My Search for Life After Death


By Raghbir Dhillon

Next day, after breakfast, I sat near my father. "Dad, I feel lonely and need someone to help me."

"Hire a good servant," he said.

"It's impossible to get a servant whom one can trust in America, and I'm not rich."

"Come and join Narain."

"Who's Narain?"

"He used to be a professor, but now he feeds the hungry and treats the sick."

I scratched my chin. "Did he not get his Ph.D. in America?"

"Yes, he taught at Khalsa College. His wife cheated on him and eloped with a student, leaving behind a five-year-old daughter. He didn't marry again, and after his daughter's death, he resigned his job and opened a treatment center and a free kitchen on his family farm," he said. "Follow his example and don't dream of marrying again; it's against our traditions."

I felt a stab in my heart and wished my father could understand the pain I felt. I longed for a companion. I managed to mumble, "All right, Dad, I'll go there tomorrow."

Next morning, I took a taxi to the Bias River. The taxi left the Grand Trunk Road and traveled five miles on a dirt road to reach Narain's place. I noticed the hospital had three wards and a large outpatient treatment center. There was a big kitchen and a huge dining hall adjoining it. The smoke from the kitchen loaded with spices wafted toward me. I walked to the office and was received by a young lady.

"Welcome to the Narain's Center," she smiled and said.

"I want to meet Babajee (respected old man)," I said.

"He's in the kitchen; you can go there."

I ambled to the kitchen and found a tall man, with a flowing white beard, addressing a group of volunteers. When he finished talking, I approached him with folded hands and said, "Babajee, I want to speak to you for a few minutes."

"I'm free now; let's go to my cabin."

He conducted me to a one-room-home which had one small bed, two wooden chairs and a small table. As we adjusted in the chairs, I said, "Babajee, my name is Prem Grewal. I've lost my wife and am searching for a way out of my depression."

"You have my sympathy, but only you can fight your way out of it."

"I need help and advice."

"Pray and keep in mind that no one can escape the Yammas (carrier of the dead)," he said.

"I have one question."

"What's that?"

"Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?"

"There are no such things. We create Hell for ourselves on earth with the hope of entering a mythical Heaven."

"Babajee, where did you do your Ph.D. in America?"


"Babajee, I'm a Boilermaker, too."

"Good, past is dead and gone. Forget it and live in the present."

"I'm trying hard," I said. "Babajee, please give me your frank advice to handle the present."

"Find a companion and live your life," he said. "Let me give you my example. Forty years ago, my wife left me, leaving me with a five-year-old daughter. I was thirty-six and strongly believed in our traditions, so I decided not to marry again and seek Nirvana."

"Were you able to it?"

"No, Buddha only ssecured it by torturing his body."

"How did you do your penance?"

"After finishing classes at the college, I walked to the Golden Temple, prayed there, and returned home exhausted."

"You covered twelve miles daily," I said. "Who took care of your daughter?"

"I sent her to a boarding school in Simla Hills. Anyhow, despite all the hardship, I felt even more miserable and discontented. My daughter grew into a beautiful lady. When she was eighteen, she asked my permission to marry a young man from my village. I refused," he said.


"The young man was a Sudra, and I couldn't break the traditions. Next morning, I discovered my daughter had committed suicide by taking a poison. I told everybody she'd had a heart attack, cremated her in a hurry, and dumped her ashes in the Bias River. I resigned my teaching job and opened my Center here. Daily, I feed more than five hundred hungry people, and my hospital treats one thousand sick."

"Babajee, you did suffer to uphold the traditions. Did you get any consolation from it?"

He sighed and shook his head. "Not a tiny pinch," he said. "Don't fall into a trap like me, but feel free to do what suits you."

"How did you happen to start this hospital?"

"My high school classmate, Satwant, received her M.D. degree, and her family forced her into a marriage with a rich landlord who was a womanizer and drunkard. The fellow died in a car accident, and she became a widow at the age of thirty-two. As dictated by our traditions, she couldn't marry again and endured a miserable life. When I opened this Ashram, she joined me."

"What is your relationship with her?"

"We're one in our souls, minds, and hearts. We are in Heaven right here on earth. We find God in each human being and are serving God's children."

"Do you believe in life after death?"

"I have my doubts; I'm a scientist," he said. "Prem, do good deeds on earth and enjoy Heaven here."

I thanked him, shook hands with him, and returned to my village.