Over 90 years ago, an Englishman came to India and fell in love, literally. He married a local girl and in 2019, their daughter, now well into her 80s, asked me this question:
“Can you show me my soul?”
I am a Meditation Teacher and such questions get asked to me, sometimes.
Technically, I was in her house to teach meditation to her daughter-in-law. That was what I was being paid for, however, the kindness and affection in those eyes, instantly, made me forget that little detail.
“Please close your eyes,” I spoke without giving a warning, while accepting the challenge.
She did as was told.
The daughter-in-law in any case was still busy attending a call from her work place. Work related stress – that was her reason for engaging my services and try learn meditation.
Interestingly, it seemed that destiny had some other plans for all of us. So…
“Where do you think you are sitting?” I asked, the Englishman’s daughter.
“In my home… right here,” She replied, her eyes staying closed.
“Imagine that you are not in your home. You are sitting somewhere else instead. Can you imagine yourself sitting some place outside? Please keep eyes closed and tell.” I instructed.
She took a while to work it out and then said,
“Yes… I am… in the garden.”
“Excellent,” I replied, “No need to tell me where you are,” I clarified. “Simply inform if you can do what has been asked.” I explained.
She nodded. Daughter-in-law could still be heard speaking on mobile some place inside the house.
Therefore, we marched on…
“Now imagine, you are not in this town, instead in some other location within the country. Can you do that?” I asked, “Pls keep eyes closed,” simultaneously reminded.
Again she took a while…
“Yes… I can very well,” she spoke eventually.
“Very Good,” I proceeded, “now try imagine that you are at someplace on the planet, anywhere but not in this country.”
She took a while once more and then said, “Yes… I am.”
“Beautiful,” I added, ” Now imagine, you are not on this planet at all. Imagine, you are sitting in your chair, yet somewhere in the outer space. Can you imagine that? Please take your time. No hurry.” I clarified.
We waited and then she said, “Yes… I am.”
“Wonderful, now imagine there is no chair.”
I said and waited.
“Yes… no chair… ” She said evenrually, while I noticed clear excitement on her face.
“Now imagine, there is no body…”
I spoke and let my voice trail…
She signalled, a few moments later…
“Is it blissful?” I asked.
“Hmm…” She confirmed.
“Be there for as long as you can. Enjoy the blissfulness and once done, then slowly open your eyes.”
With these instructions, I went quiet.
A few minutes later she opened her eyes. A big smile following her ….
“But… there was only blankness out there,” she asked.
“Only blankness or blissful blankness?” I asked in return.
“Hmm…” She seemed to self-reflect, “So was that my soul?” She then came with this question.
On my part, I could merely smile.
She kept contemplating on what I had taken her through, with a big smile across her face and breathing deeply, in-between.
“My grandfather would take me to a mountain when I was little. This reminded me of that.” She explained. “It would be so blissful at the top. The wind would seem to blow through across me as if there was no body at all.”
Now, I had a wider grin.
The daughter-in-law stayed hooked to her mobile and in her absence my student, seemingly, got changed.
She began telling me about her life. Her parents, their marriage, her childhood, her marriage and her life now, while living with her son and daughter-in-law.
“Somehow, I had been dreaming of going to that mountain for last many weeks now,” she explained, “and then would ridicule myself at that thought. I can’t climb the mountain any longer. And even if they may have built a road to the top in all these years, yet, there was no way I could travel to that place.
“Thus, I had been wondering, why this futile thought has been coming to me over and over and now today you walk in.”
Her smile was the reassurance.
The daughter-in-law had to go into a video call with some client. Nevertheless, she expressed satisfaction over the fact that my services were being utilized irrespective.
The Englishman’s daughter then asked me a flurrry of questions about how I got to become a Meditation Teacher.
Thereafter, once she was done with her interrogation, she said, “can you teach me to be in the blissful blankness by myself?”
I nodded and this way we started, formally.
Thereafter, for the next 10 weeks we practiced together, twice a week. Rest of the days she would practice by herself, as taught.
“I was always very particular about my daily exercises. Even now, don’t miss them,” she explained one of the days. “My aim is to leave this world in a fully fit, freely mobile and in a mentally calm condition.”
“I want to leave with a smiling face, just as my grandfather had gone, after telling us all that the angles have arrived,” she added after a moment.
“We shall try our best,” I assured her immediately thereafter.
It is always a big pleasure to find a student with such a clear objective and sincere dedication. Rest ofcourse shall be governed by the divine will, yet putting in our best effort for the chosen purpose is the most important role for each one of us to play in every situation.
Accordingly, our practice sessions kept moving harmoniously from strength to strength.
Good habits never hurt. Instead, help you silently when time gets lean, rough or tough.
