Natesa Iyer served Bhagavan and devotees working as a cook at Sri Ramanasramam for years. The below is what he told Swami Ramanananda:

‘I was Bhagavan’s attendant,’ he would say, ‘when he had one of his cancer operations. In those few hours, I understood directly what Bhagavan meant when he said, “I am not the body”. His behavior throughout the operation showed very clearly that the body was just something that he was wearing. The flesh was being cut, blood was flowing, and I could see the radium needles that had been inserted into the flesh around the cancer. Bhagavan was fully conscious but utterly indifferent to the procedures that were being carried out on his arm. I was told afterwards that we were in the room with him for 2.5 – 3 hours, but while we were with him there was no awareness whatsoever of the passage of time. We were all consumed by the power of Bhagavan’s silence. Even the doctors were sucked into it. When the operation had been completed, the doctors spontaneously prostrated to Bhagavan.

‘One of them said, “I have operated on many people, but I have never had an experience like this. There is a peace in this room that I have never felt anywhere else. I cannot describe what it was like except to say that it was unlike anything I have ever experienced before.”

‘I think the doctor spoke for us all. Bhagavan, abiding untroubled and unconcerned in his natural state of silence, gave us all an immense blessing while he was being cut open by the medical team. It was an awesome display of power and grace that left me in tears.

‘After an operation like this, one would expect a patient to want quiet and rest, but Bhagavan showed a complete indifference to his body and to the advice of his medical team. Overruling the doctors and the ashram management, he announced that he wanted to give darshan to all the devotees who were waiting anxiously outside. As the people filed past him one by one, Bhagavan made inquiries about the health and well-being of the devotees but refused to talk about his own physical state. If people asked about his operation and the state of his health, he would smile but not give any answer.’

- 'The Power of the Presence', David Godman