The Curse of the Astral Body

When her boss, the HR head called on her extension and asked her to come to the CEO’s office, she had a foreboding. They tried to be professional and make it sound simple. They were laying off people who were not billable. Company was facing challenging times, and so on. She barely heard them. At least she could now crawl into bed after Satish and Shruti had left in the mornings. She nodded quietly when her boss said he could give her names of recruiters, and she would get references from the company.
She was sitting at her desk, trying to compose her ‘resignation’ letter. They could manage running home because both were working. If she did not find another job soon, they would have to shift to a smaller house. She had failed in her career; she was not a good mother either. Shruti had grown to be a spoilt child and was lagging behind in school.

Her brother had left home without telling anyone and had not contacted them ever since. She could end her life or run away from the demands of her family life, her obsessive bad thoughts and find refuge in a new place. She and Satish had visited the ashram a few months ago. Guruji was travelling, but she had heard Guruji on TV a few times. They had sat inside the pyramid. The obsessive waves of oppressive thoughts had gone for a few moments.
She fetched Shruti from school. Shruti skipped happily beside her, holding her hand. She was chattering about her day. Ramya could not listen and was caught out when Shruti asked her opinion. She laid out some food for Shruti and told her she was going out shopping. She packed a few things and left a note for Satish.

“I’m going away for some time. Don’t worry about me.” She could not write any more.

As she entered the ashram, she switched off her mobile. She enquired at the office about becoming an inmate and if she could stay for few days. They were very kind and said yes. They suggested she could attend the satsang, which would start shortly.

She joined the crowd sitting in the covered open area. A hush fell when Guruji entered, with a golden umbrella held over him. People raised their folded hands. He went to the stage and gave a talk. He had a sweet voice, almost feminine. Then the singing of bhajans started, led by Guruji. There were giant LED screens around the place, showing the stage and sometimes zooming in on Guruji. Carried away by the chanting and the mood, she had tears streaming down. She felt free of her tortured mind.

Meditation time was 6 am to 7 am. You were free to go to the pyramid or not. She went in after most people had left. Inside the pyramid was a huge hall, with steps all round. You could sit anywhere and meditate. She sat in a step high up in padmasana and closed her eyes. The silence slowly entered you, until you were one with the energy in the pyramid. She felt a swaying sensation from its energy. Her mind felt at rest, the only time in years. This is what it meant to let go, as she had been told repeatedly by the doctor. She sat for a long time, aware of people rustling to leave or enter and settle down.
When she opened her eyes, he was seated in a few steps below. Instead of facing the center, he was seated turned round and was facing her. They sat for a few moments quietly.

“When did you come?”

“Just a short while ago. They showed me your room, but was locked. They said you could be in the pyramid.”

She did not immediately reply.
“If you had asked me, I would have brought you here myself, you know. I called your father and Raghu. They had no idea. Then I checked your credit card bill online and found bills from the ashram.”

“I was laid off. People must have been talked against me to the new management. I just couldn’t carry on my life and go home.” Her face twisted, as she tried to hold back tears. “ I should just stay here and maybe then I can escape my curse.”

“You could have come home and told me. Don’t worry, everything will be alright. Let’s go home.”
How simple he made it all seem. Everything according to his convenience. Resentment was rising within her. When do you ever have time for me? You didn’t protest when your mother said to leave our child in crèche. Your sisters sat at home and did nothing. No one offered to help.

“Enough of Shivam. Don’t believe what he says. We’ll go back to the doctor. You are imagining things. Once you start treatment again you will be better. Shruti keeps asking for you.”