SATHYA SAI BABA'S HIP JOINT INJURY & SURGERY - 2003
What are the actual facts of the matter?
By: Robert Priddy
The accident where SSB slipped in his bathroom and fractured his hip occurred on June 4th, 2003. This was his second hip fracture, the first having been on 9/8/1988 when he slipped on the soap in his bathroom. From the start of this latest injury, the ashram authorities issued various false statements in an attempt to cover up and, failing that, to minimize this fact. For example, Dr. Goldstein, Chairman of the Prashanthi Council circulated a brief account stating "Our Beloved Bhagawan Baba had a small accident in which he fell and sustained an injury to his hip. Subsequently, he underwent a minor surgical procedure and is responding extremely well." (i.e. nothing like what SSB himself later blew it up to be... something that would normally take 2 to 3 years of convalescence! See below.) Eventually, http://geocities.com/manojap1000/darshan.htm published a translation-cum-summary of what SSB said in his first statement on the use of a steel rods in complex surgery on his hip:-
(Posted by manojap: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 12:08:57) Swami granted interview to all old students of SSIHL. The following is a narration from one of the old students: Trayee Brindavan 26-06-03:-
"For the past one month, all of you could not have Swami's Darshan. What is the reason? The reason is the ill health of this body. I have neither taken upon Myself the illness of anybody nor has it emerged from this body. Today I am revealing the truth to you."
"You are all aware that I suffered a fracture of the hip joint; the bone broke into three pieces and the ball also got separated. The excruciating pain one suffers in such a condition cannot be described in words. It is not possible to move this way or that way. The body suffers pain as if subjected to electric shocks. But I was unaffected by it. I underwent all this suffering in order to demonstrate that one should transcend body consciousness and develop Atmic consciousness. I am not this body." etc.
He also tells of the hip injury and operation... the most absurd bit: Explain this self-contradicting "miracle" anyone who can: "But I was unaffected by it. I underwent all this suffering"!
Further, how could he even know about this excruciating pain if he did not feel/suffer it? How does his accident demonstrate anything that we cannot see every day in hospitals... people bearing up happily under terrible pain? SSB continued...
"The age of this body is 78, due to the incident the hip had broken and bone had become into pieces, because of age it cannot become normal without operation. Gone is gone so removed it, what was happened has happened for our good and this is a good experience for you all too. The bones were removed and steel rods were inserted .Swami said, before entering the operation theatre I told to doctors? This is not my body, do what ever you want to do with it?. After 3 hrs of operation, Swami Came out smiling and everyone around were surprised. Swami told us smiling when you are in pain is Greatness; the pain is only for the body. Swami said? I am divinity in Humanity? If I express my pain I'm like any human."
If he expresses it, yes. He feels it but does not want to appear human by expressing what he feels? If he does not feel it, then it is no sweat at all... and the facts do not then support the boast that he is very great. You can't have your cake AND eat it, SSB! Devotees will be asking (poor dupes) whether all this is another test? (A test of both faith and of gullibility, yes). Or is it a deep, meaningful teaching? (Well, it is all very imprecisely and shallowly expressed). Or is it the confusion of senility coming on after too much talking in discourses, interviews, daily talks to students and to all visitors etc. in between? Or is it plain deception? The manojap page also contained the following information: 'Bones as strong as diamonds' would be a massive hindrance to anyone... and diamonds are brittle, one sharp blow can split them! Using a hammer on diamonds, as SSB boasts was done on his bones would have been fatal if they were so hard! What of the absent muscles... an abnormal condition or what? Is this not some degenerative illness like osteo arthritis? There is something more than fishy about all this...
