How I met my mother — 1
I am not happy
October is a fantastic month to be in Dallas. It’s neither cold nor hot, just perfect (like Goldilocks’s pudding). It was a beautiful evening that day. But in my heart, I was miserable. I was feeling sad and frustrated and was sobbing. This has become my routine now. I knew I was missing something in my life, or perhaps I was missing life itself. I didn’t know what I was looking for; I was going crazy in my mind. I just wanted to end my life and was ready to get out of this body.
From an outside perspective, nothing particularly horrible was happening in my life. Life was fantastic. I had a luxurious roof over my head, my kids and family were doing fantastic my health were perfect (for my age 😊). I had plenty of food in the fridge and funds in the bank. My closet was handsomely carrying designer clothes, handbags, and shoes. Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Burberry, etc., were common add-ons. But nothing was right. My heart was longing for something else; it was weeping silently. I couldn’t understand what that “something” I was yearning for; my frustration was rising. I wasn’t ready to ask the Divine because my mind reminded me repeatedly that “There is no God; God doesn’t exist.”
Does the Divine exist?
It was different when I was younger. I knew my God very well, and I used to talk with him; we used to play together. I never needed any other friends; I was happy with my Krishna Bappa (God). He was always with me. I thought everyone could see him, well, his large picture was right there on a wall, and Aai (mom) used to perform puja at the altar and serve him food daily. When I was around 7 or 8, I realized that few people could see him.
My Aai would sometimes notice me slipping in a deep bhava (absorb in bliss) with Krishna, and she would gently make me aware of the surroundings. I was safe with her, but kids and people around me would make fun of me. “Am I going mad, Aai? I don’t understand why they are laughing at me”. I became a joke. As I grew older, social pressure worked, and I started ignoring Krishna (nickname Baburao by my family); as expected, he started fading away too.
I remember one incident when we were in Pandharpur, visiting Vitthal temple. One of my dad’s good friends is Badve kaka (uncle), the main Pujari (priest) at Vitthal Mandir (temple). Thanks to them, we would get a private darshan (viewing) of Vithoba (Vitthal).
One time, it was just our family and Badve kaka’s family in the Garb Graha of the temple. Everyone talked and laughed; the temple was relaxed and had a content atmosphere. Standing by myself away from the family, I was focused on Vitthal murti (statue), and before I knew it, I went into that beautiful deep bhava (emotion) of bliss. I was with him; he was real to me. I don’t remember what exactly we were saying to each other, but all of a sudden, my tears started rushing down my cheeks. I lost complete awareness of my surroundings. I don’t remember how long I was in that bhava, but the next thing I remember, my Aai bringing me back into my body. She was worried as I didn’t respond to her and was unaware she was calling my name. She had to bring me back before everyone could notice.
My beautiful mother
My beautiful Aai was a spiritual person with the purest soul. She was a meditator and avid reader; she had an extensive collection of spiritual books. She was a follower of Ramakrishna Paramahansa in Bhakti Yoga. Plus, her parent’s Guru Swami Swarupananda from Pawas guided her on the path of Advaita Vedanta. I used to accompany my mom to visit Ramakrishna Math in Pune. That’s where I was introduced to meditation and prana yoga. She was in search of a guru all her life and was fortunate to find her Guru at the end of her life journey.
Ramakrishna Paramahansa and the set of 12 of Swami Vivekananda’s books were part of her precious collection. On many occasions, I used to read those books with her. When I moved to the US, she gave me all her books, and till today, I carry that collection very proudly.
Please don’t get bored yet; it’s getting interesting now!
Well, back to my story of desperation, I don’t know what happened between then and now. Somehow, my mind convinced me that there is no point in talking with the Divine; he is not real, it’s just a figment of my imagination, and the GOD (Divine) doesn’t exist. Slowly, with the help of time, I forgot about my Krishna. My life in the US was not a fairytale, but I have no complaints. It didn’t break me but instead made me a more robust and a better person (that’s my view, others may have a different opinion. Lol!). I did stop thinking of the Divine. By this time, I knew the books about the Divine were just like Harry Potter and Lord of the ring books. I was happy with my mindset, so I thought.
Back to the evening!
That one fine evening in October (Ugg! finally, back to the point), I was sitting outside in my backyard on one of my beautiful rocking benches. It was a serene quiet evening. The light blue swimming pool water was simmering with sunset rays. The water fountain in the jacuzzi was dancing happily in a rhythm. Some birds were chirping, and some enjoyed nature in the woods behind the swimming pool. You could use Shah Rukh Khan, Brad Pitt, or Angelina Jolie (depending on your choice) in the background to get the perfect picture of that evening.
I thought, what a gorgeous evening! And my eyes started weeping from nowhere, and I was sad inside. I was done with this world. My heart was empty; I was tired. I was drinking/smoking every chance I would get. I was taking too many other risks to destroy myself purposely. I was tired of having sleepless nights over and over again. Some days, I would be in bed all day long. Getting up and taking a shower became a heavy chore for me. I wouldn’t leave the house for weeks. I had no desire to live anymore. My empty life had knocked me down to the ground. I was tired of pretending in front of the world how happy I was from the outside when I felt dead inside.
I didn’t know how to pray and certainly didn’t know whom to pray to. I wanted to scream, so I did. I cried and screamed, and from nowhere, my heart called out to that someone who lives in the sky (so I thought), “Please, please come and help me! If you exist, as everyone says, please help me. I don’t know what to do anymore. I give up! Either take me from here or come and sort out this life. Show me the path, and please guide me.” That evening was my complete surrender to nature. I brushed my ego off; I was on my knees, calling the Divine to help me.
Please read part two here.