My sister Nidhi first taught me to chant Daimoku in March 1999. I'd just had an operation — a benign tumour had been removed from my diaphragm. I was moved by her faith, but not moved enough to start chanting myself. Or let's say I was being selfish, like many others — I believed everything was back to normal, therefore I didn't need prayers to rectify or improve my situation.
In July, however, I fell ill — I had chronic backache, fever, was throwing up, and couldn't sleep at all. A friend of mine had died in a car accident and another dear friend committed suicide around the same time. I felt miserable. My father brought me to Delhi for treatment. My tumour had recurred and spread to different parts of the body.
I was given chemotherapy. After the first cycle, I was throwing up every 2 minutes. Then my sister came from the U.S. Four days after my first cycle I sat up and chanted daimoku with my sister. For the first time I felt better. That night I ate and did NOT throw up. For me this was proof enough to chant regularly. Now I began chanting to wash away the bad cells in my body. My doctor said he'd do a thorough test (a CT scan) after 3 cycles and then decide on a future course of action. In all probability there would be residue of the tumour left behind. However, my sister told me to picture the bad cells leaving my body every time I chanted daimoku. I did just that. With the passage of time I felt stronger and much, much better. Then came the acid test. I went for a CT scan after 3 rounds of chemeo. My report showed 100% recovery. There was not a speck of tumour left in my body. My doctor termed my recovery "dramatic".
Today my parents tell me that when the doctor first saw my reports before we started the treatment he wasn't quite sure what he was handling. Mine was not a routine case. My sister told me she chanted daimoku so that we would get a good doctor. All our prayers were answered. I was given chemo for the next 10 months or so. During that period I lost my hair. I often met people in the hospital who shared the same fate as mine. They were young like me and losing hair affected them a great deal. Most of them had stopped going out. Except me. I believed chanting gave me the confidence to go out. With a scarf on my head, puffy face and non-existent eyebrows, I have roamed the whole of Delhi.
Once in the middle of this, I stopped chanting. I fell ill and was admitted in the hospital for quite a while. The doctors could not trace the origin of my fever. I lay in bed with fever and a depressed mind. For the first time in my life I thought of ending it all. Then one day, my body burning with fever, I started chanting again. That very day my doctor diagnosed the fever and in 2 days time I was up and about again. Today I've realized that had I chanted Daimoku in that period I probably still would have fallen ill but chanting daimoku would have speeded up my recovery and prevented me from getting depressed.
Today my treatment has ended. My reports are a doctor's and patient's delight and I have even started working.
Chanting daimoku has also introduced me to a so far untapped talent — painting. I have sold my paintings to a renowned gallery and will put up an exhibition in another month's time. Often while chanting as if by magic, I get ideas for a painting complete with design and colours. I also love writing — prose, poetry, anything at all.
Two weeks back, I went and saw the editor of a dot com company for work. I learned later from a friend who works there at the same company that the editor thought I was a dopey, a drug addict (probably because my hair had just started to grow back). I chanted for guidance in writing and for her to see things differently. Three days back she'd read what I'd written and offered me a full-time job.
Chanting daimoku has brought me innumerable benefits. I would like to thank everyone who helped me in the practice — members, leaders, everyone who chanted for me. I'd also like to thank friends and family who stood by me. But here too, chanting comes into the picture. When you're suffering you tend to shut yourself out. You don't let your friends comfort you. But chanting enabled me to be receptive to other people's kindness. I understood that they wanted to help me and I let them do just that.
And in the end I'd like to say, no matter what, don't ever lose faith. You must know that chanting and doing gongyo will bring good things into your life — even if it takes time — but pray with 100% faith.
My doctor has
told me that the whole of next year is crucial. If my disease does not
recur in this period, it probably never will. I have decided to chant regularly,
take an active part in meetings and do my bit to spread this wonderful
practice. I hope next year, I will see everybody here with an absolutely
healthy body and hair as long as they ever could be.