The Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital was as busy as ever. There was a row of beds with life support systems. Each patient was critically ill. Each one was hanging between life and death. It was a play of one breath here or there.
It was six in the evening. The visiting hours were up to 7 p.m. Each attendant sat next to his loved one watching the breath go in and come out; praying for this rhythmic in and out to go on. Perhaps more heartfelt prayers are offered in an ICU than in a temple. Perhaps when someone you love is fighting for each breath and you find yourself praying for him or her that is the time you really learn what prayer is all about. Prayer is just talking to God. It is a heart to heart communication with the only one who has the power to give or take away.
A young man entered the ICU led by the staff nurse. The nurse walked up to a frail old woman lying in bed number nine and tapped her on the shoulder. “Your son has come,” she said. Twice, thrice she repeated, till finally the old woman opened her eyes feebly. Her eyes were obviously blurred from the pain and fatigue after the surgery she had been through. She was heavily sedated too. The young man reached out and put his hand on her forehead. She smiled as if in bliss. She made a movement to reach for him and the young lad held her weak hand in his own firm one. She was comforted and fell into deep slumber.
The young man sat beside her in the chair. Sometime later he tried to get up, but she stirred and whispered, “Don’t go, son!” So, he stayed there, holding her hand and stroking here forehead with his other hand. He whispered soothing words to comfort her. Now and then she smiled in her sleep. The face that was contorted with pain, slowly relaxed and she became peaceful. Twelve hours later, she passed away, smiling and peaceful.
The boy informed the doctor. The doctor said to him, “Oh! I’m so sorry. We did our best to……..”
The boy stopped him halfway and asked, “Did she have no family?” The doctor looked at the boy incredulously and said, “She was your mother!”
“No, she wasn’t”, he said firmly.
“But?” queried the doctor.
“She wouldn’t let me go. The moment the nurse brought me to her, I knew that there was a mistake. But then I realized that the old women could barely see and that she could surely not recognize me. She seemed to need her son urgently. It was important for her to meet him before she let go of life. So I stayed, to make her end peaceful. She was someone’s mother. I guess her son couldn’t make it…..”
That is what is meant by ‘give of your self’. But when such an opportunity comes our way, we usually shy away from it. Bhagawan Baba has two hospitals at Bangalore and Puttaparthi, where all medical treatment including state of the art medical care and surgeries are done free of cost for one and all. He once said, that the ICU is not just the Intensive Care Unit, it is the place where ICU (I see you). The intensity of prayer is what makes it heard. It seems the old woman in the ICU prayed really hard, so God sent help for her, to live up to His promise of ‘I see you!’