(part 1 of 2)
Radio Sai interview with Dr. Safaya, Director, Sri
Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical sciences, Prasanthi
gram campus and the Whitefield campus.
Interviewer: Prof. G. Venkataraman, (GV) Former Vice
Chancellor, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher learning.
Sai Ram Dr. Safaya, and welcome to the Studios of Radio Sai.
We all know you very well, including the listeners; so may
be, there is no real introduction necessary. But there is
one thing most people do not know - I, for example, do not
know – and that is: What brought you to Swami? Different
people have different experiences that bring them to Swami.
What brought you to Swami?
What brought me to Swami was my spiritual quest. I have always
wanted to get the answer to two questions. 1) Is there God
and Divinity? 2) If there is, then how to find it?
GV: These questions
were with you always?
Since my childhood, I should say.
GV: What were
you doing to find the answers?
I tried to meet a large number of people, religious people
and saints, not only Hindus but belonging to all religions,
and the only thing that clicked with me was Bhagavan Sri Sathya
GV: How did
you come to hear about Him?
I read a book entitled, The Man of Miracles.
Yes, Murphet’s book. This book was in Hindi and I do
not know much of Hindi, myself. So I had to read it practically
like a school boy.
GV: You were
not aware that the book was originally published in English?
Not at that time. It was given to me by a friend. He said,
“You give it to your wife. She will read it out for
you and you can finish in a week or two and then return it”.
It was in the morning breakfast time, when I started reading
it. I then forgot myself completely. Where I was? And what
I was reading? I forgot every thing completely. I had to go
to the hospital - I was teaching those days. But I forgot!
GV: It was
It was gripping and most interesting. Not only that; I fell
in love with Swami as I went on reading the book.
GV: Your time
Yes, my time had come. Just like a key and the lock - it just
opened like that. By the time I finished the book, I knew
finally that I had found the PERSON for whom I was waiting.
GV: You wanted
to see Him?
Yes, I wanted to see Him.
GV: So you
First I started attending Bhajans locally and later I started
coming here. Here, in 1984, I said to Bhagavan: “Why
don’t I work in the General Hospital here for a few
days? I have enough time in between Darshans”. He said,
“No no, not now. That time will come and I will then
tell you what to do”.
1984? Seven years before the Puttaparthi Super Speciality
Hospital was started?
That’s right. And He told me that He would call a meeting
of all the doctors of the world and decide there what is to
be done. Wait for that time, He added.
What did you think of it when was this told to you?
It was my first Interview and I was a little confused, I must
GV: No wonder!
Quite overfilled, I was brimming with joy and Love and all
sorts of feelings that I did not understand. Later on I was
concentrating on this sentence. What was to be my role, and
what does He have in store for me? When will this meeting
of doctors take place? I didn’t have any idea that a
big hospital was going to be established.
GV: Who had?
One day while I was in my hospital in Delhi, I got a sudden
telephone call. The message was: “You must come at once
GV: Which year
Early 1990. The Message said: “Bhagavan has formed an
International Committee for establishing a Super Speciality
Hospital at Prasanthi Nilayam and you are the Chairman of
the Committee.” I was completely bowled over.
GV: You had
forgotten, but HE remembered!
Absolutely! I then took the next plane and landed in Whitefield,
where Swami was at that time. Col. Joga Rao met me at Bangalore
Airport and I was driven straight to Ashram and things got
started. There I met a large number of doctors, Indian as
well as overseas doctors. A good many of the names were quite
familiar but there were also others whom I had not met before.
So in 1991 you finally made a shift to this place. How was
it to come from a big hospital in big city to what was
then still a village, and to work in a very different kind
It was a great challenge in many ways. Number one, we had
to establish a hospital at a rural location 160 Kms. from
a metropolitan city where every thing was easily available
while here nothing was available. We had to have to have a
team of people drawing up the lists of various requirements,
not missing anything, not even a needle. It therefore took
us some time to get adjusted in establishing a hospital in
rural service. Even now, the hospital’s next door neighbour
is a thatched hut. I remember, we who were engaged in planning
and advising the engineers, we would take tea along with the
labourers in an L&T [Larson and Toubro] canteen. Gradually
things started taking shape and my people, my workers and
colleagues also started used to these rural facilities in
the surroundings. But one thing was there - there was tremendous
amount of dedication in every body. Not only in the people
associated with the hospital, who knew all about what the
hospital was meant for and what it was supposed to do. Even
the L & T construction labourer who was carrying a crowbar,
cement, bricks and all that, went to the same canteen. The
culture of the hospital developed, I think, right from the
day the foundation stone was laid.
to say you got the inspiration from Swami, otherwise it would
have been very frustrating.
