True Short Stories from India (A search for the purpose of Life)

By PF Sloan

Story 11: Without A Leg To Stand On


A young Indian doctor interning in Africa returned home to his native land.
While on vacation he heard talk of a Divine Being giving Darshan. Being Hindu by birth but a scientist by nature, he skeptically went to visit this Holy Man. He was given extraordinary closeness, and the Holy Man's fame had not yet spread around the world, as it would in a few short years. This is the story as related to me by Dr. Gottia.

"I left India to return to my internship in an African hospital", he told this group of people who had come from all over Southern California to hear him talk.
"I had spent a week or so with a Holy Man in India, but was unimpressed with his small body and extra large crown of hair. When I left his small Ashram, I didnít give him another thought.
One morning, I received an emergency call for a doctor in a small village, many, many miles from the hospital. It was my turn to take the call, and I did.
While out on the road a great force, in the form of gusts of wind, rolled my vehicle over. The vehicle was turned upside down with my legs pinned inside and I was unable to move.
As the sun set, I prepared myself for a long night ahead, with the hope in the morning I would be missed and eventually rescued.

When I was a small boy of eight or so I used a broom as my crutch and I would pretend I had lost a leg and hobble on the broom. I never thought this was odd behavior, even after I had grown into adulthood. For this lingering fear of losing my leg was somehow inside me. The only reason I am mentioning this is because of the strange and wonderful intersection that occurred after meeting Dr. Gottia!

Morning came and went on the African plains. The afternoon I spent pinned upside down with all the feelings in my legs gone.
As a doctor, I had the objective view that unless I was rescued soon, my legs would soon be useless.
When two black bushmen approached the car, early that evening, I felt my ordeal was over, but I wouldnít know for sure if the blood stoppage in my legs would cause me to forever be without them. They pulled me out of the car, and in English told me not to worry, my legs would be alright. They put me on the side of the road and said an ambulance would be by and take me back to the hospital. Which happened in a short while.
I was told I was lucky, that a few hours more and my legs would have had to have been amputated.
So, when I had sufficiently recovered from my injuries, I took a leave, and flew back to be with my family in India.

My friend, Stephen, was in a terrible funk that afternoon. He had received some bad financial news and I felt it imperative to take him out to a great restaurant that would lift his spirits. But our way was blocked! Every street leading to the restaurant was unusually crowded. My patience was wearing thin on the congested Los Angeles streets. So I decided, instead of going north where the place was, I would do as the yogis do and go where the resistance is least.
Even if itís in the opposite direction! So thatís what I did. Matter of fact, as I was on the freeway going west, the idea of going to that particular place had all but left my mind. But it hadnít. I veered off the freeway and headed back north again on city streets. Finally I pulled across the street from the restaurant!

The Doctor decided to pay one more visit to the Holy Man; being very grateful to God for his good luck, he thought this would be a good gesture.
"So youíve come back, and no worse for wear?" said Sai Baba, without being told anything of his ordeal. "Lucky for you two black tribesman showed up, who just happened by that deserted road where your car had overturned! What do you make of that, doctor?," He said and smiled. "How do you think itís possible for me to have known this?" Baba said, describing the physical attributes of the Africans as well as their outer garments. "You think this puny little form of mine is all there is to ME," he chided him, showing that he knew his secret thoughts! "Iím not limited to this one body, I am all bodies, and in all things". "Can you scientifically comprehend that, doctor?" he said.
"It has now been 30 years, and I have been able to comprehend a very small piece of Sai Baba!" he said.
When the Doctor had finished telling this story, pictures were taken with each person, and I had one taken as well. A few days later I received my print and stuck it in the glove compartment of my car. Thinking it was out of the way, to avoid the clutter of photos that were scattered about in my drawers.

I sighed with relief at finding a meter on the street, and started to open my car door. I opened the door and began to swing my leg out when I stopped to look over at Stephen to see if he was okay. In a split second, a speeding truck came and took the door off. The force of the impact forced open the glove compartment, and a picture flew out onto my lap. In momentary shock, not knowing what had actually happened, I could only remember hearing a terribly loud noise! I noticed the door wasnít there and I could hear metal banging as it was being dragged away by the truck, before it came to a stop.
An indescribable feeling and thought raced thru my body and mind. My leg should have been taken off! Stephen asked me if I was alright. I said I was!
I looked down at this picture on my lap of me and Dr. Gottia!