Once, on a trip to India, I was on the terraces above the Tirumala temple. On my left were some stairs with wide steps that led to the temple. I was sitting almost at the top and contemplating this spiritual place while doing my pranayamas. To my left, I could see a young couple who were helping a woman in her sixties down the long staircase. She was one of the faithful who had come to pray and was wearing a white robe like some nuns and had shaved her head. She was in great pain, which was visible from afar. Her back was so bent you could have used it as a tea table. She was walking sideways because she was incapable of walking straight to go down the stairs. I don’t know what hit me, whether my guide pushed me or I was overcome with my faith, but I got up and went towards the little group. I gestured towards the woman, almost ordered her to sit down, and said, “I can help you.” I was surprised myself at how spontaneous that sounded: I never promise results when I offer to help. Perhaps because I was wearing a white robe too, they did not ask any questions. The young people helped the woman to sit and I sat down beside her. I said, “I’m Mahãn; this will take a little while.” When I placed my hand on her lower back, I did not feel anything different to the therapy that I always have performed. The only nuance was that after about ten minutes, my arm and my hand began to shake so hard that I let them shake. The treatment ended with a sort of pat on the same area. I understood they were speculating to each other that I must be an American. I said nothing else and left, smiling, to go back down the stairs. I was walking on the terrace towards the temple and turned around. I couldn’t believe my eyes! This woman whom I had just treated was going down the stairs, her back straight, one hand on the rail, of course, but straight and with ease as though she had never had the slightest problem.

Hannes Jacob