Srinivas’s first love was painting. He was highly talented and was totally committed to his work. He was able to sell his works of Art at exorbitant prices and was a regular participant at all the leading art exhibitions in the city. One fateful night while he was driving home he met with a serious accident and injured his right hand terribly. His bones were crushed beyond repair. The surgeons plastered him and treated him for months. Later, Gangrene set in and his worst fears came true. His hand had to be amputated. It was a terrible blow both physically as well as emotionally.
Years passed, he had learnt to write a little with his left hand, but he could never dream of painting again. One day he decided to attend an art exhibition, just for old time’s sake. He was mesmerized by a painting depicting a man holding a paint brush between the toes of his feet. The colour composition and the soul of the painting seemed to be trying to tell him something. Towards the end of the exhibition he was told that, the painting had sold for a huge sum.
The next day, saw Srinivas waiting outside the door of the artist. He felt a deep urge to meet him.
The maid servant ushered him into a small-dingy room, full of the smell of paint. At the far end, he was amazed to see a physically handicapped girl sitting in a chair. Her arms were not there at all. She was holding the paint brush between her big toe and the forefinger of her right foot. She smiled widely and greeted him with a jovial, “Hi! Nice to meet you Srinivas! Can I help you?”
“Oh! No, actually, yes … I really loved your painting at the gallery yesterday, I didn’t know it was …” He could not find the right words.
She was quick to put him at ease by saying, “Oh, I’m so glad you liked it, do you paint too?”
“No! I used to; I mean … I do, well I’m going to train my left hand do so now”.
Half an hour later Srinivas left the place, a stunned and more realized person. If a girl with a handicap like that, could paint with her foot, surely, he could … Life was not over, in fact it had just gained momentum!
Surely an injury or a loss, whether physical or mental would cause pain … that is inevitable. But the suffering is optional!! Take it or leave it!
Some days back, I was listening to the interview of the surgeon who operated upon Bhagwan Baba, after he had a hip injury. (On the World Space Radio; Sai Global Harmony)
The surgeon said that, after the surgery, when Baba insisted that He felt no pain at all, the surgeon had to compel, saying that “Swami, if you do not tell us about the pain, we cannot judge whether the wound is healing well or not. This statement of yours is very misleading ..”
Baba replied that the body felt the pain, there was no denying that; but He did not suffer it!