woke up earlier than usual on darshan day.
The time must have been a little after midnight.
Something seemed different that day.
With difficulty I
lifted my head and peeped out of the small window of my hut. Although I
could not see anything due to the pitch darkness of the night, I sensed
some activity in the trees. I
closed my eyes and listened. To
my surprise I sensed the trees were in the same jovial mood as they were
when spring was approaching. Winter
had just started, it would be months before even the slightest hint of
spring. I lay down my head
back on the pillow and realized that I too was in a jovial mood - my heart
too hinted some hope and excitement.
That was quite a change from the past few years of my miserable and
had been almost twenty years ago that I had been diagnosed with an
incurable form of leprosy. This
had been the first such case in the memberable history of my village and
the people did not know what to do with me.
I had been quite a cheerful and promising young boy before the
village doctor noticed the state of the perpetually open wounds on my
back. After he announced my disease, my life changed drastically.
elders banished me despite my family''s (particularly my mother''s) heart
breaking pleas. My brother
and uncles built a hut for me three miles from the village and promised me
daily visits. At first, all
my relatives and friends came each and every day, and brought me gifts and
tried their best to lift the dark and heavy depression that was
suffocating me, but due to my negative and cynical view (and because love
is rarely true amongst worldly people), the number of people visiting me
reduced to one - my mother.
would bring food for me two times a day.
She would come and clean my hut, bathe and feed me.
At first, I eagerly awaited her visits.
I asked her about all my friends. But gradually, it only pained me
to listen to her.
after, I started bolting the door and would ask her to leave the food
outside and go away. I also
asked her to come only once a day since I realized it was hard for her.
With much reluctance, she agreed, but she could not understand my
isolation from her. This
continued for over ten years. My
condition was only getting worse. Although
I was in my early twenties, I felt like an old man.
Laying all day in bed and being angry and depressed had certainly
taken their tolls. I had a
hard time even going to the nearby river to get my supply of water. My bones would groan and creak at every effort. My mind had
turned into a dull and a stagnant vessel which would not hold any thoughts
except for the immediate bodily needs.
one day things changed. My
mother was taken seriously ill with tuberculosis.
Even in her illness, she prepared food for me, but she did not have
enough strength to deliver it to me.
She asked my nephew to
accomplish that task. Consider
it fate, but for reasons known only to my nephew, the food was not
delivered to me. The first day without food, I cried like a baby and shouted
out to my mother. I had tried
to eat berries from a low hanging bush, but due to ignorance, had eaten
poisonous ones. This only
made the situation worse. After
three painful, lonely and sleepless days I assumed my mother was dead and
I would never again see another human.
I decided to end my life.
It was the middle of the night and death seemed like an inviting
and pleasant escape. I slowly
and painfully got up from the
bed and made my way towards the river.
I envisioned myself jumping
in and drowning. I had made
it half-way to the river-bed when I tripped on a bush and fell heavily on
my face. Due to my general poor health and lack of food, I could not
lift myself up again. Only
with a tremendous amount of effort, I turned and lay on my back.
Miraculously, I fell asleep.
that wonderful sleep I dreamt that a man with a beard and a blue piece of
cloth wrapped on his head took my hand and led me to two big
doors. Although I
could no see the man, he appeared to radiating grace and elegance.
With his hands he pushed open the doors.
A ball of white light immediately engulfed me and with a jerk
lifted me a few feet out of my body.
The jerking movement woke me up.
I was breathing slowly and deeply.
I felt light and joyful. To
my joy, I realized I was still hovering slightly above my body.
I had heard several times from the village pundits that the soul
was an entity distinct from the body, but I had given it as much thought
as I suspect they did. But
that day in an instant my life changed.
I cannot express the relief I felt at the thought that this
deformed and rotten body was not me.
then, my life had revolved around getting that sensation back.
I have tried all the methods that I have heard about to gain that
light feeling. But even
though I have become still inside, and can listen to myself and nature
more easily, that wonderful feeling never graced me. Most of my days were
still spent drowned in thought and depression.
that darshan day felt different. I
couldn''t go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried.
Finally at dawn, I got out of bed and looked out of the window. The
sun had just risen making everything golden.
The birds and the wind were joyfully singing songs of love.
I stood there for a long time bathing in freshness.
And for the first time in about twelve years I decided to go for a
walk during daylight. I was
an avid walker once but the horrified looks of a boy who had accidently
seen me had locked me inside. But
that day, all that didn''t matter.
felt a trace of life in me. I
spent the whole day seeped in nature and waiting for something to happen.
At the end of the day, I was more surprised than disappointed that
nothing had happened. I lay
on my bed and dozed-off.
my dream, the same man with a blue turban appeared again.
This time he held me by my hand and took me to the river. He signaled me to go into the water. I went in. I looked at my reflection in the water and with a
shock realized that I had been cured.
