s go and see the doctor,” said my colleague who was helping me. So saying, he took me to the General Hospital which, in those days, was adjacent to the Ashram. When we went there and explained the problem, the duty nurse said, “What a time to come! Our (only) eye-specialist, Dr. Wamsa, has gone away to get her visa extended.” My heart sank as the nurse examined me, tut-tutted and said, “I suggest you go to Bangalore…”
I did not go to Bangalore but instead went for [afternoon] Darshan, of course assisted by my friend. I could not see anything. Everyone was waiting silently for Bhagawan to come out. There was no Darshan music those days, and I did not know whether Swami had come out or not. It was then my friend whispered, “Swami has just come out…. He has turned to the left …. He is now on the ladies side …… Now He has come towards the gents side….. He is approaching us….” I could hear the rustle of silk as the Lord passed by me; I was utterly miserable even as I thought, “How unlucky I am not to be able to see the Beloved Face….”
And then suddenly I heard Swami’s enchanting voice. He was saying, “Take this Vibhuti Prasadam for three days, and everything will be alright.” With these words, He placed three packets of Vibhuti in my hand.
The world was absolutely dark. I was looking forward to the end of the third day. I had the last dose of Vibhuti even as the night prayer was being said in the Hostel. I still could not see.
I could not control my tears as I recalled all my hopes and aspirations. I was just four and a half years old when I lost my mother, and since then, I was literally brought up by Swami. I had been eagerly looking forward to serving Swami after completing my studies but here I was, blind and dependent on someone else. Was this to be my fate for the rest of my life?
I was totally shattered and literally cried myself to sleep. The next thing I knew was that someone was knocking the door of my room. I said, “Please come in.” I turned and saw [without actually realising it then] that one of my students had brought coffee for me. I said, “Oh, it is you Sridhar. Have you brought coffee?” The boy exclaimed, “Sir! You can see!!” That was when I realised what had actually happened. Overwhelmed, I said, “Yes, I can see clearly!”
During Darshan that morning, Swami came straight to me and asked, “How are your eyes?” I had no words to offer. My eyes took over and washed His Feet with tears. As I looked up with misty eyes, Swami said, “Go to Bangalore and get yourself a pair of spectacles. Always wear them in the lab; and be careful the next time!”
I got myself a pair of spectacles, and took great care to wear them as commanded. Four years passed. I was in the lab and engaged in an important experiment. Suddenly, my spectacles slipped, fell down and broke.
I could not afford to stop my experiment; if I did, it would mean that the work of the past two months would all go waste. So I decided to continue with my experiment, telling myself that I would be very careful. I prepared some hot chromic acid, poured it into a sintered funnel, and, to finish the work quickly, connected the system to a vacuum aspirator – it was a brand new machine that had just arrived from Japan. Nothing happened for a while, so it seemed. I went near the apparatus to have a close look, and just then the flask imploded, tipping about 30 cc of hot chromic acid into my eye. There it was, the second time! I shouted ‘Sai Ram’.
The acid streamed down my face on to my shirt, eating it up. I was assisted to a nearby tap (this time, the tap was mercifully not dry!), and water was continuously splashed on my eyes and face. Even after 45 minutes of washing, the burning sensation was just unbearable.
Once more Dr.Ravi Kumar was taken to the same General Hospital – this time the doctor was there but there was precious little she could do except to bandage the two blind eyes. Then …
As I sat for afternoon Darshan with my bandaged eyes, many thoughts raced through my mind. “Had not Swami warned me clearly and explicitly? Why on earth did I have to disobey His command? What would He say now? Would He be angry with me? Am I, after all, destined to be blind all my life?”
There was a hush. I knew Swami had come out to give Darshan. I could now feel His presence near me. And then I heard His sweet voice, “Ravi, what happened?” Even as I tried to get up, He patted my cheek and said, “I told you to be careful the next time, did I not? Careless, careless! Here, hold out your hand.” As I stretched my hand, He gave me some Vibhuti that He had materialised and said, “Eat this Vibhuti; Swami will always protect you; everything will be fine.”
I ate the Vibhuti with much relief and joy. What an assurance it was to hear from the Divine Himself that everything would be all right! The following day, I went to the doctor to have the dressing changed. She removed the bandage, examined me and exclaimed with wonder, “Sai Ram! What a miracle!! Your eyes are perfectly OK!” Yes, everything was fine exactly as Bhagavan had said the previous day, and I could see clearly once more.
Reference: “Love All Serve All” published by Sathya Sai Publications of New Zealand. Page: 302-304.
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