DREAM AND REALITY
It was the fourth morning after my surgery at Greenlane Hospital, Auckland. I was still lying on my back, immobile, with plastic tubes and wires sticking out of my body, leading to life-support equipment. I was desperately trying to unravel the mystery of my previous night’s dream in which a voice exhorted me to participate in bhajans. This had only heightened my frustration as it would be weeks, perhaps months, before I could gain enough strength to get to Thursday Bhajans.
Later that evening, I was plunged into yet another despairing situation. The nurses wheeled in a critically ill old man, but there was no bed space for him anywhere in the intensive-care ward. Consequently, they had to park his bed in the corridor, just outside the ward. The man in the next row opposite me, had had his operation a couple of days before me, and was already able to sit up without help. Obviously, he was no longer in need of intensive care and could well be moved to the next ward to make room for the old man. Thus my mind raced through several possible solutions to the old man’s plight but, being in no position to make any suggestions, I closed my eyes and called upon Baba to help the poor, old man. Within three minutes, the sister-in-charge made a bee-line for me and asked, "Mr Krishna, would you mind if we shifted you to the next ward and made room for the old man?"
My initial reaction was one of anger: Why me? Why not the man in the next row? In my weak state, I had forgotten that less than three minutes ago I had asked Baba to help the old man and that Baba was probably now trying to do so through me! Or, was Baba testing the sincerity of my prayer? When this dawned upon me, I immediately agreed to be moved to the next ward.
In the next ward, the patients were connected to less sophisticated equipment and the nurses fussed less about them, but I was content. That night when I slept, I had the most vivid dream I have ever had. To my utter amazement, all the heart monitoring equipment in the ward had turned into stereo sets and were pouring forth bhajans! There were doctors and nurses in their uniforms, some playing guitars and others accordions, all singing bhajans with the patients! The ward came alive with this lively leela. Even in my dream, I was wonder-struck it was all happening in Auckland! — and in Greenlane Hospital! In amazement, I kept looking at the monitoring equipment, wondering how it could have turned into stereos!
It was about eleven when I woke to the harsh ‘reality’ of the hospital. There was deathly slience. Everyone was fast asleep in the ward. I wondered if they were still participating in the bhajans. I do not know when I lapsed back into the world of slumber, but when I did, the bhajans continued! I had three more such intermissions, and each time I slept, the bhajans resumed! It went on till the early hours of the morning. Then the sun’s rays exorcised this dream.