Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.
Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.

Sai Subramanian



Sai Subramanian


Metamorphosis Of Cyril

Metamorphosis Of Cyril

31 mins 280 31 mins 280

As we grow older, past our adult life, and then retire gracefully or otherwise from our career/job/business, we suddenly seem to have an abundance of time on our hands. Well-meaning relatives and friends do advise us to pursue a passion or a childhood hobby, exercise, go on vacations, do this and that, to keep our time occupied, so that we don't become lazy and feel wasted.

One thing I have observed is the tendency to reminisce our childhood days. We try to reach out to our old friends with whom we had spent our days in school and the neighborhood. When I retired from my active life, I also started being nostalgic about my younger days, especially my school days. Amongst my classmates, the memory of Cyril stands out singularly and clearly as if the events about him happened yesterday.

Cyril was one of those kids who effortlessly got every desire of his fulfilled from the time he was born. Being the only child of his doting parents, Cyril just had to lift a finger for his parents to bestow on him anything he desired. He was born after 8 years of their marriage and hence he was pampered very much. My parents used to tell that his parents had visited almost all important religious places of India and did lot of offerings and prayed to God for a child.

His father owned a few factories manufacturing leather goods and home appliances _____ and exporting the same to different countries. They had a very big bungalow in our locality, with a verdant garden surrounding the house. Servants took care of everything right from gardening to cleaning and maintaining the house and cars. Their cook had come from Sri Lanka and she and her husband were staying in the outhouse. In all, his dad was extremely wealthy and quite influential too. His dad used to go overseas quite often and his mom was a prime member of the ladies club, necessitating her to host social events and kitty parties frequently. Most of the time, he was left under the care of his governess and servants. He always blackmailed them by saying that he would report to his parents that they did not take care of him properly and thereby got whatever he wanted.

With this kind of background, it was anticipated that Cyril would grow into a ruffian and bully. He never used to come to school with us on the school bus; instead a uniformed car driver dropped him and picked him up from school. As a rich kid, he used to have a few cronies who always hung out with him. He used to torment all the boys and girls by stealing their lunch boxes and books. While walking in the school corridor, he would generally put his leg forward and trip other kids. Personally, I felt that he had a sadistic streak in him which made him do all these dirty pranks. Fortunately, I was a few inches taller than him and had a stockier build and hence escaped his shenanigans. His audacity and reckless behaviour recognized no boundaries. The number of times the school watchman, peon and the bellboy fell prey to his arrogant and uncouth behaviour were countless. Even some of the teachers were not spared by his misdemeanors.

Some of the incidents I remember very distinctly. Our Sanskrit teacher was quite absent minded and once he walked off, after the class was over, leaving his specs behind. Cyril removed the glasses from the frame and kept the empty frame back on the table. Another time, he kept a dead rat snake under the chair just before our math ma’am was expected. She did not realise it, and halfway into the class, Cyril pointed it out to her. She not only ran away from the room with a piercing shriek but resigned from the school as well. Once, our class girls were locked in their toilets and the lights switched off. Couple of girls and boys had their lunch boxes mixed with castor oil and their endless trips to the toilet made them a laughing stock. His delinquent and abhorrent behaviour were regularly brought to the notice of our school correspondent, but he and his sidekicks were let off with a warning. Thanks to his father’s influence and deep pockets; after all, his dad was the major contributor for the upcoming school building.

His personality matched his behavior. He was grossly fat, had a bulbous nose, and sharp but mean eyes; always on the lookout to put down others and torment them. His pudgy hands were restless and sweaty. He had a detestable habit of poking his fat finger into each nostril and keep ferreting out the dry snot, turn it into tiny balls and flip it into his classmates’ unsuspecting but open mouth, and my God! His laughter was so shrill and jarring that it reminded you of the noise of a chalk piece grinding on the black board.

Quite a despicable character whom I somehow avoided, until our school days were over.

