You know these days we have had many discussions at home about how we can change our life with our own efforts and also by putting up with many twists and turns of our fate. As my thoughts were revelling on these issues, I have been thinking to myself that actually speaking at the moment our future is still at bay and what really matters right now is how prudently we live our today. And therefore it becomes essential for us to make our day to day living worthwhile and meaningful. If we fill up our present day full of practical wisdom, peace and joy then we surely have a wonderful future ahead.

Today is 30th Nov, Swami Nityanand Bhagwan’s birth anniversary. It is my deep desire that I dedicate this post at His benevolent feet.

He has taught me so many things for which I shall be grateful all my life. He guides and inspires my life by telling me what is good for me and what is not, which actions are beneficial and which are to be shunned completely so that I do not have to put up with so much or undergo any kind of suffering. He has revealed to me some important insights into the mysteries of the perplexing human miseries and also the solutions for them which I wish to pass on to you. This is as follows:-

The majority of people in this world are ignorant and  live in the ‘gutter’. Their lives are dark, they do not know what is right for them. They do wrong and suffer and bear so much unnecessarily. Their instincts and behaviour are very similar to that of the animal kingdom. They are unhappy and miserable because they have created that for themselves by doing all kinds of sins. The world is full of miseries and sorrows because men sin gravely. If on the other hand,  if man establishes a world based on self-discipline, tolerance, co-operation, love, peace, brotherhood, friendship, sobriety and self giving, there would be a paradise on earth.

There are 3 types of sins termed as:- paap, maha paap and jaghanya paap.

Sins, grave sins and extreme sins.

Paap are actions such as lying, deceit, deliberate injury or damage to a person, ill-treatment of others, selfishness, stealing, jealousy, repulsion, antagonism, indifference to one’s duties. They can be worldly, religious or spiritual misconduct. Disrespect to elderly, women and guru, violence to children are all sins. They are paap, sins and can be forgiven if one changes his behaviour and moulds his life to that of virtuous living.

Maha paap are those grave sins which are unpardonable- infidelity, treachery, killing,  lying and cheating the poor by usurping their land and depriving them of their livelihood, swindling public money etc.

Jaghanya paap are those despicable acts which are very grave in nature such as annihilation, destroying lives, betraying countrymen and one’s own country, spreading terror by killing innocent people, spying against one’s nation and mass destruction.

When we go against the wish of God and do what one is supposed to shun, there are repercussions in our environment, it impacts the surrounding and on the whole it affects our planet’s ecology and environment. Nature’s fury, catastrophes, disbalance and havoc in the environment is man created and not god created. So each one of us should fulfill his duties by knowing what are the laws of nature, how should we contribute to make our lives and everyone’s more harmonious, joyous and sorrow free. All our attention and energies should be directed to build our lives so that we become useful citizens first and then aspiring spiritual seekers. Our days should be full of attempts to create more powers within and then get an access to the kingdom of God. In brief, our daily lives should be lived in these good ways-

Leave behind your past. Store and remember only the happy moments, good times and wonderful experiences in your mind. Based on these building- blocks of memories, build a new life and advance ahead. Discard the painful, insipid, distasteful and distressing memories of events that took place in the past and throw them out of your system. Selective choice helps the mind to filter out the unwanted and used up energies of past  karmas. Fruits of karmas that we have already lived and what is over and done with should be discarded and expelled and in their place saplings of  radiant beautiful flowers for a lovely garden should be planted now. Do not hold anyone responsible for your miseries and misfortune, just change your perception and outlook towards those  circumstances and move on. In fact, make the most of your misfortune! They are truly blessings in disguise!

Do not have a limited purview of life,  expand your horizon. Transgress your limitations. Human knowledge gained through the intellect and memory has its own limiting periphery. While knowledge that flows from God through telepathy, intuition knows no boundaries.

Through meditation and continuous good acts awaken and develop the quiet voice of God and intuit. There is power in wisdom.

Blocked understanding and tarnished  knowledge gives birth to undesirable traits and tendencies like envy, greed for power and money, selfishness, hollowness of character, stubbornness, argumentative nature, trampling over others etc. Everyday think and ask yourself what new things have I learnt today? What more is there that I need to know? Never stop your mind where learning is concerned. Our mind is like the  large porcelain dish which when kept out in the open will fill up with rain showers by falling raindrops! Collect them!