HOW SATHYA SAI LIES ABOUT HIS HIP SURGERY
Swami then told Mr. Sundareshan, the orthopedic Surgeon who had performed the operation to Bhagawan to speak to us on the incident. Mr. sundereshan said ? Swami had broken his hip and stayed like that for 18 hrs ,which is not possible for any human being to resist ? Swami had started walking after 5 days of the operation which is also impossible for any human being
But on July 5, SSB contradicted the surgeon and said in a discourse at Brindavan "After the surgery, I was able to walk within three days. This is bevcause there is not even a trace of body attachment in Me." (Sanathana Sarathi July, 2003, p. 218)
One of SSB's attendants among the seven or eight doctors who were present at the time of the surgery, Dr. Krishnamurthi, would have us believe that SSB walked the very first day after his op. What kind of walking, one wonders. If at all normal, then why did it take him so long to come out to his devotees? Three months afterwards, he still hobbles when he walks and he needs his golf car, so is the cure yet not complete?
"For anybody else, it would have taken at least two to three years to walk normally. The ball in the hip joint got separated." p.230
"The doctors said that one year's rest was required for the hip injury to heal completely. I told them it would, not take one year." p.259
In developed countries with public health systems thousands of people get hip-joint replacements and major surgeries every week and are nowadays walking in very short periods of time! Does SSB think we are all ignorant and poor Indian peasants to believe his hype about how incredible, miraculous was his recovery? Here are some facts from international medical websites which show that the recovery time in question does not at all depend on "no trace of body attachment":-
Excerpt from the website;
The implant for a total hip replacement is composed of 3 parts: the stem, the ball, and the socket. The stem is made out of metal, usually cobalt-chrome or titanium, and is placed within the native thighbone. The ball is usually made out of polished metal or ceramic, and fits on top of the stem. The first day after surgery will have a lot of activity. You will meet our physiotherapists, who will instruct you in more exercises to perform while in bed. In addition, they will help you stand and take a few steps with a walker. You will be taught the positions to avoid with a hip replacement, as well as the safe positions. In the next few days, you will find it easier and easier to move about. Generally, patients are able to walk as much as they want by 6 weeks post-operatively.
Excerpt from the website:
Hip replacement surgery, Dr. Skinner says, is “one of the best operations humans have invented.” Many patients feel so good after the surgery they believe they have no physical limits, though Dr. Skinner strongly discourages strenuous activities such as tennis and skiing. The results of a hip prosthesis are usually excellent. The operation relieves pain and stiffness, and most patients (over 80%) need no help walking.The results of a hip prosthesis are usually excellent. The operation relieves pain and stiffness, and most patients (over 80%) need no help walking.You will remain in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after surgery.
Excerpt from the website:
"Usually, people do not spend more than 10 days in the hospital after hip replacement surgery. Full recovery from the surgery takes about 3 to 6 months, depending on the type of surgery, the overall health of the patient, and the success of rehabilitation."
"I do not suffer form any kind of disease because there is no trace of greed in Me. That is why I am always healthy..." "There is no trace of anger or hatred in Me and hence everyone loves Me" (Sanathana Sarathi September 2002, page 257f)
But now it seems that things have changed somewhat? Is a hip joint that crumbles (as badly as SSB virtually boasted), not ANY kind of disease? The degenerative illness osteo arthritis fits the bill! And who can't think of plenty of people who do not love SSB?
WHY DOES SATHYA SAI LIE ABOUT ALL THIS?
That SSB has said many incompatible and some wholly contradictory things about the causes of his illness and its cure amounts to lies... (certainly so if he were to be all-knowing, as he claims). Reportedly, since June 3, 2003, there have been very long periods without a glimpse of SSB and there have been no normal interviews since then until the present. The few darshans SSB has given have been very brief and he has not gone among the crowds, confining himself almost entirely to the more important leaders, verandah guests and students.
