Part IV. My Social public-service Activities and memories of Naroda Lions Club.
God gave me a chance to serve the community from which I was earning. A new Lions Club, a branch of Lions International was starting in Naroda in 1970. It gave me many good friends and opportunities to serve people. I joined it as a Charter Member. Then I became its treasurer, secretary, and president in 1975. I visited Lions International head quarters in Chicago during my first visit of USA. in 1976- the year of bicentennial celebrations of America's independence. I have memories of Mr. Reagan loosing the presidential nomination against Mr. Ford in the republican party.
Naroda was rapidly transforming into an industrial township. There was no maternity facility or ambulance service. Delivery cases requiring emergency treatment were at great risk. Under the auspices of Lions Club we started a maternity facility and a free polio vaccination center. Both these projects are nicely running today. We arranged every year free diagnostic camps and sometimes Free cataract operation camps. Naroda Lions club started an English medium school for the Non-Gujarati Indian families working in different industries.
During these years (1970 to 1981), I became close friend of a devoted Lion, Mr. Himatlal Shah. His noble nature always inspired me. We worked hand in hand during all humanitarian projects and activities of Naroda Lions Club. He was general manager of the Ruby coach builders. In the year 1981, one communist minded worker assassinated this divine soul. Mr. Himatlal Shah was a friend of poor and ever helping brother of all Lions. He was a living angle of kindness, love and a true servant of suffering humanity. In a small matter of trifling demand, not agreed by the management, the murderer entered his cabin with liquid thinner, threw it on Mr. Shah, and ignited fire. He was burnt alive in his office. He died within a few minutes on the spot. This divine soul died performing his duties like a martyr on the battle field.
I had always doubts regarding the mercy and omnipresence of God. It was a day of great sorrow and mourning for his wife, my family members, all the Lion members, friends and entire village of Naroda. I have dedicated my first religious book 'Egos and Desires' to this true LION, a true Jain, and brother of my past birth, Mr. Himatlal Shah. He was a family member for my children and a brother, friend philosopher and guide for me. He was younger than me in age but he was my Guru in many social and economic matters. He was a true Lion, an inspiration for all Lion friends and all who came in his contact.
Re-union of old college friends.
The memories of friendship of school and college days are always selfless, divine and cherished at all places. The story of Krishna and Sudama tells us such inspiring messages. I do not remember names of many school friends, but the memories of many college friends are ever in my heart.
In 1964 I started a re-union of the old class friends who studied in the Inter-Science class of Gujarat college in 1945. With the help of similar minded friend, Mr. P.M. Patel, we prepared a list. Mr. Patel had worked as police officer in the crime branch of Bombay for some years. After division of Gujarat and Maharastra States in 1958, he had resigned from a good government job, and started a packing industry of his own in Naroda area.
One day we were gossiping about old friends- who is where and what he or she is doing. We could remember many old friends and the idea of re-union gripped our minds. We started working on it. The first grand re-union of nearly 50 college friends was arranged within six months. All were in different walks of life, like doctors, lawyers, engineers, judges, politicians, business-men, teachers, professors, and good positions in government. Most of us were meeting after an interval of 20 years. It was a day of great joy and jubilation for all of us. They came from distant places with their families. At this age period of our lives, our sons and daughters were studying in the Inter-science classes of different colleges.
We decided to continue this activity and arrange one annual re-union every year at different places. They were arranged in Bombay, Baroda, Cambay, Anand and sometimes at holiday resort places. The local Ahmedabad group started regular monthly dinner meetings and family gatherings. I remained its permanent president, secretary and treasurer without any funds to manage. This activity continued for next 15 years and all loved it. It brought many friends and families close. Some friends became in-laws when their children started knowing each other, dating and got married.
