There are many ways!..An important message. Take care while flying frequently

Those who read my blogs will know about Surya and Neema. Recently we have been attending a series of Neema's lectures at their apartment on Bhagwad Gita. Last Thursday we were seeking a topic for a lecture they would be giving to the members of National Museum Volunteers, Bangkok and felt that a talk on 'Karma' appeared right for the group! This choice reminded me of a quote on Karma: 'God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve.' (Wikipedia)

While I had no issues with this quote, I turned to Surya and asked: 'I have heard that two angels (I think I said spies!) keep a watch and maintain a register of all our actions. But my question really is about the process of handling this enormous amount of data, collecting and processing billions of inputs by millions of us humans and administering the right reward or punishment. How is this achieved?’ It was difficult to for me to imagine how this could be done during Vedic times, but we can now talk of a super-duper computer doing this work! Anyway, my tone implied: 'I cannot really believe that this is possible'.

Surya said: 'Yes it is a belief and the scribes are Chitra and Gupta' and Neema added: 'I think it is possible, think of the universe which is billions of years old still working to some order, why think of the creation within this earth itself or just our own birth process, I am sure it is possible'. She calls them non-verifiable beliefs. I let it go at this as we were on our way to a friends' place and had reached our destination.

I had no inkling then that what Neema terms as my skepticism, was going to be overhauled within a few days.

Well here is my story. We had arranged our farewell party last Friday, May the 1st. The Party went very well and we came home happy and spoke to our children whom we had sorely missed. Our daughter Nandini had just returned from a short trip to Hyderabad and was getting back to her routines. Actually, we first spoke to Rohini in Vancouver and as we spoke she mentioned that Nandini while talking about her trip complained of pain in her leg. This jogged Rohini's memory; she had read about travel induced blood clots and urged Nandini to go to ER immediately and get herself checked.

Soon after we spoke to Nandini in Bellevue, she said that she had already been to the ER and yes, there was a clot and she had been given medicine and also an injection and now she was fine. We were relieved and went to bed tired after a very hectic but a wonderful evening of partying!

I do not sleep all through the night and as I woke up, my mind went clicking and I soon realized that the clot must dissolve completely for her to be safe and fervently wished it would be so. I also hoped that there would be no break away clots. True to my nature I did not involve God in any manner at that time. Frankly my understanding about her present ailment was very vague.

Next morning Tara called Nandini to check how she was doing and Nandini said she would call back. But she did not call and we were not too worried as we thought she was just busy. We went out for lunch to Gayathri's place and were happy talking about the last evening’s program, how well it went and how everyone had a good time! While we were at the lunch table Mukund received a call and said 'Just a minute' and handed over the phone to me. That created a little flutter in my heart. We had not carried our phone and some one trying to reach us this way was a bit worrying.

It was Raxit and he spoke very calmly and said that he was speaking from the hospital and that Nandini was fine. He then spoke about how Nandini had some discomfort in the evening and that they rushed to the hospital and she was admitted and that on a scan the doctors found a few clots lodged in her lungs; luckily they were not threatening. She was immediately put on IV medication and that doctors were now happy with her progress but were keeping her in the hospital for a few days to ensure no further complications arose, especially due to the unpredictability of her condition.

He explained to me a little more about DVT and said he would keep in touch. It was lucky for us that we were with Gayathri, Mukund and Vasantha and they were able to calm our minds. Vasantha spoke about divine intervention through Rohini and that Nandini went on time to doctors both the times.

It is only when we returned from lunch and I had a look at the web, I realized the seriousness of what had transpired. Tara had gone totally quiet, I am sure she was offering silent prayers while my mind went into overdrive. I saw more websites on Deep Vein Thrombosis and it was very worrying to learn more about this ailment. I was also greatly relieved that in Nandini's case the break away clots did not cause serious complications.

It was around 9 pm when Tara said let us go to the Erawan (Brahma) shrine and offer prayers. I went along with her and sat contemplating while she did her thing of offering prayers. That is the time I realized that I was hoping and praying. I was in fact wishing that there were no more errant clots breaking loose and even if they did I was mentally urging them to travel and reach safer areas of her lungs. I was also praying that the medicines administered would do their job.

