You could see the photo of this car accident in almost every newspaper in Switzerland: our van pierced by a crash-barrier that rose up behind the car into the sky more than 10 metres. This experience was like a nightmare from my childhood in which I found myself in a cruel, hopeless situation and desperately fought to wake up. But this time it was not a dream, and it was Sri Chinmoy who eventually freed me from this abysmal abyss with his loving care.
I tried to get out of the van, but my right leg wouldn’t move. When I tried to lift it with my hand, my fingers found themselves between flesh and bones, covered with blood. I was so shocked and horrified that I didn’t notice that a bar from the destroyed seat had speared me.
Enough facts for despair. I was extremely lucky that I had already been a student of Sri Chinmoy’s for almost two years—long enough to have a lot of faith in him. Otherwise I would have perished miserably then and there.
In the hospital, when the doctor who was standing at the left side of my bed started to elaborate on the “facts of the situation”, my wife Usha, whose presence I then became aware of, interrupted him at once. Smiling bravely at me, she said to me that she had been able to talk to Sri Chinmoy about my accident. His compassionate message for me said I shouldn’t worry because everything would become again like it was before. This was definitely the happiest moment of my life. Of course, there were still many tough moments to come, but he would always be there to save me.
During the time at the hospital, I felt like a helpless child lying safely in the arms of his mother. Usha was Sri Chinmoy’s faithful messenger. She helped me to keep my focus on Sri Chinmoy amidst all the pain and the doctors’ doubting minds.
Some miracle-facts: When I had this accident, a nurse happened to be driving in a car behind me. If she hadn’t tied off my leg in time, I would have never made it to the hospital alive. Then, during the more than five hours of surgery, the hospital staff were able to trace my wife in Zurich, about 100 miles away. Somehow she managed to arrive at the hospital just in time to stop the doctors from amputating the injured leg. Now they needed her permission. She was able to phone Sri Chinmoy in New York and tell him about the situation. He told her not to allow the amputation and to make sure to be near me when I woke up and to tell me at once that I shouldn’t worry.
The next miracle was that the director of the intensive care unit, who was an excellent microsurgeon but on leave from his job at that time, had been visiting the hospital just on the evening I was taken there. Because it was a very serious and complicated case, they requested him to operate on me. He was very eager to do an excellent job.
Another miracle was that I wasn’t paralysed, because the base of the spine had been totally smashed. During the following years, the feeling in my back, legs and feet recovered completely. Also, I survived a very bad lung embolism that occurred during the surgery and forced the doctors to stop.
Next miracle: the doctors were convinced that I would haveto wear this terrible plastic bag for the rest of my life. But fortunately, the microsurgeon’s substitute was one of the best colostomy specialists in Europe. He liked me and therefore was inspired to examine me once more and recommended another surgery. When the director of the ICU, the excellent microsurgeon, heard that the operation was supposed to take place on the rst day of his return to work, he decided to do it himself. He again did an excellent job. The doctors needed a whole week to decide how to cover the open bone, and in spite of their unconcealed scepticism, the surgery was successful.
Shortly before the accident, Usha and I had missed the registration for the upcoming university semester and, without being aware of it, had also thus lost our health insurance This meant I would have had to pay more than sixty thousand dollars to the hospital myself. But through yet another miracle, the insurance company agreed to take Usha back into the health plan and, since we were married, to pay my hospital fees.
The doctors were convinced that I would have to stay in the hospital at least until autumn But I left in the middle of July, and in August I went on a plane to New York to see Sri Chinmoy — although with crutches and a removable cast. When I left the hospi- tal, some of the doctors and nurses told me how inspired they had been by the wondrous outcome of this “tragic, hopeless case”. But they also told me not to expect more — for example, to ever be able to run again. They were convinced that I wouldn’t even be able to walk properly.
But less than three years later, on a chilly January morning in New York, Sri Chinmoy’s presence helped me win our Marathon Team’s Rainbow Marathon in a new personal record of 2:56. And only one year later I came in second behind my friend Hutashan in our 47-mile race in a personal record of 5:56.