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HOW I BECAME FASCINATED WITH SAI
part - I


This is the transcript of the conversation between Dr. Keki Mistry, an eminent consultant orthodontist and a long standing devotee from Mumbai, and Prof. G Venkataraman aired on Radio Sai a few weeks ago.

Prof. Venkatraman (GV): Sai Ram Doctor. It is very nice to see you here in the studio, which is a new Avatar of the building you have been used to long ago, when it was first constructed. [Earlier the Studio building was the EHV centre] It is a wonderful Studio, blessed by Swami and from this Studio, we have brought the experiences of so many devotees to people all over the world. It is now my pleasure to have you chat with us here. Could you introduce yourself briefly, tell us all about yourself, your professional career and how you came to Swami? All our listeners would be very happy to learn that.

“To Be Able to Speak is Itself a Miracle”

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Dr. Keki Mistry (KM): Sai Ram to all of you. At the outset can I start by saying how I am very proud and privileged to be here with you Professor and in a program that bears Swami’s name. I am really honored to be here. My name is Dr. Keki Minochia Mistry. I am an Orthodontist practicing in the city of Mumbai for the last 45 years. I am in practice, I am in teaching, and I am in research. I have been Professor and Head of the Department at the Government Dental College, Mumbai. I have also been Dean and Director of Dental Studies of the D. Y. Patil University. Somewhere in 1965, I suddenly found I was losing my voice and I developed a very bad cough. I was coughing almost every second. I just couldn’t sleep or lie down. I had to spend nights sitting up just like this. Then I got myself examined, because a dry cough like that can be scary! They found that I had a lump in my throat – the size of a golf ball!

Every time I lay down I could not breathe properly, neither could I talk. The lump was so big that it interfered with my speech. I have been in practice since 1957, thought from 1961, I practiced as specialized orthodontist. When this happened in 1965, it meant the end of my professional life. Because every parent who brings their child for treatment wants to ask me questions and I just wasn’t able to answer them. The very fact that I am talking to you is a miracle of Baba.

I was brought up in a scientific environment; most of my relatives were doctors, scientists, professionals, lawyers, some of them leading lawyers in the city of Mumbai. The background in which I brought up had taught me that anything to do with any Baba or any person like that was a crutch. That was the bane of India. This was my thinking.

In 1964 somebody gave me a picture of Baba and some vibhuti. I was ill then. This was six months prior to my meeting Baba. I respectfully turned it down and said, “I don’t know who he is”. In 1965, I read Prof. Kasturi's book “Sathyam Shivam Sundaram” and I read it with a lot of interest. In fact, I read it through the whole night. I was thinking I was really grasping the stories.

‘Baba is Calling You’

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I said to myself, ‘maybe I should meet Baba, maybe that miracle can happen to me.’ Then I heard that He was in Mumbai. And I was walking down the Hanging Gardens in Malabar Hills, when a young boy came and told me, “Baba is calling you.”

I said, “Who, Baba?” Just before that I must tell you six months ago when somebody gave me the picture of Baba, I had said to myself, “Who is this man with the red dress and fuzzy hair?”

So when this boy said to me, “You know that Baba with that big hair and red dress.”

I said, “Yes, I know Him.”

The he told me, He says to you, “Come to me.”

I went there and it was in the house of Mr. P. K. Savant. This was around 12 o clock in the afternoon. And it was a Ministers House, so police were there.

I had no knowledge of Baba or His routine. Baba had already given darshan and retired there. Police stopped me from going.

I said, ‘Baba has called me.’ They said “Who?” I turned around and said, ‘this boy…’ I turned around and looked, there was no boy!

I told the policeman, “Please let me go inside.”

The police looked at me and said, “You look like an cultured man, why are you doing this? Everybody wants to go inside.”