I looked for the man but he had entered a hut.
I ran and knocked on his door.
No answer. I knocked
again... With a start I woke up. Someone
was knocking at my door. I
opened the door and saw a sight that filled me with wonder and awe.
stood a middle-aged man at the door.
He had a small bundle of what appeared to be books and clothes on
one shoulder, and a box which appeared to be a case for a musical
instrument on the other shoulder. And
a few steps behind him, stood the man from my visions.
He was wearing a yellow robe, wooden slippers and a blue turban. Although His robe was faded and old, He looked like a king of
all kings. Although His beard
was mostly white, His face was filled, nay, overflowing with youthfulness.
Although His eyes were half-closed and hidden in the dark, a
thousand suns could not match their brilliance; a thousand moons could not
match their serenity; a thousand kings could not match their splendor.
I sank to my knees and bowed. Without
a word they both entered my hut and sat on the bed.
I was quite dumb-founded and tongue-tied.
I just kept staring at Him. At
times, I would quickly glance
at His face, but it proved to be too intense an experience for me and I
would quickly revert my glance back to His feet.
I wanted to say words of welcome, I wanted to thank Him for being
there, I wanted to ask for forgiveness for my sinful being, but my throat
would not, could not form words.
His signal, the man with the instrument opened it up and started playing
it. Ah, the wonderful music captivated me. Then ... He sang. The song entered me, nay, flooded and
imprisoned me. I drank His
song and lost my thirst. His
song opened the dam of tears in me and I wept.
With One note of His song, He gave me enough to fill my life, With
one note of His song, I was drenched in bliss.
With one note of His song, my thoughts ceased.
With one note of His song, my soul separated from the pained and
sang about light. He sang
about darkness that enveloped me. He
sang about the world within. He
sang about sorrow-less and death-less truth.
He sang about sorrows and death of untruth.
He sang about becoming truth.
He sang about merging within.
He sang about the wonderful naam.
He sang about the blissful naami.
He sang about One, One, One, One, One, One, One, One ....
songs there was songs of silence. I
was in freedom. My beard was
literally drenched with tears of repressed emotions.
Without a word, His companion filled a bowl he was carrying with
water from my water pitcher and started reciting verses.
Whereas the songs were rapped in love and longing, the verses were
wrapped in wisdom and One''s greatness.
I listened. I felt
wise and clean. For the first
time in my life I felt pure. At
that time everything was pure, my clothes, my hut, the forest around.
Blessed was my bed which was serving them - the angels of One.
fortunate was His companion. Throughout
the songs and recitation the companion gazed at His face with an intent of
a child looking at his mother. I
found myself gazing at His companion''s face. Whereas His face was like the
sun - much too bright for me - His companion''s face resembled the moon.
It was quite a moment. I,
staring at the moon, the moon staring at the sun and the sun focused on
the One. The companion finished the verses, took the bowl of water to His
feet and dipped His toe in the water.
The companion motioned me to drink the water.
To my surprise, it was sweet.
I gulped it down. Never
had I tasted such
contentment. I felt
intoxicated. I felt I
belonged to Him and He to me. I
felt His love, His grace, I felt Him in me.
leaned towards me, and in my ear whispered "Wahe Guru".
A thousand bright suns dawned in me, a thousand blissful winds blew
in me, a thousand colorful
flowers bloomed in me, a thousand joyful fountains sprang up in me, a
thousand celestial chords played within me,
a thousand angels sang in me.
All the suns, winds, flowers, fountains, chords, angels sang
waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru
waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru
waheguru waheguru waheguru waheguru ...
on my face brought me back to this world.
They had departed. A pain shot through my body at seeing the bed
empty. For a moment I wanted to run and find Him, but the quietness
of the trees told me they had gone far.
Slowly I got up from the spot in which I had spent the whole joyful
night. What a night, I
thought; the trees were certainly justified in singing about spring.
He was spring.
a brief moment I thought this was all a dream.
Perhaps I was still in a dream.
But instantly I realized this was real - on the bed lay a small
book. With excitement, I
picked it up. It was the
verses His companion had recited. Although I didn''t know the language it was written in, I
still could read it because it was in a language similar to one I knew.
And the verses written were the same ones His companion had recited
and they were deeply embedded within me.
I quickly read the first page. I turned the page.
My heart missed a beat. It
wasn''t the book but the sight of my hand.
It''s sores were dry. I
carefully put the book back on the bed and with trembling hand and heart
examined my body. Yes, all my
sores were either dry or were getting dry.
He had cured me. He,
the angel of the One had cured me. He
had come to my unclean abode and purified me.
Tears welled up in me when I thought of His mercy.
Me, a sinner''s sinner, an unclean, nay, filthy untrue animal had
been touched by His grace.
bowed to the book, I kissed it and I lovingly pressed it to my heart.