Prasadam, not just a Treatment

For Palanisamy, a carpenter from a small town in Tamil Nadu, the word balloon surgery was like Greek and Latin. The doctor at the local clinic explained to them why this surgery is needed for his wife.

While the doctor indicated how much it could cost, he also honestly accepted that this surgery cannot be done at this hospital and he has to go to Chennai and get the surgery done at some big hospital.

Palanisamy’s heart sank when he heard the cost involved. His wife, Gayatri too looked shocked at the amount.

As they slowly got up to leave, resigned to their fate, the doctor said, “I understand your financial condition. Try and go to Bangalore’s Sathya Sai Baba’s hospital in Whitefield. They conduct all surgeries free of cost.”

Both the husband and wife had heard about Baba and have also seen His photograph in one shop. But they had no idea that He has a hospital offering free treatment. A ray of hope was shining on them from the dark clouds above.


Gayatri and Palanisamy were sitting in front of the doctor in Sri Sathya Sai Hospital, Whitefield, filled with the dread of what they are going to hear. The doctor explained to them, in layman’s language, her medical condition.

She was suffering from Rheumatic Heart Disease and the mitral valve hasgot blocked. This valve allows blood to flow into the main pumping chamber of heart (LV). She needs a Balloon Valvuloplasty immediately and there is a high possibility of repeating this procedure multiple times. There is also a possibility that the valve may have to be replaced in future, even after these procedures. The doctor also assured them that all these surgeries would be done totally free of cost.

Tears welled in the eyes of the couple and they were not sure they heard it right.

Gayatri got admitted at the SSSIHMS, Whitefield and the Balloon Valvuloplasty was done in March 2011. Same procedure was also done in 2013, and 2014.

Now, Gayatri is leading a normal life and visits the hospital as per schedule for her checkup. They consider the treatment she got as a prasadam from Swamy, not once, not twice but three times.

(All names have been changed to protect privacy)
As told to and written by Subramanian Venkataraman, a volunteer).

Note to the Reader:
Rheumatic Heart Disease is one of the most common set of heart diseases in India. It usually afflicts poor people and in that also mainly women. There are significant socio-cultural and economic factors at play for the wide prevalence of this disease.