Improve your existing skills and learn new ones. Be a store house of many talents and gifts and be useful to others. The human skills are given to us to first help and empower ourselves and make our lives better and enriching and then to become a source of help to others. Do not be dependent on others to provide you all the help. Develop yourself to the fullest. Be gifted and let your Spirit shine forth through your work, nature and your attitude!

Set targets and meaningful goals for yourself and chase them till they see the light of the day. My dear girl, it is very important to plan our life. For planning, we need to set our short term and long term goals. Reach out to meet the goals and achieve results as per the chalked out previous plans. Make your plans for future in areas of business and money matters, relations, personal development, career promotions, health as well as your personal life. Once they are met, have another set of goals and chase them. A directionless life has no meaning. A soporific life is not really worth living. To enrich our lives we must have definite chartered plans for today as well as for future. An unplanned life is like a boat sailing without the boatman in deep waters!

Invest time, energy and money in health. Spare some time everyday in body care, good diet and health. It is a very good investment and will always pay back handsomely. A disease-free body with a good amount of stored energy is a pre-condition to achieve our spiritual goals and targets. Attain that. Happiness, calmness, moods and stability of mind is directly dependent on our health. It is a long term investment and its importance should not be overlooked. If you want quality work in your life then maintain good health. It is a vehicle by which we travel to the abode of God!

Worship God in any form- formless or with a form. Do good karmas, acts of kindness and be charitable and always remain unselfish in your motives. Remember that God will always look after all your needs if you care for his other children. Reach out to those who are in distress and are looking for your help. Withhold negative emotions like anger, frustration, despair, agony, doubts, aimlessness, sadness etc and cultivate friendliness, faith, re-assurance, joy and trust in God.

Work hard and work sincerely always in all circumstances, no matter what. God watches over us all the time, people don’t. Offer all your work to God because even work is a form of worship. Pray for others, do good and be good and do good to others always, irrespective of their behaviour towards you. Speak kind words and never use harsh words as injuring others does not solve our problems. Help others in achieving their goals whether material, professional or spiritual. You will in return  get help from God in many quiet and subtle ways. Comfort others and you will be comforted. Help people to tide over their regression, difficulties and rough times during their lean period. Receive their blessings in return as the reward for your good intentions.

If we try to live up to these principles of  life, our each day will be beaming with God’s Grace and we will have a true spiritual life in real sense. If we sow healthy seeds of good trees, the fruit that it will bear will be very, very sweet. Have a refulgent future..

May God bless you!

In Divine remembrance,

Ma.

(If you wish to know and read more about Swami Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, then turn to Ignite the flame of Illumination-I and Ignite the flame of Illumination-II

Divine intervention at last

My sweet child, I had gone for a YSS weekend spiritual retreat at Igatpuri near Nasik in Nov’ 2004. It was a period of catharsis and I was consumed with a sense of deprivation, grief and loss because of which I had an emotional outburst on the 9th morning as I was unable to find and appoint a divine godhead or a spiritual entity to sort out my life and ease my problems a wee bit.

There was anxiety building up because I was certain by now that I will not be able to sort it out myself and tide over my complicated ongoing  life-crises. I desperately wanted a Guru to hold my finger like a loving Father and make me walk on my path as I knew that the long, slippery and arduous path of emancipation and salvation was impossible to trek alone. I wished to be initiated by someone so that I could start  as soon as possible and reach my destination fast . My frenzied burning desire to find God and then talk to Him directly reached a crescendo and I was inconsolable. I was weeping bitterly in my bed and praying fervently to find my spiritual mentor when just then a very auspicious incident took place in my room in Igatpuri that morning…

paramahansa Yogananda

Sri Paramhansa Yogananda

Divine appearance of the loving Spiritual Master and Yoga expert, Sri Paramhansa Yogananda appeared at the threshold of my room. He was wearing a flowing ochre robe, his curly hair were left open on the shoulders and there was an aura of divinity all around Him. His divine face was full of compassion and genuine sympathy and understanding. Though not surprised, I was relieved to see Him and I was released of ongoing painful agony. I took a sigh of relief as  I was being heard at last and with His appearance at that moment, the feeling of being abandoned in me disappeared like a gust of thin air. While still sobbing, I made a very earnest request  to Him by asking- Who is my Guru?  With a gentle smile, He answered- “The Guru is ordained and appointed by God. I am your Guru.”

