Volume 1 Archieves
Volume 2 Archieves
Volume 3 Archieves
Volume 4 Archieves
Volume 5 Archieves
Volume 6 Archieves
Volume 7 Archieves
Volume 8 Archieves
Volume 8 Archieves
Vedic Astrology Books
Free Vedic Horoscope
Useful links about Vedic astrology
Contact information

this site.

She Died and Lived Again

Dignified, yet full of fun and laughter even though she was nearing her seventies, Beji, as my grandmother was called, was popular with young and old alike. The day she died — in her sleep — was a particularly sad one for everybody. In those pre-partition days, long before I was born, telephones were rare and other means of communication relatively slow. Therefore, though Beji had died in the wee hours of the morning, it was decided to wait till evening to allow as many relatives and friends as possible to arrive for the funeral. A goodly crowd had collected by evening, and in accordance with the usual rites, Beji was undressed to give her a last bath before putting on new clothes for her final journey.

The bathing ritual began amidst chanting of hymns by our family pundits, and the ceremony was almost complete, when Beji suddenly stirred and came to life. Some relatives who were present stood rooted to the spot but others ran helter skelter, thinking some spirit had taken possession of the body. But it was nothing of the sort. It was Beji herself who had returned, she said, from the world of the dead.

The account she gave mesmerized everyone. Two strange “people” came to fetch her, she related, and informed her that her days on earth had come to an end. She must journey with them to the other world. They took her through a dark tunnel which led to a broad river. There, a beautiful pure white swan was waiting to ferry them across the river. The crossing completed, Beji’s escorts guided her towards a large hall full of “people”. They were not actually people, she said, and were very small in size, but she could find no other word to describe them. Amongst them she recognized friends and relatives who had died a while ago. But she was given no time to communicate with them, as she was marched up to a “person” sitting with a scroll like “register” in front of him.

Beji’s escorts announced her name, and said they had brought her at the appointed hour and date. The “person” consulted the register and then informed the escorts that though the name was correct, they had brought the wrong person with the same name. There was consternation, as it seemed that since Beji’s time on earth was not yet up, she would have to return and the particular namesake whose time was up brought in her stead. The “person” with the register and the two escorts conferred for some time and were concerned that she had seen things which she should not have seen. Finally, they informed her that there was a mistake and she would have to return on earth, and they gave her the time and date of her actual “death” - a good five years or so away.

The escorts took her back the way they had come, but after they had crossed the river on the swan, they buried her left “foot” in the sand on the riverside and the pain was so excruciating, Beji said she passed
out. When she recovered consciousness, she found herself naked, with dumbstruck relatives and the family pundits staring at her. After those who had run away when she stirred came back and heard her story, everyone decided to convert the funeral into a celebration. But they noticed a strange thing. Beji’s left foot, which, according to her, had been buried in the sand, was swollen and remained in that state till the end of her days, which came exactly on the date she had been given.
A month before she was due to die on the date she had been told, she sent for all the people she was fond of, asking them to be with her during her last days on earth. She had the servants cook special things for them, gave away her most treasured things. The night before she was supposed to die, she chose a soft grey silk salwar kameez and matching dupaata to wear.

She hugged and kissed everyone, took her leave and retired for the night. In the morning, they found her dead. But this time, the family was not willing to cremate her in a hurry. They kept her on ice for two days, just in case, and hoping there had been a mistake again. But Beji never came back and was finally cremated on the third day. ¦