This is what Nandini told me when I spoke to her later. She said 'I just have to wait: for the medicines to do their job and my body to do its job'. I am very happy to say that they are doing their jobs and she is sounding much better now. Nandini and Raxit received and are receiving tremondous support from Ram and Shakku (Tara's sister) and many friends they have made in Seattle. We know that God has always been kind to us but more so now!

As we spoke to friends and relatives, I realized how important it was to talk to them. Vasantha saw the divine intervention in all this and offered prayers on our behalf. So did all of those we had spoken to, they all said that they would include us in their prayers. They gave us enormous support and we were able to compose ourselves and become more objective.

Later I spoke to Rikhi about all this and said I still do not know how to pray, I do not remember any mantras to chant and so on. He said you can talk to God if you do not know how to pray, he will listen! I suppose that is the message I want to pass on.

I also want to urge people to take this advice about moving your limbs often and keeping our body hydrated while on a flight very seriously. I remember EVA airlines screen this advice periodically and show us a set of exercises we should do be doing on board. I am sure all airlines do this. Please watch it and do exactly what it says. I know we hardly watch what they say about our safety while we are on a flight!

It is also worthwhile looking at the websites like the one below.


Anonymous said…
Hey Nidhi, what a touching story. I had tears in my eyes, and like Vasantha believe that divine intervention was there. And like you I do not know any prayers; as I was brought up in a Catholic school and knew the Hail Mary, the Our Father etc. But no mantras, nothing like most of my Indian friends did. And when I was told to read the Hanuman Chalisa or the Gayatri Mantra, I read it mechanically. But when Rajeev passed away, I realized that all my life (since the age of 6) I HAD actually been praying my own way, and I always talked to God (or a higher power) internally. In my mind, I was always talking to HIM/HER/IT whatever form I gave it in my mind, and complaining and asking and pleading for this and that etc. And when I was going through the most grief when I lost Rajeev, I started writing letters to God DAILY. I have a total of three journals (which were accumulated in one year of writing)in which I wrote every morning, while I was having breakfast and started off with "Dear God" and just spoke and cried and complained about why I was left alone etc. etc. But I know today that those three journals of letters to God got me through that first year. So Nidhi you were already praying in your mind and as Rikhi told you - you just talk to him, like I did.
Thanks for allowing me to share also. Marisa Narula
Easwaran said…
Dear Nidhi and Tara,
Glad Nandhini is alright.When you spoke about it at Chauhan's place I honestly did not realise the seriousness of the matter.Thanks for educating us.I am myself a restless traveller and I keep moving up and down the aisle and for that reason always take a Aisle seat.
May God continue to be kind to you and all of us.
Best Regards from self and Jyothi
ramola said…
Dear Nidhi Uncle and Tara Aunty,

Just read your blog. It was alarming to know of Nandini's illness. It must have been a real difficult time for all of you.

Your writing was like a warning. Most frequent travellers feel they live a charmed existence and are less likely to heed the warnings until something like this happens to someone you know. That has to be a wake-up call.

It's really quick thinking on Rohini's part to have thought of it.

Take care.

davinder said…
thanx 4 sharing !!!
we r concerned !!!
'll call u to find out more!!!!

wishing a speedy recovery!!!!
god bless all!!!
sriram said…
Good to know that things are okay now with Nandini, and she got timely attention, which is crucial in such cases. I am sure that she will be back to normal soon.

Regarding prayer, one of the questions raised in our Chinmaya Mission class was "If Vedanta (Advaita) teaches us that there is no difference between us and God, why are we asked to pray?". One answer is in the attached pdf which we circulated to the class, might be of interest to you - it is an article by Swami Ishwarananda of CM, Los Angeles, who spent quite a few years with CM, Bangalore.

