When Swami laid the foundation for the General Hospital in Puttaparthi on November 23, 1954, it was also the start of an ideal global healthcare system that would become the gold standard to which all other healthcare systems would be compared.

I was blessed to be born into a family of Sai devotees.  My grandparents began following Swami in the late 1960s, and Swami also performed my parents’ wedding in 1977.  When I was 14, Swami instructed me to study medicine and become a doctor.  I had never given the slightest thought to my future, but Swami had His own designs and plans for me, and I was in no position to question His Divine command.

Many years later, in the month before I started medical school, Swami gave His blessings and said that I would become a good doctor.  He also instructed me to “go into surgery” and gave me His permission to come back to Puttaparthi to work in His hospitals after my schooling and training were completed.

I returned to Puttaparthi with my family a week after graduating from medical school for Swami’s blessings.  It was during this trip that both my grandmother and father fell ill.  My grandmother was admitted to the General Hospital for a severe urinary tract infection, and the following day, my father developed chest pain, which subsequently led to an angioplasty with stent placement at the Super Specialty Hospital.  It was during these difficult few days that I witnessed firsthand what an ideal healthcare system was like.  The pictures of Swami everywhere in the hospital were constant reminders of Swami’s words:  “Service to man is service to God.”  The hospital staff showed so much love and kindness to all the patients and visitors.  All the doctors were highly trained and qualified and yet were so humble working at the feet of Swami.  I was also amazed that the hospital medical equipment and procedures were even more advanced than what we had in the United States!  I knew Swami had given me this experience to become inspired by these doctors and hospital staff and to strive to become just like them.

Although the healthcare model in Puttaparthi is emblematic of love and compassion and true devotion to mankind, there are a lot of challenges physicians and medical providers face that can pose barriers to providing quality compassionate care.  To overcome this, I constantly remind myself of an excerpt from Dr. John Hislop about how he could see Swami’s face in every single person he met.  Hence, he spoke with more kindness and reverence to everyone because he could literally see Swami in them!  I do not look at someone as “my patient.”  I look at them as “my Swami.”   Just like Dr. Hislop could see Swami in everyone, I try to envision Swami in all the patients I take care of, and when I do, I speak to them exactly how I would speak with Swami.  When I practise this exercise even on my most difficult and stressful of days, I notice that my stress and anxiety decrease, my tone and approach soften, and the quality of care increases.  I have also noticed that the staff around me achieves a level of calmness as well, making the work environment more pleasant and respectful.

Also, in September 2017, I had the good fortune to attend the Sathya Sai International Medical Conference in Anaheim, California.  I was inspired through Dr. Narendranath Reddy and the many wonderful guest speakers that Swami is performing one of His greatest leelas by implementing His principles of an ideal healthcare system in all systems around the world.  Each of us is His instrument in being a part of this change and transformation, and we should take Swami’s principles and apply them to our daily medical practice.

Over the years, I have had several opportunities to work with the Sathya Sai International Medical Camp in Puttaparthi during the birthday and Guru Poornima weeks.  I am very grateful to Swami for providing me with these opportunities to work alongside many dedicated and devoted medical providers. 

Through Swami’s grace and blessings, I completed a residency programme in anesthesiology in New York and have been in private practice as a consultant for the past six years.  Additionally, I received a Master of Public Health with a concentration in global communicable diseases, which also allowed me to understand and apply Swami’s teachings on healthcare in a population-based approach. I pray to Swami that I may continue to be an instrument in His Divine mission to achieve an ideal healthcare system for the benefit of mankind.

Dr. Ram Prashanth Yogendra, USA

For more information on SSIO medical service activities, please contact info@sathyasai.org