I was very perplexed at His reply. How can he be my Guru I thought to myself. During those days, I was practically having so many  visions of Divine beings and of celestial beings of astral world that I was unsure who  would be my Guru after all. I was a bit confused now because I did not know what would become of me if I completely surrendered myself at His sacred feet.

It has been my strong conviction since the beginning that once you appoint a Guru and harbour Him in your heart, we must never step back. It was for keeps. Therefore, I wanted to tread my path very carefully and take one step at a time. All this while I was ruminating over this fact,  when he first looked at me with a fixed gaze, smiled at me cryptically. He raised both his hands in the air to shower his godly blessings and  left me. It took me a while to move my body and think of anything else but him. Anyway, I felt comforted after that and I slept soundly for a few hours in the afternoon and all the emotional exhaustion was washed away. I felt better by evening and wished for good things to develop soon. The retreat got over by Sunday afternoon.

I reached the house from the retreat in late evening that day on 10th November and there was nobody at home. I retired early to bed and I was resting by closing my eyes when…

Effulgent mellow light of pale yellow colours and hues began to scatter everywhere in my room and it soon engulfed me. I was bathing in the warm and yet soft genteel rays of Cosmic Light. I became tranquil and serene while the  mind became tuned in with Supreme Consciousness. I was elevated to very subtle divine vibrations and  there was no sense of body consciousness.  I was transported to a far off  world, far away where there was no pull of gravity. I felt very, very light as though I was floating in the waters of the measureless depth and silence of a vast expanse of an ocean! Everything was quiet there…

I must have remained like this for some time when I saw Mahavatar Babaji’s form appear before my closed eyes in radiant golden light and glimmer. I recognized Him instantly though this was a new phenomenon much beyond my wildest expectations and dreams. I was ecstatic and became overjoyed and I began to stir. As Babaji asked me to lie still with a gesture of his hand,  I recalled and connected myself with the incident of Sri Yukteshwarji who saw Babaji one sunny morning, under the shade of the banyan tree on a river ghat after he completed the book ‘Holy Science’ . Recalling that, I became cautious and remained still and my restless mind was firmly reinstated.

(Chapter 36 of Autobiography of a Yogi) (I later visited this river bank and I have mentioned about it in the post-Expand your Consciousness-II) 

Babaji was wearing an ochre coloured dhoti on his waist which ended on his left shoulder. He was walking  swiftly with a long stick in his right hand on a mountainous terrain while his disciples were following him with quick steps. He approached me and I saw his glowing  face and flowing  shiny copper coloured loose long hair uptil his calves. It was still very difficult for me to believe that He was present there with me in  my room. I thought to myself, “How come of all the people He is visiting me? What good have I done in this life to earn this?  What could be the purpose behind his darshan?”

He came a little closer to me and I could get his  close up view. He had a big, dark black serpent coiled around his neck and He looked like Lord Shiva in the snowy mountains. He eyes were so peaceful and benevolence radiated from his face profusely. His face was extra-ordinarily calm and softness in the form of compassion emanated from it. I tried to absorb and retain this holy picture in my mind very intently. I considered  myself  very, very blessed in those peerless moments of being with God.

He came forward  to pick up the serpent from his own shoulder which He did, and then he flung it towards me. Next moment the serpent was in my neck coiled and sitting up harmlessly with his face upright on my right shoulder. I was very frightened to feel its sensation of  heavy spiral weight over me. The sensation of the coiled big snake was very real- heavy to feel and  soft and slimy to touch. So I lifted my left hand in scare and raised it a bit  to remove it from my right shoulder. Babaji scurried forward and made a firm gesture with His hand not to do that at all and  I obeyed Him.

Then His blessed words began to flow, ” You are very fortunate and truly blessed. You are reaping the harvest of your stock of virtuous acts from the reservoir of many lives. From now onward don’t cry. You have taken my refuge, may God bless you. This is not your house, this is tapa- sthal. (A place where penance is to be done.)  Do tapasya.  Be victorious.” With these kind words and  supreme divine blessings, the exalted Maha Siddha Yogi and Immortal Guru left my place for His abode in the high snow-capped Himalayan mountains through the molecules of ether.