Somehow I wanted to stay. Half an hour passed and some policemen came to me and said, “You look like an educated person, why are you waiting here? Baba will not come out now. You go to Gwalior garden darshan at 4 o-clock. Baba is not going to come here just now, before 4 p.m. ”

Still I waited. It was May, very, very hot. And it used to be very hot in Mumbai. I waited, somehow or other. About at quarter to 2, I decided that I will wait till 2 p.m. If Bhagavan Baba doesn’t come out, then I will go back home.

It was too hot then and I stayed in the sun for almost two hours, and I wasn’t keeping well.

About 5 minutes to 2 p.m, Baba came out of the window on the first floor.

He looked directly at me and said, “Come.”

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Sai Baba - Dr. Keki

Now, the policemen’s back was to the window and I was there across the road. I rushed. Around me there were two other ladies. I thought they were widows because they had white sarees on. They also came. They also saw Baba. I didn’t know whom Baba called – me or them? But I went.

The policemen again told me, “What is this nonsense?”

I said, “Baba really called me, from the window.” But Baba was no more there. I looked around. Again no one! But Swami came downstairs to the ground floor. Then of course the policemen let me inside!

The ground floor was on a level, slightly higher than the floor of the compound wall. And I stood there, when I saw Him for the first time, I was not crying. But then tears coming down my eyes, just flowing. I was embarrassed. There were those ladies who followed with me inside and in front of these women, I am crying or what? It was actually a flow of water, like a river. Swami was standing and looking at me sweetly. Tears fell at His feet. I felt very comfortable with Him. He was at the verandah, at a height of 3-4 feet, and I was on the downstairs.

And then He takes a look at me, talks to me and says “Kal Ma ko Leke Aana Maa ka thabeeyath teek nahi hai. [Get your mother and come tomorrow. Her health is not good].” My Mother has not been well, being a chronic asthmatic. So I said, “OK.”

“Tomorrow 9 o’clock, please come,” he said again.

I said, “Swami nobody is allowing me to come.” He, then, spoke to someone and they gave me permission for two people - myself and my mother.

I went home and Mother was very happy. She was spiritually very involved all the time. So if Swami had called me, he had called 200 other people too. And it was a huge gathering of 200 other people all in stages of sickness.

“He is my boy” - Swami

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Sai Baba - Dr. Keki

I distinctly remember one girl of 11 or 12, moaning away, because she is supposed to have a tumour in her head. We were all sitting down. When Swami came out in a room and He called us inside, like in the interview room, I had no knowledge of all this. I thought it would be like a doctor’s room. I was called in fourth and I went with my mother.

Swami stood there and He talked to my mother and said, “You have got asthma. You have difficulty in breathing.” Anyone looking at Mummy could tell she had asthma. She had the asthmatic build, gasp for breath and everything else. But she wasn’t interested about herself at all.

So she said, “Swami, What about him?” Now look, I was looking normal. The throat wasn’t showing anything. But He said, “I know Ma. Upar Lump hai. (yes, there is a lump on the top). Negative, Positive thoughts. Operation kare, na kare? (whether to do operation or not?)”

So mother asked Him the million dollar question: “Does he have cancer or not?”

With great authority Baba said “Cancer? He cancer? He is not your son, He is my boy. He has only come through you. No Cancer. He cannot have cancer.”

Then Swami waved his hand and materialized a lot of ash in mother’s hand. She said, “What should I do?” We have never seen anything like this sacred ash before.

He said, “Kha Jao.” (“Eat!”) She gulped all of it. He took me aside and said, “Do not worry. You go and pray, in 3 days you will be alright.”

I was very spiritual that way. I used to believe in prayers and divinity a lot, except that I could not believe in any human being divine.

GV: When you say you pray a lot, you mean you prayed in the Parsi way?

KM: Yes, according to the faith I was brought up. I had a thing about going to the fire temple. I used to go 3-4 times a week even as a school boy. This was my nature. When I say prayer, I didn’t really know any formal language nor the Avestan language, and I didn’t like to pray in a language which I didn’t know. I used to just go to the temple and communicate.

