“We are spiritual beings. We realize that we are divine beings in a journey of life that has no real beginning and no end” Carl Gustov Yung”
Our Sages have interpreted Life as Maya(illusion), and authors like Shakespeare has termed Life as a Drama with not much significance except its sound and fury, Philosophers like Aristotle was of the view that life is about happiness, yet there is no simple answer to life, the quest for the meaning of life has produced philosophers,literature and art through out history.
Many times in my professional life I doubted whether life a mystery or an illusion. Abstract things are beyond our grasp and I had my share of confusions and doubts about soul,spirit and God. As a psychiatrist having scientific background, I chose to walk on the scientific path but certain experience in my life has enlightened me to go beyond our physical existence
The mental hospital in Peroorkada, Trivandrum where I am working now seems to have an aura of mystery. Since the beginning of my posting there, I feel like I have been lost in an unusual world pregnant with mystery. The center that was known as lunatic asylum in yester years, stretches 36 acres was built by Travancore King around 150 years ago for social outcastes and those who are mentally unstable. But this lunatic asylum was the abode of hardened criminals as well.
150 years back, this mental asylum resembled to a jail with its dark isolated and lonely cells thirsting to have a ray of hope. The marginalized and unfortunate beings in the society having no face,no identity or no relatives had find refuge inside the four walls of this center till the end of their life. The big pond inside the campus was believed to be the abode of bad spirits, so that none dared to venture near to the pond. The reason being told is that the criminals waiting for death and patients having incurable mental illness were thrown into that pond alive. There is an old fort inside the campus which was built for a mentally unstable royal family member. The fort resembles an haunted house and the beautiful sculptures, wooden carvings and other precious materials in the fort were rumoured to have been stolen by the public.
The poisonous snakes with its unusual shape and colours, inside the lush green forest of the campus remind the age of the same.Lightning attack is common inside the campus due to the high amount of iron content in the soil, many researches were conducted regarding it. Such unique features extend a mysterious taste to the campus.
Shiva temple beside the campus is as old as the mental asylum; the prayers from the temple lend a spiritual aura to the campus. We do conduct topic presentation on each Friday at the DNB library near the temple.On that particular day in …it was decided that Dr. Bindu would present the topic. As the chief consultant, I was assigned to chair the presentation. While I was referring ‘Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry’ on Thursday around 12 am in my study, as I had to chair the presentation next day, a voice inside me interrupted my reading with a whisper, ‘You do not need to read this.’ I was an ardent believer of God during that period, so that I asked God, Why I was not able to read, yet somehow continued with my reading. Suddenly the face of Dr. Bindu appeared in my mind and I though she might be preparing the topic at night. But surprisingly a whispering voice of an old lady interrupted this thought.’ I want to tell you an important matter and if not today, I am afraid that I may not be able to express this ever.’The voice told me. It was as if I have been pampered by a special kind of feathery spiritual touch, It was equally scary and blissful experience. I couldn’t ask anything except comprehensing with my soul that the voice was of an old lady.
Unlike physical character that can be identified with senses, character of mind and soul cannot be identified with any concrete method. Only an evolved state of spiritual awareness would enable one to identify the matters of spiritual realm. That is beyond any logic or reason, but a complete subjective experience. Science is based on evidence, and I struggle with the unprovable aspects of spiritual matters at times.These sort of spiritual experience might have been mocked at as hallucination or lunacy, many including myself are reserved and skeptical about that. Let me come back to my experience: The old lady asked me whether I would marry her grand daughter. I was struggling with my troubled marriage life, which I find irreparable, thus I used to pray to God to connect me with my soul mate. Now this old lady was asking me in a trembling voice whether I could marry her grand daughter Dr. Bindu who is my colleague. I was literally surprised as I hardly ever thought of this way, and I hardly knew Dr. Bindu. I pinched myself to ascertain whether I was conscious or not. I washed my face and legs to get out from this dreamy state of mind, in case if I was dreaming, yet that spiritual realm had not left me, it remained there with the same intensity.That voice asked me again, “Tell me whether you would marry Dr. Bindu?’ I closed my eyes and pondered over my marital status. How a married man could marry again?’ Even though I knew Dr. Bindu, she was not my close friend. As a person who had opted for an arranged marriage with someone whom I hardly knew, I often doubted whether love could be created through a contract in which both the parties adhere to love each other forever.And my experience in married life taught me that love cannot be created artificially. Whether the contract would break if one finds another person whom she/he can love completely and communicate beautifully? The question of Dr. Bindu’s grand mother was repeated. ‘Sure,I will marry her.’ I responded as if from the depth of my soul. Then that spiritual realm has left me. I have been slipped into sleep while thinking of this astonishing yet unusual experience.
After referring the said topic for sometime, I had headed to hospital in the morning. To my utter shock, I came to know that topic presentation was cancelled due to the demise of Dr. Bindu’s grandmother yesterday night. Normally, I prefer not to go to pay homage to the dead as I can feel the dead person’s spirit there. And often that feelings haunt me. But I felt an unusual urge to go to Dr. Bindu’s grand mother, thus I went to her place with a colleague; there were people sitting around with sorrowful eyes and heavy heart beside the grand mother who robed in a white dress was lying on a mat with a radiant smile. I had been transported to the same spiritual realm as that of yesterday; it was like I have been enveloped with a millions of soft feathers, for a moment I was lost in that feathery touch, it was an uplifting and ecstatic feeling which I cannot explain in words. ‘I am happy that you have come to see me Son,’ grand mother murmured to me with a sweet hug. I looked at Dr. Bindu; she burst into tears when our eyes met. I was surprised and saddened to see the sight of a strong- willed women crying in front of me, I couldn’t hold back my tears then. Can I share my experience of yesterday night to Dr. Bindu? Whether she would understand even if I share this particular experience?
These questions remained unanswered in my mind while stepping out from Dr. Bindu’s home.I do not know about the destiny or do not have any power to understand future. But this experience has been haunting me since then. And If it is a real spiritual experience, it is destined to be a reality without us doing anything particular towards it. I thought with a sinking feeling in my stomach.
(Written by Dr.Nelson.and courtesy to Miss Seena Joseph)