Prasan said…
hey tara n srini,
yes, that was a very nicely written blog. thnx.
yes again, GOD exists !
hope nandini gets well soon. our best wishes to her for a speedy recovery.
looked up chokkanna during my recent visit to b'lore.
he's waiting for u both to return to b'lore for good by mid june.
more in due course.
love, prasan.
Shobana said…
HI Tara and Nidhi,

Read your blog and was very surprised to find out about Nandini's recent trauma. I am so glad that timely action was taken by her to get the necessary help.
It has been a while since I talked to Shakun, so I did not hear about it. I had lunched with Asha Manhas today, and she mentioned that Shakun's neice had not been well and therefore Ram and Dr Manhas had not been golfing together.
I was planning to call Shakun tomorrow to check on this..and I read your blog tonight.
Well, THANK GOD all is well. I will talk to Nandini too.
Have been following your blogs and the impending move to India and resettling down to a new life there. Wish you both all the best!
Take care,
Gayathri said…
There is so much power in prayer because,after all, what else is prayer but the channelizing of many positive thoughts, of expressions of gratitude, of love and concern for others? I think prayer is one of few aspects of our lives where the means, methods,language, time, place, don't really matter - the only other I can think of is music. Both have the capacity to maximize the goodness in people, in the environment, and in all kinds of interactions. Nandini's experience has really raised so many thoughts and questions and compels one to reevaluate and prioritize. We wish her a smooth recovery. Lots of love to all. Gayathri
Ramadevi Prasad said…
You will probably get Prasad's call before this note, but you have my sympathies over what you have gone through on account of a child being in danger.

We just read your blog and although your pitch was unusual your simplicity is nice and rather touching. How easily it comes to my lips: "Thank God the child is well and both of you are relieved" Did I really mean to thank God or was that habit?!
Roshni said…
Dear Tara and Nidhi,

We are really glad that your daughter has recovered. Please take care when you both fly back as it can happen even on short flights.

Mukku Shrinivas said…
Dear Nidhi Uncle and Taraji,

Please be assured that we are there with you. We will pray for Nandini. There are good medicines for DVT and as she is young she will be fine.

Kind regards

Dolly said…
i do hope nandini is perfectly alright....must be have been a real scare for you both..all will be well...

Viju Prasad said…
We also pray for the speedy recovery of our dear Nandini. We are sure by the grace of god everything will turn out well for her. We did see her on skype the other day and found her very cheerful.
with love,
viju prasad
Surya and Neema said…
Dear Nidhi,

It was very interesting to read your blog. Neema and I are very pleased to know that many people have prayed for Nandini and now she is doing well.

I would like to share with you and Tara a few thoughts that came to me regarding the issue of karma.

The vision of the Upanishads is that all that is here is Isvara (which is all knowledge and power). The Upanishads do not say that there is God on one side and the world on the other side. It does not say that after having created the world, God stands separate from it, looks at our actions, and decides to reward or punish us accordingly. This idea implies that God, being outside the world in a remote place called heaven, watches over our actions and gives us moments of joy and suffering according to our behavior.

The vision of God in the Upanishads is totally different. It says everything is pervaded, sustained, permeated by Isvara, like a clay pot is pervaded by clay. It unfolds that every form resolves into another form (pot to clay, atoms, particles etc…) and ultimately there is only one “all knowledge and power” which arranges these particles and atoms in a given order so that this so called universe with varied names and forms can come about. When it is clear to me that there is only “all knowledge and power” which manifests in every form to make it what it is, from the infinitesimally small bacteria to the unimaginably large stars and galaxies, including myself and the events that occur in my life, it changes my understanding of the world fundamentally. Let us see how at so many levels, the entire universe can be seen as this knowledge and power manifested in many different orders.

As our teacher Swami Dayananda says, “There is a physical universe that follows a physical order which governs the position of stars, galaxies, planets etc. Even a dual phenomenon—the dual behavior of an electron, for instance—is a part of that order. The physical order also covers my physical body, my mind and my senses.

There is also a biological order because of which there are living beings in this planet. Even in another galaxy, life forms would follow a biological order. There is a physiological order because of which there is illness and health. There is genetics which connects our bodies with generations which past before us- from our great grand father to father etc. There is a psychological order as well. Your anxiety, worry and fear—all these follow a certain order. There is an unconscious in everybody, and that follows a psychological order. Our own psychology is dependent upon people we have met and interacted with and the type of mental framework they enjoyed. Every person’s behavior is within that order. A person cannot behave differently, unless he or she wants to change. Then there is also a cognitive order. The fact that we are able to know, or not know, any given thing reveals an epistemological order.

