We are not our bodies rather souls having a bodily experience. Aarti Raheja tells Melissa Nazareth how she and her grieving family were mentored by the spirit of her deceased son Ahaan who helped them transcend the suffering caused by duality and know the essence of their real self
Where one is not a number. Intrigued by the synopsis on the back cover of this book, I couldn’t stop myself from devouring it as soon as I found time to read it. Within its pages I found an unimaginably beautiful tale of love, heartbreak, devastation and then the phoenix like rise of the protagonists from their ashes. But what made the narrative so extraordinary was the direct hand of the Divine in their resurrection in a most incredible way.
What piqued my interest was learning that Ahaan, Aarti and Anil’s Raheja’s 12-year old son, who they suddenly lose to death without as much as a warning, reappears in their lives after his passing! From there begins the couple’s arduous yet fulfilling journey inwards with the help of their son’s soul. An invisible guide whispering to his parents the secrets of love, truth, relationships and the purpose of human birth, through every possible medium he could use to communicate the message of God to them.
The language used to narrate this moving and inspiring story is unpretentious and touching. I felt as though I was listening to parents pouring their hearts out instead of reading a book. It was easy to resonate with their emotions; whether it was the romantic courtship phase of their lives, the fear of being pregnant without a secure financial backup, the denial after losing their beloved child, or the excitement mixed with uncertainty after his return.
The second shock came towards the end of the book when I learned that less than three years after Ahaan’s death, Aarti loses her greatest support and love, her husband. Just when things were beginning to look up, Aarti was faced with another loss. This time I was in denial. I even read and reread that page to ensure I had gotten it right. To my surprise, Aarti reacts differently to death the second time. Instead of resisting it, she peacefully accepts it because now she knows better. She realises that along the way, Ahaan’s messages about life, death, love and God had become an intrinsic part of her and her husband’s life. She knew that separation was an illusion, and love and seamless unity with one another, our actual reality. I couldn’t wait to meet this extraordinary lady and finally secured an interview with her.
Excerpts from the interview.
Do you still feel Ahaan's presence today? Does he continue to share spiritual messages with you? And is he with us right now?
It is strange that you should ask me this today. It reaffirms that there are no co-incidences. After a long time, last night, I dreamt of Ahaan. He was dancing away and gave me many instructions. It is the first time he has spoken to me in a dream. In the dream, I was telling myself to write down the instructions or I would forget them. Though I have written them down, I must mention that the instructions have gone into my subconscious and will surface when required. Of course he is here! Ahaan is always here. I may forget about his presence because I may be involved with something else but he can never leave me. It’s like asking the heart if it still has the beats.
What about your husband Anil? Do you communicate with him?
I do not auto write now. My past experience with auto writing (A claimed psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words that purportedly arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source and not conscious writing) was restricted to a short time in the day and a single message. In Anil’s case he did not need to do that. The messages would come naturally to him while he was walking, talking or even sitting in a plane. Maybe it is a different way of communication hence I call it telepathy. My communication with Anil is a 24/7 open channel and doesn’t come in the form of words which I write down but may reflect in my actions. Many who knew him have noticed that and commented on it while I have been totally unaware.
Can you give us an example of his messages reflecting in your actions?
I was to do a show on Facebook. The night before, Anil came in my dreams to say ‘I’m waiting for you to celebrate my birthday.’ I woke up wondering what that was about. Later in the day, just a minute before we went live, my host was checking the mike and asked me what he should say in order to see if it was working. I casually asked him to sing a song. He started singing ‘Happy birthday to you!’ I smiled knowingly. Now there could be two interpretations. One, Anil is making his presence felt, saying I’m with you; two, he would be speaking through me, on the show. I believe it was probably the latter. Another example is when I was bored recently and asked Anil to say something to me. Suddenly, a one rupee coin fell at my feet. “Ya, ya, ya, I know we are one!” I said, a little exasperated, because that ends the line of questioning since there is no greater truth than that of oneness and the fact that we exist in each other.
Thoughts, words and actions are energy. Does your logical mind sometimes get the better of your heart and tell you that perhaps a certain thing happened in a certain way only because you may have thought or spoken about it?
These doubts used to arise when we started out. We thought it must be our minds. But along the way, we got so much proof that the doubting stopped. We realised the power we possessed and concentrated on trying to do things from our hearts. It got easier when the conditioned layers started to peel off and the voice of the heart got stronger and clearer.
What was your view of and attitude towards death before? How has it changed now? How has Armaan, your younger son, made peace with the reality that is death?
