Sages of the New Covenant
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
- 1 John 5: 14 & 15
“What did happen to me?“ was first question, Swami Sthevananda asked Dr Nandakumar, on 17th May 1995, when he came to read Swamiji’s pulse in the morning around 10 AM.
His reply: “You should tell me what did happen to you”; he added: “The police would come to take your statement; hence be prepared to tell them.”
After three hours Dr. Nandakumar came and asked swamiji: “How did the accident happen?” Swamiji could not then recollect what had happened to him, and replied him saying: “I do not know.” This time, it appeared that he had believed what swamiji had replied; hence swamiji gained some courage and asked the following second question to him.
“Was there a blood transfusion?”
Swamiji asked this question, because he thought doctors must done transfusion to compensate the blood lost during the accident.
Dr Nandakumar’s reply was smoothening to swamiji’s heart, even though he was in a trance state, due to painkiller, when Dr Nandakumar answered him: “No! No Blood was given to you”.Swamiji had a strong feeling that an individual’s behavior changes after blood transfusion. This belief was deeply rooted in his mind because of the following:
Swamiji’s mother had a colleague, who was teaching mathematics at the High School run by the Tirunelvelli Municipality. This teacher, mother of an adolescent was a disciplined woman. Due to some reasons, her bone marrows could not generate sufficient blood. Hence doctors had recommended transfusion. So week after week, several bags of blood were injected into her blood stream. Her health did improve; but along the line, everyone noticed a tangible change in her behaviour pattern. This woman, who had been maintaining distance from her male colleagues, started wooing men, which culminated in a clerk having an extra-marital relationship with her; and spent huge money on him and lost major portion of her savings.
Hence, swamiji aspired not have any transfusion. On 5th June 1995 the doctors wanted swamiji to get two units (bags) of O-Negative blood, for his surgery to fix his left maxilla. His blood being O Negative, it was very difficult to get the required units from the local blood banks, as only 9% of the people have O Negative blood.
At GEC ALSTHOM (known formerly as English Electric and currently as ALSTOM), where swamiji was then employed we had a computerized list of blood grouping to encourage blood donation. The company used to give paid holidays to those who donate blood. There used to be lot of outsiders thronging at the office of the Employees Trade Union to get access to the donors.
Thanks to swamiji’s friend Dr G Vijayakumar, Psychologist at the Madras Port Trust Hospital, he could arrange one unit of blood on 6th June 1995. But swamiji needed one more unit for emergency. Hence he had to find out one more person with O – Negative blood, who could make himself available at the hospital during the time of his surgery.
Almost all the workers of ALSTOM had got some favor from swamiji, like getting jobs for their sons and daughters in companies known to him or getting admissions in the reputed Christians schools. Getting a job was quite easy for him then, for he was the Honorary Secretary of the Madras HRD Network; and every month all the Human Resources professionals used to congregate to share their professional experience through presentations; either from within or by calling outside consultants. Mr Jefferson, a native of swamiji’s native district was the Principal of the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School; hence getting academic assistance for swamiji’s employee’s wards was never a problem. Hence, he was expecting an overwhelming response for his requirement of blood. When swamiji had sent words through the Personnel department about his need for two units of O – Negative blood, he was stunned at the lukewarm response. When workers, who had got some benefit from him weren’t coming forward or encouraging others to donate blood for him, how could swamiji expect volunteers from the management staff, with whom he had almost developed mistrust because of the following Organization Development (OD) Intervention:
In 1993, swamiji was asked to conduct a Green Field Organisation (GFO) Study by Mr A M Vincent, then Chief Executive – HR of GEC ALSTHOM. Many management staff who weren’t professionally qualified believed that the Corporate HR had been conducting this study – GFO - only to weed them out. At Pallavaram factory, swamiji was the face of Corporate HR; and many of the management staff, who had been promoted from the rank and file weren’t having a professional qualification, almost stopped talking to swamiji.
Mr M R Krishnamurthy, then General Manger – HR of GEC ALSTHOM must have spoken to his former departmental colleague. On 6 June 1995 evening Mr K Packirisamy, one of the management staff came to the hospital and told swamiji that his blood is O - Negative and he would make himself available by 7.00am the next day in the hospital for emergency blood requirement. Swamiji was glad that the blood required for the surgery has been arranged.
The night before the surgery (6 June 1995), swamiji said the following prayer to God, before going to bed:
“God you know that I want to be me. I don’t want to lose my individuality. You know that I have a belief that people’s character changes after a transfusion. Even during the accident no blood had been injected in to my body. Why now? I don’t want others blood entering my body and my behaviour pattern getting changed. Your Son, Jesus has shed blood for me; that is enough for me. Amen.”
A small prayer, but swamiji know he said it from his heart.
On 7 June 1995, Dr C K Dhanasekaran started the surgical operation at 7.30am. He and Dr Nandakumar wired steel wires to fix the left maxilla. The Open Reduction Fixation of Left Maxilla took nearly one hour and 23 minutes. In the evening Dr Nandakumar came to see swamiji.
Swamiji asked him: “How many units of blood were used?”
He said: “No transfusion was required for you”.
Praise the Lord. Swamiji expressed his heart’s desire to God and God did not brush aside his request.
Even without a transfusion there was a paradigm shift in swamiji’s behavior, from that day. Earlier he used to differentiate management staff based on their qualification. From that day onwards, he started seeing all the management staff as equals; the very reason being, Mr K Packirisamy is one of those, who didn’t have a professional qualification, as laid down by the Corporate HR.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3
Faith is articulating the desire of our heart. God may not answer our un-articulated desires. Hence, express your desires of your heart; God is interested in meeting out your genuine needs.
The prayer of Swami Sthevananda is based on his personal aspiration. Neither swamiji nor Sages of New Covenant are against blood donation / transfusion; rather we encourage organ donation to save life and to improve the quality of life for the people:
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Sages of the New Covenant