Upon conclusion of the Divine Discourse on July 27, 2002, on the auspicious Guru Purnima occasion, one of the devotees had posed a question to Bhagawan as to when the swelling on His face would go down. For several weeks preceding Guru Purnima, Bhagawan had developed a large area of swelling on His right cheek. It had subsided substantially by Guru Purnima but was still evident. Read on Bhagawan’s answer that throws light onto His extreme ways of granting happiness to devotees at the cost of physical discomfort.
Bhagawan: It will go down tomorrow. Diseases like smallpox, chickenpox, and typhoid run their usual course of time. Similarly, even this glandular swelling lasts for 21 days. No medicine would help it. Diet has to be controlled and observed carefully.
After 21 days, it subsides spontaneously. Today is 19th day, and by day after tomorrow it should be gone. Today being the 19th day, it has already decreased and there is not much swelling.
By taking the illness on myself from that other person, I gave comfort to him. Even so, bearing the ailment patiently, I do not waste any time. How many discourses am I giving and how much work am I doing? The swelling started near the joint of the right cheek. It was difficult even to talk and drink water.
When the International Seva Conference started, the All-India President, Mr. Srinivasan, requested Swami to give a discourse. When I tried, I could not even speak. Then I felt, what is the use if I can't give happiness to all these people? Then I willed that the swelling move from the joint to a forward point. I do not cure myself, because then it becomes selfish. There is no selfishness in Me. On the 13th day, I shifted the swelling. That day the pain was unbearable and excruciating.
I preach to everybody to get rid of body attachment and develop attachment to the Atma (true Self). So I had to show by example not to have body attachment and to ignore the terrible pain. That's how I could do so much work and give this many discourses. I do not take any holidays like you—no Sundays or any other holidays, only holy days for Swami. I do not pay much attention to the ailment as it comes and goes. Still two more days are remaining. Day after tomorrow, it will be normal.
You may not be aware that the swelling was the size of a ripe orange. No one should feel sad that Swami has taken on this illness. These things come and go. Who invited them and who bids them farewell? They come and go. But you have to control your thoughts. If you pay too much attention to the illness, it will cause you more pain.
A child was suffering, and the principal of the school sent a telegram to the child's parents. The parents took the child to the doctor, but the doctor said there was no cure; the child had to undergo the suffering. The child was crying all the time, without eating or drinking. I went by car to the school and called the child along with the parents into a room. I asked the boy, "What do you want?" He wanted the pain to be removed. I said, "I will remove the pain; you tell me what food you would like." He wanted biscuits, as he had not eaten for three days. I materialized the biscuits, fed him, blessed him, and told him to go to his classroom at the school.
The parents were concerned and wanted to take the child home. But I told the child to stay at school. Then he returned to the classroom and had no pain. That's how I took his illness upon myself.
All Avatars Take On Illnesses
I do many things like this. Once I took upon myself the paralysis of a devotee. There was a devotee called Krishnappa, a flower vendor in Bangalore. He suffered from paralysis and had to support a large family, so I took his paralysis upon Myself. Even though I take these things on Myself, I don't cure Myself. If I cure Myself, it becomes selfish.
Then, in Nainital, there was a mother of three children who lost her husband. She was working as a clerk, and there was no one to support her. She was grieving the demise of her husband, and she used to work day and night to support the family.
While going to the office, she suffered a heart attack. I was in Bangalore when this happened in Nainital. I said, "Laxmi, do not fear." At that time, I left my body, and the students who were with me were worried. Then I came back and told them not to worry, but to take me upstairs. Thus I took upon myself the heart attack, and she became well and the children were happy.
The second day, I sent her a telegram, asking her to come to Brindavan. She came, along with her children. I called them privately and told them not to worry and to go back to work. I took upon Myself the illness for nine days and could not move. I suffered and then got better.
Sometimes I have to take on these illnesses. This happens to all Avatars. It happened to the Shirdi Avatar and the Krishna Avatar. Though all these are not recorded, all incarnations have taken over the sufferings of devotees. God does His duty, whether it is recorded or not. I am ready to take on the sufferings of anyone, when they cannot bear it. I am ready, ready, and ever-ready for this.
These incidents are not obstacles in the way of God. Everything will go on as usual. As you have seen, during the last fifteen days I attended all the functions; I had to do lots of work and gave many discourses. Doctors came and advised me to take rest. I don't want or need any rest. It is a mistake to think that I will become healthy by taking rest. Doing work while undergoing suffering is my rest."