Death was feared, not to be spoken about or discussed. Honestly, it was the last thing on our minds. Of course, we’d worry about our children’s safety and health but to even think of death, no way! Today, death doesn’t exist. The physical body drops, that’s all! That is the nature of life. It is not an ending neither is it a beginning because the soul lives on. In reality, there is only one real birth and one real death. The birth is the beginning of the ego, the thought of being individual, the thought of being limited. The death is the end of the ego, the death of identification to the form, the death of me, myself and mine. As the ego dies, love rushes to take its place. Love is the most important thing and where there is love, there is no separation. Death is a unifier not a separator.
Armaan innately knows the truth and lives his life accordingly. He is a happy go lucky, well adjusted young man today. Our children learn from our example and Armaan has always seen me doing well. He has always observed the environment at our home to be happy and peaceful. He feels no pressure from me to be overtly responsible. He is a child and should be allowed his childhood. He was amazing during his brother’s passing. He has a direct connect with his brother, as you know since you’ve read the book, and also stands tall with me today, after his father’s passing. Armaan and I often joke about death and laugh about it too. The other day he said, “You have so many selfies, I won’t have a problem choosing a picture for your funeral.” He then quickly added, “But I don’t want you to go. Give me some time to manage myself, I’m still too young.” He is only 17 and the fear of losing me does exist in his heart, understandably so.
The book mentions many lessons that you've learned on your journey inwards. But if you had to pick one that was most relevant to today's times, which would it be?
My greatest learning has been to accept myself the way I am, the way I was. I have truly learnt to love myself. I always thought I did but I know that stemmed from ego. Knowing that you are good looking or a nice person, or giving to your husband and children, is not called loving yourself. If there is a need for an external object or person to make you feel better about yourself, if there are insecurities and fears, if there is guilt and depression, if there is lust, greed and anger, know for sure that you do not love yourself because happiness and love for yourself would not depend on anything outside of you. Love also does not feed on negative traits like the ones mentioned above. I accepted that I suffered from guilt, aggression, envy and insecurity. I decided it was okay to be that way. Once I accepted these negative qualities about myself, because acceptance is very important, and stopped giving myself a hard time for it, things changed. I let go of trying to control others around me to be the way I wanted them to be, my way, the right way. Instead, I started accepting them for what they were, however they were. That was when peace started trickling in. I stopped wasting precious energy on voicing my opinions vehemently and I started focussing on myself, my issues and my insecurities. Only once I got to the bottom of it, did I start, slowly but surely, lovingly myself.
Your book reveals a past life connection that you had with Anil. Did you both as a couple ever have any past life connection with Ahaan or Armaan?
We did a past life regression just once and didn’t feel the need to do it again. We knew we had been together over many lives. In several of Ahaan’s messages he mentions that we had been together over lifetimes. Many people around us also informed us about our past lives as a family.
If Ahaan was so advanced a soul, why did he come on earth for such a brief period? Also, why did he choose to take birth in your home?
A soul decides where to take birth according to its karma and where it feels that its evolution will be expedited. Some higher souls may choose to be born only to help other souls who are ready to rise. The Master appears when the student is ready. It could be either/ or in our case too. Maybe given our bent of mind we would have never accepted a Guru hence the only way to get through to us was to come as our son. Knowing that we would get attached to him, and love him so much, that we would follow him to the end of the world.
Any specific messages Ahaan has for the world today?
I closed my eyes and asked Ahaan’s book of messages and here is what it opened up to:
(This is the format Ahaan’s messages come in)
This is the beginning of the end
Stay focused on all the wonderful things happening in your lives
And they truly are miraculous
You guys know that you are the power behind all these things
Realize what you can achieve for the greater good using this power
Tell others what awesome power we all possess
Tell all that all they need to do is tap into their own endless pool of power
To better their lives and to better life on earth as a whole
If each one connects with themselves
This world would become the most beautiful place
Full of love and compassion
All in tune with themselves
What a world this would be
Like the one I am in right now
And it’s all within each of us!
What is Ahaan’s book of messages? Tell us more about it.
Anil used to jot down the messages that came to him telepathically in a journal. There are several of these since he wrote for almost two and a half years.
What has this ongoing journey taught you about life, afterlife, love and God?
What I have understood is that ‘life’, ‘afterlife’, ‘love’ and ‘God’ are mere words. One cannot exist without the other. If there is no life, there can be no afterlife. If there is no love, there is no God and vice versa. I have understood that words create duality, perceptions and beliefs. Duality exists so that we understand the truth better. For instance, to appreciate and understand light, we need darkness. In duality, everything including life, death, love and God look real because we understand it from our mind, as per our experiences and environment. We live it, feel it and react to it. But the truth is that all of it is an illusion, nothing is real and nothing exists. You are life, you are only the afterlife, you are only love and you are only God!
Where One Is Not A Number is available at Crossword and Amazon. For home delivery across India, call Tel. +0091 9004787440.
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