Sorrowful memories of many friends who died during these years are also with me. We were able to help their children and widows in many ways, financial, legal and medical problems. I will not record these events. But I record one sad event of the death of one Inter-Science group friend, Dr. K.G. Mehta. He was a busy family physician of Ahmedabad. He would leave his home in the morning at 6. a.m. and return at mid-night. This was his routine for 360 days of a year. No rest, no vacation, only devotion to duty and work.
One day KG got a minor heart attack but with God’s grace recovered from the first attack. He reduced the pace of work. Now oft and on for check up he would visit our common friend Dr. P. P. Mehta (MD.). Dr. P P. Mehta was a famous teacher, physician and a leading cardiologist of Ahmedanbad.
Dr. KG. was once on the examination table in the office of Dr. PP.. Cardiogram machine was recording heart beats. Everything was fine and within normal limits at the start. Both old friends were chit chatting about medical politics of the city. But in a fraction of second, DR. PP noted unusual waves suggesting ventricular fibrillation (Heart changes before death). Before KG could speak a word, and PP could do anything, heart of KG stopped for ever. When the news were disclosed to family members and friends, no body was ready to believe it. The death of a healthy doctor in this set of circumstances was impossible.
Today when I reflect upon this event, I can only say that the PLACE and TIME of death (destiny) of Dr. KG. Mehta was pre-written by God. A cardiologist and personal friend could not save his friend's life with all the facilities at his hand. Nor he could extend KG's life span, even for a few more minutes or seconds.
During my trip of India in 1988, I had the misfortune of attending the cremation ceremony of my great buddy, and renowned cardiologist of Ahmedabad- Dr. P P. Mehta. He was four years younger than me. Dr. PP was a chain smoker, even after knowing as a cardiologist that smoking is harmful for the heart. He could not quit this most addictive habit. After suffering from some pancreatic trouble, he had reduced the number of cigarettes per day but not stopped completely.
Dr. PP got a severe heart attack. I went to see him at his residence while he was recovering from this attack. Always jolly, smart, active, cheerful and ever talkative Dr. PP appeared silent and depressed. He wanted to hear from me talks on religion and God. I advised him to withdraw from very busy practice and partially retire. He agreed. But on the third day of this meeting, I received news that the heart of a famous cardiologist of Ahmedabad had stopped for ever. The time of death for every born is today and now. The Gita says, "Jatasya hi Dhruvo mrutum". Every born has got to die. Most of us forget this eternal law of God, and run after temporary sensual pleasures like smoking, drugs and alcohol. We think of impossible dreams and improbable events to happen in our future lives. But we forget that the laws of Karmas, actions done good and bad, binds every individual slowly and steadily to his or her destiny in a perfect but invisible manner.
My economic positions and attitudes.
I had no bank balance to start my practice. I had started my first clinic in Ahmedabad in 1951 by borrowing money from relatives and friends. In the city practice of India, doctors have a system of giving personal credits to patients. Only a few new and unknown patients come and pay cash. In this way the families remain attached to doctors. Some families pay their bills on monthly basis, but many pay on yearly basis. Compared to insurance system abroad, the fees are paid after receiving the treatment and not in advance of some expected sickness. In a city like Ahmedabad, a new doctor has to wait for some years before he is able to enroll some permanent families and make both ends meet. I had to close my Ahmedabad Clinic within six months for these reasons.
I shifted my practice to a less competitive but known place, Naroda. It was a village without electricity in those days. But it was my birth place. I had lived there as an orphan child. Every one knew me in Naroda. From the very first day my practice started with a good swing. But for the first ten years, there were many obligations and debts to be paid.
Only after 10 years in 1960, I was able to purchase a plot and built my residential bungalow in Ahmedabad. My net savings and bank balance after ten years of practice were only Rs. 3000 Rupees, (=$ 100). Again by borrowing loans from relatives and friends I completed its construction in 1962 and I repaid all debts by 1966. In next year I purchased a new car and extended 2 fllors on bungalow with Life Insurance Loan in 1967-68. Now I started investing surplus money in Shares and bonds. This phase of extra money came nearly after 16 years of hard life and active practice.
