He is a doctor, you would love to meet…
By Neeraj Mahajan & Ankit Mahajan
Dr. Narayan Savant ‘Guru ji’ is someone, you cannot help but silently admire and respect – not because he claims to be an extraordinary avatar but is a humble servant of God and ocean of love. He is is someone who doesn’t have any enemy because he sincerely believes that love begets love and considers every human being as his own family. “We were all born in the lap of mother earth…. This means that– irrespective of our class, caste or place of birth– we are all related to each other as brothers and sisters”, he says.
He is also not someone who would try to impress you by chanting a mantra in Sanskrit or any other language you don’t understand or demonstrate his supernatural powers by producing ‘vibhuti’ or something else from thin air…
As a matter of fact – he is an extremely modest, unassuming and down-to-earth person whom you may ever come across. You may call him your friend, philosopher, guide, healer, or doctor whatever you feel like. Don’t be surprised but even after giving you the best of his time, attention and care to cure a longstanding disease – he wouldn’t ask you for any money. Why? You may ask – well the simple answer is that he firmly believes that it is his sacred duty and karma to keep shuttling from one place to another to treat thousands of people – who come to his clinics in Bangalore, Karwar (his native village) in Karnataka or Delhi. He doesn’t charge for his diagnostic services and also provides the different medicines – for free to people who come to him from all over the world with the most complicated or incurable diseases which no doctor could cure anywhere else in the world.
Dr. Narayan Savant ‘Guru ji’
This is what makes him different as he does all this by choice and not by compulsion. He is someone who didn’t marry and doesn’t even have a family of his own that too voluntarily. Strange though it may seem, this is something he consciously, decided to do and does not regret it either. Maybe this was his destiny and purpose of life because a divine inspiration commanded him to remain a bachelor and spend all his life treating people who came to him with all kinds of seemingly incurable diseases and ailments. Most of those who come to him – believe that they are gone cases – inhaling their last breath. But get well soon because of his selfless service as well as tender love and care.
Life wasn’t exactly a bed of roses for Dr. Narayan Savant born as the fifth child in the traditional family of Mukund Savant a policeman and Shanta Bai a housewife on 29th December 1952 at Karwar in coastal Karnataka. Both his parents were reputed members of the society – known for their hospitality and helpful nature. His father Mukund Savant died from typhoid because he couldn’t get proper and timely medical attention. After his death, Shanta Bai bravely took on the responsibility of raising Narayan and her other children amidst extreme poverty and hardship. However looking back at the events in retrospect, this was the beginning of a tragic phase in the life of young Narayan from an early age.
Narayan Savant grew up in extreme poverty in the lap of his mother who taught him the basics of Ayurveda. This was like a ray of light for young Narayan who swore to become a doctor and serve the needy after he grew up. However little did he know that his passion would one day become his profession as he got the opportunity to learn Homoeopathy under the guidance of Dr. Swami Narayani.
Dr. Narayan Savant ‘Guruji’ the humble servant of God and ocean of love
Meanwhile, a chance meeting with His Holiness Paramahansa Shri Maharashtra Swamiji (known as Shri Govinda Padacharyaji), marked the beginning of his spiritual journey at the age of nine. Shri Maharashtra Swamiji developed a liking for Narayan and taught him the extremely rare science and unknown secrets of diagnosis mentioned in the Vedas and other traditional Indian systems of medicine.
This was like bringing a burning matchstick near a can of petrol and ignited the never-ending quest and hunger for knowledge and wisdom in Narayan’s mind. Within two years – by the age of 11, Narayan had completed his sadhana which implies a variety of ancient rituals to attain divine guidance after receiving his Mantropadesh (initiation into a mantra).
Sadhana is a yogic and spiritual tradition – in which a Guru guides or initiates the ‘sadhak’ or disciple to attain the ultimate goal of his life. It is a set of comprehensive instructions that teach the ‘sadhak’ how to eat, sit, stand, breathe, or conduct his mind, body, and spirit, as well as to channelize his hidden, unchartered energies and emotions as a tool for larger wellbeing of the society.