After schooling was over, we all promised to each other that we shall be in touch and continue our friendship. Most had to go their separate ways to pursue their own interests and the teen commitments made, went for a toss. My dad got transferred to Bangalore and I continued my academic career there. After having completed Masters in Financial Management, I went to the US and pursued my career. It was quite tough to make a mark in New York, the financial capital of the world. Somehow, with perseverance and luck, I did manage to make a name for myself as an extremely prudent banker and to prove the quote wrong (was it Mark Twain) in the assumption that bankers generally lend umbrella during fair weather and take it back during rains. My work was extremely tiring; what with the continuous meetings and traveling, that I longed to call it a day and go back to Bangalore. The longing to go back increased as I celebrated more birthdays and a feeling of boredom and frustration crept into me. I was quite disenchanted with the dog eat dog world and I yearned for a quiet life. Having saved a sizeable chunk of money, I resigned and came back to Bangalore and settled down in one of those gated communities. My parents had long gone since and it was quite difficult to pass my time and being a bachelor did not help me the least and I was at my wits’ end.

Not having any passion or a hobby, the days were excruciatingly slow. Every day seemed to be an eternity. It was during these kinds of moments my thoughts generally veered towards my school days. A longing crept into me to meet them and possibly know how their own lives turned out to be. Though my graduation was done elsewhere, I did keep in touch with a couple of boys after I ran into them in the US when I was working but due to the demands of work, I did not keep contact with them. Now after almost 25 years, I somehow managed to get in touch with Ravi who had settled down in Canada. Computers had just opened up new vistas for the world and Email was one of the blooming services through which people made their contacts easily, immediately and freely. Between us, we managed to get the Email IDs of our batch mates and fixed a comfortable date for everyone to come from different parts of the world. The venue of the meet was in one of the old prestigious clubs of Bombay, now Mumbai, as everyone felt that it was centrally located and Bombay was fairly well connected by flights from all parts of the world.

I was quite busy since all the arrangements were being made by me for their stay and our reunion. I was quite apprehensive that flights should come on time and that rain god should not play spoilsport. To keep up the excitement and suspense, it was clearly mentioned in the Email that “a class reunion is being organized for the batch of year ____ at ________ and at date and time _____. You are requested to come in a formal dress and keep the entire evening free. Kindly give your consent to the undersigned to arrange your accommodation for 2 days and not to reveal any other details of themselves, their families, and their careers. RSVP”

In a class of 32 students, 30 responded enthusiastically and gave their assent to participate in the reunion and also looked forward to it. The other two expressed their inability to come but expected us to share the photos and other details and wished the reunion a success.

After arranging everything and giving details, on the D day, I was at the venue much before, to ensure smooth running of the event. Drinks and dinner too were to be served, the menu meticulously selected to include a good variety of both veg n non veg dishes.

Exactly on time, every one of them came excepting Cyril. It was absolutely thrilling to see all of them. Some, I could not even recognise. We were hugging each other and talking incessantly, enquiring about family and health and career. Each one of us was showing their family photographs. It was a riot, a babel of voices, mostly talking about various incidents involving each other and our teachers at school. With the drinks copiously being served, it was boisterous and fun. Finally a semblance of sanity prevailed and each one took the mike and narrated their journey, covering important milestones in their life, from school parting to present.  

It appeared that most of them had done quite well in their careers and were generally leading a happy and successful life. Suddenly a hush prevailed, and all our eyes focused on the entry. Cyril was just coming in and each one of us was thinking of how lean and fit he was, and how badly he had tormented us during our school days. In fact, most of us felt he may not be joining us due to his own remembrances of his arrogance and meanness and dirty pranks that he had displayed. Frankly, all of us had a feeling that there wouldn't be any change either in his behavior or attitude. The moment he came in, he just bowed to us. We were frankly bowled over by this gesture that we immediately handed over the mike to him. He looked at each one of us, right into our eyes. It dawned on me that in place of the shifty eyes, his gaze was cool, kind and sort of serene. He did not sound jarring but the voice was sort of soft and unhurried. Right from that moment, he transported us to a different place as he unfolded his journey after school.

“Friends, as you guys know, I was boorish and insolent right from my childhood and adolescent days and all of you bore my arrogance and immature conduct. God knows how many of my classmates and school fraternity had suffered my childish and sadistic pranks that even to recall them is so dreadful for me today. You guys may not believe when I say that lot of times I felt like committing suicide, but what prevented me from doing that, I shall disclose as I go ahead but please accept my apologies and pardon me for the bad things I had inflicted on you guys."

