Ravi Valluri

Drama Inspirational Others


Ravi Valluri

Drama Inspirational Others

The Year That Went By: Ode To My Mother - Bala Sriram

The Year That Went By: Ode To My Mother - Bala Sriram

7 mins

 “The raindrops from the sky: if it is caught in hands, it is pure enough for drinking. If it falls in a gutter, its value drops so much that it can’t be used even for washing the feet. If it falls on a hot surface, it perishes. If it falls on the lotus leaf, it shines like a pearl and finally, if it falls on an oyster, it becomes a pearl. The drop is same, but its existence & worth depend on with whom it associates.”

Always be associated with people who are good at heart. This is what Swami Vivekananda said. My mother shares her birthday with Swami Vivekananda (12th January).

Association and Satsang have been her strong points. She nurtured strong bonding with all religious faiths and spiritually inclined people. I recall her association with Satya Sai Baba, Ganapathi Sachchidanda Swamiji, Raghavendra Swami Mutt, Swami Chinmayananda, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Mahesh Yogi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Not to forget her association with Mother’s International, Mother Teresa, CBCI and CARITAS.

She wanted to pursue medicine but life did not take that trajectory. “Faith plus action becomes unstoppable,” writes Jonathan Lockwood Hue. So, she upended the pyramid and became a qualified medical social worker and worked diligently at the Rajan Babu TB (RBTB) Hospital, Delhi.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Open your hands and sky is in your hands.” In order to combat and challenge the disease of tuberculosis, she initiated several rehabilitation projects. This included creche for the children of those afflicted with this malady, Stitching Centre, candle and matchmaking units.

She used to tell patients and their children that “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows”. Thus, patients afflicted with TB, but not bedridden participated in the projects. This was what she called “Diversionary Therapy”. The patient’s mind was diverted from the disease and the recovery rate was rapid. In these endeavours, she was extended tremendous support from eminent people like Shri A. Rama Rao of Khadi and Village Industries, Professor Shankar Pathak of Delhi School of Social Work, Shri A.V.K. Chaitanya a Trade Union leader and confidante of Shri George Fernandes, Bibi Amtus Salam, veteran Congress leader, Shri Dhanraj Ojha an RSS leader and Bishop Remegius and Bishop Rego of the Catholic Church (CBCI and CARITAS). The mission was to serve. And religious barriers did not pose any problems. As the objective and goal were so lofty the universal energy ensured that the left, right and centre all collaborated with certitude.

“Mind is not a dustbin to keep anger, hatred and jealousy. But it is the treasure box to keep love, happiness and sweet memories,” said Swami Vivekananda. Thus, RBTB Hospital became the melting pot of all religions to forge hands and assist in the mammoth task of rehabilitation of the afflicted. The hospital became a unique template for the methods adopted by doctors, para-medic staff, social workers, government bodies and NGOs all to contribute to the rehabilitation of the patients.

Climate changes, civilizations collapse, government change, political affiliations alter and even the best possible model collapses. This is inevitable. As Buddha said, “The only permanent thing in life is impermanence.” The lofty objectives were not approved by a new set of hospital administrators and the beacon of hope collapsed.

This was extremely traumatic for my mother and she became a patient of Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia (PAT). This is a type of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Paroxysmal means that the episode of arrhythmia originates and terminates abruptly. Atrial implies the arrhythmia starts with atria or in the upper chambers of the heart. The tachycardia results in a significant increase in the heartbeat per minute. It abnormally increases the pace, like an athlete on a treadmill. PAT significantly increases the heartbeat of an adult from the normal 60 to 100 to 130 to 230 and among infants and children, it shoots up from 100 to 130 to 220 beats per minute.

It is accompanied by severe sweating, dizziness, palpitations, angina and acute breathlessness. Normally a patient suffers from such a condition owing to emotional upheavals, physical exhaustion, deep anxiety, consumption of caffeine or alcohol.

I saw my mother suffering from this condition on several occasions and being admitted to the ICU. It was a distressing and disturbing sight. While it is not a life-threatening affliction, it certainly disorients the psychology and attitudes of the patient. During her suffering, we saw her clutching onto her rosary as a lifesaver, while we prayed fervently for her recovery.

She was administered medication but it worked only to an extent. The real help came in form of a pentagon-shaped talisman. That is through Siddha Healing, Pranic Healing, the 10-day Vipassana Course and the Part1 and Part2 Art of Living courses.

This is the infinitesimal power and scientific power of breath. Breathing techniques, meditation, medication and proper diet changed the trajectory of the life of the patient and brought back the mojo in her life.

“When you take the breath in, let become your meditation that all the suffering of all the beings in the world is riding on that incoming breath and reaching your heart. Absorb all that suffering, pain and misery in your heart, and see a miracle happen,” said Osho.

She has retired now but continues with her sadhana unfailingly. Senior citizens, those in pain and agony and even the able-bodied should undertake the courses mentioned.

Swami Vivekananda took yoga to America and spread the Ramakrishna Mission. He was the Arjuna of Shri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa. This article is a tribute to Swamiji and also to my mother. My mother imbibed the trait of service to mankind by reading extensively about Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda.

The year 2020 

A virulent virus that is assumed to have originated in the dragon land of China assumed monstrous proportions and spread like a pandemic across the swathes of the globe. India and Prayagraj too were not spared by the lethal pestilence.

The robust lady, a woman of substance contracted the disease on the 23rd of December, a day after I was detected positive with the pestilence.

Six days prior to when she would have celebrated her eighty-fourth birthday, and in spite of testing negative for Covid, life was snuffed out and she entered the empyrean. She was on the ventilator, something my mother would have abhorred as the lethal virus had entered her lungs. Strangely at 7:30 a.m. that morning, though enfeebled by the pernicious disease, I was performing Sudarshan Kriya and had a premonition that my mother had entered Vaikuntha. The previous night belts hung in my cupboard kept falling repeatedly for no particular reason. Was it an indication that the soul was precariously swinging between the Zion and earth where mortals dwell? 

A few minutes later my wife knocked on the door and with misty eyes and a choked voice conveyed the news. My sister was soon connected through WhatsApp call and the news was broken. Uma. my sister was devastated hearing about the cataclysmic tragedy… We are yet to recover from the body blow. 

There is a profound silence in her room where some belongings are kept… along with the photograph of H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Hanumanji. I visit the room every day and feel her presence. 

I would attribute the tranquillity in the room to her sadhana. Mother used to get up at twelve in the night and follow a strict regime which included Vipassana meditation, Pranic Healing, Siddha Healing, Mudra Pranayama and then Sudarshan Kriya. This lasted for almost six hours. She was also religious in taking her short walks …. Not the proverbial 10,000 steps but reasonable for her age. So how did she contract the disease and leave for heavenly abode? Destiny, Karmic Cycle? These are perhaps rationalizations by the human mind.

 Death by Khalil Gibran


 This is a poignant tome on life and death as I gather my thoughts in melancholia. Then Almitra spoke, saying, we would ask now of Death.

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

  In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow, your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

  For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

  Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

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