Why only some parents get Special Children?
Source: Speaking Flute (book) – Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math
Nalini’s position, possession, peace, prosperity etc. were pivoted around her daughter Selvi. But Poor Nalini! For the past eighteen years, Selvi had been bedridden. But now the 48-year old Nalini found it difficult to endure the suffering any more.
Nalini, being a devotee of Sri Ramakrishna, used to share her problems with Swami Avyananda. ‘Swamiji, I can’t take this any longer! For the last 18 years, I have seen my daughter in constant pain. Neither medicines nor my prayers have been able to cure or comfort her. Both of us have lived a life of hell. I see no way out but to put an end to my life,’ she remarked with tears.
‘What are you saying, mother? Don’t think like this,’ said the Swami shocked.
‘I can’t see any other way…my health is also on the decline,’ said Nalini.
The Swami tried to console her in so many ways.
‘What grave sins have I done to endure this prolonged misery? What kind of a God is He, who listens to all my prayers, but remains silent to my sufferings?” she lamented angrily.
Dr. Saravanan, a renowned psychiatrist, was silently witnessing that conversation. He was quietly analyzing Nalini’s state of mind and the factors that led her to that conclusion.
Continuous frustration for several years, endless misery, hopes that her daughter would be cured, but disappointed that she is still bed-ridden in spite of several kinds of treatment – all these factors drove Nalini to this extreme conclusion.
Nalini became silent after weeping profusely. Going to the shrine, she held the feet of Sri Ramakrishna with her hands, and apologized, ‘O Father! I am so sorry for having spoken ill of you. Who else can I share my grief with? Please forgive me,’ she pleaded looking at Sri Ramakrishna like a little girl.
The Swami had occasionally discussed Nalini’s pitiable plight with Dr. Saravanan. ‘Doctor, please alleviate the suffering of Nalini. She is now in a state of desperation and I am worried that she may resort to some extreme step.’ The doctor was touched with the concern the monk had for the afflicted.
‘Can that lady overcome the tendency to commit suicide, doctor?’ asked the Swami concerned.
After much thought, the doctor replied, ‘Swamiji, Nalini’s conscious mind is overcome by grief. If she is not taken care of, she could go to any extent and put an end to her life. However, we cannot come to any conclusion without tapping into her subconscious mind. Only that can reveal her inner turmoil and throw light on her true state of mind.’
‘Is it possible to understand that, doctor? Normally, mind is like an ocean. On the surface, various thoughts come and go like fish, whereas the subconscious mind consists full of gems in the ocean. This is what your Psychology says? Is it not?’ asked the Swami.
‘Exactly,’ said Saravanan, ‘the Indian Psychology, religions and literature say that deep down in the unconscious mind lay wonderful things… But Western Psychology says that baser passions are what fill the unconscious mind… If Nalini cooperates, we can examine her sub conscious mind.’
‘I will try to convince Nalini, she must somehow regain her peace of mind. She shouldn’t do anything in a fit of emotion,’ said the Swami.
After a few days, Nalini was ready for her psychotherapeutic session. The hospital atmosphere was pleasant and calm. Her mentor, Swami Avyananda, was right beside her. With trust in the capability and goodwill of Dr. Saravanan, Nalini opened herself to the analysis.
As she lay on the bed, one could see the pendant of her chain resting close to her chest. On it was the divine image of Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi.
With a careful step-by-step process, Dr. Saravanan penetrated into Nalini’s mind. Her external conscious mind was full of turmoil and reflected her prolonged miseries. After a thorough examination, the doctor continued his journey into the inner recesses of her mind. What he saw within that inner core took him by utter surprise.
Nalini’s demeanour was then calm and composed. With eyes closed and a smile on her lips, she was in a relaxed frame of mind. ‘Madam, why are you thinking of committing suicide?’ asked the Doctor.
‘Commit suicide?! Am I a fool? Who do you think I am?’ Nalini’s deeper mind retorted in a frustrated tone. Then she proclaimed, ‘My father is Sri Ramakrishna. My mother is Mother Sarada.’ But suddenly her voice broke down. In a pitiable way, she continued with tears in her eyes, ‘But I don’t remember this always.’
‘Why, madam?’ asked Dr. Saravanan.
‘My situation is very much like that of Mother Sarada, to whom I pray day and night. Just like how she had a mad girl Raadhu, I too have a daughter. While Mother Sarada’s niece Raadhu troubled her like a nuisance, my daughter remains like a dead log,’ she exclaimed.
Nalini was then in a state of exhilaration. She continued talking as if she was delivering a discourse.
‘When the Divine Goddess descends on the human world, she often subjects herself to Maya (illusion) as part of her various acts of creative play (leela). Mother Sarada was no different. She clouded herself with the illusory form of Raadhu in order to experience both the pain and suffering of the transient world. If the Divine Mother herself had to undergo such misery, what to speak about my petty problems?’ remarked Nalini boldly.
Dr. Saravanan was shell-shocked. Never before had he seen anyone having such clarity during psychotherapy. Excited, he continued his interrogation.
‘Madam, why do you have to struggle so much for the sake of Selvi? What drives you to take care of her with such involvement?’ he enquired.
With a heavy sigh, Nalini replied, ‘Who else has she got? Just before his death, my husband pointed at Selvi and remarked that she was my Goddess to whom I should perform my daily worship. He made me promise that I will never fail in my devotion to her. What I do for Selvi is nothing more than my way of serving the Divine Mother and my dear husband.’
