Like son, like mother
Mumbai-based Aarti Raheja is the mother of Ahaan Raheja, whose soul, on passing away at the age of 12, continued to guide his loving parents from beyond, about the inherent oneness of creation and love being the only true reality of existence. Guided by her son, one day, Aarti experienced the truth of Ahaan’s words. She is also the author of the bestselling Where one is not a number.
Below is her story.
Qneness is perfection. The only reality.
All in equilibrium.
It is beyond comprehension, beyond limits,
Beyond all that can be touched, seen, heard, tasted or felt.
And beyond the limitations of space and time.
It is the everything and the nothing!
Words from my twelve-year-old boy, Ahaan, to us after he passed on.
18.10.2010: My world crumbled when suddenly, my son went blue in the face, and my husband, Anil, and I rushed him to hospital. Before entering the car, he collapsed, never to open his eyes again. As he lay supported by the ventilator, struggling for his life, having periodic convulsions, I felt this wave of helplessness. My life flashed before my eyes and my insides screamed the question, “Who am I?”
Was I a Hindu, Indian girl? Somebody’s daughter, sister, wife, and mother? Was I the life of a party or a successful career woman? I had never thought about my true identity.
As I kept an eagle eye on Ahaan while he lay unconscious, I experienced my first taste of ‘beyond the physical.’ I saw a younger Ahaan across the night sky smiling down at me. I could clearly see him on the bed and on the ceiling simultaneously and in the worst possible moment of my life, strangely, I felt peaceful.
Within the hour, the doctors declared him dead. I thought my life was over, and I had lost the right to ever be happy again. This was the furthest thing from the truth. In the coming days, there were many signs to show us that the soul lives on.
Ahaan and Meher Baba guide
My younger son, Armaan, only 10 at the time, would say he was communicating with Ahaan. He spoke about divine love, the unity of souls, light, and sadgurus, leaving us completely baffled because this was just not the normal vocabulary of a boy his age.
We visited a couple of mediums and got messages to say Ahaan was doing well and that he wanted to communicate with Anil. Being existentialists and short of atheists, we doubted this and demanded proof, which was abundantly provided.
We were against gurus, but on receiving a message, we visited Meher Baba’s Samadhi in Meherabad. The feeling of returning home and the intense vibrations we felt catapulted us into accepting him as our Master. We demanded that HE should answer all our questions on life and death. We asked and we received. We embarked on a journey of the soul within.
Once we were fully receptive through communication backed by experiences, Ahaan, along with Meher Baba, took over our lives. They gently prodded us into accepting the situation and working hard on ourselves to peel away our layers of guilt, depression, anger, and all things negative. They pointed out that these were associated with attachment brought about by the ego, the false self. We decided to take our Master’s word for it and tried our best not to exert our will but obey and surrender to HIS instead.
We meditated, read philosophy, and attended a few satsangs. It wasn’t easy. We struggled. To break daily habits was a mammoth task, but we were held every step of the way by Baba and Ahaan. We were also each other’s greatest support, seeking help from each other for a better understanding and self-improvement.
Every morning, Anil would get messages on oneness, love, death, and existence. While I would grapple with these abstract concepts, Anil would experience himself as light. At other times, he’d say he felt he didn’t exist. I could see the peace on his countenance, and I envied it.
I too wanted to experience the other side of the fence, as I thought at that time, though Ahaan repeatedly said it’s all within.
All is one!
Then one day, I entered my bedroom where sheets of wood were propped against the wall as we were renovating. As I stood there with no specific thought, I suddenly had this overwhelming feeling of being the wood, the ceiling, the windows! And everything around me lost its label. It was all me, all one!
It must have been a few seconds, maybe minutes. I lost track of time. What I felt was indescribable, and I knew from there on, every word being told to us was the truth.
I had tasted blood and promised myself that this state of seeing myself in everything, as everything, would be mine. I’d do anything to get there. Anil lovingly smiled at my determination. Guess he was relieved that I had finally experienced it too.
The messages we received got more intense and hard-hitting. When the communication commenced, it was from Ahaan, our son, but soon we accepted him as our Master, our guide. We knew that he was not separate from us but very much a part of our within.
Through our Master Meher Baba, the deeper truth started to reveal itself that, in fact, it was our higher self, soul, consciousness that was guiding, driving us onward to the eternal truth, to the oneness of existence, and to the splendour of creation. Our perception of Baba too moved away from the physical to the name we gave to the voice of our consciousness.
In these realisations, the sadness, grief, guilt, and depression were replaced by compassion, humility, and love.
There were times when, for no apparent reason, overwhelming love flowed for all creation. Everything came alive, became intense. Time stood still. An object, person, insect, or animal no longer was perceived with a label but something that was an extension of us and was being encompassed in this stream of free-flowing love.
Yet, there were times when people we couldn’t forgive or insignificant things like the traffic could get our goat. We knew these were situations thrown our way to test our evolution, to show us that more effort was required. The endeavour was to be still as a placid lake, being entrenched in reality, recognizing the transient nature of the illusion.
The understanding deepens
Anil and I hankered behind knowing the whole truth. Our awareness increased. We realised the power of our thoughts and keenly watched them, appalled at our negative perception of things. We put in tremendous effort to replace our thoughts with more positive ones and went a step further, trying not to get involved in them. We questioned the very origin of thought—the mind. As we discovered the answers, piece-by-piece, the illusion started breaking away, and from the cracks, the light of our souls came shining forth.
Mystical words like life, death, existence, love, and God were understood. It was a far cry from what we had thought it to be. God was not in heaven doing whimsical acts. Hell and heaven were not places. Life and death were two sides of the same coin. Existence, creation, and the universe were all interlinked and stemmed from us. Unconditional love was where there was absence of judgment and divine love, where there was no other to love.
To know this was one thing but to live it was a challenge. I struggled with judgment. I begged my Masters for help. Voila! There was Ahaan in front of my eyes saying, “Next time you feel like judging someone, replace his face with mine!” What a masterstroke! Took a lot of practice though and Anil patiently supported me through this.
He was totally transformed and was traversing the spiritual path with great intensity. Though he stopped communicating, every word spoken felt like a communication from his consciousness. How madly I loved him, and how grateful I was to have him in my life!
Calm in the centre of the storm
10.10.2013: Early morning I took my dog, Max, for a walk. On returning, I found Anil on the bedroom floor. I rushed to call the doctor who came within minutes.
On examining Anil, he pronounced him dead!
My greatest support, the love of my life was gone!
Everything felt surreal, dreamlike. There was hysterical wailing at the shock and absurdity of the circumstances, but it didn’t get to me. There was only love in my heart and a song on my lips for this beautiful soul who had completed his journey. I could attend to all my duties with ease and sleep like a baby.
All wondered at this amazing sight. They knew the love and closeness we shared and expected me to be broken. I too never expected it to turn out this way. It was then that I realised how much of the truth was coursing through my veins. ‘Moving away from the gross’ were not mere words but the truth being lived. It was not just understood by the mind and parroted by the mouth, but it rested in the depth of silence, in the core of my being.
The journey within continues till all of creation ceases, the illusion dissipates, and reality is but a single continuum of existence, beyond all barriers of duality, Oneness is experienced with a realisation that there is no separation and there is no journey, after all.
Everything just ‘is’!
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