The shadows in my mind

Depression can be rooted out through spiritual methods such as prayer, japa, meditation, pranayama and affirmations. I put down the phone and got ready to visit a friend, whose husband had called in distress. Their handsome young son opened the door and led me in. She was lying on couch, pale, listless and inert, like a corpse. Her husband informed me she had been like this for past fortnight.

“I just want to die!,” she said, dully, when she saw me. I looked at their beautiful home and the concerned faces of her husband and son. Her son had taken two months’ leave from his PhD at a foreign university to be by his mother’s side. “But they don’t want you to die, isn’t it a glaring contradiction!,” I exclaimed. “I am just a burden on them,” she said, in a faint voice. For a moment I was quiet, wondering what to say. My friend’s life was undoubtedly tough.

After years of dialysis, my friend’s family had finally found a kidney donor for her. However, after the kidney transplant was done, the new kidney did not function, throwing her into severe depression. Long spells of dialysis and recurring infections had put a brake on her active, happy, social life and had led to bouts of depression. Now, the failure of the kidney transplant was more than what her fragile mind could handle, and she was ready to give up on life.

Normally, I never impose my beliefs on anyone. But this situation was grave and I was convinced that we needed a dynamic spiritual solution, and a great spiritual master who could take on and lighten her heavy karmic load. My friend used to do daily puja but somewhat mechanically, more as a social tradition, than out of any interest in spirituality.

For some reason, which I cannot explain, the image of the great master, Lahiri Mahasaya, had entered my mind when I was preparing to come to her home. I always have a stack of Autobiography of a Yogi at home, and I had brought one along with me. I opened the page which had Lahiri Mahasaya’s picture on it, and touched his picture to her head, heart and belly. I read out to her various miracles that Lahiri Mahasaya was credited with, including raising a man from the dead.

I also mentioned that some years ago, the master had helped a colleague of mine, whose wife had suffered three miscarriages in a row. In Autobiography of a Yogi, it is recounted that Lahiri Mahasaya had helped a lady who had suffered eight miscarriages. With his divine intervention, the ninth child had survived. My daughter’s birth had also been blessed, in somewhat miraculous circumstances, by Lahiri Mahasaya. Firmly believing him to be one of the guardian angels for humanity, I had urged my colleague to reach out mentally to Lahiri Mahasaya. A great master lives on even after his physical body has been laid to rest and responds compassionately to sincere calls for help.

My colleague and his wife had prayed earnestly and ardently to Lahiri Mahasaya all through her fourth pregnancy and the fourth child, a daughter, lived to see the light of day. Today, bless her, she is six years old. After this incident was reported in the office, two other colleagues, a female and a male, also turned to Lahiri Mahasaya for help in similar circumstances, and were graciously and unconditionally helped.

Normally, I don’t talk much. But surprisingly, in a chat that lasted nearly two hours, I found myself discussing the science of healing affirmations and the power of the superconscious mind to heal. I asked her to fight to the finish rather than give up tamely. I also told her that it was no casual coincidence but Divine will that we were having this conversation.

I told my friend that I would demand of her that she do a 41-day tapasya that involved a healing affirmation, japa and praying to Lahiri Mahasaya. I also told her that I was convinced Lahiri Mahasaya had already taken up her cause and that at the astral level, she was already healed.

Her husband was also charged by now and took out their wedding album and old dance show albums to show what she had been before and how stark the contrast was today. She had been so beautiful at one time that people called her a Kashmir ki kali. She still had a figure and skin to die for, despite the ravages of a debilitating disease.

Since she had been an accomplished dancer, I challenged her to live and do the garba at her son’s wedding, with me. Finally, a wan smile crossed her face and to our surprise, she got up slowly from her supine position and sat up on the couch. Once again, I was convinced it was a sign from Lahiri Mahasaya, that things were going to be fine.

She had started feeling stressed and unhappy because of the pressures of managing a young child, a demanding and sometimes autocratic husband, and her husband’s refusal to allow her to work till their daughter was grown up. Her mother started nagging her to take anti-depressants and for some time, she fell into the temptation of taking the easy way out. But soon thereafter, she decided to start doing Kriya and japa and found peace and balance from her practice. She told me it had not been easy and she was tempted to take her mother’s advice rather than carve out time for spiritual practice.


Nandini Sarkar is co-founder, C-Quel, a management services company. A lover of the spiritual Masters she is a follower in the Kriya Yoga tradition.


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