October is fabulous month to be in Dallas. Its neither too cold nor too hot, just perfect (like Goldilocks’s pudding). It was a beautiful evening that day. But in my heart, I was miserable. I was feeling sad, frustrated and was sobbing. This has become my routine now. I knew I was missing something in my life or perhaps I was missing life itself. I didn’t know what I was looking for, I was going crazy in my mind. I just wanted to end my life and was ready to get out of this body.
From outside perspective, nothing particularly horrible was happening in my life. In fact, life was fantastic. I had a luxurious roof over my head, kids and family were doing fantastic, my health was perfect (for my age 😊). I had a plenty of food in the fridge and funds in the bank. My closet was handsomely carrying designer cloths, handbags and shoes. Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Burberry etc. were regular add-ons. But nothing was right. My heart was longing for something else, it was weeping silently. I couldn’t understand what that “something” I was yearning for; my frustrated was rising up. I wasn’t ready to ask the Divine, because my mind was reminding me again and again that “There is no God, God doesn’t exist”.
It was different when I was younger. I knew my God very well, I use to talk with him, we use to play together. I never needed any other friends; I was happy with my Krishna bappa (God). He was always with me. I thought, everyone can see him, well, his large picture was right there on a wall and Aai (mom) use to perform puja at the altar and serving him food every day. When I was around 7 or 8 years old, I realized that not that many people can see him.
My Aai would sometimes notice me slipping in a deep bhava (absorb in bliss) with Krishna, she would gently make me aware of the surroundings. I was safe with her, but kids and people around me would make fun of me. “Am I going mad Aai? I don’t understand why they are laughing at me”. I became a joke. As I grew older, social pressure worked and I started ignoring Krishna (nickname Baburao by my family), as expected, he started fading away too.
I remember one incident when we were in Pandharpur, visiting Vitthal temple. One of my dad’s good friends is a Badve kaka (uncle). His family is a main Pujari (priest) at Vitthal Mandir (temple). Thanks to them, we would get a private darshan (viewing) of Vithoba (Vitthal) after hours. One time, it was just our family and Badve kaka family in the Garb Graha of the temple. Everyone was talking, laughing, it was a very relaxed and happy atmosphere in the temple. Standing by myself away from the family, I was focused at Vitthal murti (statue), and before I knew I went in to that beautiful deep bhava (emotion) of bliss. I was with him; he was real to me. I don’t remember, what exactly we were saying to each other, but all of sudden my tears started rushing down on my cheeks. I lost complete awareness of my surroundings. I don’t remember how long I was in that bhava, but next thing I remember, my Aai bringing me back in my body. She was worried as I didn’t respond to her and had no awareness of her calling my name. She had to bring me back, before everyone could notice.
My beautiful Aai was a spiritual person with the purest soul. She herself was a meditator, avid reader, she had an extensive collection of spiritual books. She had a huge influence of Ramakrishna Paramahansa in her life. Plus, her parent’s guru Swami Swarupananda from Pawas guided her on that path. I use to accompany my mom to visit Ramakrishna Math in Pune. That’s where I was introduced to meditation and prana yoga. She was in search of a guru all her life and was fortunate to find her Guru at the end of her life journey.
Ramakrishna Paramahansa, and the set of 12 of Swami Vivekananda’s books were part of her precious collection. At many occasions, I use to read those books with her. When I moved to US, she gave me all her books and till today, I carry that collection very proudly.
Don’t get bored yet, it’s getting interesting now!
Well, back to my story of desperation, I don’t know what happened in between then and now. Somehow, my mind convinced me that there is no point in talking with the Divine, he is not real, it’s just a figment of my imagination and the GOD (Divine) doesn’t exist. Slowly, with the help of time, I forgot about my Krishna. My life in US was not a fairytale but I have no complains. It didn’t break me, but rather made me a stronger and a better person (that’s my view, other may have a different opinion. Lol!). I did stop thinking of the Divine. By this time, I knew the books about the Divine are just like Harry Potter and Lord of the ring books. I was happy with my mindset, so I thought.
That one fine evening, in the month of October (Ugg! finally, back to the point), I was sitting outside in my backyard on one of my beautiful rocking benches. It was a serene quite evening. Light blue swimming pool water was simmering with a sunset ray. Water fountain in the jacuzzi was dancing happily in a rhythm. Some birds were chattering, some were just quite enjoying the nature in the woods behind the swimming pool. You could use Shah Rukh Khan, Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, (depending on your choice) in the background, to get the perfect picture of that evening.
I thought, what a gorgeous evening! And my eyes started weeping from nowhere, I was sad inside. I was done with this world. My heart was empty, I was tired. I was drinking/smoking every chance I would get. I was taking too many other risks to destroy myself purposely. I was tired having sleepless nights over and over again. Some days, I would be in the bed all day long. Getting up and taking a shower became a heavy chore for me. I wouldn’t leave the house for weeks. I had no desire to live anymore. My empty life had knocked me down on the ground. I was tired pretending in front of the world how happy I am from outside, when I was feeling dead inside.
I didn’t know how to pray and certainly didn’t know whom to pray. I wanted to scream loudly, so I did. I screamed and screamed and from nowhere my heart called out to that someone who lives in the sky (so I thought), “Please, please come and help me! If you exist as everyone says, please help me. I don’t know what to do anymore. I give up! Either take me from here or come and sort out this life. Show me the path, please guide me.” That evening was my full surrender to the nature. I brushed my ego off; I was on my knees calling the Divine to help me.