During one of my visits to Goa, I was called in to see one Mr Gaitonde. He gave a history of severe sciatic pain in one leg with paralysis in that leg. He had consulted a neurosurgeon in Bombay who had investigated him, diagnosed it as a case of acute disc prolapse and advised immediate surgery. This was four weeks prior to my examining him. On my examining him, I found that Mr Gaitonde had no clinical symptoms and signs of any active disc prolapse and had recovered completely. I saw all his reports and the neurosurgeon's notes. The diagnosis was obvious and the prescribed treatment rational and on scientific lines.

I was curious to find out how Mr Gaitonde had improved. I asked him: "Did you get operated? What treatment did you take?" Mr Gaitonde was very scared of operation and never went back to the neurosurgeon. Instead, on the advice of one of his relatives, he went to see Mr Mama Pai who treated him with pressure on some points in his back and legs. After three to four days of Mama's treatment, Mr Gaitonde started improving steadily.

It was hard to believe but the improvement in his condition was noticeable. What had caused it? Did he have spontaneous resolution regression of the disc prolapse which is known to occur occasionally? But then Mr Gaitonde had not even taken rest or any medication.

I have known Mr Mama Pai quite closely. I have seen his method of working. He practises in one small room in Malad, a suburb of Bombay. He is devoted to the deity Dattatreya. He is very religious and humble. He says that his method is very scientific which he studied in Bihar and would like to impart his knowledge to anyone interested in learning it.

I cannot adequately explain how Mr Mama Pai cures his patients. But it is a fact that many patients who are diagnosed as incurables or have not shown any improvement, or have been dissatisfied or have noticed their condition worsening after modern scientific treatment throng to him and feel better. Hundreds of patients visit him every day. He charges no fees for his treatment and he welcomes all patients, rich and poor alike, with a smile.

I wish we could study in detail such instances of miraculous cures and investigate them from scientific point of view, instead of running them down as spurious or at best instances of blind faith. Sometimes hope is the only thing that helps patients when everything else has failed. Does Mama or some one else like him-kindle that hope in patients?

Compilation of professional reminiscences of specialists - edited by M.V.Kamath and Dr.Rekha Karmarkar.