In the last few months, the trajectory of my life is changing slowly. It had been a long time coming; only I didn’t see it. The lesson is to flow. The lesson is impermanence. My rational mind understands. My emotional mind kicks up a fuss. Even though I am a great believer of destiny and embracing change, any situation where I have no control throws me into an instant state of panic. Old tendencies are hard to die. I move forward each day with faith that eventually everything must fall into place. It has to. There is no other way. Yet my mind plays tricks on me. I get emotional, angry, and sad at a drop of a hat. Being in the peak of menopause is also not helping. No amount of sugar is helping. My extremely patient and wise husband reminds me daily, “Calendar will roll. Days will pass!”

Indeed the days are passing while my life remains frozen. We need to sell the house. We have no work. We are living off savings. We must leave the country soon and I don’t know how we will accomplish all this.  Frankly I can’t stop moaning. Even I am starting to dislike myself. God help my poor husband!

I go through my daily life without enthusiasm and realise that important things are falling through the cracks. I stopped exercising, meditating, and chanting. I am becoming a recluse who is starting to see the stains on the wall rather than the abundant blue sky above me. My body is in constant pain and my neck is frozen unable to move. My physiotherapist tries to ease my pain but in vain. I have pressed the pause button on my remote control without realizing that only I can unpause it.

In the middle of a whirlwind, I tumbled on a post by Akshay on his first Gayatri Sadhana. You can read it here. I am inspired. Sadhana could be my way of taking control of my life, being more disciplined and find a way to anchor my monkey mind. I read Sri Devi Didi’s posts about her journey and it fills me with hope. Her knowledge and wisdom point towards sadhana as well. An idea starts to form in my head. It’s the right time to do a purushcharna. I sit on the thought for few days to see if I am serious, but with each passing day the idea is crystalizing like brown sugar on top of a warm vanilla custard.

I go through the Gayatri Sadhana book and type out a detail step by step list. Everything is colour coded and typed out neatly. I am a control freak who operates best when things are streamlined. My Gayatri Sadhana document resembles an audit report of Bank of Punjab. My husband is amused by this turn of events but lets me be.

Now all I have to do is get someone who is an expert, to check my document before I proceed. Emailing Swamiji is not an option as I don’t want him to find out I am a nut job. I am sure he has better things to do.  So, on the spur of the moment, I leave a comment on Akshay’s blog that I wish to connect with him. The idea is to get him to check my sadhana steps and see if I missed anything. I am certain he is busy and won’t have time to entertain me right away. I step away briefly from my desk to make coffee and by the time I am back, Akshay has replied.

I sit stunned at my desk. Just like that a door has opened for me to walk through. His email is full of love and support. We connect over whatsapp right away. And from that moment on my younger brother, Akshay, patiently guides me to what is to become my path. He meticulously reads through my detailed document and changes a few things. His hand holding gives me confidence that I can do this. He messages me few times a day to make sure I understand that no amount of list, preparation and intention is needed—all I need is bhaav and devotion.

As I get ready for my first 9 days of Gayatri Sadhana, I tumble upon a few hiccups. This house where I live is huge, but I never had a temple. I create a space on my writing desk and plan to set up a temporary alter everyday while I chant. I am sure Swamiji and Vedmata Gayatri will forgive me. I have no red or yellow colour clothing and so I find a tailor who stiches red kaftans at a short notice. I regularly cook meat for my husband even though I am a vegetarian. I do it because I manage his diet and helped him to lose 32 kilos over 6 months. You can see now how much I like control. It’s time he goes vegetarian for 9 days.

And lastly, I have a sit down conversation with my Muslim husband two days before I am about to start. He understands why I am doing this and is on board immediately. Though his beliefs are very different from mine, he hugs me tightly and tells me go for it. He will manage his food (read meat & eggs) and is also ok to eat bread for 9 days as long as I am happy. I realise at that point how lucky I have been in my life to marry this soft spoken man who prays 5 times a day but often forgets to do laundry.

With a lot of gungo ho, drama and preparation 20th August is here. One day before Purnima. I have read the documents many times. Written accurate pronunciations. Knowing how to read Gujarati helps me to read Sanskrit. A lovely friend has bought rudraksh mala from Jodhpur 3 days before I am about to start. Pieces are falling into place.

I still can’t believe that a non believer like me is about to start a sadhana. Anything is possible if your Guru desires a different path for you. My Guru must have a plan for me. All I have to do is commit to following the steps he suggested in his book. And forget about the rest.

Up until this point, I have managed to control everything.

Now all I must do for 9 days is be disciplined and just chant!

To rebuild, one must destroy first.

The process had begun.

Only I didn’t know.

To Be continued………

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Shivani Adalja

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