Doctors are poor accountants. In those years I learned Indian style double entry book keeping. It helped me to file my income tax returns, and I knew my financial position and assests. I taught this simple Indian method of book keeping to some doctor friends. After learning it some doctor friends thanked me for teaching this accounting system.
Part V. I come back from heaven.
After immigrating to USA in 1981, I had come to India to close my clinic. I established a charitable trust in the memories of my mother and converted my private practice into a charitable clinic where only cost of medicines were charged. The salary of doctor, staff, utilities and rent were paid from the trust funds.
My date of return to USA was Jan 17, 1982. Air flights were confirmed. Two days prior to this date, I got little fever in the afternoon and became completely unconscious in the evening. It was a serious sicknesses. I was admitted to V. S. Hospital, and my family members in USA were informed by phone. All children and wife were in USA. My closest doctor friends like PP and many other doctors treating me in the hospital had lost all hopes of my recovery.
I was completely unconscious, in a state of total paralysis. It was a severe brain stroke. I was practically a dead person. The control over the urinary and stool functions was lost, pupils were dilated and not reacting to light. All the signs suggest a state of deep coma and poor or no hope of recovery.
During that week of deep unconscious state a big crowed (nearly 1500 people) of relatives, friends, and patient families from Naroda and surrounding villages was gathering in the premises of the Hospital. They were praying for my recovery. God heard their prayers and gave me a new birth!
My wife and two sons came running at a moments notice. After a week of their arrival, I regained little consciousness. I was able to recognize them. My face and left half of body showed paralytic signs. It was an attack of cerebral ischemia, I was informed later. I remained in bed for three months. But with grace of God I am able to drive on American high ways. I drive from Florida to Michigan, Philadelphia and New York. All the memories of past years are as sharp as one could observe from this biography.
I know with fullest conviction that I am alive today, because God wanted and wants me to live and do HIS work. All my religious books were written and published after that sickness of 1982.
Many relatives like my maternal grand mother in Naroda, my mother, cousins, uncles, friends like Dr. KG, Dr. PP, Mr. Himatlal Shah, and great leaders like Gandhiji and Nehru, great scientists like Einestine and many leaders of Europe have died during the span of my life. I have perfect memories of all these deaths and all great historic events.
While I was recovering from that sickness, one day I got inspirations to write a prayer in English. It is based upon the theme of all Upanishads and the Gita - A prayer to One Infinite God of Universe. I published it in 1988, in the first English book-“ABC of Hinduism”.
(See Sec-III - additional informative articles for this poem).
An atheist turns to spiritual study
During the days of busy medical practice there was no time for any religious study or activity. Besides I had no faith in God, temples or Gurus in those days. Once in a while I would attend religious lectures, if there was some famous speaker or a noble religious teacher.
For nearly two or three years I was under hypnotic influence of late Acharya Rajanish. He was a great scholar. He spoke on religious subjects with intellectual appeal and logical approach to religion and God. But when he declared himself as Bhagavana (Living God), I was disappointed. This was during the years 1965 to 1970, I think. Education, medical aid, service of the needy, poor and suffering humanity as preached by late Swami Vivekanand, Mahatma Gandhiji, Jesus, Buddha and also preached in the Gita, is worship of God. This I believed during the years of sixties and seventies. The mythological stories of Hindu Puranas, narrating magical wonders of Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva, never inspired any faith in my mind.
Once in Oct., 1979, I heard a week's discourse on the 3rd Chapter of the Gita, Karma Yoga, by Rev. Swami Shree Chinmayanandji. It was arranged on the historic and famous open ground of Gujarat College, Ahmedabad. I had studied in this college during my pre-medical years of college. A crowd of nearly 25,000 people was gathering daily. In morning hours Swamiji was teaching the famous text of Vivek-Chudamani of Adi-Shankaracharya. I was attending both these sessions with fullest devotion and attention. I used to close my evening clinic to attend these lectures.
