In 2008 I was a practicing cardiac-anesthesiologist. I was Chief of Anesthesiology at a heart hospital, and derived my identity and happiness from the work I did and my family. But in August of that year - everything was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A routine surgery to treat it, in the same month, led to complications that left me incontinent and in excruciating pain due to scar formation. Due to these complications I was forced back into surgery a further three times between Aug and Dec 2008.
As if cancer wasn’t enough, I was now living in excruciating pain, impotent, incontinent and wearing diapers. As an anesthesiologist I was the first to advocate the prescription of traditional pain medications to manage the severity of the pain I lived with. I soon learned, however, that the body’s quick dependency on the pain medication created the condition of addiction to pain medications within me. I was now a cancer survivor living with post surgical complications, chronic pain and addiction. Within a year, I was diagnosed with depression too.
On the 14th December 2010, I was back in for surgery for placement of an artificial urinary sphincter. In the days after the surgery, I was very sick, running a fever of 104-105F. My entire pelvic area including penis and scrotum was very red and badly swollen. I could not urinate. I was placed on heavy-duty antibiotics, IV Gentamycin and IV Vancomycin. I was not getting better. This time something was very, very wrong.
Ten days later, Christmas Eve 2010, I was admitted on an emergency basis for sepsis (severe infection). The medical staff assessed that they would need to perform emergency surgery in the early morning of Christmas Day to drain the pus from the pelvic region and take the foreign body (the artificial sphincter) out. I was in a lot of pain and so was very heavily medicated. The last memory I have is of the medical staff inserting a catheter to drain my bladder. The pain was searing - so intense that my next memory is of me no longer being in my body. I was outside of it. I knew that my consciousness had separated from my body. I had disassociated my ‘awareness’ from the location of the body itself, and yet I was fully aware and present - outside of my body.
Though my physical body was asleep most of the time, I was very conscious and aware. I was in as what I can only describe as a
different plane of existence. I could see myself from above, both in the hospital room and operating room. I watched my body sleeping. I was aware of the conversations going on. In the operating room I saw the surgeon cut me and then it smelled awful from pus (infectious fluid from my pelvis). To counter this smell and for surgeons to keep working, the nurses applied eucalyptus scented water to their surgical masks. I heard the anesthesiologist tell a joke. I remember it clearly to this day but I cannot write it here, as it was not a clean joke! Later, in the recovery room, the anesthesiologist verified this episode to me. Being an anesthesiologist, I am very well aware of what goes on in the operating rooms and had asked him directly.
My awareness, a consciousness that was ME but was not limited to the location of my body, was completely intact that night, and
during surgery. In fact, not only was it completely intact, but it was more acute and expanded. I remember being in the operating room, looking down at my body from 10-15 feet in the air. I was looking from the left side of where the surgeons were operating on me. I could hear, see and smell - not only everything in the operating room but also things far away. My senses had become hyper-sensitive.
With my awareness still in the operating room, I could simultaneously hear conversations happening far away: I heard a conversation - between my mother and sister, talking about what they were going to prepare for dinner that night. They were going to have rice, vegetables, yogurt and legumes. They were in India. It was pretty cold, foggy and frigid there, people where bundled up, as there was no central heating. My family was using small electric heater. From this I understood that it made no difference if people were near of far away: my awareness was everywhere simultaneously.
I would love to say that my awareness then moved into a very serene love filled space, to be with the presence of an all loving,
forgiving entity. But to begin with, I am afraid it was not so. My awareness moved from the physical world of the operating theater in the hospital and the kitchen conversation in India to a place where a great wild fire was raging. Dark entities with crooked teeth, with two horns were running about. I saw me being taken to this place screaming and fighting. There was persistent lightning in dark clouds as a perpetual fierce storm raged. There was the smell of meat burning. It did not take much of my awareness to realize that I was in Hell. It was excruciatingly painful. I could hear other souls screaming and suffering. Needles were being poked in to me and I was being badly tortured. I was made to lie on a bed made of nails. Blood was oozing from various wounds. I kept wondering what did I do, what karmas in this this, or past lives I did to deserve the punishment? As I experienced this horror, I began to have the strong awareness that the life I lived could be described as very materialistic: it was always about me; when I met someone, I was always asking myself ‘what can I get from this person’.
The truth dawned on me in Hell that the life I was living on earth was without love. I was not practicing compassion or forgiveness
towards myself or others and had an unpalatable tendency to be especially harsh towards people that I perceived to be lower than me in social or professional status or hierarchies. I remember feeling deeply sorry for the lack of kindness in my behavior, and wishing I could do things differently. Immediately, as these realizations became crystal clear to me, this place - Hell - began to fade away. My father appeared, with his father at his side. My father took my hand and guided me toward a tunnel - at the end of the tunnel was glowing white light. As I moved through the tunnel, it was as if time and space disappeared. Strangely, as if I had simultaneously been in a parallel abode, my awareness was instantaneously in a different place. It was as if I was there concurrently, at the same time, where I experienced complete and cosmic peace: a state of pure harmony, without any disturbance or excitement. Total, utter, undisturbed bliss which unified all things and beings in the entire universe.
