The Mysterious 'Mrs A': Chapter 4: Anabelle
The Mysterious 'Mrs A': Chapter 4: Anabelle
Annabelle met Mataji when she was just eighteen years of age. She came to India a very disturbed and broken girl who needed fixing. Annabelle was rich, but money was one of her major problems. She had used money in all the wrong ways and to get all the wrong answers to her problems. She was into drug abuse, bad relationships, bad company; everything you could associate with the word bad.
When so much bad surrounds your life you become a bad person and so did Anabelle. Some people like being bad but most find it troublesome and painful. When bad turns to rotten, the time has come for you to review your life and make amends as quickly as you can. When you realize you need to change your life, your search for change begins. How does one change from rotten to good? The options before Annabelle were few, and they confused her. She needed advice and help and it was not forthcoming. Her parents had long since given up on her and they had all but abandoned her to her fate. But they kept finding her. Her friends were all so wasted themselves, and too far gone to be of any help to her. The church was not an option she considered useful for she had long lost her faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity.
Annabelle was blundering from one pillar to another post when she ran into a group of Swedish travellers who were planning to visit India. She had heard about India as the spiritual capital of the world where gods and godmen are found in plenty. The Beatles had visited India and found peace and solace! Was this the place for her to go? Was this a symbol of the god, whoever it was, for her to see and heed? Was this her fix? She took the chance and landed in Delhi with her fellow travellers.
Anabelle did now know where to begin her search or how? There was no manual, no do-it-yourself videos and nobody that she knew who could guide her. She followed the trail with her fellow travellers going to Jaipur, Agra, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur. She saw the beauty of Taj Mahal, the beautiful palaces and forts in Jaipur, the sand dunes in Jaisalmer and many other beautiful places before she gave up and stayed back in Delhi when her friend travellers moved on to the Himalayas. Why did she not go there to the Himalayas? There were places there which could have provided her with what she was searching for?
The lobby manager at the hotel where Anabelle stayed had been watching the girl come and go. When her friends from Sweden left for Haridwar and she stayed back, it intrigued him. The girl seemed troubled by something and she was searching. What he could not figure out. When she approached him one day with a smile and asked him where she can find Gurus in Delhi, he could understand what she wanted. He told her about Mataji and how powerful she was. He himself was her disciple, and he vouched for her authenticity. He even offered to take Anabelle to meet Mataji.
Anabelle broke down when she met Mataji, and she could not understand why it happened? Mataji smiled and put her hand on Anabelle’s head and suddenly her head exploded.
Even as you are reading this about Anabelle, have you ever wondered why is it we seem to connect instantaneously with some? I could understand Anabelle for I remember well my first meeting with Swamiji. These things happen unexpectedly and when it happens, it catches you off your guard. That is precisely why we call it ‘love at first sight’, the connection blindsight’s you.
My first meeting with Swamiji was remarkable. I did not breakdown like Anabelle because I was never in her frame of mind, nor was I searching for a Guru. It was my wife, Sita, who recommended Swamiji, and she told me he was something different. I went to the ashram, not the one at Mehrauli because Swamiji had already parted ways with Mataji. He had set up his own small ashram at Ghaziabad on the outskirts of the city.
I was expecting to meet a saffron-robed, sweet-talking sannyasi who would smile at me and wish me good luck. He was saffron-robed and sweet-talking, yes, but he did not wish me luck or bless me. Instead, he started talking about journalism and the cult of paparazzi. He spoke of the state of the nation, the economic development and the corruption in the country which according to him was cancerous. He engaged me in a debate on how more and more youth should take responsibilities by taking politics seriously and becoming administrators.
During all the forty-five minutes I was with him he never spoke of god or religion or spiritualism. Neither did he ask me if I had any problem that required him to provide a solution. I walked away feeling pleasure and surprise. Pleasure, because he was a refreshing change from other spiritual gurus I had heard about. Surprise, because he knew so much and could express himself so freely. On top of all this, there was another undefined feeling of connectedness. I knew then that this will not be my last visit to Swamiji.