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He said go on praying. Then He dismissed us. We went away. I went home and realized all this time coming from Swami and reaching home, for 30 minutes, I had not coughed. I suddenly became all right. My cough stopped, I could sleep. I thought psychology or hypnosis was at work. Two-three days later, Swami left Mumbai.

I didn’t show myself to a doctor. At this stage I must tell you that some of the leading cancer specialists had all seen me and it was documented that they should get this lump out. “It will interfere with your breathing.” “We don’t know if it is cancer.” “We can tell that only after the biopsy.” “It is getting bigger.” “You must get it out.”

I didn’t show myself to any doctor after Swami left. Six months passed, I was completely cured, symptoms had all disappeared. I had no physical checkup, no authenticity whether that tumor was there or not. Approximately six months later, I had a severe coughing bout. I spat blood. I was very scared. I went to the ENT surgeon, who is still alive at the age of 90 plus. I said, “Dr Heeru, Please see me.”

He said, “You are very tense, I can’t examine you. Have you had anything since the morning?” “No, I just woke up and came here. I haven’t even had a cup of tea.” After that he administered me anasthesia, a small induction, and then said, “Tell me what has happened? This is beautiful. There is nothing there, there is no tumor. How did you get it removed? What did you do? Who did you show to?”

Then I told him the whole story. He listened to this very intently and said, “Yes, I have heard cures about Him. You are very lucky. I have seen cures like this. Go, you are a very blessed man!”

So, that was my authenticity.

A Change Occurs Both Inside and Out

GV: At that point you believed it was a sort of psychosomatic phenomena, how did you change your view? How did the full faith and confidence come to you?

KM: I am glad you asked me this. That same evening I saw Baba, I went to the temple after I went to Baba. I prayed to Zoroaster, said, “Show me a sign? Is this really someone who saved me or is it a fluke? I want to see a sign.” And then in the evening, I went to His darshan meeting in Gwalior Palace. It was a huge gathering and from where I sitting Swami was looking like a tiny speck and I was hoping that He would come towards me. But I was almost at the last row and in a place where Swami would normally not come. And Swami came almost half way into the crowd and then He turned back towards the podium. But suddenly He turned. And made a beeline towards me. There was a rock there towards the end of the ground and I was sitting on the rock. He came very near me, put His hand on my shoulder and said, “Don’t push too hard.” I did not know what that meant but I took it as a sign. I said, “Why among the entire huge crowd He asked me?” All the other people started asking me, “Does he know you? Do you know him?” I said, “It was my first time.” Whatever that incident meant, I took it as a sign!

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Sai Baba - Dr. Keki

From then on, many things happened. My wife was pregnant with my first child, nobody in the family knew about it, except her mother and my mother. And with only three months into the family way, she wasn’t showing. I went to Puttaparthi. Sometimes He used to call doctors (1965-66) and speak to us. Swami used to ask few questions. I normally listen. He looked at me and asked, “Aapko kuch bolna hai? Kuch poochna hai? (Do you want to ask or say something?”)

I said, “Nothing”. But I must tell you, my wife had developed a funny problem of spitting. Every second she used to spit and that used to drive her crazy. She had tremendous salivation and it used to flow. So suddenly I remembered about my wife and said, “My wife…”

Swami cut me immediately and said, “Malum hai, Sir, Garbh” (I know, Sir, she is pregnant)

Mind you, she was 700 miles away. He said, “Do not worry, August 22, you will have a son.”

I didn’t ask Him anything.

Then He said something else. “Chiranjeevi - Long Life!”

Then all the doctors went away. I went home and my wife said, “I want to tell you something. I am not spitting, salivating.” I asked her went did it stop and I traced out that exactly at the moment I talked to Swami, she stopped.

To cut a long story short, I got a son. Swami did materialize a fruit during that conversation. It was a dry date. “A few hours before your wife goes for the hospital, you make her eat that fruit,” He had said. We religiously did that for her and on August 22, just as Baba had told, my son was born.

