Eradication of small pox
It was in the summer of 1973 that somewhere in Himalayas near Nainital a holy man made a strange prediction to his American Disciple. The prediction was uncharacteristic of any holy men in any part of the world then and even today . It was not at all about God or something of a philosophical prediction. It was about eradication of the one of the most horrible disease in the history of the mankind which had accounted for around 500 million deaths in the 20 th century itself and more than billion in the entire history .The prediction “ Smallpox will be quickly eradicated from the face of the earth . This is Gods gift to mankind because of the hard work of the dedicated health workers “. The prediction was made by Neeb Karoli Baba to his disciple Dr Larry Brilliant. The prediction came true when Rahima Bano was vaccinated and became the last case of smallpox anywhere in the world in 1980. A signed certificate was then issued by Global Commission certifying for the first and last time the complete eradication of one of the six most gravest diseases from the world . Rest of the 5 diseases still have not been eradicated.
The idea through this article is to bring to light Divine Intervention in eradication of smallpox though a rational mind will hardly agree with such a thing. One should definitely doubt and argue everything purely from a scientific perspective and all things must pass the test of logical and scientific rationality before being accepted. However, like what Jainism says there is always something called “May Be” and we may be limited by our own limitations of mind to gauge the complete picture . Our rationalities may be bounded by the limits imposed by the matter as Vivekanada used to say .In the realm of possibilities thus lie such divine things which until otherwise proven wrong can be left to the domain of unexplained phenomenon .The achievement in eradication of smallpox from South Asia in general and India in particular lies in such a realm of divine intervention which even today stands unexplained from purely scientific perspective . This achievement till date stands unmatched in the annals of human history considering the gravity of the problem and challenges faced when one… considers that it was eradicated in an age when there were no computers or internets or mobile phones ,fax or even telephones or even road connectivity ..considering that 100% of the people in 3 miles radius of an infected person had to be identified and vaccinated and mortality rate was as high as 30%…considering that it was done with active cooperation between scientists from various parts of the world especially cooperation between USSR and USA doctors in an age of cold war when both had pointed around 40,000 nuclear war heads at each other and cold war was at its peak………
considering that disease had to be eradicated from around 5 lakh villages in India and mostly it had to be done by making physical visits on foot …considering that a vaccine for smallpox was available for more than 100 years but it could still kill 50 crore people in the first 80 years of the 20 th century …considering that it was never a priority for Indira Government in those days and a huge tussle had erupted between JRD Tata and Mrs Gandhi over the issue of financing this project …considering that Dr Larry had never ever dreamt of being a part of this project ..and considering that India was not a single country but it contained around 21 countries in itself all separated by their own cultural norms ,biases , languages and belief systems ..considering that Dr Larry and other doctors and health workers printed and distributed around 2 billion photos of child infected with smallpox …considering that none in WHO/UN believed that Indian government will ever undertake such a program.
Science may have a long way to go before it could fathom the mystery of such divine beings as Neeb Karoli Baba and his ways …
Dr Larry Brilliant started his journey as a radical doctor in 1960’s in America .He was jailed with Martin Luther King and later also for his Anti War protests against American Policies in Vietnam in 1970’s. He later became a Hippie and moved around the world playing roles in a Hollywood movie and dancing in rock song Dum Maro Dum in a film produced by Dev Anand . He came to India against his will when his wife forced him to meet her Guru. The man then turned into a mystic (a very interesting story to know) in the company of his Guru who later transformed him into a great Doctor again against his will for a second time. This doctor then became a philanthropist and venture capitalist and one of the 100 most influential persons as per the Time Magazine. The Guru gave him a very practical guide about the manner in which one may reach and understand God without any sorts of philosophical contemplation or discussions about scriptures or following any particular religion or mode of worship etc. The path to God lay through the service of humanity and Guru virtually forced him out of the his Ashram and go to work for this vast ocean of suffering humanity . The Guru not only gave him a new direction but also taught his disciple the most profound lessons in humility and infinite love . The rest of this discussion revolves around these lessons about humility and infinite love and service to humanity which Maharaj ji imparted to Dr Larry .