Let me now express myself that apart from feeling exhilarated, I had no idea whatsoever what could be the repercussions and impact of such a great spiritual experience over my life. I was still in disbelief and in a shocking daze. But with passing years the mystery around this experience slowly unfolded and I have understood that the serpent was not an ordinary one. It was a kind of a protective armour in the form of a mythological serpent that Babaji gave me to shield the avalanche of physical, mental and emotional onslaughts and harmful surreptitious scathing attacks from people that I faced and encountered later on. To me, it felt as though the serpent was Vasuki, the king of Nagas, also known as Nagaraj and not an ordinary one. But all said and done, throughout my prolonged illnesses that followed later, I did experience and realize that I was very much protected with Babaji’s intense grace and mercy on me, otherwise I would not have been able to survive the lashing of the whirlwinds of typhoons hovering around me for many years.

I assumed that my difficulties were mitigated and will be over from now onward because Babaji had come and blessed me. But alas no! I was naive in dealing with human life problems of huge complexities in nature. In fact, they worsened and what I described to you in the last post is just a small glimpse of the trying ordeals. In fact, Babaji could foresee my impending upheavals in  future and had come to my rescue and to forewarn me so that I would imbibe his spiritual power and mental strength to put up with all my problems and go through it. And after I saw Babaji on 10th Nov 2004 night, rapid significant developments took place.

Swami Nityananda with his disciple Swami Dayananda Shaligram

Soon after, by Babaji’s invisible will, I and your Papa went to Ganeshpuri in May, 2005, where there are samadhis of Swami Nityananda and his foremost disciple  Dayananda  Shaligram Swami. We visited  Ganeshpuri and found the precinct so peaceful and spiritually charging. The moment my eyes fell on  an old photo of Swami Dayananda Shaligram in his room where He once came and stayed, I traveled back in time and history and recognized Him as my very own and felt a kind of affinity for him. The soul remembers everything even if it means things that happened thousands of years ago. That is ‘smriti‘ as explained in one of the previous articles. The soul has a unique power of retention in the form of  memory and it felt so good to recognize and meet my beloved one from distant past once again!

For me life took a beautiful turn at this juncture and grace and blessings began to pour incessantly in my life after my visit to Ganeshpuri.

With Nityananda Baba’s blessing, my soul’s mute voice began to speak to me and my intuition developed. I could now communicate through the media of telepathy and extra sensory perceptions on various levels in the astral world with the blessed souls. I could now depend on them through my new medium of communication and started being  fearless. I became empowered and charged as there was no confusion and doubt any more. Faith in myself and God was re-kindled and re-established. My attitude again became positive and at last I could see rays of hope at the end of the long, dark dark tunnel. They took up charge of me and my family. Nityananda Baba told me not to worry ever again  as they will carry all my burden. I no more felt abandoned and was relieved that after all I was not alone in this big complicated world. I began to make future plans and self assurance and courage was built up. I learnt many life skills, developed new interests like finance, planning, management, life management etc. I took responsibility and control of all the spheres of my life. I resumed my passion and interest in music, building health, participated in social activities and so on. I stopped looking back thereafter and life smiled upon me when…

One early morning in June 2004,  in my dream I saw Nityananda Baba’s benevolent face, he was smiling sweetly and compassionate love radiated from Him. There was golden aura of light dispersing around him and he called me affectionately with his one hand towards him. I went up to Him like a little girl. He gave me a beautiful smile which burnt away all my sorrows. In his hand were four glittering pens which He very lovingly  handed over to me. I clasped them with my fingers and looked at them with fondness. He then pointed towards a wrist watch tied to his left wrist and made a sign to tell me that there is still time for it and that I should wait. At that time, I had no inkling that one day I will ever write down my very intimate and personal spiritual memoirs as a blog open to all to read. I had my reservations and  inhibitions regarding it from the very start. But as it is their wish that I share the prasad or grace with others,  so be it!

Spiritual-Lessons learnt from life -experiences

Due to man’s ignorance and lack of knowledge of God’s laws of action and reaction, he is unable to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil and righteous and wrongful actions. He sows all sorts of  seeds of actions in the cosmic universe which sprout  and manifest as harmful reactions in the form of suffering and illness of various types over a long period of time. The type and quality of our actions done gives shape and quality to our present and future lives.