All of us were taken aback by his frankness in acknowledging his bad behavior and seeking an apology from us. How unlike Cyril! Each one of us were mentally agog with so many questions but we had to keep our patience as he continued further.

“My intemperate and nonchalant attitude continued even after we all parted from school. I was not keen on studies and neither was I keen on managing my father's business. God knows how many times my parents tried to convince me to change my worthless behaviour but sadly I was so bent upon going my own destructive way that nothing on earth or heaven could bring about a positive change in me. The countless miseries and insults that my parents went through on account of me were unimaginable. Needless to say it affected their mental and physical health so much that their visits to hospital became a regularity. All these things never affected me in any way. It was as if my conscience was dead and I had become soulless. To avoid my parents’ questions and being under the same roof, I told them I was embarking on a world tour. This, I told them, will expunge the negativity and dark thoughts of mine and will turn me into a new leaf. Alas! My parents believed me in whatever I said. It was like the drowning man who will try to catch anything floating on water to keep him afloat. I suppose all parents are like that in so much they keep believing whatever their children say because of the parental love and refuse to see the startling and naked facts staring at them. My father’s health greatly deteriorated, unable to manage the factory, and hence he made a will leaving all his assets, factory and bank balances to me and made me a signatory as well.

I went on a 3 month trip to different places along with my two friends (birds of the same feather flock together). We constantly haunted most of the dark hot spots of the world and indulged in every sin known to mankind. The combination of youth, arrogance, money and company on one hand and availability on the other, makes it very potent and explosive. We were totally reckless. It was as if the very devil possessed us totally. We would have extended our tour but my father’s health turned for the worse and he died, necessitating us to return home."

All of us were so engrossed, as we listened to him without any interruptions, thinking about his dad and mom and feeling sad about them. Cyril continued.

"My father’s death did not bring about any change in me. On the contrary, while earlier I had to ask him money, which he gave willingly albeit with always a caution and warning, now I was free to do whatever I wanted to do. I took over the helms of my dad's company and for a few years I went to the factory. Soon I got bored there and I thought why not I invest my time and money in the film industry. It was easier for me to get into the film line, as I had some friends out there who frequented the same club and had similar kind of vices. Before long I was so inextricably involved in that line and started putting my money into making movies with unknown stars and directors with doubtful integrity. In a span of about 25 years, I had invested quite substantially into production of movies which never saw the screen. I was desperate that at least one movie where I was the financier and producer should hit the screens but nothing came out of that. Meanwhile, I was still on the destructive path of gambling, races, drinks and drugs. The more money I lost in films, the more dependent I became on drugs and drinks to give me relief. I was touted as the ultimate big box office loser and people sniggered behind my back. The shame and humiliation I felt was tremendous that I avoided making films. I was feeling lost and depressed. I started avoiding the people associated with that industry but new friends piggy rode on me who gave me an artificial sense of honour and with new friends came the usage of more sophisticated drugs. I became more depraved than I was before. Earlier, if I had some sense of humanity in me, now, it was totally gone. I was constantly getting into fights with people who did not agree with me and the few well-wishers that I had were so fed up with my reckless behaviour that they started avoiding me."

"My mother obviously felt very sad and unhappy and not able to put a stop or change my behaviour for the better, and unable to witness me going down the hill, decided to stay with her brother and moved away to Delhi. My father's old loyal employees thankfully took care of the company very efficiently and my absence did not matter to them at all.

Friends, you guys may be wondering that with so much money and indulging in every whim and fancy of mine, I should be happy; nothing like that. In fact, sometimes there was a feeling of emptiness in me that I was aware of but could not define it. It sometimes overwhelmed me so much that I locked myself a whole day and drank myself into a stupor. These kind of emotions very often gripped me especially after a night of wild orgy, and more so when I abused and humiliated and tormented the people who were serving me through the night, stoically braving my demonic onslaughts.

