Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mukta


Author’s Note:

I dedicate this blog to my teacher in the space of Esoterics and the Wiccan Brigade Chairperson, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, who had encouraged me when I had expressed my wish to write about the unhappy life of a certain Meiti (Manipuri) queen, Mukta. This blog is completely based on the Wiccan Brigade psychic expedition to Shillong and my research work; and there is no intention of hurting anyone’s interests and sentiments. Through this blog, I am sharing my Shillong experience with those who may read and treat this story of the tragic protagonist with genuine empathy. Comments from only those who are serious about the paranormal or parapsychology are solicited. 

Prologue:

As we were preparing ourselves for the much awaited Shillong psychic expedition, for me, the journey had commenced on Sunday - 31st December 2017. The Wiccan Brigade Chairperson and our teacher, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, had a New Year’s gift for us - a psychic walk amidst the greenery around the Dhakuria Lake, Kolkata. Probably, the last day of the previous year had something different in store for me. Due to some strange vehicle issues, I missed the excursion and to kill time, I had landed up at a school friend's place where I was supposed to go after the walk was over.

Over a cup of tea, cakes and an oversized omelet, we were discussing about paranormal activities. It was then my friend, Ruchira's mother, Mitali Ghosh - who had spent her childhood at Shillong - told me about some strange facts that she had witnessed there when she was a child – how she, her mother and brother had lost their way in a forest, landed up at a heritage property (now turned into a hotel where we were supposed to stay during our Shillong psychic expedition), got to know about a beautiful Manipuri princess who got wedded into a certain royal family followed by her sad demise (she was supposed to have committed suicide), and later how they came back to their bungalow through the forest, unharmed. That day, some supernatural elemental force had shielded them from the tantrics who, during those days, used to practice black magic with dead bodies of women and children within the shroud of the forest.

It was very strange that Mitali auntie was unable to return to her home at Girish Park the previous evening for some irrelevant issues but she could actually go back after I had heard the story of the queen. It was very uncanny that I had missed the excursion and coincidentally had met auntie that day at Ruchira’s place. It was as if some tone setting was getting done before we reached Shillong. While returning home, the 55 years old story heavily played on my mind and somehow, I could not come to terms with the fact that the young queen had committed suicide. Sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 pm on the same day, while getting ready for my painting class, a strange vision flashed across my mind's eye and it gave me a clear idea that it was not a case of suicide but murder - a message that had a link to a lot many things after we reached the heritage property turned into a hotel on the evening of 13th of February 2018, which was also the day of Mahashivratri. The young queen whom auntie had seen in the bridal attire and the one whom I’d seen – were probably two different people with similar Mongolian features or maybe the same person. I am still unsure!

Tuesday - 13th February 2018:

We, eight travelers, led by our teacher Ipsita-di, started towards the Kolkata airport at 5:35 am from her Lake Road residence, post-ritual, which comprised some guidelines, a piece of some rare stone for protection, and a nice soft blanket that was meant for the bonfire organized on the second night at the hotel where we were staying.

We had landed at the Guwahati airport, at around 9:15 am, and after picking up our luggages by 9:30 am, we headed straight to the Greenwood Resort for breakfast. With our hunger satiated, we were again on the road - on our way towards the Sohliya Strawberry farm. The strawberry festival in Shillong happens during this time of the year. Locating the farm was not an easy task as it was set within small plantations of various crops in a forested area of the Rtiang village, between Guwahati - Shillong National Highway. The winding roads finally led us to a place that went downhill into the heart of a dense forest. During our walk, we could not find the Sohliya Strawberry farm but we witnessed and experienced certain things - explained by our teacher - more meaningful in the forest, amidst the sunlight that was streaming through the leaves and the fragrance of the fresh air, which had engulfed us. Finally we found the place, and after a sumptuous meal and some fresh strawberries for dessert, we were taken around by our host and were led to some of the cottages in the premises.

After Abhijit's (one of the fellow travelers) noting down of his contact details, we departed and once again unexpectedly, we were brought down to a stream. The crystal clear water running over quartz, jaspers and hematite rocks felt cold but soothing against the hands. Some of the members took off their shoes to wade inside the healing waters. Ipsita-di stood on the centre bed of small smoothened rocks and guided us through an ancient Vedic chant. The photographs captured strange lights - perhaps, the result of refraction of light due to the quartz energies. We departed with bags full of smooth edged quartz and jaspers - brimming with childlike excitement and full of energy.


