"He is OK"?
In any case, I am grateful that I was allowed some time to hear and understand language to an extent that my hearing loss didn't significantly alter my progress at learning. My studies of psychology have taught me that childrens' language development actually begins from a very young age, and that if any serious obstacle occurs during an optimal period of time it is likely that the child's ability to learn will suffer. I have, of course, associated with people who have been deaf from birth and have no other way to communicate except by sign language. In this connection, the official status of my hearing loss is categorised as my being 'profoundly deaf' although I am 'minimally deaf' due to my use of two digital hearing aids.
If anything, I am grateful that I had a chance to hear and speak enough of language so that neither my speech or learning skills were affected by this traumatic experience. Being profoundly deaf certainly has it's advantages and disadvantages. If I ever decided to seriously take up the spiritual practice of meditation, I would be afforded instant silence simply by switching off my hearing aids! The disadvantages are obvious; it is hard to take part in group conversations (or even individual conversations) if there is too much background noise or if the speaker isn't speaking clearly enough while facing me. I also have problems talking on the telephone, and I am unable to hear the lyrics to songs unless I read and follow them first, etcetera.
[DIGRESSION]As a matter of curiosity, I have observed my hearing become slightly better over the years. Whereas I was incapable (without my hearing aids) of hearing a pneumatic drill when I was younger, I can at least hear such things now as well as 'smaller' things now. While having a shower in the dormitory showers in Whitefield, I heard my soapdish fall on the stone floor![/DIGRESSION]
Whereas I come from a traditional Hindu family, it was often suggested that I should visit several gurus in order to be 'healed' of my affliction. This is a common feature of Hindu life amongst many 'afflicted' families and considering that I wasn't born with this problem, no problems in relation to karma could be foreseen. Even though we didn't believe in Sai Baba at the time, his name was sometimes suggested as a possible avenue to check out due to his reputaton as a healer and miracle-worker. Interestingly, no one ever spoke about his claims of 'divinity'. He was simply known as a miracle-worker, healer and a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba.
[DIGRESSION]I deeply admired Shirdi Sai Baba after watching the Bollywood movie 'Shirdi Ke Sai Baba'. While visiting Shirdi and having heard that Sathya Sai Baba was supposedly his reincarnation, I was shocked to find that he was not at Shirdi but resided near Bangalore![/DIGRESSION]
So whenever the occasion arose, it was common fare to cart me off to whichever guru was in town in the hope of attaining their blessings for my problem and a possible cure. I had a lot of interesting experiences along this way and saw a lot of curious things. For example, I saw a certain 'Jahmu Maharaj' magic a handful of cashews, almonds and raisins from the air by simply extending his palms and 'catching' the goodies. He did this after asking us (I and my parents) to close our eyes and pray to God. Being the curious child that I was, I pretended to pray by keeping my palms close together but had my eyes open, and so I saw what he did. I felt at the time that he must have had some mystic power in order to do that feat, but evidently he was not powerful enough to cure my hearing loss.
And then he repeated the same, more or less, in a second interview we had later that month. I do not remember the exact words he used but he was clearly stating that "nothing was wrong" and that I was actually "alright".
The funny thing is that my mother had had several dreams of Sai Baba curing me. As we all know, devotees consider his appearance in their dreams as real appearances and not merely dream-fantasies, which Sai Baba is responsible for. It is often the case that such dreams lead to the expectation that Sai Baba will do something when you go to visit him, and such stories are frequently reported in amongst the Sai-literature. I cannot speak for my mother, but I certainly had no expectations of him ever curing me. I was completely shocked that we had been "fortunate" enough to be granted two interviews on our first trip; I clearly remember that I visited Sai Baba with no expectations whatsoever and I was blissfully happy just to be in his presence, and it was the ultimate shock that we were blessed with an interview. I couldn't conceive of asking Sai Baba for anything as "material" as a mere cure.
I do have to wonder, though, the implications of his "verdict". If I am "ok", then why the need for these difficulties? If "nothing is wrong", then why the need for hearing aids? If "I am alright", then why the problems with using telephones, and so on? It seems clear to me that Sai Baba was avoiding it, despite his usual guff about suffering problems due to karma, etc.
At this stage in my life, even though I have never expected to be cured, I personally do not care about my hearing problems. I am not even aware of it until I see a small child staring at the "things" in my ears as they always have done. Aside from the problems relating to direct conversations on the telephone and personal interactions, it simply is not an issue for me and is not a part of my self-image. I have a great love for music and I am fine with song lyrics just so long as I read and follow them first. Modern technology allows me to watch television programmes with subtitles. I can send/receive SMS text messages on my cellphone.
My doctor has suggested that as it may have been possible that this happened to me by way of a traumatic shock (the passing of my beloved aunt), it may take a similar traumatic shock to jolt me out of this condition and return my hearing abilities to the state of normalcy that I was born with. Oh well, whatever. The fact of the matter remains that I have to deal with this problem in the here and now, and Sai Baba was unable to do anything about it and simply made wild claims about it that contradicted my own experience, which is still true now as it was then.
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