It was in one of those kinds of condescending and demonic moods I went to a party with my friends. The party was arranged in a private guest house about a few hours from the city. This was the kind of wild party where the best of the drinks and sophisticated drugs were easily available. Being in a very nasty mood, I was itching to ventilate the same on anyone who cared to cross my path. Out of nowhere, came this guy with whom I used to go quite often on those days of film making. He was making some fun and generally poking me that I was a failure and as you guys are aware, in these kind of parties, all one needs is a scapegoat and a few of them joined him to rile me further. All of us were quite high and indulging in the latest drug that had hit the market, and, before long, I was so infuriated that I got into an altercation with them and a fist fight ensued. It was quite a drubbing that I and my other two friends received from them. Being outnumbered and having been physically beaten, I somehow managed to escape and left on my own, leaving my friends behind. I was not only having pains all over my body but was feeling thoroughly humiliated. The anger and rage boiling within me made me drive recklessly fast down the mountain side. I suddenly lost control of my Benz and as I hit the railings, it gave way and I felt the car hurtling down with me inside. With the impact, the airbags expanded, but, in spite of that, I felt the steering wheel crushing my lungs. There was an excruciating pain all over me and though I was screaming at the top of my voice, no sound came from me. The car, tumbling down, hit an old tree in the ravine and as it came to a stop I lost consciousness."

All of us forgot our very presence; so engrossed were we, as Cyril recounted his journey.

"When I regained consciousness, I saw myself being carried on the shoulder of a person. He was of medium height but very sinewy. I could feel his supple muscles as he seemed to carry me effortlessly through the forest. We must have gone at least a couple of hours through the thick forest. He did not stumble even once on the mountain slope but rather I felt he was gliding over the stones and the bushes. It was quite dark and I wondered how he was able to see what was in front of him. Suddenly, we stepped into a clearing and I could see the grey early morning sky above me. All of a sudden, there was a rush of people and I felt myself being gently lifted and carried away on a bamboo stretcher into a hut. I was put on a bamboo cot with hay as a bed. Everyone left leaving one young girl of about 25 years who gave me a glass of hot milk mixed with something. I felt drowsy and I again lost my consciousness.

It appeared to me that I was sleeping and waking up and going back to sleep once again. Whenever I was awake, I felt the young girl nursing me and administering me some medicine or the other, generally not leaving me alone for a moment. This treatment went on for some months and slowly I regained enough strength to sit on the cot and also stand for a few seconds without falling. I saw that I was wearing a lungi and a white sleeveless banian. I also started to notice my surroundings. Except for the cot, the hut was bereft of anything which could give me a clue as to where I was. There was not even a photo or a calendar. The hut was neat and very cool though there was no air conditioning. I could not hear any sounds coming from anywhere and assumed I was kept isolated. The food was vegetarian, simple and tasty, and always served on a banana leaf. I tried to talk to my nurse (I have to call her nurse only) but she just smiled at me, without answering. She wet wiped my whole body and changed my dress daily. She even took care of my toilet needs as I was not able to do it myself. With her, I did not feel shy or embarrassed but felt rather like a child to its mother. There was no thought of my friends or the craving for drugs and drinks. It was as if my past had been totally obliterated by slicing away the area of the brain where the memories are stored.

After a few months elapsed, as I cannot say exactly the time period, my weakness and pain had substantially lessened leaving only physical scars on my body. I started moving about slowly outside the hut. It was a totally different world that I could see. The scene was absolutely breathtaking. There were lots of Pine, Mango and Ashoka trees everywhere. At a distance, you could see a coconut grove. The road inside this village was of hard mud and very even. On either side of the roads and by lanes grew wild grass and shrubs. The grass was so green! The village was surrounded by mountains. I felt that this village had escaped the modern amenities of the city. How wrong I was I came to know subsequently! A few miles away from a large reservoir, the water needs of the village was being pumped into a large overhead tank, and, from there, was being transported by non-corrosive pipelines which were embedded underground. I could not see any open drains and later on came to know that the entire waste water was sent through underground pipelines directly from each hut into a sewage treatment plant a few miles away. The treated water and manure was used for gardening. Almost all kinds of vegetables were being grown in a secluded area and I was informed that pesticides are not used at all.  

The entire power requirements of the village were catered to by solar power, backed up by a massive generator which is turned on whenever there is insufficient solar power. The power for the generator was being fed by a hydroelectric dam built on the reservoir. I was amazed to find out that certain modern technologies which do not negatively impact either humans or Nature found a place of usage in this village. It was as if the ancient and modern coexisted peacefully. Farming was being done by tractors but they seem to be using hydrogen as a fuel. In the kitchens too, they seemed to be using a sort of gas converted out of waste vegetables, dried grass and leaves. The convertor, a few miles away, connected the clean gas to each hut through underground pipelines. A lot of care seemed to have been taken to ensure that the environment was not damaged but nurtured. Later on, I was taken to a facility where lot of novel and innovative things were being developed.