Dr. Narayan Savant being honored by the then President of India Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan
Before meeting his holiness Paramahamsa Shri Maharashtra Swamiji Narayan Savant was like a rough uncut diamond. Shri Maharashtra Swamiji polished him and shared his pearls of wisdom on traditional, spiritual and universal consciousness and Indian culture. This helped Narayan Savant evolve as a good doctor and even better human being.
Above all, the greatest thing that Narayan learned at his Guru’s feet was to consider all human beings as equal, treat everyone in distress with compassion and as far as possible ease their pain at the earliest.
This propelled Narayan Savant to do things that no one else would dare. It helped Narayan make up his mind and decide what he wanted to do in life. As a result at a fairly young age, Narayan Savant swore two things which most others keep thinking but are so overawed by the shine and glamour of the materialistic world that they never get down to implementing it.One – he decided not to marry – so that he could devote his undivided time, energy and resources to help people in distress and pain without any prejudice or favoritism between his own near and dear ones or complete strangers. Two – he would never go after money and keep his desires under control so that he would always be ready to share all his time and effort with other unfortunate ones who may need his presence in their life.
Having found his goal and purpose in life, Narayan Savant went about finding how to convert his thoughts, feelings, emotions, and desires into action. This is when he came across a lady called Norma Harman who initiated and taught him the fundamentals of homeopathy – a therapeutic system of medicine which involves treating the individual patient with highly diluted preparations which can induce the disorder (symptoms, clinical signs, and pathologic states) on healthy subjects. Although it may seem to defy the laws of physics, and modern medicine – homeopathy is a safe alternate system of medicine to diagnose and cure even the most persistent, long-lasting, chronic disease or terminal ailment like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, pulmonary, or viral disease which may even lead to death of the patient.
The homeopathic system of medicine (also called ‘remedies’) founded by Dr. Samuel Hanneman in Germany is a powerful, safe and effective therapy to treat the exact cause of illnesses without suppressing the series of symptoms. It concentrates on the individual patient instead of the disease in isolation and does not leave any side-effect. It is a comprehensive, scientific and natural healing system that takes into consideration the physical, psychological, philosophical, ethical and spiritual parameters. It emphasizes the need to maintain a proper lifestyle for positive health and the importance of living in harmony with nature and the universe.
Widely accepted as a credible therapy – it can be used as a stand-alone or complementary system to support orthodox treatment. The main principle of homeopathy – let like treat like – refers to the methodology of giving patients minute quantities of medicines that in large quantities may aggravate the symptoms being treated. It is a drugless approach to heal patients at the physical as well as the emotional level – that too without leaving any chemical deposits in the system. It can cure anyone experiencing any illness like difficult breathing, skin eruptions, or pain anywhere in the body as well as the mental states of anxiety, depression or stress. Such is the worldwide acceptance of homeopathy that is recognized by an Act of Parliament in the UK and preferred by the royal family.
People waiting for Dr Narayan Savant outside the Karwar clinic at 4 am in the morning
Homeopathy may be the preferred option to cure chronic diseases. The chronic disease usually affects multiple areas of the body, which do not fully respond to treatment and persist for a protracted period of time. Chronic diseases may relapse or reappear after a brief period of remission or respite. A significant number – 25% of adults in the United States have at least two chronic conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) – every year over 57 million– almost two thirds – of deaths globally occur due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic lung diseases. About one-fourth of global NCD-related deaths take place before the age of 60. The worst part of this story is that most of these non-communicable diseases are detected late and the patients in the poor and developing countries may require expensive hospitalization due to severe or acute complications. As a result, most of the patients and their families lose their regular income, have to borrow money or sell off their land, jewelry or property and are pushed below the poverty line every year.
This precisely was the turmoil in Dr. Narayan Savant’s mind and burning desire to help the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people when he first met Dr. Norma Harman a German Homeopath. One of the things that they both agreed that poor people get sick soon and die earlier than their wealthier counterparts who can afford to pay for the most expensive doctors and healthcare facilities.
Swami Narayani nee Dr. Norma
Born on January 17, 1924, in Durban, South Africa Dr. Norma was married to Colin Edward Harman in September 1945 and had three children.
Known for her keen interest in yoga and spirituality Norma graduated as a Doctor in Homeopathy from Durban in 1970.
