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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Periva's neck pain and His sense of humour

Author: Prof S.Kalyanaraman, Neurosurgeon , Chennai

Maha Periyaval was suffering from some pain at the back of His neck. Dr. Badrinath who had just operated on His Holiness for cataract suggested that I should examine Maha Periyaval for suspected spondylosis and suggest treatment. The camp was at Sholapur at that time and one afternoon we arrived there. After lunch I was taken to Maha Periyaval’s presence. I was told that He was suffering from high fever in addition to His earlier complaint of neck pain. He asked me to go ahead with the examination. 

I performed Shashtanga Namaskaram to Him first. He asked me why I was performing namaskaram. I replied “Before I examine every patient in my clinic. I perform namaskaram mentally to you and pray to you that the patient should be cured. When you are yourself my patient now, to whom can I pray except to you and I should be successful in my treatment? His Holiness smiled and said “Go ahead”. 

After completing the examination I found that His temperature was 105 degree. I hesitatingly told Him, “Periyaval is having high fever. Will it be possible to avoid cold water bath for a day or two till the fever settles down? His Holiness replied “How can that be done? Yesterday was Chandra grahanam and last night I performed grahana snanam (bath at the time of eclipse) with the same fever.

I said, “Iswara, how can Periyaval’s physical system stand such strain?”

Maha Periyaval asked me “Do you know how grahana snanam is performed?”

I said I did not know.

His Holiness: “You have to hold your nostrils and take a dip in the river till the whole head is fully immersed in the water.

I was aghast that His Holiness had done this.

Then he added “Not once, but 108 times!”

I nearly fainted! I said “What treatment can I give you?”

"Only Lord Siva, whose incarnation you are, is protecting your body in spite of 108 head baths in the river with a body temperature of 105 degree. What can a poor mortal like me do except to pray to Lord Siva to keep you in good health for our sake for many many more years to come?”

Once, when I was asked to see Maha Periyaval for His neck pain, I diagnosed cervical spondylosis and suggested that He do some simple exercises for the same. The exercises consisted of normal movements of the neck such as looking down, looking up, and turning to the right, turning to the left, bending to the right and bending to the left, in all six normal movements. I requested Him to do this several times a day. When I went to Sri Mattam for darshanam on the next occasion I asked Maha Periyaval whether He was doing the neck exercises regularly.

His Holiness: I was doing the neck exercises regularly for a few days and then stopped doing them.

I asked: why?

Maha Periyaval remarked with a mischievous smile,

“You asked me to do them several times a day. I started doing them even when I was talking to visitors. Many bhakthas thought this was a new form of yoga-abhyasam which I practicing. So they started moving their necks exactly as I was doing. I thought even those who had no neck pain may get it due to the violent movement! So I stopped doing them!”.

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