The huts were so designed and built that the interiors was always cool during summers and during winters they put an extra layer of a material made out of clay and hay on the external surface of the hut to make the interiors warm. Heavy rains never made an entry from either the roofs or from the streets as the huts were built about 4 inches from the ground level. The denizens wore a sort of sarong made out of cotton. I was also told that the entire village was vegetarian and meat is totally shunned. Cattle and poultry are kept for milk and eggs only.

The community consisted of people of different races and places. It was a sort of utopia where every race coexisted peacefully with the other. The common language was a mix of Sanskrit and Latin, but each can freely talk in their own native tongue at home. They did not practice any religion or pray to a God. They simply followed a sort of culture which was full of basic simple ethics and morals. The education syllabus taught was math, sciences, world history, and languages. Each child was carefully watched over and as per their aptitude, the child was taught the things they were keen on. Besides that, yoga, swimming, horse riding, sports, and martial arts were also taught. As the children grew, they were also exposed to plant and animal life, and given basic skills in mountaineering. Once they crossed their teens, they are shifted from school to the Open University where they are taught advanced sciences and mathematics besides abstract subjects like philosophy. The religions of the world and how they had shaped mankind were also taught. Once the university course is over, they are allowed the option of staying back and using their education/talent and skill for the betterment of the community or go and seek a place in the world outside.

I was quite happy and peaceful, and as months went by I regained my health. I lost all my excess fat and became quite fit with all the physical exercises and a healthy lifestyle. I also started to go rock climbing along with the other boys and girls which exhausted me physically. Slowly, I started to participate in all the sports activities which gave me a sense of contentment and belonging. All those years of loneliness and feeling of purposelessness vanished and I felt I was doing something important.

I was also longing to do something constructive and I volunteered for construction work on the slopes of the mountains. The work was very arduous and risky. The workers had to tie a rope around their waist after they fasten the hook into the face of the mountain and drop down from there to the point where they have to work. Later on, once the day’s work was complete, they had to pull themselves upwards by nailing the hooks at regular intervals. It was very tough and highly life threatening. I opted for this work, in spite of objections from the village elders. Subconsciously, something was eating me away and I ventured into this in spite of the dangers inherent in this work. I knew I was ill equipped in handling this kind of a work but I reckon something propelled me into this. For a long period, I was at it. The work was back breaking and exhausting. Time just stopped for me.

Rains had just started and the whole countryside was beautiful. The work on the mountain slope had to be completed but by fewer people who were more attuned to this kind of work. The steep where the work was to be carried out was treacherous and dangerous. I once again volunteered and in spite of negative votes, I was adamant and was given a job, quite reluctantly. With a feverish pitch, I started working on that. It is said that each man has his own destiny written on his forehead. It was on one of those rainy days that the rope which was tied to me gave way, and before I knew what was happening, I was hurtling down the slope and hit my head against a boulder and I lost my consciousness."

The entire hall was totally silent. One could hear a pin drop. All of us were so transfixed that we did not even notice our glasses empty. Cyril continued.

"Friends, you can imagine the terror that went through me as I tumbled down the mountain steep. In those agonizing seconds, I felt that God was taking me away when I was proving myself to be capable of doing good constructive things and useful to my fellow human beings. That was the last thought in me as my head struck the boulder.

When I woke up, I found myself lying on a hospital bed with tubes attached to me, and a young doctor smiling at me. He said that he was glad that I woke up and could answer some of his questions. I was actually perplexed as to my situation. He was asking me whether I remembered anything about the accident. I was actually telling him that the rope had given way and I hit the boulder. He looked at me quite strangely and left the room. After some time, a team of doctors came in, wheeled me into a sort of equipment which probably scanned my brain for any internal injuries. My mind was not registering anything that was happening with me at the hospital. In fact, I was thinking that I was dreaming about the whole thing and at any moment I would be awake to find myself on the cot in the hut. I was thinking like this but suddenly I saw my two friends entering my room. It was a shock to me to see familiar faces. I was so baffled and mystified about the turn of events that I was sure some of my consternation showed on my face. Seeing this, my friends rushed to my bedside and assured me that everything was all right and I was totally out of danger.

