I received the following inquiry last evening. The email was sent by an Indian woman who is seeking answers to an incident she experienced. I answered her inquiry with my opinions. She has requested thoughts from the readers as well. Please use the comments section or I can forward comments through email:
I think you are the best person to explain such incidents with reliability. I, therefore, request you to kindly comment on the following incident, which I experienced personally.
On 10-08-2003, after celebrating the festival of Raksha Bandhan*, as night approached nearer, I went to my bedroom, sitting there alone; I started watching the full moon, shinning in its grand glory.
Unaware, I was suddenly engulfed by an invisible layer of space, which wafted languidly around me; I felt the presence of my father but could not see him. Even as I struggled to sense what was really happening, a strange rapture seized me. I was no more myself. I had become a captive of an unseen force, helplessly groping, in a state of trance.
My father, was a renowned Urdu poet, who quite often, when driven by the mood to write, used to hum, toss and hold a stub of a half chiseled pencil between the thumb and the forefinger of his right hand and scribble his musings, on blank spaces of newspapers, magazines, paper bags or any other paper, he could lay his hand on.
This was a typical trait of his personality. This peculiar mannerism, was overwhelmingly, overlaid upon me so swiftly that I could do nothing to prevent it, except watch what I was happening to me and what was happening around me.
The whole episode wasn’t frightening. On the contrary it was a soothing and comforting out-of-this-world experience.
Under the influence of this superimposed awareness, I was, as if, being dictated, by the spirit of my father, to write something in Urdu, the language in which my father wrote, I penned it, effortlessly, on a piece of paper, in Hindi, the language, I know and speak.
This ethereal experience lasted for a while, when freed from its spell, I hurriedly, went downstairs, to narrate the incident to my mother and showed her the jottings.
She immediately recalled that my father died on a full moon day on 19-08-1986, on the eve of Raksha Bandhan. There was a freak spell of rain, which lasted for a while, when my father’s dead body was brought home from the hospital. My mother thought and believed that this was a very auspicious sign, promising a favorable exit of my father from this world to next life.
My mother inferred that the occurrence of this incident, on the very same festival and during the very same position of the full moon, in its orbit, cannot be a coincidence. The visitation of my father’s spirit was certainly an omen that the time for her, to depart, has finally come.
My mother, was a religious lady and fasted, every time, what may come, during the entire duration of each ‘Navaratri’ ** festival, which falls twice, in a year.
On 30-09-2003, during ‘Sharad Navaratri’. She was on fast. Shortly after offering her morning prayers to Goddess Durga, she felt tired and went to bed, to rest, but soon without a whisper. She passed away peacefully. never to wake up again.
As a devotee of Goddesses Durga, it seems, she had chosen, her own time, to depart, from this world so readily that no one could sense her timing, even her attendant couldn’t and she died, with such serenity, that everyone, would wish to go, the way she went.
My mother knew Urdu well but did not reveal the underlying meaning of the poem, Now, I often ask myself, was it an outcome, of my subconscious mind, faking a freak incident?
The feeling of this incident is so real that it nags me, time and again, to find an answer and the impact so profound that I still remember it vividly, even now. I cannot read or write Urdu language, yet I was able to write an Urdu (Ghazal) poem, straight away, in a baffling situation.
I was not under the influence of alcohol, drug or medicine at that time nor do I suffer from any psychiatric disorder. Despite all this, I have failed to convince myself, till now, whether this incident was real or faked by my sub-conscious mind.
I know, this incident, the way I look at it, is highly questionable. Prone to be mocked, ridiculed and draw flak. Since I feel that the incident was so real, I cannot dismiss it, as false out rightly.
So please allow me, to ask from you, the following questions for the sake of clarification, without any intention to offend the sensibility of others.
(1) Are such incidents hallucinations or a testimony that the spirit of the dead exist?
(2) Do memories or imagination trigger such weird incidents?
(3) Does the mind play tricks to strengthen the belief that life exists after death?
(4) Or, Is it a psychological shield of immortality created by the mind to confront the reality of death, which is a constant threat to mortal life?
I certainly do not know. Let the readers tell me ‘How’ and ‘Why’ such things happen.
Even if, mystery is a puzzle or even if, I know that each time, I try to uncover mystery, the more elusive it becomes.
It is, therefore, hard indeed, for me to explain, that souls exist or do not exist, in a living world.
*Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival, which symbolizes the bond of protection between brothers and sisters. It falls on the full moon day. According to a legend, this ritual was followed by ‘Yama’, the Lord of Death and his sister ‘Yamuna’, the river in northern India. Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality.
**Navarathri represents the worship of Goddess Durga, known as the ‘Nine Nights festival’. The Sharad Navaratri culminates in Maha Durga Puja. It is celebrated by fasting on all nine days and by worshiping Mother Goddess in her different forms.
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