GV: Amazing!

KM: I went to visit my son in the hospital on the 3rd day and my son’s bilirubin had shot up to 10-11. If bilirubin shoots up, it can cause the brain to be damaged. They were taking the blood from the skull of the infant and seeing the count. My wife almost fainted watching this. She didn’t know what was wrong and in her mind she said, “They are taking blood from the skull”. It upset her but at the same time she was strong. The bilirubin sometimes went up to 10-13, but she said, “Don’t worry. Swami told you Chiranjeevi (Long life). He will live.” When Swami had said Chiranjeevi, I had thought it was a kind of casual blessing. Now I knew the significance. So we kept the confidence and he recovered. They found that in Parsis, the G6PD blood deficiency is common. He was born with the blood deficiency. This incident almost strengthened our faith quite a bit.

My wife was no way near Swami and she was 700 miles away, no one knew that she was pregnant. We did not discuss this with anyone. But He said everything. I wasn’t even thinking about her pregnancy during that interview.

GV: Your narration is so fascinating, I have to ask you for more.

Life-Giving Sai

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KM: I have seen so many things now, being with Swami for 40 years. I saw a person, a Sindhi gentleman, who was a printer from Madras, being declared dead. Swami used to ask me to go and work in the general hospital in Puttaparthi whenever I used to come here. One night, Dr Bhaskar Rao from Andhra Pradesh and myself were sleeping, as part of our duty near the bed of a patient.

This person was almost declared dead. The whole family was called from Madras (now Chennai). At about 12 o clock in the night, Dr. Bhaskar Rao wakes me and says, “Did you smell something very fragrant?” [Incidentally, this incident has been written about in Sanathana Sarathi, in the late 1960s.]

Dr. Bhaskar Rao woke me up. It was a very strong fragrance of vibhuti - it was very fascinating. This was the man almost dead! But nothing happened, we just got the smell. The next morning we went for our bath.

And when we returned – it must be about 6 o'clock in the morning - we saw this man sitting up on the bed and singing Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram! I almost fainted. It was so funny, it was so fascinating. This man who is almost dead, singing Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram!

The Divine Blesses The Dutiful

Now, to tell you another interesting tale, my mother had absolute devotion to Baba. For her, Baba was ‘the thing’. Nothing was in between her and Baba. One day while I was talking with her, she stood up and turned to go to the kitchen. I saw a big red blob on her backside. It was blood. I said, “What is this?” “I have been bleeding often,” she said. I got very upset. “You don’t even tell me, how would I know you are bleeding from your rectum?” We found out that she had cancer of the rectum. She told me, “Go and tell Swami”. So I went to Baba. I went to Whitefield but Baba was in Kodaikanal. I said, “OK, I will stay here for a while and then go back”. But Mr. Ramabrahman, the caretaker of Whitefield ashram, told me, there was a phone call from Swami. “Dr. Mistry is there, tell him not to go, I will come in the evening” – that was the message from Him. So I stood by. When He came, I told Swami about mother’s cancer. Swami then looked at me directly in the eye and said, “What doctor, should people live forever?” I, then, realized that it was His way of saying she was going to die.

Then I said, “Swami, as a son, I would request you that she should have a peaceful death.” “Peaceful death mangtha hai? Jao Milega,” [You want for her a peaceful death? Go, you will get that] He said, as if it was something He was giving out.

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You should know how to talk to Bhagavan Baba. We ask him what we think we need. I just asked for a peaceful death. I should have asked for a peaceful whole life towards the end. The last week of her death was extremely peaceful, but not before that. She was neither here nor there. She wouldn’t allow anyone to touch her, except me. She kept on saying, “My Prince,” and asked me all funny things. She asked, “Without a dog, can a man enter the kingdom of heaven?” I told her the vedic story of how the king and the dog were refused entry. It was completely out of blue. She used to sing, say some hymns and things like that, which completely befuddled us. She had no knowledge. She was talking in tongues, which was totally new to us and completely new to her as an individual. I remember during her last moments, I was standing at the foot of her feet. She was lying there, raised her hands and then waved as if she was bidding goodbye and then closed her eyes. She had a peaceful death.