After a brief pause, Nalini quoted a Sanskrit verse that further astounded the doctor:
Gurmastaaraka sarvanam tribuvanam udpaada yaamo balaat |
Kim bo na vijaanaasya asmaan ramakrishnadaasa vayam ||
Dr. Saravanan turned to Swami Avyananda. The Swami remarked with pride that Swami Vivekananda himself wrote the verse and explained the meaning of the verse. It went like this: ‘Who do you think we are? We who can turn the stars into dust; we who can make the universe go topsy-turvy; we are the humble servants of Sri Ramakrishna.’
On reading it, the doctor looked at Nalini with respect. Her body moved slightly. The pendant on her chest flipped over and on it was the serene face of Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna.
The therapy session came to an end. Nalini got up and became normal. However, her mind was still in conflict. Back home, thoughts of suicide continued to haunt her. Fearing the worst, she went to meet Swami and the doctor the very next day.
‘Doctor, do you find anything good in me? So many people have tried to comfort me. But there are a few questions that continue to haunt me. Is it my karma to have given birth to such an useless child? Or is it her fate to live in a vegetative state like a good-for-nothing inanimate object?’ Nalini enquired.
Both the doctor and the Swami tried to comfort her with all kinds of encouraging words. But nothing could bring her inner peace. She left for home with a heavy heart.
Dr. Saravanan then turned towards the Swami and remarked, ‘This is an extraordinary case, Swamiji. This is the first time I am encountering such an individual. The prolonged suffering has left Nalini heart-broken. But deep within her subconscious mind, she is full of devotion, which gives her courage. This lady will never commit suicide. You can be sure of that Swamiji!’
‘So it means that when Nalini believes that she is Sri Ramakrishna’s devotee, she is filled with courage. But when this fact slips off her mind, she suffers great agony,’ the Swami concluded.
‘That is right, Swamiji! How wonderful it would be if the confidence that she oozes out in the subconscious state extends into her conscious mind as well?’ remarked Dr. Saravanan.
‘For that to happen, my medical therapy alone will not suffice. It is your prayers and the divine grace of God that can truly bring about a positive change,’ he said.
‘I pray to Sri Ramakrishna for her well-being,’ Swami said with folded hands.
A few days passed. One early morning, as the Swami was coming out of the shrine, he saw Nalini getting down from an autorickshaw. Her face radiated an ecstatic smile. There was something incredibly different in her personality. As she approached her mentor, she exclaimed, ‘Swamiji, Sri Ramakrishna is really great!’
‘What happened, mother?’ asked the Swami.
‘Guru Maharaj appeared in my dream yesterday. Oh my goodness! It was so real that I can recollect every detail of it,’ Nalini answered in a tone of elation. She then closed her eyes and started to detail the exact sequence of the dream:
‘The stage was set in the Devaloka. The focus was on a radiant courtroom where Devas and Rishis, sages and saints sat in a state of blissful meditation. Occupying the central throne like an emperor of this divine court was Bhagavan Sri Ramakrishna!
‘On one side of him was a crowd of people, with different kinds of expectations. On his other side were children of different size, colour and age. Some of them were normal, hale and healthy while others were special children with disabilities.
‘Sri Ramakrishna raised his right hand and ordered the court proceedings to begin. At his command, one of the Devas rose from his chair and addressed the gathering, “O beloved ones! Here you will find different kinds of children. You can take any child of your choice and bring him or her up as your own. Whoever nurtures their child well and thereby bring glory to Guru Maharaj, shall be truly blessed with His divine grace.”
‘At once everyone rushed towards the children of his or her choice. All the attractive children were immediately chosen while the ones with disabilities had no takers. On seeing this, Sri Ramakrishna was sad.
‘The Deva who was conducting the proceedings called out to the people, “Please listen! Shouldn’t you, as followers of Sri Ramakrishna, accept anything that comes in the form of Prasad? Then why has no one come forth to accept these children with disabilities?”
‘The crowd paid no heed to his plea and continued to rush only towards lovely and healthy children.
‘Sri Ramakrishna looked around distressed.
‘The Deva understood his thoughts and questioned the gathering, “O beloved ones! Is there anyone here who is willing to accept children with disabilities?”
‘Immediately a young lady with a confident gait and devotion stepped out of the crowd and stood in front of Sri Ramakrishna. She remarked boldly, “Father, I am here, your daughter at your service.”
‘Saying so, she ran and picked up a disabled girl-child and placed her at the lotus feet of Sri Ramakrishna.
‘Sri Ramakrishna was overjoyed and said, “Dear daughter, I am extremely happy to leave the responsibility of this child in your hands. These are my special children. You have earned my special grace by accepting to bring her up.”
‘Sri Ramakrishna then placed his palm on her head and showered His infinite grace upon her.
‘That young lady was none other than Nalini.’
The dream came to an end.
‘Swamiji, I can still feel the divine touch of Guru Maharaj,’ Nalini remarked as she placed her hand on her chest and closed her eyes.
Swami Avyananda was truly awe-struck. He went into the shrine and prostrated in front of Sri Ramakrishna. Then he proceeded to make a call to Dr. Saravanan to inform him that the divine grace in the subconscious mind had begun to manifest in the conscious.