The doctors who were checking me were relieved that I could recognize my friends without any difficulty. Once they left, I asked my friends as to how I landed in the hospital and who brought me in. Their information about me was amazing and confounding. It appears that no sooner had I left the party scene in a huff, a free for all fight ensued. The altercation was so loud that a patrol car that was passing by heard it and came inside the guest house. The frayed tempers were cooled and the cops left the scene. My friends too left for their houses and the next day went to my place to check on me, and since they were informed that I had not returned, they contacted the regular haunts but to no avail. They were worried and registered a complaint at the police station. It turned out that the police checked the entire ghat area and found me 24 hours after the accident, in the car, totally unconscious.

They shifted me to the hospital where all the superficial injuries were treated. Thanks to the air bag, my chest was intact but for a rib fracture which was in the process of healing. My head had hit the steering wheel and with the impact I lost consciousness. The physical injuries healed quite quickly but it was almost a month before I regained my consciousness. All these facts were quite baffling to me since the memory of the time I spent in the village was very distinct and clear in my mind. As my friends and family members came to visit me including my mother, it dawned on me that the entire village episode was just a dream and it was quite possible that due to the drugs I was in hallucination and the whole sequence of events were all just imaginary. Somehow, I could not stomach that thought. Once I was discharged from the hospital, I thanked everyone and took leave, as I was in no mood to talk to anyone.

I was keen on getting away from everyone and everything which made me conscious of anything associated with the things before the accident that I decided to undertake a journey to Manasarovar.

The trek to Mount Kailash is not only daunting, but very challenging and demanding. Once you reach a particular point by flight/car, you have to cover another 45 km distance by foot. Hence, one needs to be totally fit for such an arduous journey. The trip is generally undertaken before the onset of winter but it has plenty of snowfall. The terrain is very tough and hostile and there are frequent landslides. I went on a rigorous exercise which made me fit for that 60 days’ journey.

The view along the journey was breathtakingly beautiful. The entire trip of 45 km had to be undertaken by foot. It was quite exhilarating to be alone and keep my thoughts to myself, without anyone intruding into my privacy. Though I had to go in a group of about 60, all of them strangers, I mostly kept to myself. It was a journey where I discovered myself. In the most extreme and harsh environment, it taught me that the kind of life I had led was not only utterly despicable but also cruel. In the solitude of that place, with a very chilly wind sweeping, and all around white due to snow and no company other than my own thoughts, the loneliness revealed to me the depths of ignominy and darkness I had fallen into. Like a replay, my entire life came back to me. The pranks of my childhood, the utterly distasteful and shameless behaviour with my parents, the callous treatment to so many people who had come into my life, and the indulgence of alcohol and drugs and countless orgies, played in my mind repeatedly that it continuously haunted me during my wakeful hours and tormented me when I slept. For some odd reason, I compared my earlier living to that of the period I spent in the village, though by now I knew it was purely a dream. The thought of the dream rejuvenated me. As we were trekking towards the summit of Manasarovar, a snowstorm hit us and all of us had to rush for safety towards the makeshift tents. In the melee, and the storm blinding us, I somehow got separated from the main group and got lost. It was so cold and with the weather biting me, I kept stumbling here and there. Suddenly, I lost my footing and before I fell down I was gripped by strong hands and lifted up. I could see he was a sanyasi from the way he was dressed with just a simple yellow cloth covering his body. He took me to a small cave and made me slightly comfortable. I was wondering as to how he is able to survive this harsh weather. I started questioning him and our conversation went something like this.

Me: Namaskar, Swamiji, for which he gave his blessings.

Me: Swamiji, thank you for saving and protecting me. I have come along with a group of people but due to the blizzard, I got separated.

Swamiji: Son, don't worry. I will ensure that you are united with them. You seem to be undergoing a tremendous mental tension due to your behaviour in this life but the future is going to be definitely bright and peaceful.

Me: Yes, Swamiji. I have done lot of blunders and I don't seem to have a chance for redeeming myself. My sins are tormenting me. How do I salvage myself? Please kindly give me a solution.