In addition to presence of all the above orders that are known to us, Upanishads reveal that there is an order of dharma, an order of right and wrong. This order is commonly sensed by all of us; we don’t require someone to preach to us that we should not hurt others. Every being is aware of that. I know very well that I do not want to be hurt by others, and that others do not want to be hurt by me. That I want others to speak truth to me is very clear, and that they expect the same thing from me also is clear. That I don’t want to be taken advantage of, taken for a ride, is very, very clear to me. And I know others expect the same. Law of Dharma is the matrix that provides the necessary basis upon which human beings can conduct transactions and interact with the world. The order of dharma is necessary because we are not totally programmed. Being self-conscious, we have the freedom to choose. Our capacity to chose is guided by law of dharma which gives us the understanding of what is right and wrong. That also is part of the order. When you are acting against that order of dharma, there is a corresponding karma. There is papa—a result of your improper action. When you act in accord with dharma, you get punya, which would result in conducive situations. If you understand that there is a law of karma, then you are within order.”

It is true that the dimension of order at the level of karma and dharma seems more difficult to appreciate than the other orders. To comprehend these two new dimensions, what is needed is only to extend our understanding of the physical, biological, etc. orders to karma and dharma. The order of karma and dharma ‘connect’ all our actions, past and present, to those of billions of other human beings and provide us results in form of pleasant and pleasant situations that unfold everyday in our lives. There is here an incredible knowledge and power at work.

In fact every order, be it biological, psychological connects so many variables and events which occurred since the beginning of the universe around 14 billion years ago to give the present state that we are all experiencing. If order in every discipline connects events of millions years to give us the result of today, then when the Upanishads tell us it also includes karma and dharma, it is something that is very plausible, since it does not contradict reasoning and conforms with the way every other order works. I have no way to verify it that is true, because I have no access to details, as you say, of the way the whole thing is ‘computed’. But it is a possibility I can be open to, since it makes a lot of sense.

When this vision seeps into me, and I am more in touch with realities of existence, then my perspective of life can change totally. As Swami Dayananda says, “We don’t say God is infallible; we say the infallible is God. To say that God is infallible is problematic; it is based on a belief in God, a faith in God. One politician in India lost his wife. She was a great devotee of Ganesha. When she died, he said, “I don’t believe in God anymore.” Why? “He took away my wife.” That type of faith is shallow. You should not merely say that God is infallible. You have to see that the infallible is God, because he is in the form of order. No order is fallible. The physical order is not fallible. The biological order or psychological order—any order—is not fallible. That is why it is order. Therefore, we say the infallible is God. This cognitive change, this shift in the scales of your vision, gives you a capacity to relax. You can relax into the order.”

The apparent disorder and turmoil in my life becomes in order. My feelings of helplessness are in order as well. I can relate to the “all knowledge and power” which is manifest in the form of the universe and pray: ‘Isvara, grant me the capacity to understand how the events coming to me, unexpected, unwanted for are within an order that is not separate from you’. This gives me the courage and the serenity to accept situations as they unfold, because I know they are the result of an infallible order. It further enables me to assess the situation more objectively, and then act according to what I can do.

With love and prayers,
rohini said…
Hi Appa,
An important link was the world wide web. When Nandini told me her leg hurt when she got off the flight I remembered hearing about DVT but wasn't sure about it. As soon as the conversation was done I googled "leg pain airplane". An article came up with the doc saying calf pain was a symptom and it should be attended to right away. I called nandini back and told her to go to the ER and have her leg checked out and the rest you know.
Vivek said…
Hi Nidhi Uncle, Tara Auntie,

Scary story, but a happy one, since Nandini is fine (touch wood!!).

We tried calling you yesterday evening (also on Skype), but you were not responding. We'll try again soon.

As a person who has done over 300 hours of flying in the past few months, I am pleased now that I sleep badly on the plane! Since my restlessness makes me walk up and down the aisle more often than if I slept right through the journey!! There is always a silver lining in every cloud!



Popular posts from this blog

Gayathri Mantra has gone global

Serengeti shall not die! So said the movie. Yes, it has changed but still mesmerizes. As I ramble about our Safari.

Nikhila Nandagopal. Our 'rear-window' celebrity! Top FIVE in Femina Miss India 2014 contest