People like her have always validated my belief in the above statement.
Since her childhood, she had been a keen sports person. Always, took care of what she ate. Exercised daily. Led a balanced life. Had a loving family. Cared for all. Ran confectionary business with her husband. Did good social work as well, in parallel, and now moving towards the final act of her innings on the planet, was as determined to attain soul-consciousness, to be blissful eternally, even in the moment, when death may arrive.
“These kids are wonderful, however, somehow they worry too much. They want to achieve so much to an extent that they forget to enjoy what they have earned,” she shared her thoughts one day, while speaking about the busy professional schedule of her daughter-in-law.
“They have no time ever,” she then added, “always busy. And now these mobile phones have wiped away whatever little was remaining.”
“It’s not that we never had any pressures or problems in life, however, somehow we never stopped finding our heaven either.”
Those were indeed words of great wisdom that I can never forget.
“I am not sure,” she then said one day, “somehow I am getting a feeling that something grave is about to happen.
“I can’t explain,” she added, “however, I am getting some kind of signal from the universe. Something immense…”
It was January 2020 and the world was looking up to yet another new year with all the fabulous plans. So, what may go so terribly wrong? We all would have wondered.
However, then to everyone’s utter surprise, barely a month later COVID was declared a Pandemic on the planet. Lockdown was imposed and our classes immediately stopped.
Nevertheless, by now she had made tremendous progress.
Starting from that little guided session on the first day, where we met by chance, she gradually moved on to sit in meditation all by herself for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes and then 40 minutes.
In-between we had challenges. Nothing major, yet, age related ailments. However, very skillfully she used them all as opportunities and demanded from me to be taught to be in a constant meditative state irrespective of the prevailing physical condition.
So, I taught her to be mindful while lying in the bed.
She took that skill one step ahead. “I am using that trick to go to sleep nowadays.” She informed me soon, “I am now very easily finding my sleep. Not needing any tablets for sleep.”
Thus, when COVID arrived she was pretty much on her own, independent and determined and pursuing her meditation practice by herself.
“I often reach my mountain,” she would explain, “also am able to lose the body for brief moments.”
“Sometimes, I also find myself humming your song, and wondering how may the angels look,” she would add, smiling all through.
I possess a song in dedication to the God of Death and she loved it the moment I shared with her.
This was indeed a commendable progress in every way, so I wished her all the best as the dark COVID clouds enveloped the world.
We stayed in regular touch via WhatsApp. Her daughter-in-law would type the message on her behalf, while she continued with her practice.
Two months passed and then one morning I got a call.
“Mom passed away, shortly before,” daughter-in-law shared, her voice choked.
“The angles have arrived,” she informed, were her last words.
“I went to the kitchen,” she explained on, “when returned after a while, found her smiling in sleep,” she kept sharing the details.
“At first, I felt delighted. Thought she was enjoying some lovely dream. However then something seemed different. So went closer and when I got really close, I found she wasn’t breathing.
“I touched her palm and it was cold. I was left aghast,” she explained.
“No pain, no noise, no movement,” she added. “She just went the way she wanted. Quietly and blissfully.”
I had no words to share in the moment.
“Everything outside is so crazy at the moment,” she then went on to narrate her anguish. “This COVID thing has made life so horrible. No ambulances are available. How do we take her to the hospital? Doctors are demanding COVID test report before even looking at the patients….”
Her voice trailed….
“If angles did arrive, then all shall fall in line… worry not,” was all that I could say over the telephone line in those times of total helplessness.
And as we were talking, a retired doctor, a neighbour, arrived. After proper examination, he issued the preliminary certificate stating natural death due to age related causes.
Yet, because COVID protocols had to be followed, so the body needed to be carried to the hospital.
A family friend could quickly arrange for the hearse van. At the hospital, the doctors came to the van immediatly on arrival and issued the necessary papers.
“No autopsy needed for the cases of natural death. No space inside the hospital either,” they said.
The last rites were then performed immediately following the prevailing COVID protocols. The district administration extended all support in the matter.
At the office of the registrar of the births and death, later, amidst all the prevailing chaos, an old customer of the confectionary, who happened to be one of the key administrative officer, idenfied her from the name on the doctor’s certificate.
The result, by 4.00 pm, all formalities had been seamlessly completed and the family had returned home, safely and in total composure.
Good habits. Good life. And now a good after-life. The Englishman’s daughter had certainly left enough proofs to show to us that the angles did arrive.
About Author: Puneet Srivastava is a Mumbai based Meditation Teacher. Founder of 30M Meditation Classes. He teaches ONLINE – Meditation, Bhagavad Gita, Patanjali Yogasutra, etc. Blog: https://meditation30m.blogspot.com/?m=1