The year was 2007. It’s been a month since I joined as an Assistant professor and Head in Dental department of a new, to be recognized Medical College.I had to travel one hour in bus from my hometown to Coimbatore and take the college bus for another 45mins to reach the college situated near the kerala border.
On that particular day, as usual, I got down at Coimbatore bus stand and walked towards the pick up point through Ram nagar. Ramnagar is a serene locality just behind the crowded bus stand. It was serene and peaceful because it housed a beautiful small Ram temple.
It’s then that I noticed the unusual thing on the outside compound wall of the Ram mandir. A shrill went through my spine and my body was filled with goosebumps. “How’s this even possible?, am I dreaming?” I thought to myself as I looked at him. The road was deserted as it was 6.30am in the morning. Not a soul around, except us. This is not how I have seen him for the past 15 years or so.
If my memory serves right, I have known him since I was in school when my parents took us (me and my bro) to coimbatore for shopping or dinner during weekends. He sat on the road leaning over the Ram temple compound. A few other mendicants sat with him. But he was different, for he was mad.
He had a garland of slippers around his neck. He also had a sack filled with stones. While other mendicants asked for alms. This mad guy threw stones and hurled the meanest of abuses ever in tamil language when anybody approached him to give alms. He had an unkempt curly hair and a torn shirt and dhoti. He kept mumbling nonstop to himself. During the night while returning to bus stand, I have seen him sleeping alone in the same place. How and why he behaved thus, none knew. And it didn’t appear as if he sat there for alms either.
Today, with goose bumps all over myself, I saw the same mad guy; but he wasn’t mad anymore. It was not only the temple atmosphere which was serene, it was his face too. He was sitting in the same place where he sat with stones and garland of slippers for more than 15yrs. He sat in padmasana with spine erect, eyes closed, his right palm over the left, at ease meditating and unaware that I was transfixed looking at him. A mad man for 15yrs, one fine morning, out of the blue, becomes a sane person. Worse still is his perfect posture with rapt silence in mediatation that spooked me. For the kind of extreme madness he was in, today to see him at the extreme opposite didn’t make any sense at all.
It was getting late and I had to get to college. By evening when I got back to the temple, he had disappeared not to be seen ever. I went to the nearby mendicants and enquired the next day, they said, “He was there for so long but don’t know where he went, he didn’t have anybody”.
It’s a mystery unsolved. Whether to consider it as a divine providence to witness a mad man becoming an awakened meditator once his bad karma or curse came to an end or is it nature’s way of giving a glimpse about the mystical apect of this world which is veiled from plainsight of everyone, I don’t know!
But, one thing is certain, what’s written in scriptures about curse, karma is not fiction or mythological. May be they are more real than reality itself that they appear to be an illusion.