From Sohliya Strawberry farm, we traveled and arrived at the circular portal like gate of the heritage property-cum-hotel, at Shillong, before 6:00 pm. The heritage property, belonging to a royal family from the north-eastern part of India, is set against a quiet backdrop with a strange silence shrouding it. The gate, covered with a thick layer of greenery, was aligned with a dimly lit long stretch of narrow walk (wide enough for our 12 seat travelers’ vehicle) that ultimately led us to the main section of the hotel. We took the room keys and were guided by the attendants to our respective rooms. Along with the modern amenities, there was a touch of antiquity everywhere - the warm hues of the yellow lights, the tall curtained windows, the traditional furnishings, including the dresser (probably a portal into another dimension) in the adjoining dimly lit bathroom, which gave an eerie feeling each time I looked at it. It was strange indeed that the dresser was not kept in our big spacious room, the reason of which we understood much later!

While my roommate, Saumyapriya went to take a shower, I decided to create an energy vortex on the floor with the roadside and riverbed quartz, hematite and jasper rocks. After that I went and flopped down on the sofa. I suddenly felt that I was not alone in the room. Someone invisible was present and I was seated there facing the entity. Immediately, I started clicking pictures of the room interiors hoping that something could be seen in the mobile camera image. There was a strange purple light over the room heater facing me. I instantly checked but found that nothing in the room was reflecting that light. We are always taught to be skeptical and apply our analytical mind till there is no further room for logical explanation. Later on while cross-checking with Ipsita-di I got to understand that in the Wiccan concept, the presence of spirits is denoted by purple coloured light.

Post-tea we both dressed up for dinner in the hotel premises and joined the rest at 8:00 pm, which was followed by some photo session. While having dinner we all were talking, and could feel the drop in the temperature of the well-lit dining hall. Ipsita-di perceived the apparition of a young lady checking Saumyapriya's earring, which I had lent her for dinner because it nicely matched with her outfit. We all got alert and immediately after dinner, we assembled in Ipsita-di' room for the 'Yogini' chant. After finishing the chant, the teacher asked us to focus on what we perceived. Sibashish, one of the fellow travelers, and I perceived a beautiful nymph like form bedecked in diamonds and in pale green outfit of a dancer. I thought her to be a yogini, and hearing that Ipsita-di closed her eyes and went into a meditative state. The next moment we saw a strange thing happening - someone communicated with us through our teacher who is a powerful psychic medium.


We were totally unprepared for that chance interaction with the soul of a deceased queen, 'Mukta', belonging to a royal family. The spirit communication sessions - over our three and half days’ stay from the evening of 13th to the morning of 16th February 2018 - had unraveled lot of mysteries about our past lifetime spent in the north-eastern part of India in the early 19th c. as well as the current lifetime. It was the time for a solar eclipse, which could be viewed from the Indian peninsula at 2:30 am between 15th and 16th of February. Particularly, this powerful solar eclipse was supposed to reveal the mysterious and unknown before bringing in transformations in human lives over the following six months. Astrologically, the impact of any solar eclipse starts a few months in advance.

Through the spirit communication sessions, I got to understand that I was a painter, probably a female companion of the queen who, to the dissatisfaction of the queen, did some commissioned work for the king. I was also asked if I could do her portrait in this lifetime. I agreed, though absolutely appalled due to the interaction about my past lifetime. I also got to understand that she was very sensitive towards the fact that I had learnt some traditional form of dance in that lifetime. For a moment, it was not clear if she was referring to the previous or current lifetime because in this lifetime too, I am a certified Kathak dancer but since I am completely out of touch with this art form, I don’t like to tell people about it. During the session, the information had to be concealed only to put a tab on her increasing aggression, at the mention of dance.