These lectures ignited a spiritual quest for the first time in my mind. I memorized the Sanskrit verses of Karma Yoga- the 3rd chapter of the Gita, and constantly meditated upon the scientific meanings of key words like Dharma Karma, Atma, Bhraman, Jagat, Vishva, etc,.
What do we understand when we use the word Karma? It is generally translated as actions, acts or deeds. I started real study of the Gita and other Upanishads by reading translations of authors like S. Radhakrishnan, Swami Chinmayananda, Dada Athavleji and many others. Everyone had some difference in their approach and translation of these Sanskrit words and the text. I was always searching the scientific meanings of Sanskrit words.
Within three months of devoted study of this one chapter of the Gita, I saw divine cosmic light one night. It changed my mind, attitudes, life’s goals and activities. I have described this event in all my books and magazines. People spend years to see this divine light of God. Why I was rewarded in such a short time, and with study of only one chapter of the Gita?
Why I was selected by God to see the “light of holy Cross of Jesus Christ” at a particular date and time of Christian calendar, in India without any background of Christian faith in childhood, while reading the Gita- a Hindu scripture? This is still an unanswered question for me.
Sometimes I ask myself. Am I the same individual (Atma) who was born on Nov.-16-1924 in India, who wanted to be a surgeon, a politician, a businessman, and struggling to be rich in short time, having many dreams?. All these years I was slave of sensual joys and circumstances. I practiced medicine for 32 years in a small village, though I wanted to be a great surgeon in a big city. People who know me could never imagine that an atheist doctor would be writing books on theology, religion and God in his later life. Sometimes I say to my friends that God inspires me to write this type of spiritual literature. HE wants me to become HIS spokesman and instrument. But I also know that nobody believes such statements and remarks.
My present activities.
To keep my self busy, I write books on Hinduism, and world religions. I do not worry who will read them and what rewards they will bring to me. During last ten years I have wrote and published four chapters of the Gita, two books on Yoga-Vedanta Darshan in Gujarati and one book in English, ABC of Hinduism for the Indian children staying abroad. During my interim visits of India, I had started a bi-monthly magazine "Vignana-Dharma Sandesh" (Science and religion). But after four issues I had to close it due to lack of devoted staff. To write and publish my thoughts and experiences is the only goal of my remaining life.
In 1992, I published my dream book, “Mahatma Gandhi”, -Ambassador of God for the 21st century. It is a religio-political book. In it I have given my observations of the post -independence years of India and the causes of economic down fall of Indian currency. I have made constructive suggestions regarding the changes to be made in constitution of India. It will bring true world peace.
I have suggested a new idea of International Gita- Gandhi Dharma Sangh, (IGDS) for religious education of the future generation in any part of the world. Such new and radical religious thoughts take some time to get well rooted, to grow into a big tree and give fruits. I know this but this a mission of my remaining life. I will try my best to propagate this idea of IGDS as long as God permits me to breath in His world.
Now I perfectly know the exact date of my death. Signs and symptoms of old age and physical limitations are visible. Relations, activities, needs, knowledge, places and time are ever changing. But my conscious and inner most 'Self' has become enlightened. I now understand the short proclamations of Upanishad Rishies like; "I am Brahaman, I am the immortal soul or undying ‘ATMAN’. My soul is changeless, imperishable, immortal and divine in nature. It was, is and shall ever be at all times and at all places, even after it leaves my present physical gross body". In the Mahatma Gandhi book I wrote second English poetry, “Immortal Soul”. It is based upon a famous Upanishad Mantra, from Bhrad-Aranyak Upanishada, “Mrutor mam Amrutam Gamaya”.
(See Sec-III - additional informative articles for this poem).
Now I know that my body and soul - both are part and parcel of the supreme Brahaman or GOD. God is within every human being in the heart as love, in the mind as sympathy and compassion, in intellect as common sense and good thoughts.
