Lurking around us…

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A ten-year-old girl as her daily ritual goes to her favourite goodie store on returning from school. A strange woman grabs her hand and asks her to come with her, horrified she asks the shopkeeper to tell the woman off. The shopkeeper can see no one around… Friends, family and neighbors make fun of her imagination. The strange woman reappears outside her grandmother’s house, waiting to take her as she steps out of the door. This time the horrified child runs back inside, hesitant to tell anyone about the uninvited visitor.

In a posh South Delhi apartment, a well-educated woman watches in disbelief as the doors of the cupboard (almirah) fling open and objects fly out of it. There is no one there, no wind, not even a tremor. “There are times”, she tries to explain, “the house feels normal when I enter, but there are times when I get an uncomfortable feeling, as if there is a heaviness all around. I get scared…”

Schopenhauer asserts that a belief in ghosts is born with man; that it is found in all ages and in all lands, and that no one is free from it.

The spirit world juxtaposed with the mortal world has never before drawn so much interest, rather attention, than it has today, where  spectres loom as commonly in cities and crowds as against earlier times when their sightings were rare. Till only two decades ago, their tales were heard only in old villages, remote hills and forest areas away from the hustle bustle of town. Rare were accounts of any appearances of ghosts in big towns or metropolitan cities.

However, in the past few years the spookiness of the old mansion in the misty forest has crept into plush metropolitan apartments, crowded crossings on busy roads, offices and discotheques alike. The spirit pervades everywhere.

Do not be surprised if the unknown face next to you turns out to be a thing of the past…spirit is more real than reality. While living forms may be faking, at least the spirits are true to themselves and to us.

Changing times have brought about a change in the nature of the spirits as well. While in the past ghosts led a solitary existence, occasionally stepping out to spook someone with their assertive behaviour, today spirits have become more and more assertive and compelling and are comfortable in making appearances; even  taking an active part in the day-to-day activities of the mortal world…without realizing that they have crossed over.

In the present day scenario serious illnesses, untimely deaths, murders, financial losses, emotional turbulence, infidelity etc. hover over every household, every human mind. No soul is in peace, everyone is forever struggling, hiding, collecting, envying. Increasing jealousies, desire for more and more and this eternal discontentment has made the human soul more desperate than ever.

We may disregard old customs, traditional ceremonies and sanskaras as rituals but there is a reason why so many ceremonies like agni-sanskar, shantipath, 13 day mourning period and purification practices were observed in earlier times. There are various mantras in the Vedas to pacify disturbed souls, souls who do  not leave in peace or those who meet an untimely death, which we call akal mrityu. People who suffer mentally and emotionally or are too attached to relations or material objects like house, property, wealth, are unable to let go of their desires even after death. After the Bengal famine, people reported rattling of empty vessels in their houses – the desire for food was so strong in those who passed away that the spirits took shelter in the food containers. Though fulfillment of desire and will to survive are eternal characteristics of the soul, there are kriyas and mantras to aid the soul in understanding its bondages and letting go of the attachment.

Lack of time and faith today, have denied these poor souls of the basic rights-the rites performed after death to let them move on and so majority are stuck. It is time we understand the superior science of mantras and how they affect the various dimensions of existence, from birth till death and beyond. Life after life these mantras nurture the soul and aid its evolution and ultimately free it from the shackles of desire to choose from the higher dimensions it can access.

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