Looking at SSB's situation from a detached observer's viewpoint, the reason for all these untruths would seem glaringly obvious. Firstly, it is to try to reassure devotees that he is still available to them, which he is not in the normal sense. SSB's very much reduced capacity for appearing at darshan means that fewer people, especially from abroad, will consider the journey to see him worthwhile. This is necessary if the flow of foreign exchange to the ashrams and its' local infrastructure is to be kept flowing and if new donors are to be recruited. His use of the gold buggy at darshans is also for short periods only and reportedly gives few visitors any close darshan. But he tries his hardest to conceal these facts, as when his words are published to reassure those who are not present to judge for themselves:-
"Now I have recovered and am standing before you. What is the medicine I have taken. The intense prayers of devotees is my medicine" Sanathana Sarathi August 2003, p. 225
Secondly, SSB needs to give those who hope for his attention at least some sense of playing an important role through their prayers and concentration on him, on the claim that their prayers and penances alone that have cured him. (As if he has not had a surgical operation and a long recuperation and rest period). This is doubtless why he has gone on and on about his injury on at least half-a-dozen occasions, emphasising the pain he does not suffer, "being bathed in so much love" etc. This doubtless make devotees feel they have some role in it all and that efforts in visiting etc. are not entirely wasted, however confused they must surely be about what is really going on. The effect of this 'Divine flattery' on his (self-applauding?) devotees is seen in the following:-
"After the operation he [Satyajit] asked, "Swami, how could you bear such pain and suffering?" I told, "The love of devotees like you is My strength." (loud prolonged applause)....Many devotees were very anxious and were praying within. Their anxiety turned into penance. The power of their penance is the cause of My health and happiness. It is because of their love and devotion that I am quite healthy now. I have never used My Divine Power to cure Myself. If I were to use it, I could have cured myself in a trice." Sanathana Sarathi August 2003, p. 231
But the cure was also the result of much exercise, if we are to believe the following:
Subject: Reminiscences Whitefield - From: bala -Radio Sai Listener's Journal - a fortnight e-magazine Volume : PDS / 02
"He was not doing with His Divine powers, no way! Instead, He spent a lot of time exercising Himself! How? Every morning, at four AM, He would go round and round the upper balcony in Trayee for one full hour! Imagine that, also that He could give Darshan as early as possible. ..........
Hip fracture can be most painful. For sixteen hours or so, Swami just ignored it, and later allowed it to be treated the way anyone else.........He did not go to any fancy hospital or even to His own Super Speciality Hospital but to the General Hospital [which incidentally started as a tin shed with just one tube light three decades ago].........Swami chose to have administered to Him the same treatment in the same hospital as all the poor who come to Him are treated. That, for me, is one fantastic lesson."
Full version at http://www.radiosai.org/journal/
And in any case, SSB has repeatedly proclaimed that he is totally unaffected by any pain or suffering, so why all the fuss about him?
The doctors who operated me were astonished to see Me smiling. Usually, the pain that results from a hip fracture is like that of electric shocks. But I was least affected by it. I have no pain whatsoever and I walk easily. There is no suffering whatsoever. (Sanathana Sarathi Sept. 2003, p. 265)
Add to all this the unwittingly revealing e-mail which was sent out to unknown numbers of devotees from someone signing himself "Gerald in Heaven", where it is hopefully stated:-
The rumor has been that Baba is only giving darshan in the morning. As a result only a few people come in the morning with the hall being almost filled in the afternoon. I noticed that as soon as I sit down in the hall and look around a tremendous sense of peace and bliss overcomes me. I rather have the physical form in front of me but the peace, love and bliss is equally as strong without his physical presence as it is with his physical presence.
If anybody is hesitating to come because Baba may not be giving darshan, this is a mistake. It is all here. Come.
Sunday morning there were a few people in the hall, many of those left as the 7:30 mark was coming supposedly signaling the end of darshan. All of a sudden, there was Baba in the golf cart. People started running in to sit down.
The slow moving cart came to the men's side. This was the first time all week. It proceeded toward the mandir turned right headed to the women's side and out. It was slow paced, brief and intense. Baba, once again, telling us to love his uncertainty.
Among the more disgraceful claims made about this is the one about SSB having had no recourse to any medical service other than those that the poorest peasants can get in India. The Indian poor are light years away from having hi-tech steel rod hip replacements with half a dozens doctors attending, even though SSB did not actually go to his Super-speciality hospital, but used the simple one at Brindavan.