17 Oct 2010
Dada lights up Lives on Dusshera- with Artificial Limbs Seva
Dussehra was a day of victory for life and hope over despair and sadness for 75 residents of Panvel area who received customized artificial limbs from the Inlaks & Budhrani Hospital, part of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission Medical Complex. Forty of them got their limbs directly from the hands of Rev. Dada J.P. Vaswani during the Dusshera celebration at the Sadhu Vaswani Mission Satsang Hall in Pune on October, 17, 2010.
”It is a lot of mixed emotions you have in this celebration. They feel free,” said a medical director of the hospital after the giving of the artificial limbs today.
The gratitude of the persons that received their limbs could be seen on many faces. Others were a little nervous, like Kurmila Pedare, 20, who lost her right leg below the knee on a car accident when she was very little and hadn’t walked normally since then. She could only study until she was seven years old. When asked how she felt, overwhelming emotions didn’t let her speak; there was in her smile and moist eyes a mix of laugh and surprise. With the help of a relative, she limped towards Dada to receive her new leg, a stick, a blanket and a Rs. 100 bill.
Madhav Kalu, 55, dragged himself on the floor towards Dada, to whom he extended up both hands. Five years ago he lost his right leg under the hip after having an accident while working in a rice field on Panvel. He hasn’t been able to work since then. Although he said he still feels depressed about losing his leg, there was hope in this heart and that made him feel better. He wants to get back to work. “If I can do, I’m ready to do,” he said. After receiving his artificial leg, stick, blanket, money and breakfast, he would be taken to the hospital to test if the leg fits correctly.
It is part of the normal for the patients to feel sadness or depression after losing a limb and watch how their whole lives change from independence and productivity to almost total dependency on others. Some of them even lose their faith in God, said the medical director, but once they get their artificial limbs and are taught how to use them, they start to see life differently. “We had a patient that, after being trained on how to use his artificial legs, started to run and we said to him ‘careful, you are going to fall down!’. But he said, ‘you don’t know the joy I feel! I couldn’t walk like this before!” narrated the director.
That is one of the reasons why the handicapped are brought to the Mission to meet Dada, so they can see the blessed source of the whole project which purpose is to bring them hope. Today, Dada was especially close to the disabled guests, as he blessed them moving in his own wheelchair, a surprise to many of them. Another 35 persons would get their artificial limbs at home, as they couldn’t travel today to Pune.
During the satsang, the artificial limbs were kept on a table to be blessed, as tools for a new life for those in need attended today. In Dussehra, people honor their tools and mechanical things as a commemoration of the battle of the Pandavas over the Kauravas. Like the Pandavas, who had to undergo a secret exile after losing the first battle against the Kauravas, these handicapped lost part of their identity as they knew it, had to lose a job or the opportunity to go to school and stay at home. The artificial limbs become then a symbol of victory and freedom over the evil of despair, disheartenment and misery.
The activity took place with Dada and the receivers surrounded by around 1,000 devotees singing bhagans. Among the devotees were some of the donors who had given for the cause of the artificial limbs.
Shripati Bhikaji Kokate, 55, also lost his left leg two and a half years ago while working on the construction of a building. A big piece of the construction fell on top of him and smashed the leg. Since then, he hasn’t been able to work and has been living as a beggar. He felt that today he was satisfied with the gifts he was receiving. ”Thank you, God,” he said.
After their visit to the Satsang Hall, where they participated in the lively celebration of Dussehra, they would be taken to the hospital to make sure that their limbs fit correctly and they are taught how to move with them. After that, they would be given lunch and brought back to their homes. A month from today, they will receive follow-up from the doctors, said the medical director, to make sure there are no difficulties in their adjustment.
As part of the program Artificial Limbs Seva, professionals of the Inlaks & Budhrani Hospital traveled three weeks ago to the Panvel area, studied the cases of the most needed, took measures and ordered the preparations of the artificial limbs. Each limb cost about Rs. 2200, a figure impossible to afford by the ones attended today.