Is illness always karmic?

Devotee: Is illness always karmic?

Guru: Yes. What is that? It’s cause and effect. Somewhere down the line of birth and death, you have picked up this karma – something positive, or something negative. From birth to this consciousness, we have created karma both positive and negative. We are going to have to be accountable for that and suffer the consequences of that. This is very important. We are the architects of both pain and pleasure. So, look at it.

I’ll give you a very good example of karma. A young man came to see me. He rang me up and said, “Guruji, I am suffering from serious rheumatoid arthritis. I’m in a wheelchair and I can’t walk. What am I to do?” He said, “Do you think you can heal me?” I said, “I can’t heal anybody, but come to see me. Let’s work together and see how we can help each other.”

Swami and I went to [collect him from] the train. We lifted him from the carriage, put him in his wheelchair, led him to a car, and brought him home. He was going to stay with us for about a fortnight. 

The first thing I told him he had to do was to like his disease. You try telling that to a young man who hates the idea that he is in a wheelchair. He said, “Why should I like it? I can’t go to the toilet. I can’t get up and walk. I can’t do anything.” I said, “That’s your problem. Every time you feel you have to do something, you hate yourself. You hate what is happening to you, and so the disease is going to take hold of you more and more because you hate it. Accept it as a part of paying your karma. I’m going to teach you how to do that, and every time you hate every minute of it and swear inside, I will be beside you and tell you how to accept it.”

Slowly in these ten days, I changed his whole attitude and we began to work together. He learned how to live again with his ailment so that his life will be better. After about twelve, thirteen days, he said, “I’m ready to go home now.”  I said, “Good for you. Now, you will get rid of your arthritis with the help of whatever you are taking. Your mental attitude has changed. You have removed the obstructions that you created for yourself and you’ve accepted the fact that you were the person who started this from the first instance.”

He went away and I didn’t hear from him for about two or three months. Then one day, I had a call and I heard his voice ringing with laughter and joy. He said, “Guruji, I am going around the hospital ward teaching people how to live with these problems and you will be happy to hear I am on my feet, and not in a wheelchair anymore.”

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