My Search for Life After Death
"Grandson, tell your father I stored carrot seeds in the pitcher
fourth from the left, third row from the bottom. Also tell your Grandma
to stop crying. Look, my clothes are wet, and it is making things difficult
for me," my eighty-year-old grandfather said.
Before I could say anything, he jumped on his black stallion and bolted
away. I was surprised at his strange behavior. I was his favorite grandson,
and he always hugged me and patted my back. I thought he might be in
a hurry to get his pension at Amritsar, but his messages and actions
baffled me. I was studying at Khalsa College Amritsar and was coming
home on the Diwali holidays. At six in the morning, the train, draped
in smoke, steam, and dust, dropped me at the railway station. I gave
the ticket to the stationmaster, snaked through the crops on a narrow
path, and reached the village pond, where I'd met my grandfather, who'd
been watering his horse.
When I reached the house, I heard keening sounds. As I stepped into
the living room, I found the furniture had been removed and people were
sitting on the floor. My heart felt a sharp jolt; there was a death
in the family.
My father took me in his arms and said, "Your grandfather passed
"Impossible, I met him at the pond."
"You had an hallucination."
"No, I saw him with my own eyes, and I don't drink," I said.
"Oh, right, he gave me a message about the carrot seeds."
"He forgot to buy that seed, and I'm worried, since the planting
season is slipping away," my father said. "Anyhow, what's
"He did purchase the seeds and gave me the location where he stored
"Good, let me take some others with us and check it," Dad
said and called three persons sitting in the living room.
We rushed to the barn, and I pointed to the pot, amongst forty earthen
storage pots. When we removed the pots above it, we found it full of
seeds. Everyone was baffled.
"Son, you did meet Grandpa's spirit," Dad said. "Let's
go home and take care of the funeral."
We went to the corner of the barn, where Grandpa had collected and
stacked wood for his cremation. Logs were loaded in a bullock-cart,
which transported them to the cremation grounds. We made a pyre and
returned home. Grandpa's corpse was carried on a wooden bier and laid
on the pyre. Dad ignited the grass in logs, and I watched the tongues
of flames consuming the great soldier, good farmer, and doting family
patriarch. Next day we poured milk over the ashes, collected them in
cotton bags, carried those to the sacred river, and scattered them over
the shimmering ripples.
My vacation ended, and I went back to my campus. In two years I graduated
from college and came to America for graduate studies.
At the Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) I met Jeeto, an Indian girl from my community,
and married her. We had one son, Paul, and thirty years of wonderful
married life flew away. When Jeeto passed away, I was fifty years old.
I depended so much on her: my food, health, medicine, and recreation.
I had trouble with my eyesight, and she'd driven me everywhere. She
took a promise from me that, if she died first, I wouldn't plan a funeral
service; instead, I'd cremate her and dump her ashes in the sacred river.
To fulfill her wish of joining her ancestors, I kept her ashes and arranged
my trip to India. Paul and his wife left for their home in Arizona,
and I was alone in the big house.
I closed my eyes, and tears trickled down my cheeks. Then the incident
of meeting my grandfather flashed across my mind and his message, "Tell
your grandma to stop crying. My clothes are wet, and I'm finding it
hard to adjust," buzzed in my ears.
I thought Jeeto must be sitting right near me, and my weeping would
create difficulties for her. So I took a bath, seated cross-legged on
the floor, and prayed. I pledged not to shed any more tears and try
to meet Jeeto's spirit.
I was confined in the house, and once a month I took a taxi to the
grocery stores. Slowly and steadily, I was dying in my heart, and my
body was decaying and withering. Ilonged for a quick painless death,
but the idea of meeting Jeeto's spirit kept me going. In my theosophical
search, I had discovered Anne Woods, the daughter of the famous British
admiral, who changed her name to Anne Besant and did great research
on life after death, establishing a big ashram (center for learning,
healing, and meditation) near Mt. Everest. I decided to visit this ashram
after scattering Jeeto's ashes over the sacred river.