In a hospital practice, we all see sufferings all the time. When we were young in medical college, we used to quite often get disturbed seeing the sufferings of the people. During our career, we learnt a lot of spiritual prescriptions from our patients. Not only they helped us healing our patients but also changed our perception to health and sickness.
I recall Swami Bodhanand, a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda, was once admitted with us. When I asked him to give me a spiritual message, he told me only two words “Detached Attachment”. He said, “As a doctor you should behave like a lotus leaf. It is wet as long as a drop of water is there, but once the drop is out, the leaf is as dry as if the water was never there.” The message was that “we should be attached to our patients as long as they are with us. The day they die, we should be completely detached from them or else we will not be able to treat other patients”.
I saw another spiritual gurus through our Chief Annesthetist. The fee he paid to me was a spiritual message “Suno Samjho Jano Karo- Hear Understsand Wisdom and Doing ”. He said that hearing is different from listening, listening is different from wisdom and wisdom is different from doing. Unless you hear, understand what you have heard and implement, the learning has no value.
One of my Buddhist patients gave me a spiritual learning of my life which has helped me a lot in my routine clinical practice. He taught me the basic Buddhist message that there are suffering all over; there is a reason for every suffering and it is possible to maintain sufferings. This message fits into the main message of Hinduism and also the main teaching from Garur Purana.
In Hinduism, we know that the very fact that we are born in this life means that in our last life, we could not get liberation as Hinduism believe that after liberation you are not reborn. Not getting liberated in the last birth means that some sufferings were left in our life. The basic purpose of this birth, therefore, is to face sufferings. When the basic purpose of our birth is to face sufferings, then why suffer from these sufferings. Every time we suffer, we should thank God that he has reduced one more. The period in between two sufferings is called a Happy period (Sukh). In fact that period is nothing but a period of rest given by God to us to prepare the body for next suffering. This as a concept of counseling helps my patients in managing most of their mental disturbances.
Sometimes not telling a patient that he is suffering from terminal cancer works. One of my patient’s father aged 83 years was found to have extensive cancer of the prostate. Medically, we all gave him three months’ to live. My patient had no guts to tell his father or the family members that he (the father) had extensive cancer. He took me into confidence and played a game with the family. We gathered all the family members and told them that with the surgery this cancer had been cured. A party was organized in the evening to celebrate the cure. The magic happened; he lived for the next 9 years almost a symptom free life. I have tried this on many of my patients thereafter and it works. The probable explanation was loss of fear of death, a confidence in his doctor and faith in himself.
The way to live hundred is to go on working in life. My great grand-father-in-law was 75 years when I got married. That year, he gathered all family members across the world and said that his purpose of life was over, he would like a collective family photograph and like to quit the world. Nothing happened for a year and on 20th July next year, he again played behaved the same way. Family from across the world gathered but he remained alive for another year. This went on for three years. Suddenly, we played a spiritual trick on him and told everyone to convince him that he is going to live for 100 years as he has many more work of the family to be done. Every year, we used to give him law students from within the family to be taught (he was a lawyer himself), or give him the responsibility of finding a boy for some eligible girl in the family. We made him teach and search for the bride for years together and he actually died at the age of 100 years. That is the beauty of positive attitude in life is.