The Mahayagna has ended. The Chaitra Nav Durga Sadhana is over. Tomorrow, I go back home.

This morning I cry in the Sri Hari temple. It may have been the presence of Swami ji. I often cry in the presence of HH The Dalai Lama too.

I cry again at breakfast. M happens to share the table with me. She is in silence, and asks, with gestures, why I cry. I tell M that I am crying because of her.

I had heard about M from another person, within a few hours of my arrival in the dorm. I get to know that M lost her young son and that there is no sign of visible grief.

I am curious. After a few days of my arrival, I probe. It is intrusive. M tells me some part of her story. It takes me a few more days to put the pieces together. Sympathy would be wasted, and so would empathy. It is I who need both. M is bigger. She is more complete, which is why I tell her at breakfast that I cry because she inspires me.

The devi teaches me a lesson, through M. It’s difficult for me to say, in tangible terms, what the lesson is. I carry my suffering too heavily. I am ok with it. Suffering is real and we all have our ways of dealing with it, in our own ways. The beauty of M is that she does not consider her 20 year old son’s death as suffering.

M has seen Devi. The devi sat by the bedside of M’s son when he was in pain. The devi came to M again, first as a blurred image, and then as bright light, for a split second, four days after M lost her son. There was no speech. Only Shanti. M says that she was in Vairagya.

When M’s son left his body, M saw Kuladev carrying the son’s atman to Devi.

M saw the Devi again, yesterday, as the Devi led Swamiji into the Yagnashala. I believe M, despite my scepticism.

I doubt if I could be strong like M. I am incapable of accepting the death of my daughters. It is a fear I carry. Death of a child is the most extreme tragedy. I would be angry with Devi if I lost my child.

Which is why M inspires me. She is happy. That’s all there is to M, in the ten days that I have observed of M. She has been on my left, in the dorm, doing the Durga Saptshati, in Sanskrit, on each of the nine days of the Navratri.

People have been saying M sees the Devi often. M clarifies to me that that is not true. That is M’s honesty. M does not like rumours.