Like humble words of Sir Isaac Newton on his death bed, I also say, "I have tasted a teaspoonful of water from the endless ocean of divine knowledge. I know many things about my past, present and the world history. I have clear memories of all events that have occurred during my life. This is the story of every human being and his or her limitations of place and time. The journey of life has reached this last day of creation of universe. It is TODAY and NOW. It is like a rigid and un-tresspassable dead end. Anyone can know and learn many things, subjects and skills. Yet the endless ocean of knowledge ever remains unknown. No one knows what is going to happen “TOMORROW”. Even Lord Rama did not know, though he was God incarnate.
I pray God only this “Please keep me a life long student". Another Way of writing Autobiography. Become a third person and tell your story.
This is a new method. I just suggest for them who want to understand - Real Spiritual-Self (Soul) and world of material objects seen and perceived by five senses. To gain this knowledge, called Adhiatma Vidya, people in India renounce family life, go to Himalayas to find some Guru, who can show them God by path of Self Realization.
I indicate a simple method of self realization.
This is not difficult. Try to write only one or two pages. Write a few lines as if a third person is giving your introduction to your family members or to some unknown audience.
"Born in 1924, Dr. H.K Gandhi was a poor boy. His father died when he was six month old child. He was raised by a widow mother. He became a medical doctor and practiced as a family doctor for 32 years in a village, Naroda. He believes in giving good education to children. He wanted to send them to USA.
In later life at age of 55, he turned to religious study. Today he writes books on religious and philosophical subjects. His worldly knowledge has increased with age. His Karma have given him all desired fruits. His places of residence and goals (Desires) in life have changed many times. In 1982 he suffered from a severe brain stoke but he recovered. He is alive today in 2008, which he now believes is due to wish and grace of God.
After 15 years of study of world religions Dr. Gandhi, now Swami Dwiroopanand, believes that TODAY is the last day of Universal TIME or “Dooms day”, or “Day of Judgement” for all living beings on Earth. His imperishable (Akshara-atman) soul has not changed and not left his ever changing body. But now he knows with conviction that he is going to die on a day called “Today".
This “Perfect Law of God”, applies to every human being who refer her/him Self , as “I”.
* * * * * Summary:-
After writing these events of life (autobiography), I have come to understand my true Self, and fixed rules of God.
This is Self Realization.
Entire mankind was, is and shall ever be bound to the last day of universal time. We all are equally created human beings. We all will die according to His fixed rules.
The eternal laws of God could only be understood by the path of self realization, and a few more words, like Atma, Karmas, Dharma, Jagat (world), Vishva (Universe) and SPACE AND TIME.
Death of every born occurs at a fixed moment, the last day and moment of universal time. This moment is always TODAY and NOW. My cardiologist son will not be able to change the moment of my death even if I am under his care in the Mayo clinic of USA.
Thinking positively, looking back on my past and the life I lived so far, I can say this. I have not wasted my life. Besides discharging family responsibilities, I was able to help relatives, friends and the community. By writing religious books today, I am trying to help the future generations. I have earned good will, respect and blessings of countless patients and friends.
I was instrumental in starting a high school and maternity facility in a rural area like Naroda. The blessings of innumerable students and countless mothers is the real earning of my life. They do not know me and I do not know them.
I have a dream of starting a college, a hospital and a Yoga Ashrama in Naroda area, and a Gandhi-Gita Ashrama some where in USA.
I am aware of the political system in India, the minds of the people, the teachers, the doctors and business community at large are not ready TODAY for my radical religious and political thoughts.
Politicians of India are not ready for decentralization of central powers, political changes and vision of India of Mahatma Gandhiji.
I have a dream of starting some service projects in the places of my grand parents and places from where I have earned my wealth and living. To repay such debts is my religion, duty or Dharma. This I have understood after study of scriptures for last 20 years.