My second son, Manilal, who had already been through an acute attack of smallpox some years back, had a severe attack of typhoid, combined with pneumonia and signs of delirium at night.
The doctor was called
in. He said medicine would have little effect, but eggs and chicken
broth might be given with profit. Manilal was only ten years old. To
consult his wishes was out of the question. Being his guardian I had to
decide. The doctor was a very good Parsi. I told him that we were all
vegetarians and that I could not possibly give either of the two things
to my son.
I knew Kuhne's
treatment and had tried it too. I knew as well that fasting also could
be tried with profit. So I began to give Manilal hip baths according to
Kuhne, never keeping him in the tub for more than three minutes, and
kept him on orange juice mixed with water for three days.
But the temperature
persisted, going up to 104°. At night he would be delirious. I began to
get anxious. What would people say of me? What would my elder brother
think of me? Could we not call in another doctor? Why not have an
Ayurvedic physician? What right had the parents to inflict their fads on
I was haunted by
thoughts like these. Then a contrary current would start. God would
surely be pleased to see that I was giving the same treatment to my son
as I would give myself. I had faith in hydropathy and little faith in
allopathy. The doctors could not guarantee recovery. At best they could
experiment. The thread of life was in the hands of God. Why not trust it
to Him and in His name go on with what I thought was the right
My mind was torn
between these conflicting thoughts. It was night. I was in Manilal's bed
lying by his side. I decided to give him a wet sheet pack. I got up,
wetted a sheet, wrung the water out of it and wrapped it about Manilal,
keeping only his head out and then covered him with two blankets. To the
head I applied a wet towel. The whole body was burning like hot iron,
and quite parched. There was absolutely no perspiration.
I was sorely tired. I
left Manilal in the charge of his mother, and went out for a walk on
Chaupati to refresh myself. It was about ten o'clock. Very few
pedestrians were out. Plunged in deep thought, I scarcely looked at
them. 'My honour is in Thy keeping, Oh Lord, in this hour of trial', I
repeated to myself. Ramanama was on my lips. After a short time I
returned, my heart beating within my breast.
No sooner I entered
the room than Manilal said, 'You have returned, Bapu?'
'Do please pull me
out. I am burning.'
'Are you perspiring,
'I am simply soaked,
do please take me out.'
I felt his forehead.
It was covered with beads of perspiration. The temperature was going
down. I thanked God.
'Manilal, your fever
is sure to go now. A little more perspiration and then I will take you
'Pray, no. Do deliver
me from this furnace. Wrap me some other time if you like.'
I just managed to keep
him under the pack for a few minutes more by diverting him. The
perspiration streamed down his forehead. I undid the pack and dried his
body Father and son fell asleep in the same bed.
And each slept like a
log. Next morning Manilal had much less fever. He went on thus for forty
days on diluted milk and fruit juices. I had no fear now. It was an
obstinate type of fever, but it had been got under control.
Today Manilal is the
healthiest of my boys. Who can say whether his recovery was due to God's
grace, or to hydropathy, or to careful dietary and nursing? Let
everyone decide according to his own faith. For my part I was sure that
God had saved my honour, and that belief remains unaltered to this day.