By Pradeep Darooka November 2005 In the twilight zone of life and death, a mother and son experience the profound attunement of unity. I woke up engulfed in bright white light, my pyjamas soaked. There was a strange glow all around, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. A smile crossed my face and I went back to sleep. My sister Sunila knocked and said, ‘We have to go’. The lump below my navel near the groin was no longer there. I scanned the hara. It was glowing purple! Maa had finally passed on, in Brahma muhurat on Kartik ekadashi, the most opportune time… or was it some one else who chose it for her? My sankalp was for that Sunday, the 24th of October, but I had no idea that it was for Kartik ekadashi and had definitely not asked for Brahma muhurat. October 24, 2004We reached her bedside in the hospital in two hours. Driving from Pune to Mumbai, I was on the cell phone, gathering my reiki circle together and performing the closing circle. We completed it before sunrise. At her bedside now, she was calm as a frozen lake. I touched her forehead, it was warm. Her skin, soft and supple as a newborn’s, not a wrinkle on her face. She was glowing. The sahasrara chakra had already closed. I touched her feet putting my forehead to them. She blessed me. I experienced the divine. August 1999The connection was established in August of 1999. In London, I received a call from my nephew in Mumbai asking me to come immediately as Maa was in a coma. Arriving late at night, I rushed to the hospital next morning. Dr. Suhas Shah had already forewarned the family about the inevitable happening any day. I took an instant dislike to him as I do with most doctors. I desperately wanted to reach out to Maa. She was calling me. I pleaded with the doctors and nurses to allow me to be with her for an hour. I told them about reiki, explained that I would just place my hands on her body without talking or disturbing her, all to no avail. Finally that evening, after much pleading, Dr. Shah agreed. Tears arose and I thanked him profusely. Once I gained admission to her bedside, the nurses became friendlier. In a daze with my eyes shut, hands placed on Maa’s body, the only thing I remember is a surge of fire in the form of a ball. There was a strange sensation in the anahaat chakra that I had never experienced before. On the second day, I remember Maa opening her eyes and locking them with mine. My ajna chakra was on fire. Two days later, Maa came back home. It was a homecoming for me too. When I met Dr. Shah to settle his fees, he was a changed person. Or perhaps, I had changed? I took an instant liking to him and we talked about Maa’s condition and recovery, which he perceived as a ‘miracle’. I was touched by his warmth and sincerity, so rare in the medical profession. A connection had been established. 1999 to 2004The next five years were an intense period of spiritual and personal awakening. A whirl of yoga, meditation, healing, scriptures, satsangs, naturopathy, ayurveda, martial arts, shamanism, crystals, aroma, sound, chakras, auras, astrology, nadi shastra… all building on the foundation laid by Sheryl Benson, my reiki teacher who initiated me in 1996 in Boston. My curiosity took me to Dharamsala, Rishikesh, Kumbh Mela, Bodh Gaya, Ganeshpuri, Pondicherry, Pune, Osho, Kerala, Himalayan Institute, Kripalu Center, Sivananda Ashram, shaman healers, various monasteries in South East Asia and in the US, a journey I wished would never end. Each sojourn brought me in and out of Mumbai, to Maa, living alone since my father passed away in 1986 and all three sons left for greener pastures aboard. Maa, matriarch of the family she raised amidst adversity, transported from the sleepy town of Akola to the bustle of Karachi after marriage, then uprooted from Karachi to Kolkata and to Mumbai after the Partition. As my interaction with Maa increased, a certain quietude crept in our relationship. Words became redundant. Expectations, emotions, responsibilities, duties, started fading. As the youngest of her eight children, I had always been close to her. We had a certain understanding, a bond typical of the youngest child and his doting Indian mother. Yet, it felt different now. Maa and I transcended barriers inherent between two individuals. I had started living her life. Her pains and discomfort become mine. She did not need to express or ask, I knew. She did not need to reach out. She had already become enshrined within me. As her heart kept shrinking, I started breathing for her. As her kidneys started failing, my incontinence increased. Her digestion became weaker, and my appetite for her favorite items increased. I finally learnt to say no to her. There was no guilt, she understood. She knew it was not me, but she herself, saying no. It did not matter any more. 2001My interest in astrology reached a crescendo. I had readings done under Indian astrology, Western astrology and nadi shastra