My passion for Yoga is well-known. I have associations with various Yoga institutions. One day I received a phone call from Mr Tiwari, Secretary of Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla inviting me to examine Swami Digambarji, the Director and Head of the institute.

Swamiji had a non-healing ulcer on his back for a number of years. It would heal for some time and then flare up again. It had developed following some experiments conducted by Swamiji in Yoga, when he was accidentally exposed to excess radiation (X-rays). Here was a challenge. I treated Swamiji in various ways. I consulted colleagues. But the ulcer refused to heal completely and permanently. Swamiji did not experience pain and had no other disability and was otherwise quite active.

From the moment I saw Swamiji, I was greatly impressed by his cheerful and serene personality. He was a saint, completely detached from worldly matters, yet having a keen sense of awareness. He offered sane and mature advice if it was sought, but on his own he never interfered in any individual's affairs. I was greatly drawn to him and, in return, he showered his love and affection on me and my wife.

Swamiji never complained about his wound but his non-healing ulcer weighed heavily on my mind. I suggested that we investigate him, including biopsy. Swamiji was obviously reluctant and asked me: 'What next?'. I was aware that the type of ulcer, its site etc., were unsuitable for extensive surgery accompanied with skin grafting or, for that matter, any other aggressive therapy. I hinted that the wound may be already cancerous or may soon develop into one and that there really was no answer to it. I still do not know whether I was right in being so frank with him. He listened to me with rapt attention but showed no reaction.

But soon afterwards he lost all interest in life. He became withdrawn and introspective as if his mission in life was over. He would welcome us, but would not ask for anything, nor would he refuse anything. He stopped all intake of food and medicines (prayopveshan). Gradually, his general condition deteriorated and he passed away peacefully in about ten days. I have never witnessed such a quiet and serene death. He was lying peacefully on a thin loin cloth, with his eyes open and religious slokas from the Gita and Vedas were being chanted by those around him. There was grandeur in that death.

My association with Swamiji has enriched me and I cherish his memory all these years. He was my spiritual guru as I was his doctor for his physical ills.

 Compilation of professional reminiscences of specialists - edited by M.V.Kamath and Dr.Rekha Karmarkar.