I told later to Swami about her end. I said that mother was talking in all kinds of languages and her end was very peaceful. Swami took it as a matter of course. But let me tell you, Swami had visited Bombay during her illness. She was admitted in the Parsi General Hospital. And I was one of those persons Swami asked to be with Him whenever He came to Bombay (now Mumbai). There were a few others like Inamdar and Satheesh, and Swami used to allow us to be in His room. We did everything - draw His water, take out His clothes, serve Him food, etc. all things an attender would do. We were on duty and I was staying in Dharmakshetra (Swami’s residence in Mumbai) itself, full 24 hours. I didn’t go anywhere.

Other people used to ask me, “What about your practice?” But I used to feel very happy doing this and He used to allow me to do this. Now, one night - it was a Friday, I remember at 8 o'clock - mother was very ill and she was in the hospital. A call came from my father that the doctor says she is very serious and may not live through the night. So I asked my father, “Is she asking for me?” He said, “No. She is not conscious at all.” I said, “If she is not asking for me father, do you feel that I should be there with you, because I am on duty.” Swami retired at 8 pm. I cannot leave without Swami’s permission. I don’t feel like leaving, I haven’t spoken to Baba and I can’t knock on the door now. I wouldn’t do that.

My sister came on the phone and she said, “What, nonsense?” I got a firing from her. I said, “Fine, give the phone back to father.”

I asked Father, “Do you need me there?” He said, “No!” So I decided I will stay at Dharmakeshtra and pray for her. If she was asking for me, then it would be something else. Her doctor, who was a leading surgeon of Mumbai, too came on the phone and said, “Keki, I don’t think she will make it through the night. It is up to you, it is your mother. Folks are asking me to talk to you.” I said, “Ok”. But then, this is the stand I took – I will stay at Baba’s residence.

Swami was not there and I could not leave without His permission - particularly when she was not asking for me. Next morning at 7, Swami opened His door and I went inside. Swami sat down and was looking at some paper. I said, “Swami there was a call. Mother is not very well, can I have your permission to go?”

A Special Visit with Swami

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Now, this was Saturday morning. He said, “Wednesday I am visiting Savant’s house and your mother is in the hospital close by. Let us go together to visit her.” She lived four days. I took it as a sign that I should not go. My family had a reaction, not my father. By that time, she recovered consciousness. Mother said, “No, let him be with Baba.”

On Wednesday, Swami went to the Hospital – the Parsi General Hospital - to see her with me. Normally, I used to travel in the car with Him wherever He went. I would sit in the front and Sri Indulal Shah would sit next to Swami at the back. So, I went with Him.

When mother saw Swami in the hospital, she looked at Swami and asked,

“What is the matter with you? You, coming to see this old lady? Thousands of people are waiting for your darshan and you are wasting your time here.”

Swami then knocked me and said, “See, this is called bhakthi (devotion)”. Swami was showing me what true devotion is!

She said, “You left all the thousands of people for darshan and you have come to see old lady.” At the same time, she was very conscious of herself as a host. “Please seat yourself,” she said and then took some coconut water. Swami said, “I am not the patient” and asked her lie down immediately. She had been operated upon - Colostomy was done – and Swami created and applied vibhuti on her. He talked to her for 10-15 minutes.

Now imagine this. Doctor said, “Come immediately, she will not live through the night.” But Swami said, “We will see her on Wednesday.” My mother came home from the hospital and lived for another one and half years after that. She died in our home.

GV: You seem to have a fund of astonishing stories.

KM: This is only a tip of the iceberg!

GV: We would like to learn about more of the iceberg. Please tell us more stories.

- To be continued in the next issue.

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Vol 5 Issue 03 - MARCH 2007
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