and was amazed at the confluence of the readings; besides touching upon myriad aspects of my life, each mentioned 2004 and one of them, October 2004. My reiki intuition took over. August 2001Back in the USA I felt at a dead end. My sojourns lessened. Maa became weaker and lonelier, but I could not be with her. And then I got a six-week consulting assignment in Mumbai. The stars had lined up and something called 9/11 happened. Nothing was going to come in the way. I landed in Mumbai and surprised Maa who was having a havan performed on my father’s shraadh. Her joy was muted. Not really. I was elated. She knew I had come home, even though I was staying in a hotel in the distant suburbs. The six-week assignment became a two-year project. I barely visited her once or twice a week. Each time, she cooked her favorite items without asking me. She knew I would eat and she would relish. Her appetite had diminished considerably. How did it matter? I was eating. We hardly spoke of anything consequential. She knew I would take care of everything. I knew what she wanted. October 2003I decided to move back to India and bought an apartment in Pune. I could not imagine living in Mumbai, leave alone with Maa. She knew; she understood. Never once did she ask that I move in with her. She was so overjoyed, how could she ask for anything. I felt her unexpressed desire. I was helpless as all I could do was watch and be a witness. I started getting the apartment ready to move in. I was running against time. ‘October 2004′ would not fade away. It will go away only after it has come. Not a day before. April 2004I finally met Ramesh Balsekar in Mumbai at his morning discourse, after having heard about him from a friend four years earlier, and a year after I started reading his books. I had tears in my eyes that first day when I touched his feet. I knew my search was over. As I was practicing my morning asanas, I felt a twitch in my chest on the left side. It persisted. As I gave myself reiki, I felt the lump gradually moving towards the anaahat chakra. I did some visualization and saw something dark brown, almost black and dirty. Over the next few weeks, I felt it increasing in size and shifting downwards. July 2004It was time for me to go back to the US and pack up to come back for good. Maa had fallen in the balcony. She complained of pain in the chest, but was otherwise quiet. The x-ray did not show any broken bones. I gave her reiki that evening. Her chest was ablaze. The anaahat chakra was all dark and ominous. I did the visualization and saw a lump the size of a golf ball on the left side. It was dark brown, almost black and dirty. I went back to my bed, and sought it out. It had moved further down, just above my navel. There was no pain, just a soft sensation. I felt divine. August 2004I was getting anxious. Maa had now lost almost all appetite. I was eating like a pig. Her kidneys had almost failed. My incontinence became more intense. She was gasping for breath every so often. My pranayams became more intense. She could no longer stand erect, leave alone walk. Dr. Shah was back in charge. I spoke with him for the first time since August 1999. His advice was simple; hospitalize her. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to care for her at home. But being a doctor, he was not sensitive enough to the nuances and the dynamic forces at play. He did not understand Maa, he did not understand me. Maa was resolute. She wanted to be at home, under the care of Archana and Sarita and Lalloo who had all so lovingly cared for her all these years. She still wanted to know what was cooking in the kitchen, who was at the door, and whether Lalloo was short changing her while buying groceries. I had drafted the obit. I also had the handwritten piece of paper where, many years ago, Maa had scribbled her wishes upon her passing away. I was leaving on the 15th of the month for the US. We all agreed that under no circumstances would we hospitalize Maa. We discussed and agreed on the funeral and post-funeral plans. I could not have been less emotional. August 15, 2004I bid Maa farewell, telling her I would be back soon. She patted and blessed me. As I went to sleep on the flight, I felt the lump. It was in the hara, the manipura chakra. September 1, 2004I called Maa from Boston. She could barely speak or hear. She asked when I was coming back. My reservation was for October 1, I told her. She could not hear and kept asking ‘You are coming on the 25th, are you not’? I finally said yes. She seemed happy. I called the airlines and changed my reservation for the 24th. September 5, 2004My sister Mridula called from Mumbai. She said Maa was in a lot of agony and discomfort but was not ‘letting go’, waiting for me. She suggested I come back at the earliest and help relieve Maa of her misery. I checked my hara. The lump had not moved much. There was st
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