That space, which I understood to be Heaven - was very serene. Words are actually inadequate to describe it. I was in the presence of
a very calming loving formless bluish Light - an entity, which I somehow knew or felt was supreme love: knowledge and intelligence personified.
And then I was back in the tunnel, traveling with my father leading me. I could see my past, present and future. I saw myself in a past life that I had actually seen once before during a “Past Life Regression” session with Dr. Brian Weiss: I was an Indian prince in medieval times who was mercilessly, senselessly whipping the poor; I also saw myself 200 years ago as an Afghani poppy farmer who was addicted to opiates from the poppies that he farmed for a living.
My father shepherded me through the time tunnel and a profound awareness washed over me that in my current life I was echoing behavior from my previous lives: behaving with lack of love to those less fortunate than me, misusing my material wealth and social status, addicted to pain killers. As this insight pulsed through me, another wave of awareness washed over me: if I lived again, I would have to break these patterns completely, and live differently.
As I moved through the time tunnel with these sobering truths showing themselves to me, my father ‘spoke’ to me. When I say ‘spoke’ I mean non-verbally. I did not see him ‘speak’ but felt his words inside me. ‘If you keep your consciousness clear, and are truthful to yourself, the universe and the divine will take care of you’.
These words already held profound meaning for me because they were the last words my father had ever said to me before he died some twenty years ago. He had died from complications of heart surgery. I had missed him all those years. Now as he led me through this tunnel, me holding his hand like a little boy, him flooding my entire being with these words again, I felt deeply soothed, and I had the understanding that in this moment NOW my life was being redirected.
After my father helped me get across the tunnel, I came out of into a place of profound calmness, light and joy. I was greeted by two Beings who were like young men, radiating energy and light, full of vigor, enthusiasm and love - and who told me they were Angels. They communicated with me non-verbally and told me that their names were Michael and Raphael. They told me that they were my guardian angels. This confirmed what I had been told by an angel therapist during an angel therapy session, a few years prior to this experience - an experience that up until now I had been relatively skeptical about. The Angels now guided me through various aspect and levels of this beautiful place. I was in a meadow. There were fields with many different colored roses, mountains and a fresh crystal water stream was flowing. Cool, very soothing air was moving gently. The air had a soft and sweet fragrance. I could hear a soft chant, as if in the distance and yet also completely audible: again simultaneously far away and yet very clear to me.
The Angels seemed to making me aware of the nature of a higher consciousness. From them I understood that they were helpers - that at their level of consciousness (which was far advanced than mine) there was still some form, but there was a level of consciousness that was completely formless: the Highest level of consciousness. They taught me that there, at the Highest level of Consciousness, there was no form as such - but an all pervading force, a powerful entity of energy of PURE LOVE, and that this pure, unbound consciousness was actually the base reality - the underlying fabric- of absolutely everything in the Universe. It was the source of all creation: The highest level of consciousness is actually the energy of PURE LOVE and this is the creative force of the entire world, the entire universe.
Immediately, as my awareness absorbed and understood this, I found myself instantaneously immersed in the formless, shapeless Blue Light. The Light Being began ‘speaking’ to me but I heard the words as if through a gentle wind that was whispering to me in my ear. The Light Being seemed to be diffused throughout this entire dimension. It is hard to describe in words how it felt to be in the presence of the Light Being: PURE LOVE pervaded everything, as if all the five earthly senses were soaked in love. It was present everywhere, all powerful. My consciousness felt merged with the supreme primordial consciousness. I was at once communicating with It and in It. The closer, or more connected I had become to the Light Being, the clearer and more intensified the chant in the distance had become.
I was being told that it was not my time to leave yet, and that everything would be all right but my path now was going to be as a healer. I was told that I would have to leave anesthesiology and materialism behind. It told me: ‘Now it is time to be healer of the soul, especially of the diseases of soul, of the energy body, addiction, depression, chronic pain and cancer.’
I was told that this was the reason I had had to experience the diseases that had befallen me personally - so I could have empathy for others, so that I would know how it felt to be in their shoes.
The Light Being gave me glimpses of my future: writing great books to help others, speaking to larger audiences, helping lots of people.
This was a complete revelation to me. I was an anesthesiologist who barely spoke to patients - and liked it that way. I actually suffered from severe anxiety about public speaking and avoided it at all costs. Left to myself, I would happily have continued as an anesthesiologist: it was my passion and I was very good at it. I didn’t interact with people much, but I was the most requested
anesthesiologist in the area where I lived.