Not only I, but everybody got their inspiration from the same
GV: Did Swami
pay visits in those days?
Yes He did, daily. Sometimes He would come twice during the
GV: He is so
meticulous; I am sure He went all round.
Yes He did, instructing, encouraging and inspiring. Next morning
we would have to show some improvement or some achievement.
you came through it all and you have sailed through ten years.
How does it appear now, when you look back?
Safaya: It seems like a miracle. The hospital
was to be inaugurated on 22nd. Two days before that date,
I gave up. I fell down on my bed at 12 O’ clock in the
night, telling myself, “I cannot go any further, because
the hospital will not be ready to be inaugurated on the due
date. Surgical operations have to be done. The conditions
are not sterile. Scientifically we are not ready.” I
told my wife that I had failed my Master and started weeping,
which I never did, at least in presence of my wife. She got
alarmed and encouraged me saying, “Swami is a GOD. He
will do something, don’t worry. Bhagavan’s SANKALPA
has to be realised and it will be for sure.” Lo and
behold, so it was; everything got completed miraculously just
before the inauguration. Thus on 22nd November, 1991, when
the inauguration was scheduled, exactly at 9 o’ clock,
precisely as HE had predicted, the surgeon’s knife did
touch the skin of the patient That is what exactly happened.
GV: In a small
way, I went through a similar sort of experience. We had to
start the Radio service on 23rd November this year(2001) and
we got very little notice. I never thought it was going to
happen, But in spite of my doubts it did happen because HE
willed it. I couldn’t believe that it happened. It is
just marvellous, being swept along by that magic.
Swami’s physical presence makes its own impact.
GV: Yes that
is true; it does make a big contribution.
But over and above that is the Supernatural Aspect that is
GV: Yes, somehow
difficulties dissolve in the very last minute and suddenly
things start to hang together.
You know before I came here, the Government of India was not
ready to relieve me. There are documents to prove it. My ultimate
relief order by the President of the All India Institute of
Medical Sciences, the type of which has never been given to
anybody, says ‘I reluctantly accept Dr. Safya’s
request for premature retirement’. The word ‘reluctantly’
is very significant because the President of the Institute
who is also the Union Health Minister tried his best to stop
me from leaving. The Health Minister was simply not ready
to relieve me. Ultimately I went to Bhagavan. Just before
this trip, the Minister told me, “No further leave;
you can’t go and you have to stay in Delhi”. Reporting
all this I told Bhagavan, “Swami all has failed. Even
the appeals of the President of India and the Prime Minister
of India on my behalf have failed to produce any effect. Everything
has failed. My personal efforts have come to an end. Bhagavan,
if you want me here, then YOU have to intervene at the Divine
Bhagavan said, “Don’t worry.” He smiled
and added “You will be relieved on first of February”.
On 31st January at 6 P.M., I was giving farewell to a person
who was retiring that very day and he was my Deputy. He was
going and I was staying. So it seemed at 6 P.M. But suddenly
circumstances changed that night. The Health Minister suddenly
called me and said, “Are you sure you want to go?”
I replied, “Yes, my Guru’s
Adesh. Whatever you say about
my staying back is correct in its own way. But there is also
the Guru - Shishya
parampara, you know. He is my Guru
and I have to get HIS adesh fulfilled.
Therefore you have to let me go.” The Minister reluctantly
picked up the pen put wrote the words, “I reluctantly
accept Dr. Safaya’s request”. This happened at
7 P. M. I the told the Health Minister, “Kindly ring
up the Institute, tell them not to relieve the Deputy Director,
and that you have given him one year extension. That is the
only way, I can be relieved!”
GV: What a
At 8 P.M. Dr. Verma got the news that he had been given one
year’s extension. He gladly accepted.
GV: I hope
he didn’t have to give back his farewell party!
Next morning, I went to the Institute and handed over charge.
The point I wanted to make in the whole story is the DIVINE
SANKALPA. I surrendered totally at HIS feet.
The big recommendations had failed. The big intervention at
the worldly level had failed. Only He could do something.
And HE did!
(To be continued………)