BABA SHIVARUDRA BALAYOGI'S PARENTS,
SHANKARA DIKSHITAR AND SHARADA DIKSHITAR
When my father was doing his intermediate course in medical school, he had an opportunity to visit Burma, having gone there to escort a relative boy around 1924-25. He found Burma prosperous and developed a desire to go there for his livelihood. He married my mother, Sharadamba, around the year 1926, completed medical school by 1932 and became a doctor, fulfilling his childhood dream. My mother was educated at home. Those were the days when girls were not sent out for education. Teachers used to come and teach at home. By the time she married, she had lost her Father. Her maternal grandfather, honest officer that he was, had never made any money or property. My father too was never money minded in his life. He was looking for a girl of integrity, both noble and pious. He found that in Sharadamba and married her in a simple ceremony.
After completing studies, when my fwas trying to go to Burma, still he was penniless. Father always used to say that Mother had offered her gold belt to be sold for his journey's expenses. One year later Mother also joined him in Burma.
Instead of earning money, Father had to face lot of hardships. Because he was honest and charitable in nature, he never tried to establish any institution for this purpose. As a one-man soldier, he quietly went on. Of course Mother was always with him. For six years he was running a charitable dispensary in a town called Leptdawn, in interior Burma. Because of his charitable nature he could hardly meet his basic needs of food and shelter. Mother never complained for anything. She managed the home with whatever Father brought. She used to help him in his charities. They bought biscuits and chocolates for the patients.
Later the government of Burma offered him a service in the Army. While serving in the Army, he continued his charity work. He kept just enough for his family's basic needs and with the rest helped the poor and uneducated in the rural areas. One bicycle was his companion and sometimes he walked for miles. God-fearing and deeply religious, he quietly worked in the midst of poor.
By September 1939 II World War broke out in Europe. Gradually by 1940 Japan joined the war and invaded Burma in 1941. One invader came, the other invader had to withdraw. Father never bothered whether his patients were British or Japanese. For him, first he was doctor and the other was a patient. That was enough for hm to do his job. Father used to say, "I always thought it shouldn't make any difference for me, as to which place or country he or she belonged. No matter to which religion, caste or race the patient belonged, a patient was a patient for me (Father), a hurt one, physically suffering, mentally tortured and in need of a doctor's attention, that was all I knew."
This was very broad minded thinking. These things definitely influenced our minds also. Even in my childhood I considered my parents as saints. A human suffering is a human suffering and there is no need for any other criteria. So Father simply continued his job and charitable work. If it was job for a few days in the week, the other few days he dedicated for the humanity. Many a times Mother was with him. But very often he had to work in dangerous surroundings and leave Mother behind. When alone, prayers and singing of God's glories were her companions and inner strength. In July 1941 Baba's elder brother Vijay Kumar was born in the midst of war. Everywhere it was confusion and chaos. The common man also suffered a lot. Every system had collapsed. Nobody was sure of anything. Father used to be out on duty for several days together. He himself was not sure whether he would come back safely or not, like a fighter when aircraft taking off is unsure of landing.
Father never grumbled and quietly worked. He saw everybody suffering, whether it was a soldier or a common man. At home Mother used to be alone. A big bungalow on the outskirts of the town, like living in a jungle. With only one attendant, anybody could have harmed her. Often she saw dog fights by the aircrafts very close. For everyone of them it was like rubbing shoulders with death. When there were bombing raids, she sat with her elder child on her lap, inside a trench. Again it was meditation and quietly remembering God with devotion that sustained her. She never felt any fear at all. Before her first son was born there was a daughter which was born two years earlier. Soon the child fell ill. Father was away on charitable mission, for miles around. She could not find a doctor to attend the child. She did whatever nursing she could. Holding all emotions and remembering God with all her devotion, she watched the child breathe her last on her mother's lap. Some time before that Mother had received the news of her own mother passing away in India. Communication was not easy in those days in the midst of a War.
The news had reached her after six months or so of her mother's passing away. There was nobody around her to show any emotions or cry. Perhaps God was always there with her, to console and give that strength. Quietly she prayed for Peace for her Mother's departed soul. Every day she watched so many deaths. She used to pray for all the departed souls. Her mother and her own child were just two out of many. Unsure of her husband's return every time he went out, she quietly sat and prayed.
To be continued...............
After a readers request, Baba kindly added this information about the loss of the female child above.
The female child was named Saraswati. The omission of mentioning this earlier in the article was unintentional. Parents never considered any difference in their children, whether male or female. They took the loss in a simple manner because of their enormous inner strength. They remembered this child also very fondly. Father also felt the loss equally. They considered life also a battle field and believed philosophically carrying on. Later they gave birth to another female child who is very much alive now. Along with this female another male twin baby was born, which died even before it could be named properly. That was also in Burma ,although the war was over. My father was away again on charitable mission. Parents took and suffered silently. Never did they try to discriminate between male and female.
Copyright © 2001 SRBY, All rights reserved.