My job afforded me a lifestyle that I had come to enjoy and identify with. I could now see that I had not been a compassionate man, but I had been very well off - and until now I had reveled in that. The material comfort it gave me, and the fact that I absolutely loved my work and was good at it meant that if it were up to me, I would never in a million years have thought to give up that position.
But here I was being given very direct orders from this magnificent, most supremely loving, intelligent and gentle Light Being that my life had to change, and that I was being given back life ONLY to live it differently.
I did not feel any anxiety or resistance to what I was being told and shown. How could I? I was in a place of unconditional, pure love and reassurance. All I could feel was deep joy and inner peace. I accepted what I was being shown with silent and profound love.
As I accepted what the Light Being was showing me, some words seemed to flash in the sky above me. They read ‘A Course In Miracles’. I have since understood this to be a metaphysical spiritual book in which the themes of love and forgiveness are taught with intelligence and grace. At that time I had no idea what those words meant, having been born in a Hindu family, with my sense of religion and spirituality being dominated by my own Hindu cultural experience.
The awareness that I was being given life back specifically so that I would write and speak with the specific intent to help others suffering from chronic pain, addiction and depression poured through me, coursing through every fiber of my being.
After this awareness, my next memory is of waking up in the recovery room. The nurse was there, but not my family. Within 30 minutes the medical staff called my family to see me. In the days ahead, the rate of my healing was nothing short of miraculous.
Much to the wonder of the medical staff my sepsis and infection was all but healed within 72 hours and I was discharged.The inflammation and pain in my pelvic region decreased astonishingly within days, and in the months ahead it would be gone altogether.
Most incredibly within three weeks of being discharged from hospital, I resigned my position - and never returned to the hospital environment again.
As a result of this experience, my whole world changed very rapidly, with life-long ramifications for all of my family: we decided to downsize from a 10,000 square feet house into a modest home; I began to volunteer and looked for opportunities to perform ‘seva’ (selfless service) for others every day. I went from driving a Mercedes to Hybrid Toyota Camry. I used to have a Hummer prior to the Mercedes and my friends and I now joke that my life literally and figuratively went from “Hummer to Hybrid”.
After this visit to another dimension, the depression which had blighted my life for years prior to this experience has gone, and most fascinatingly, my addiction to pain medication has been completely broken. This is nothing short of a miracle: even my own psychiatrist and some of the best addiction specialists around do not know how I managed to overcome years of addictive behavior and simply become free without undergoing an intensive rehabilitation program.
Eight months after being given another chance to live, I was able to have my incontinence corrected - making me pain free and finally free of the need to wear adult diapers for the first time since Aug 2008. Twelve months after my experience, my life was hardly recognizable: I had resigned from anesthesiology, changed houses, cars, locations; my medical health was transformed. My nature and demeanor had shifted, I was now more caring and loving, with more sympathy and compassion towards others.
These insights from the other dimension propelled me to start writing and giving seminars on spiritual wellness. As both a pain
management specialist who prescribed pain medication as a healing solution and as a patient who has seen the havoc they wreak on the mind/body complex, I urge people to look first for healing through non-pharmaceutical, non-invasive therapies. I advocate the need for a consciousness-based approach to healing, and encourage the use of systems that promote the individual’s connection to the Higher Consciousness.
In October 2012, twenty-two months after my visit to the ‘other’ side, I published my first book on the topic of spiritual healing. I am currently working on another. The words ‘A Course in Miracles’ which had flashed in the sky in the other dimension have become the foundation of my spiritual message. I read and started practicing the Course diligently. I also read works by Marianne Williamson especially Return to Love. Inspired by that book, my core message has become Forgive, Love and Heal. I have started by apply this teaching to myself in my own life first.
Instead of sweeping my dark shadows and failings under a rug, I share them openly. I tell how it was necessary for me to see them and accept that they were parts of me - so that they could actually become my impetus for change and healing. I do this with the intention to help others do the same.
Most profoundly, my entire outlook has changed. I am filled with a desire to help, to be of service - and to have my voice heard to help people heal. I have made changes in my life to make myself available to do this. To this day I feel that the ‘full’ meaning of everything I experienced is continuing to reveal itself to me moment by moment. I still feel connected to the Light Being and I recall with clarity the experience of Hell and of Heaven, my father and the time tunnel, vividly.
It seems to me that the full extent of the changes that were meant for me could not all be implemented in one day or week or even one year or lifetime: they seem to be continuously unfolding, with my awareness shifting more and more towards its newly directed purpose with each and every life event. I do not feel that the changes are all realized as yet. Rather I sense that I have been put back on Earth on a path - and my job is to put one foot in front of the other and follow the path faithfully and with trust - just like I did as a small boy, holding my father’s hand in time tunnel.
The future is still being formed, but in all these changes, I have felt no fear. I know I am not alone, and whilst I may not yet have full sight of what my future will look like, I do know that there is a plan - and that the plan is a good plan. In my old life, I used to put people to sleep. Now I wake them up. And I have woken up too.