Swamiji: Son, who am I to give you a solution! You yourself have envisioned the solution. Follow that and you will be free from your turmoil.

Me: I don't understand, Swamiji. Can you please clarify?

Swamiji: Have you forgotten so soon, my son, the stay in the ashram? And the hospitality provided by them?

Like a bolt from the blue, I remembered the village of my dream and the various activities of the village. I was flummoxed as to how this sanyasi came to know about my dream? It was quite bizarre and I requested him for some answers.

Swamiji replied, "My dear child, whatever you felt has happened in your dream, really happened. Only you were mentally transported from the place of the accident to the ashram and its surroundings. Our one day in this life is like a year there. Due to the accident and the impact on your head, it seems to have opened a third frontier in your mind which generally is achieved with total meditation and yogic powers. In fact, I myself have conquered pain, sorrow, happiness, hunger, anger and jealousy through my yogic feats and years of meditation in the Himalayas but still not able to leave my body and return to it. Have you not heard of some saints of our past who have mastered the art of leaving their physical body and returning back to their body after some time? Have you not read about Adi Shankaracharya who left his physical body and entered a dead king’s body and lived for some time like the king and came back to his own physical body? You are fortunate that you happened to experience this. There may not be any physical evidence of your being present in that village or the fact of the village itself. As of today, science and technology may not be able to prove it, but the same will be proved as it breaks more frontiers of metaphysical sciences and quantum theory. Today, Science can prove teleportation of atoms after so many years of research, and over a period of time it will prove transmigration and teleportation of human beings too, but with yogic powers the same were achieved ages before."

The sage went on giving more examples. It was quite incredulous to me but with my own experience and the Swamiji’s talk I started to believe that I definitely had an out of body experience.

The Sage continued," Son, as you go back from here and contemplate on your experience, you yourself will find a solution which will salvage your ravaged soul."

He later on took me back to my group and left me there to continue our trek.

We continued our trek and returned back to the place where we had to get back, by road, and then to the airport. All the while, I was aware of two things. One was obviously about my experience in the village and the other was the words of the Swamiji resounding in my ears. I got into the bus which was to carry us forward to the airport. As we sat down, a young child came into our bus handing over bottles of water to each passenger. He would not have been more than 13 years. One of the fellow passengers asked that boy why he didn't go to school. The boy replied that he had never been to school as his family was poor and could not afford even food regularly. And whatever little he earns, along with his parent's wages, goes into sustaining them during the winter days. Suddenly everything became crystal clear to me. This is what I should do and this is what the village experience showed me. I must dedicate myself to serving the people who are not lucky enough to have an education because of poverty. I must ensure that children who cannot afford to go to a school must be given an opportunity to learn. With that in my mind, I came to Delhi and met the government officials. Fortunately for me, my dad's contacts came readily for support and were prepared to remove whatever bureaucratic roadblocks were there to ensure that my idea of establishing free schools in villages become a reality. They also assured me that government funds would also be made available for such a venture.

I went and met my mother to seek her blessings and requested her to stay with me in a small house, as I had put up the bungalow and other properties including my dad's business for sale and with the proceeds started an educational trust on my father's name and made my dad's loyal employees as the trustees.

The amount was quite substantial, and with that, a beginning was made. We adopted five villages where there were no schools and started the facility modeled on the ashram. Slowly and steadily, we equipped the school with qualified teachers who were retired and were willing to work without much monetary compensation. It was an uphill task to convince the parents to send their children to school but with a sincere approach and dedication, we were able to achieve quite positive results. We just completed one year and the results were very encouraging. A lot of corporate companies also came forward to do their bit and volunteered to donate money and render other services to enable us to expand and establish similar schools.

For the first time, my dear friends I am contended and peaceful and happy. I would be very much happy if you guys also join me in taking this forward on a much larger scale where education and working skills are taught to these children to ensure a better quality of life for them."

With this, Cyril gave the microphone back to one of us. We were held absolutely spellbound by his journey and transformation. We all gathered around him not only to offer our congratulations but also offered our support.

Cyril’s transformation was really astonishing to me. I also sold out my house and donated my money to the Trust and moved into a village to be of service. Similarly, most of my classmates who had retired from active service moved into the village along with their spouses to be of service so that during their old age and before their death, they can contribute selflessly to society.

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