This is when she first met Swami Venkatesa a disciple of Swami Sivananda who inspired her to serve mankind and they started a Mobile Clinic, to provide free healthcare services to the poor people. Most of these people were illiterate and couldn’t remember the names and proper time to take their medicines daily.
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, in spite of having studied classical Homeopathy Dr. Norma deviated from the routine path and improvised her prescription methods to develop a number of combinations blending together some 36 mixtures and simplified things to such an extent that everyone could take their medicine on time. She also developed her own method of teaching Homeopathy and alternate healthcare – which was quite different from the one taught in classical Homeopathy schools.
By this time her clinics had become very popular and she was finding it difficult to run different clinics at different places because of limitation of time and money. Obviously, she couldn’t be present everywhere at the same time so it became necessary for her to train the local people in remote areas to take care of people at least till her next visit.
This method of healthcare was not only cost-effective but also helped her extend her reach wider and to more people.
Finally, at the age of 57 (in 1981) Dr. Norma was officially initiated by Saint Swami Omkar (called Venkateswara in his early days) a great Karma Yogi and founder of the Sri Shanti Ashram, (abode of peace) at the Totapalli Hills in Andhra Pradesh.
Swami Omkar – the great saint
Swami Omkar’s mother died at a young age and though his father tried to compensate by giving his full attention, young Venkateswara was emotionally very close to his sister who looked after all his needs – till she passed away at the age of twelve. This was like a bolt from the blue for Swami Omkar who saw her shadow in every woman he came across. Venkateswara spent many years of his youth in deep meditation at Rishikesh in the Himalayas and assumed the title Swami Omkar. He was bestowed with special god-gifted powers to heal people with physical or mental ailments. He could write the word ‘Om’ on the water before giving it to his patients for immediate relief. Such was his empathy and concern for his patients that he once offered a piece of bone from his thigh as a bone-graft to save the life of a little girl, though he himself had to spend several months in the hospital. Swami Omkar devoted his heart and soul to help people in distress and spread the message of love and peace in the world until he passed away at the age of 93 on 10 June 1982.
Dr. Kuppuswamy who came to be called Swami Sivananda Saraswati
One of those who inspired Swami Omkar and cast a strong influence on his life was Dr. Kuppuswamy a successful doctor who gave up his lucrative practice in Malaysia and came back to India. Conferred with God sent special miraculous powers to cure patients Dr. Kuppuswamy was a very kind and sympathetic soul and used to treat poor patients for free without charging any consultation fee. On the contrary, he often gave them money to purchase a special diet or cover their expenses after discharge from the hospital. Such was his concern for the poor that he once spent the whole night in heavy rain outside the hut of a patient whose wife was expecting a baby. Ignoring the discomfort Dr. Kuppuswamy drenched to the skin, stayed outside the hut till the next morning and returned only after the safe delivery of the child. This is what sets him apart. How many doctors not just in India but all over the world would be ready to do such selfless service? Can you imagine that this was the same rich and famous person who once used to wear ten rings on his ten fingers, and loved to collect gold and silver rings and necklaces? A man who would purchase expensive clothes and sandalwood items without any bargaining came to be called Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati and laid the foundation of the Divine Life Society.
A changed personality – from Dr. Kuppuswamy to Sri Swami Sivananda Saraswati – he now dressed in simple clothes, devoted himself to serve the humanity, and lived in a small ramshackle hut infested with insects, snakes, and scorpions. A changed soul, he would meditate for more than 12 hours a day, fast for days on end and observe silence. There were days when he would live on water and stale bread and spend his time performing Japa in the ice-cold Ganga water even during severe winters till it was time for his Mahasamadhi (departure of the soul from the cycle of birth and death) on the bank of holy Ganga in Shivanandanagar.
These were the sequence of events and influences that shaped the journey of the great mentor– Swami Narayani nee Dr. Norma — also called “Mataji” (mother) motivated and inspired her disciple and protege Dr. Narayan Savant to spread hope and remove the darkness and pain in the lives of people. Above all, she commanded him to relentlessly “LOVE, SERVE and DEVOTE” his life to serve the society, nature, and humanity.