Anabelle told me how she felt something in her head when Mataji touched her and how she burst out with her own sordid tale to the Guru. Mataji did not console her. Instead, she told Anabelle that her bad karma was because of her earlier lives which had somehow spilt into her present life. Anabelle could not understand these many lives as even the present one was a puzzle for her. Mataji asked her to meditate for thirty minutes without focussing on anything. She should just sit silently and try not to chase her random thoughts. Thoughts, Mataji said, were powerful energy fields and could derail the functioning of the brain. To avoid being derailed, one needs to practice the art of thoughtlessness by learning to ignore thoughts, however important they may appear.
Anabelle found this exercise to be impossible at first, for how does one live without thoughts? She discovered to her utter dismay that thoughts were independent of her and that she had no control over them. She told me that the more she fought with her thoughts the stronger they became. She would chase away one thought from her mind only to find another random thought appearing from somewhere. Some thoughts she told me were weak and would disappear at her will, but some were so strong that they would suck her into their vortex.
She did finally succeed in thought-management (as she calls it) by discovering a very simple truth. Instead of fighting with thoughts or trying to chase them away, one should learn to ignore them, just as you will ignore snide remarks of people who do not matter to you. The moment you ignore thoughts they get provoked and try their best to gain your attention. Finally, they give up and go away.
This was a remarkable process that I was hearing from Anabelle. Swamiji used to tell something similar to me when he was in a contemplative mood. He had surely learnt it from Mataji but had somewhat improvised on it. He said that we have to ‘slay our thoughts’ ruthlessly. He told me that once we aggressively contain our thoughts, they fear you and stop troubling you. This was an active practice as opposed to Mataji’s passive practice.
Anabelle decided that she would come to Mataji again and left for Sweden after a week at the ashram. She kept returning and stayed for longer periods. She knew all about HN because HN came to Mataji after Anabelle had already become her disciple. She had scant respect for HN and refused to address him as Swamiji.
Her relationship with HN had been acrimonious. It surprised her that Mataji chose HN from amongst the thousands who were devoted to her. What Mataji saw in HN was not visible or clear to Anabelle, neither did she bother much about it initially. It was when HN began his own satsangs that Anabelle rushed to Mataji to complain. Mataji listened but would not act. Things started going bad for Mataji as HN’s aspirations touched the sky. Mataji would tell Anabelle that she knew that HN had something in him and both of their destinies were linked, but she did not foresee what HN would do to her.
Mataji, Anabelle told me, was a simple person with great and god-gifted spiritual powers. Ask her and she would deny having such powers or even being aware of what those powers were. She was so humble and unassuming that she never claimed publicly or in private that she could work miracles. This was true because whatever she did to people was not a miracle for her. It was only her disciples who would term everything she did as a miracle and make fancy stories about her powers. Spending time with Mataji helped Anabelle to understand her better than many. Anabelle said that Mataji was a vessel of god filled with strange energies that one cannot comprehend. But Mataji did not gain these energies consciously, they were already inside her. She did not even know until that time in the refugee camp in Delhi when some person discovered it for her. Mataji was happy that her powers could help someone but had no aspiration to become a cult head. That happened on its own, helped by public perception and personal experiences of hundreds of thousands of devotees.
HN, she told me, was different. Mataji saw some power in him, something about which he too was unaware. However, thanks to Mataji, he could discover his own power but unlike Mataji, he did not have humility. Instead, he gave in to his aspirations and lived up to the expectations of people who came to him. When his disciples told him he was god, he believed them and started playing god. When his disciples put him above even Mataji, they duped him into believing that he had powers better than Mataji. To his credit, he never spoke ill of Mataji or lose respect for her. He gently pushed her aside to take a dominant position and Mataji did nothing to stop him, for she knew that forces beyond her, beyond HN, were acting.
Anabelle was by Mataji’s side when she passed. She was not ill nor did she carry any disease. She just kind of faded away to another place. Anabelle would ask her about the ashram and its future and Mataji would tell her not to worry about these things. They would resolve of their own accord.
Anabelle told me she did not have any respect for HN. But neither was she angry at what he had done to Mataji. If these things are destined, there was no point in getting upset or angry about. When HN left the ashram to create one on his own, Mataji blessed him and wished him good luck. Such a noble soul was Mataji. Most of her disciples left her for HN thinking she had lost her powers. She did nothing to stop them. But a few hundred remained and now it is they who are keeping Mataji alive. Anabelle is one of them.