There are 3 categories of karmas inherent in the humans, out of which he goes through one type at one point of  time in his life. They are:-

Inevitable karmas: These are the irrevocable and unpardonable karmas of the past (sanchit karmas) as well as those done in present life (kriyaman). When we have more negative karmas than the good ones at a particular time in our share, we undergo a tirade of rough weather patch and storms. During such times, the Guru comes forward to help the disciple liberate by carrying some of the weight of his excess baggage. Knowing that they cannot be nullified and preempted now and it is in the interest of the disciple to exhaust the bad effects of the actions done in the past. The disciple’s path is cleared and cleaned by this procedure and exercise. The circumstances cannot be altered now but the perception and outlook of the person in concern can be. Hence, the Guru gives his disciple a new mental perception, a new approach to look from at the existing  state of affairs. Big lessons are learnt by grave mistakes of past as now the devotee obeys the spiritual laws with submission and humility. Penance helps in purification of the soul and redemption is the outcome. Peace is inevitable.

Evitable karmas: When the collective karmas are in 50:50 ratio of bad and good ones they are evitable- the number of count of good karmas equals the bad ones in our pool. So when we are faced with hardships, obstacles, sickness and sorrow, the Guru advises us to do good acts like charity, donations, poojas, forgiveness, spiritual practices by which the adverse effects can be either mitigated or minimized. This is a mild punishment for the man. A mild  slap on the cheek so to say and he is released from the karmic ties. He realizes his mistakes and becomes careful for future and understands that it was a warning from the speechless God.

A reservoir of deeply sunken mass virtuous karmas: Towards the end and pinnacle of the human evolution cycle, when all the negative karmas are to be burnt once and for all, a whole lot of seeds of incredible virtuous karmas which are buried deep inside are waiting to rise up and manifest. The devotee is unconscious of this fact while the guru can see it coming with his divine insight. He understands that the impact of mass good karmas have to be taken advantage of.  Depending on the faith and nature of his disciple, the Guru intervenes and shows him the guiding path by hinted suggestions via telepathy, clairvoyance and other mysterious suggestions. By making his dear devotee carry out specific actions of high degree and quality, the good ungerminated seeds are awakened by creating right environmental conditions consciously. After germination and manifestation of meritorious acts, the impact of the supremely good selfless acts are visible in the disciple’s life soon. They come in the form of good health and fortune, overall prosperity and achievements, exceptional accomplishments, fame and popularity, success in material as well as spiritual world and a forward march in spiritual advancement by leaps and bounds. There is no force to stop the disciple now as the forces in nature are with him. The disciple with his new found freedom and self realization dedicates his life and works for his beloved God and is at last free of every bondage and misery. His soul is at last purified and he takes a deep respite.

In practical life this translates as:

  • Take responsibility of your own actions. Have trust in God’s justice. Have unending patience.
  • Endure. Face life. Put up with whichever tests comes to you. Do not try to run away from your destiny. Accept it with a smile.
  • Have faith in God. He listens. He is impartial.
  • Don’t quit. Never ever give up.

Conclusion

Our whole life is a melting pot of a spiral chain of events leading us upwards and towards our goal of God-realisation. Whatever happens, happens for good, it is for our progress. It is with cultivation of our skills and abilities, proficiency and accomplishments that we blossom. By working out our destiny agreeably, we are purified and shine at last. We are ready to seek the attention of God. The blossoms of the sweet flowers of our devotion are then to be offered at the sacred feet of our Guru who opens the door to heaven and God. We enter the House of our Lord and attain indescribable inner peace and Supreme Bliss!

My many, many pranams to all my Gurus and Param Guru Shri Mahavatar Babaji who has given  me refuge, protection, peace, God’s knowledge and salvation. The objective of human life is fulfilled and is being lived with a sense of purpose- of serving God and Gurus. May the fragrance of Divine spread everywhere, everywhere and everywhere!

Om Namo Bhagwate Vasudevaya!

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their  principles unto death.”   Leonardo Da Vinci.

Picture of Paramhansa Yogananda: google images

At dusk on 1st Nov ’08, for me it was time to remember God. I offered two incense sticks on my behalf and joined my hands with closed eye-lids and stood in front of Mahavatar Babaji’s photo that day in my house. My heart welled up and I was infused with strong feelings of thanksgiving and gratitude towards Him for his limitless love and compassion flowing towards me as always. He has done for me that no human can ever imagine and no words suffice.

A silent selfless prayer emerged from within me when I expressed my wish to Him that from now I want to help others, who like me are facing insurmountable,  exhausting difficulties in their lives currently. In a quick reply He said briefly, “Write the next post on this topic.”

