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ASSOCIATES OF MAHATMA GANDHI > VINOBA BHAVE > MOVED BY LOVE > Epilogue : Narrative by Vinoba's Attendants
Epilogue: Narrative by Vinoba’s Attendants
November 5, 1982: Baba1 had slight fever all day, and at 8.15 in the evening had a good deal of discomfort, with heavy breathing and a rapid pulse. The doctors diagnosed a heart attack. Treatment was given and by the 7th the condition was definitely improved.
The following evening, November 8, Baba refused to take either water or medicine. Next morning he again refused to take water, medicine or food. He did not speak but whenever these things were brought he indicated his refusal. The medical bulletin ran: ‘There was a definite and satisfactory improvement in health and every possibility of a full recovery; but because of the determination not to take food, medicine or water there is now grave danger.’
Although he was very tired, he would speak a word or two to anyone who came to his side. Some he remem- bered by their work, others by their names-a continuous flow of compassionate interest. On the 12th the doctors reported no deterioration in his condition and on the 14th: ‘Weakness and tiredness notwithstanding, he is fully conscious and his face shines with a spiritual radiance.’ That evening the pulse became so feeble and blood-pressure so low that the doctors agreed that the condition was critical, but an hour and a half later both blood-pressure and pulse were again normal, and temperature also. The doctors checked periodically till four in the morning; everything was completely normal and they finally left off, recognizing that this was an astonishing case.
At 7.30 that morning, the 15th, a French girl associate of the Ashram, who had arrived from France the previous night, began to press him earnestly to drink some water. He laughingly signed to her to drink it herself and then pointed with his finger to a small wooden board with ‘Rama-Hari’ written on it.
He was lying with his eyes closed, his face full of peace, his whole body clean and clear, the only movement that of breathing and of the feet keeping time with the inward chant of ‘Rama-Hari’, which in the most difficult times had never been interrupted. Just at 9.30 a.m., quietly and easily, the breathing ceased.
As Vinoba had said so often, to so many gatherings, ‘This is the end. Jai Jagat. My salutations to you all. Rama-Hari.’