The lessons in humility started soon after Dr Larry landed in India in 1972 after end of India Pak War. He was a very rational and western educated doctor and had come to India against his will . His wife had forced him to meet his Guru . Dr Larry stayed in Ashram for sometime and slowly got convinced about the mystical and spiritual greatness of his Guru(in the strangest of the manner he realized the greatness of Maharaj ji) . He started reciting Hanuman Chalisa and Ramayana and learning Hindi at a rapid pace . When he was enjoying his stay in the Ashram he was suddenly called by the guru. The Guru enquired from him if he was having any money with him to which Larry replied that he had a total of $ 1000 with him.The Guru scolded him for not having enough money despite being a doctor and started saying “Tum toh koi doctor nahi” (in hindi). Slowly the Guru started repeating the same thing in English ‘You Are No Doctor’. The Guru repeated the same thing many times before he said it in 3 letters “U NO Doctor” with a lot of emphasis on the first 3 letters . The disciple completely failed to understand this tantrum of his Guru when guru suddenly directed Larry to leave the Ashram immediately and go to a place in Nepal . But before leaving the guru said …U N O doctor…telling the disciple that he had to join a team of UN doctors which was on a visit to Nepal. So Guru was effectively telling Larry that he will be working for UNO from here onwards . Larry was least willing to start his second innings as a doctor . However, the Guru was not ready to listen anything at all and gave a clear direction to him to work for the UN specially for eradication of smallpox. The story then takes many twists and turns before Larry was taken in by WHO for working on smallpox project in India . Larry was rejected for around 40 times by WHO which never believed his credentials because of his hippie looks and his Indian holy garbs. Moreover, Larry had a very very troubled past with the American Government and CIA and Home Security were maintaining a complete dossier about his activities due to which he could never be part of any UN team anywhere in the world (due to Cold War policies no American could work for UN anywhere in the world without a Loyalty Certificate from U S Government and Larry would have been the last American to get such a certificate ). When he was finally allowed to work for UN it was a complete shock to everyone except his Guru who had predicted that Larry will work for UN one day .(very interesting story as to how Larry was given this certificate ..a divine intervention perhaps)
Dr Larry later admitted that Maharaj Ji could have got him work for WHO on day one itself but he was made to visit WHO office 30/40 times and was rejected every time . In Larry’s words it was the most humbling experience which made him realize that he was just an instrument in the hands of God and it was not him but God working through him. There was no place for subtlest Ego in the scheme of things devised by God and rejections actually humbled him till the time he realized his own insignificance. The Guru had actually taught him the most profound lesson in Selfless Service thorough these rejections.( Its a different story that how events unfolded and how Maharaj ji controlled entire course of events from starting ).
Second lessons of infinite complete and unconditional love was taught to Larry when his Guru touched his hands for a few seconds . Larry had an experience which he says his rational and scientific mind could never figure out..he in that moment of being touched by the Guru had felt complete love and acceptance for the first time in life (even parents also have conditions imposed while they love their children).In that moment he says he thought that since Maharaj Ji was a Guru he was bound to have such complete love for his disciples but what intrigued him was that he himself was having that feeling of complete love for the whole of Universe in that moment ..Maharaj Ji infact gave him a profound spiritual experience that in a perfect divine state all of us are one and the same …This feeling has stayed with Larry till date and has affected his workings since then…it was this feeling for every patient of smallpox that gave Larry the infinite courage to vaccinate patients(whom people would not go near at all ) from tribal areas which were completely inaccessible (Chhota Nagpur Plateau areas) to prisons like Gwalior jail where most dreaded dacoits of Chambal had been held captive during those days …he had since felt that complete compassion for every being on this earth and had worked on many humanitarian projects like SEVA(this NGO has saved 2 million people from blindness till date ) in India and dealing with Ebola Patients in West Africa (In Obama Administration he was head of the task force on Ebola ) …..
So that’s the story of eradication of the most horrible disease in the human history …now just imagine Covid -19 and see the amount of information and resources at our disposal compared to those times..definitely the humanity can overcome this crisis provided we follow the path of humility . compassion, selfless service and complete love towards those who are suffering ..Maharaj ji is no more with us but his teachings and divine presence are eternal and will always act like a ray of hope in these dark times ….