To let you know dear child, I have from the very outset been very attracted to the photo and image of Divine Babaji. His aura, his personage and presence has been very, very mystical and equally magnetic for me. I was amazingly fascinated by his personality, his life and his mission on the earth, not to forget to mention his extra-ordinary, out of this world divine powers when I first read the all time classic, “Autobiography of  a Yogi” in 2002 and many times thereafter. His distinguished and imposing stature had an indelible sketch which got engraved in my mind from the very start. His blissful figure would re-surface time and time again and his remembrance was always very soul- soothing.

Here I stood- my heart melting down in reverence and gratefulness when in a very soft gentle tone He said sweetly to me, “Remember me and my name in any form you like. Do naam jaap. Back in your past you called out to God and chanted His Name so intensely and poignantly that God heard your cry and I gave you sakshat  or direct Darshan. I appear to those who remember and pray to God sincerely for guiding their way and are in need of spiritual assistance and remedy.”

Next I questioned him that why is it that when I look into his gazing eyes I get transfixed? Peace and tranquility enveloped me at this point when in a grave mystic voice he explained, “You have known me earlier too in the distant past in your previous lives. Your faith in me is unshakable and trust complete. You will always recognize me in every form and figure I take because you see me as Spirit and  not a body.”

Mandira, there I stood  enchanted and enamoured when I felt His divine rays of pearly hue reach me and I was encircled by them in my shoulders, neck and arms like a very light stole. My mind became super-sensory towards divine perceptions and I began to gather the showery gentle white and silver rays of Light and  rare jewels of divine words that were arriving towards me from Him. He then slightly touched my mind with His, and a long buried, unread page from the library of my memory was re-opened.  A flash of serendipitous  events raced my mind and I recollected this particular date- 10th Nov, which incidentally falls today. It holds a special meaning for me because it is the date of my marriage and also because of some other significant reason besides that. According to the Hindu calendar, I got married on Tulsi Vivah Diwas, an auspicious day when Goddess Mahalaxmi in the form of Tulsi wedded Lord Vishnu. And today after 30 years, 10th Nov again falls on Tulsi Vivah Diwas. But to tell you more on the importance of 10th Nov in my life, please wait. I will come back to that.

A bizarre turn of events. Stormy patch of life with no end to groaning troubles. No rescue in sight.

Dear readers, a quick glimpse of my personal life account of  my past  needs to be reviewed and re-visited as this throws light on the gigantic spiritual figure- Immortal Babaji. It will also reveal as to when and how I met Him, the crucial situations in which we met and its life-altering significance in my life. This blog on my searching and finding God, our dialogue and the consequent serious thinking as after-thoughts would have never happened had it not been for Babaji. So lets stroll down the alley of my past when…

Those were immensely difficult years. My family had made a recent move to Mumbai in 2001 due to familial and professional reasons. As a result of shifting base, my family had to disjoint. Shortly after moving cities, the three of us found ourselves in three different locations spread across two sub-continents. Ties with extended family were strained, there was a split in the family and no signs of improvement could be seen on the horizon. I found myself alone in a new city without any faintest idea as to what was in store for me. Anyway,

To keep myself occupied I picked up a teaching job in a prestigious school- a profession I love, and am reputedly good at. Inexplicably, I was at the receiving end of fierce competition and jealousy. I frequently found myself at the wrong place at the wrong time and would receive the ire of the management for no fault of mine. Colleagues who were aware of my sincerity and commitment refused to stand by me. I was distraught. This was a profession I loved and was good at but time and again I would find myself into sticky situations that were not my creation. The children I taught  were my only source of happiness during my tenure. My failing health made my situation worse. So much so that I was eventually asked to quit. Life had never meted out such a blow before. I had never been asked to leave a job. The kids loved me, I was good at my work, yet I was asked to go. Needless to say, I was disheartened and shaken up.

My health continued to deteriorate day by day for almost 4 years during which I underwent a minor and an extra major surgery. As it is to begin with, I had a fragile constitution and have frequently battled illnesses and complications of various intensities since I got married. But dealing with illness at mid-life crisis is very different from dealing with it when you are younger and stronger. A third abdominal surgery in one life time is not at all easy to tackle and deal with.  For those four plus something years, in the absence of a family, illness was my only faithful companion. I had a constant mysterious lingering shooting pain in the stomach that couldn’t be diagnosed or treated for a few years. My sinusitis and varieties of chronic allergies flared up with a vengeance. I suffered so many coughs, colds, throat, eye and ear infections that a stage came where I didn’t need to visit a doctor. I knew which medicine treated which illness! There were other health problems too but I suppose I can do without getting into their descriptions. In spite of all these nagging health issues, I was determined and maintained my grit to go about my daily life as usual. I would do house hold chores for a brief time, then rest and then again get back to do another stint at the chores in easy installments! Even when I was working at the school, I would carry on the day on sheer will power of  mind. I learnt to live with the unending pain and uneasiness. I desperately wanted to beat odds and I was firmly determined to make it in life.  Though I  never complained but…

