An Indian Experience
By Radhika Kapoor
(Posted with permission)

[This is the experience of Radhika and Shivan Goel, circulated by Puja from Chennai, India]

"As long as there people suffering, as long as there are people who are miserable, the Buddha continues to fight. Members of the SGI cast aside fatigue, day in and day out, exerting themselves for the sake of one person after another. "
I saw these sentiments of President Ikeda come alive these last two months.

I knew a woman who desperately needed to start chanting. Her name is Bindya Goel. Mystically, she attended her first SGI meeting only three days before her life was thrown upside down.

An SGI member, Anchal Kashyap, was at Bindya’s house to help her learn to chant, when a loud scream came from the other room. Bindya’s son Shiven was on the floor of the kitchen, with a pencil that had pierced his brain. Bindya became completely hysterical and with Anchal’s help, they rushed the child to the hospital. The hospital scan showed that it was a new fully-sharpened pencil that had pierced this five-year-old boy’s brain from one end to the other. Shiven was having trouble breathing and was put on a ventilator. He was then rushed to Apollo Hospital.

The doctors at Apollo were stunned. They knew they needed to operate at once, but never before had they seen, heard, or performed a surgery like this. It was the largest foreign object they had ever seen inside the human brain. The surgery would be extremely life threatening – when they took the pencil out, there would most certainly be bleeding which could cause loss of life or huge damage to the brain.

All the members of my chapter of SGI were immediately informed. We needed to chant non-stop throughout the night for the success of the surgery and for Shiven to survive. Nichiren Daishonin says: “When Bodhisattva Jogyo emerged from the earth, he leapt forth joyfully.” True to these words, members all over Delhi put aside everything they were doing and started chanting with ferocity for the life of Shiven Goel. Almost all of these members had never seen, heard, or met Shiven or his mother in their lives.

I was in touch with Bindya every minute of that night. I kept telling her: “Chant, Bindya, chant!! Chant throughout the night! Your child’s life depends on how much you exert in faith now. This is not the time to be weak. You have to be like a demon armed with an iron staff – the staff of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Wield it to protect your son. Demand the protection of the Buddhist Gods – challenge the Gohonzon! Ask to see actual proof here and now.”

I soon saw the Buddhist Gods swing into action even as the ferocity of our chanting increased. The superintendent of the hospital, whom I knew because my father-in-law had spent a year in the same hospital, kept calling me throughout the surgery from the operation theater itself, reporting how the operation was progressing. We all were chanting accordingly.

Late into the night we were informed that Shiven had survived the surgery. There was no bleeding! The doctors had pulled off a seemingly impossible operation. However, they had no idea if the brain had been poisoned by the lead or what might be the extent of the damage. Since Shiven was right-handed and the pencil had entered from the left side of the brain it was highly possible that the center for his speech, comprehension, and coordination could be damaged permanently. The doctors could not say whether he would get out of the coma, and if he did, what would be the damage.

One thing was certain: our fight was far from over. Shiven became the focus of everyone’s prayers. Members got together and prayed and chanted throughout the following days for Shiven to get out of the coma.

Mrs. Asano, SGI’s WD Chief, who happened to be in Delhi at the time asked to meet with Bindya. We were scheduled to spend only fifteen minutes, but Mrs. Asano spent one full hour explaining the power of Nam Myoho Renge Kyo and the power of a mother’s prayer. Her 100% conviction in the power of the Gohonzon was completely overwhelming. Mrs. Asano ended by saying when Shiven gets well (not if but WHEN), he has to come to Japan and report complete victory to Sensei. Bindya’s tears soon stopped and the lamp of hope lit in her heart.

We started giving ourselves daily targets for prayers for Shiven’s progress. It was a collective prayer of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth. How could it be ignored?

We chanted for Shiven to start moving –in two days, he did.

We chanted that he get off the ventilator – he did it in his first attempt.

We chanted that he open his eyes – he did open them, a tiny bit at first.

We chanted that he respond – he did by moving his hand on command.

We chanted that he become fully conscious – he did only to cry uncontrollably due to pain.

We chanted that the pain would go away and he started smiling a little.

We chanted that he be able to walk – and he ran!

But he did not start speaking for a long time. We were all convinced that Shiven had to chant along with us all one day – soon – very soon ...

Miraculously, within 16 days Shiven was allowed to go home, where for the first time he said the word “mama.” He then graduated from words to phrases. I am happy to report that, on Tuesday last, our chapter met to chant daimoku of appreciation. When all the members had left, Shiven came up to me and said “Radhika Masi – Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!” Bindya and I had tears rolling down our faces. The Gosho says: The Lotus Sutra is a great physician who can turn poison into medicine; because it can cure what is thought to be incurable, it is called myo or wonderful.

Shiven has already lived up to his mission in life. He has given us all a chance to reflect on, challenge, and refresh our faith. He has shown us that there is no such thing as “impossible” in front of the Gohonzon. Through the fighting spirit of all the SGI members and his mother, Shiven has shown what it is to be a Bodhisattva of the Earth.

As for the SGI members of New Dehli – they have shown that we common mortals are actually Buddhas, who can find within our lives the compassion to share others’ suffering. We have the courage to pray and to change another’s suffering into great immeasurable happiness – for that person and as an example to all humanity.