That Ghost In The Cupboard



Yet another suicide by a brilliant young man studying at a premier institute. I will no longer ask, why. Life has taught me enough to write the answer to that one. Because we are human. No animal would commit suicide.

At so many stages in life, at so many points of decision making, the dream of escaping it all easily appears: like a tantalizing mirage. If only, if only…It is that precise moment which one has to survive. Perhaps the faces of your loved ones will appear to caution against the decision. Or it could be a determined voice from within which stubbornly says: “I will not give up.” The survival instinct will definitely kick in, and one reaches for a way out. The instinct to destroy is unfortunately strong too; and it will resist that friend or help that is a call away.

One of the most ignored areas, at least in our country, is mental health. Depression, nervous disorders, eating disorders, suicidal tendencies- all are whitewashed into one heading: Needs Rest.

Some deny it actively, some mock at it aggressively, some escape into parties and alcohol, some become detached and cocooned, some pretend it is a ghost in the cupboard and occasionally face it in their privacy, and some kill themselves.


If there is anything which has helped me face different apparitions of intolerable pain (which sits within me and mocks that  I am better off dead at times), it has been a fierce determination to crawl out of darkness every time. I reach out for my quotes of Vivekananda and try to fill my mind with thoughts of power and service. Typically I visit Missionary sisters and try to talk to the poor and disabled that they serve so selflessly. When I see a five year old orphan child suffering from HIV, and who cheers up on getting a chocolate, I feel that my troubles are so pitiful and meaningless. Truly has Vivekananda said that the way out of your own troubles is to serve someone who suffers more than you. When “I ” become too much for me, I visit a hospital. By the time I return, the ” I ” is usually replaced by a sense of immense gratitude for the good health that I take for granted.

My mother often tells me that tears are a way to getting closer to Him. It shakes you out of whatever ennui and makes you go down on your knees, seeking help. And help has always, always, always come.

If I could tell something to the bright student sitting in some top institute, depressed and angry at himself and the world, it is this:

Stop thinking of yourself for the next half an hour. Get out as fast as you can from your room.  Go to the nearest hospital, or any place of pain and tears and helplessness. Please help by volunteering there: buy someone medicine, help a mother carry her sick child, read a prescription to an old man.  Visit an orphanage. By the time you return, my dear friend, you would have so much power within you that you will live for another day. Whether you choose to live that day well, will be a blessed option left to you.

The way out of your own apparently interminable darkness is the light you will be kindling in another unfortunate’s life. I do not know why it works every time, but it always works for me. Maybe by giving another a bit of your life energy, you have shooed off the ghost in the cupboard for yet another day. For the time being, it is a battle worth having won.


Bhuj Bisaal Gahi Hridayam Lagaava (39): He Extended His Great Arms And Hugged Him Close To His Heart


Vibheeshan meets SreeRamji ( Sundar Kanda Continued)


Sadar tehi aagem kari banar/chale jaham Raghupathi Karunakar//

Doorihi te dekhe dvau braata/nayanand daan ke daata//

Ushering Vibheeshanji respectfully forward, they went to SreeRaghunathji, the incarnation of kindness

From a distance, Vibheeshan could see the two brothers, so delightful to the eyes(their forms giving great joy to the eyes)


Bahuri Ram cchabidham biloki/rahevu taduki ekatak pal roki//

Bhuj pralamb kanjarun lochan/syamal gaat pranat bhay mochan//

Seeing the radiant form of SreeRamji ( Glory Incarnate), Vibheeshan stood stunned and stared with wonder, forgetting even to blink ( without closing his eyelids even)

The Lord had strong and great arms, eyes resembling a red lotus, and his dusky body removed the trepidations of refugees


Singh kandh aayat ur soha/aanan amit madan mann moha//

Nayan neer pulakit ati gaata/mann dhari dheer kahi mridu baata//

His shoulders were broad as a lion’s, his chest was spectacular, his handsome face could make a thousand Gods of Desire (Kamadeva)ecstatic

Seeing the radiant form of the Lord, Vibheeshanji’s eyes filled with tears of devotion and joy, and his hair stood on end, then slowly calming himself, he spoke sweetly


Nadh Dasanan kar mai bhrata/nisichar bams janam surtrata//

Sahaj pappriya tamas deha/jadha ulookahi tam par neha//

Hey Lord! I am the brother of Ravan, Hey Protector of the Gods! My birth was in the clan of Rakshasas

My nature is disposed to sins( papa) and my body is tamasic (having qualities and attributes associated with darkness or ‘tam’), like an owl is disposed to love darkness of the night



Shravan sujasu suni aayavu Prabhu bhanjan bhav bheer/

Traahi traahi aarathi haran saran sukhad Raghubeer//

I have come here after hearing with my ears that You, My Lord, removes all fear of birth and death ( bhav ka bhay)

Hey Raghunathji! Remover of the pains of the agonised, and the giver of joy to refugees, please protect me, please protect me!


As kahi karat dandavat dekha/turat ude Prabhu harash bisesha//

Deen bachan suni Prabhu mann bhaava/ bhuj bisaal gahi hridayam lagaava//

Vibheeshan did Danda namaskar( prostrated himself on the ground before the Lord) and seeing that, joyfully, SreeRamji got up

The Lord was deeply touched by the humble words of Vibheeshanji, he stretched his great arms and pulling him up, embraced Vibheeshanji close to his own heart