Financial worries plagued me. Our shifting to Mumbai hadn’t been in the best financial conditions- in fact it was at a time where my family’s needs were increasing and incomes were grossly inadequate. At that point in time, the Indian economy was in a sad condition that we were grateful we had a job. I continuously worried about my future and that of my family. I worried about my daughter’s education and marriage. I worried about the physical and mental health of my husband living far away. I worried about resolving many lingering family issues. I worried about my health. To make things still worse, I was surrounded by a set of pernicious people about whom I was unaware. They targeted me surreptitiously which made my life impossible. It was only that much I could take. I was in a flurried state, bewildered, helpless and I touched the abysmal low. But I was not prepared to get crushed under my own load when…

It was in these trying times that I wept and I wept. I had no-one to go to and there was no-one who knew what was happening inside my life. I behaved as if nothing had happened and everything was alright outwardly. I was bereft and very lonely. It was at that time that I took a very conscious decision of turning my mind towards God. I thought to myself, “The situation is already so bad that it can’t get any worse. God is my only saviour. No human being is able to help me.” So I took refuge in God residing in my heart with full trust for shelter and protection. I cried to Him for much needed help and my salvation. I called out to Him day in and day out incessantly. I prayed fervently so that my heart would dissolve and I could forgive those whom I had really loved and received only their indifference, mistrust and sometimes  ill-will in return. I wanted to carry my own karmic burden but was incapacitated. I could not do it alone. I urgently needed a helping hand from God. So, I began practicing naam jap or spiritual chanting. This I could do while I was engaged in routine activities as well. The results were quick for me to see. I began to forgive those people and buried my past  as I understood it is my doing alone and no-one else’s.

I joined Yogananda Satsang Society [YSS]started by Sri Paramhansa Yogananda, learnt the meditation techniques taught there and  practiced meditation every single day- even if that meant I only sat silently in a corner. I read all the spiritual books I could lay my hands on. I embarked on a new spiritual journey with my whole heart, soul and mind. I travelled  extensively to spiritual places, sometimes alone and went on pilgrimages on a limping foot, agony in my stomach and a broken heart! But I made it everywhere. I undertook long journeys in dirty trains to Pondicherry and looked for solace and answers to my reflections in solitude. I walked up the mountains and sacred hills in Tiruvanannamalai and  Badrinath. I walked in sweltering heat and scorching sun, I stood in long, serpentine queues in temples and samadhis, stayed in ashrams maintaining silence in quietude and reflecting on sombre, perplexing topics that intrigued me. My heart would bleed when I remembered the Lord and on some lonely nights, I used to call Him out with a pitched fever and a soft whisper in my heart- “Krishna, Krishna, my Krishna, Krishna… Where are you Krishna?  Krishna, Krishna, Krishna… Listen to me Krishna,  Talk to me, my Krishna, where are you? Krishna, Krishna, Krishna”…In my sleep also this chanting was going on.

I wrote a spiritual diary in which I noted down my learnt lessons of life, divine visions,  realizations, prophecies and saw God’s Glory in them. I did this without a day’s break for more than 3 years. When I was too sick to do anything, I would lay down in bed quietly for hours and prayed emotionally and fervently for God to listen to me. I endured everything. I now perceived all that was happening to me not as a punishment but as penance.

I realized that one finds God through tapas and not by misunderstood outside rituals and ceremonies and flashy devotion. God had to be searched inside, within myself…..I thought to myself.

My health matters could no longer be ignored. I wanted to bounce back with same zeal, determination and exceptional energy. So I exercised 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening even if it meant 11 o’clock at night with my aching, dead body. I never skipped any energization exercises sessions at home during that period. I read YSS home lessons pertaining to my life stage and circumstances. I did everything that was possible for me to do under the sky,

I did not want people to write me off and the undying spirit in me never allowed me to give up and….

I knew even then that God listens, I knew that God will hear my voice one day, it was just  a matter of time. I knew that it was only God who had all the answers and solutions to my overwhelming troubles.

Then on one memorable night…

(To be continued)

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