After the spirit communication session got over, Ipsita-di told me to paint her portrait after my return to Kolkata. We returned to our room and once again I had clicked photographs of the room interiors, but there was no sign of anything unnatural. The mystery of the dresser in the dimly bathroom probably got solved during our interaction with Mukta in our teacher’s room. We understood that she had got mirrors removed from her room when she was alive, and probably had succumbed to a state of depression. That night I had a good sleep knowing well that esoterically Ipsita-di would take good care of Mukta’s soul. I had no doubt about the fact that I had already seen her on 31st December 2017 and the reason for her murder was something else.
14th February, 2018:

Next day, we got dressed, met the rest of the travelers at 8:00 am and were discussing previous night's spirit communication session till Ipsita-di joined us for breakfast at 8:30 am. Our discussion continued at the breakfast table and we realized that we didn’t do the correct thing by concealing about my knowledge of dance. After stepping out of the dining hall Ipsita-di had communicated again with Mukta to psychically share with her the info regarding my knowledge and pacified her. Mukta was hurt about the fact that I had learnt dancing from a male teacher and had denied it. Strangely, in this lifetime too, my initiation into dancing was done by a male teacher, and later followed by by three more female teachers — Srilekha Mukherjee (had acted in dance sequences in some famous Bengali films), actress Shikha Baag (later on married into famous Bengali actor Ranjit Mullick’s family) and Manjushri Roy Choudhuri (the daughter-in-law of ace danseuse Dr Manjulika Roy Choudhury).

Post-breakfast, we had stepped out at 10:00 am for the Sacred Forest. The clouded skies, the sharp curves and the hairpin turns of the roads with pine and other trees; hills rich in minerals and limestone all around, finally brought us to the Mawphlang Sacred Forests. Located about 25 km away from Shillong, the Mawphlang Sacred Forests against the backdrop of the Khasi Hills, has, till date, retained its sanctity since the ancient times. Spread across 78 hectares of land, the groves are protected by the royal family of the Lyngdoh clan who believe that their deity goddess, Labasa protects their village. Before entering the forests, suddenly, one of the travelers noticed an earring on the ground where we were standing and I realized that in a very strange way mine had fallen. It was a sign that the queen Mukta was with us in the spirit form. A green tunnel formed by the branches and leaves led us inside the forests and the guide took us to various ancient and interesting spots. I won’t get into the interesting details but I must say that we were bade farewell with a mild drizzle as a blessing by the deities of the land – as the locals believe!

We had a heavy lunch on way back from the Sacred Forests, at Cafe Cherrapunjee, an 125 years old British 'Dak Bungalow' converted into a restaurant, and located amidst pine trees at Mawkdok, halfway from Shillong to Cherrapunjee. It dates back to the Imperial rule in India and was probably used as a post office and one of many dak bungalows where official horses were changed while traversing from Dhaka to Assam. The cold mysterious landscape looked somber and was engulfed in mist. One of the table mats on the dining table mentioned about an unidentified flying object (UFO) seen hovering over the Cafe. Shillong has sites that have monoliths and megaliths strewn across – a sign of connection with extra-terrestrial beings and other energy dimensions. We had experienced spirit activities during lunch — in form of knocking down and breaking of a glass, strange diffused light in the room (caught through my mobile camera), and a sudden fall of a dinner knife that was found lying in a strangely perfect parallel straight line on the floor between two of the travelers. Ipsita-di pondered upon the incident and said that probably Mukta had a connection with some aggressive knife activity when she was alive.

Even though Mukta had been psychically released in the Sacred Forests by Ipsita-di, she came back with us and refused to leave the old heritage property where she had resided in spirit form for ages. Ipsita-di was saying the previous afternoon that within 24 hours something auspicious (maybe the release of Mukta’s trapped soul was the auspicious thing that she had felt well in advance) will happen. I had noticed an orb (along with another faint one) in the photograph that I had clicked from my bus seat while returning to the hotel that evening. 

We returned to our hotel between 5:00 and 6:00 pm, freshened up and got ready for dinner. It was then followed by the bonfire organized for us, at the backside, behind the window of our hotel room. It was a strange atmosphere beneath the veil of the starry night - at times the blanket seemed to fail to keep me warm despite my layers of warm clothes and the heat of the crackling fire, which was communicating something. We all stood with our teacher, trying to feel the warmth and were guided by her into ancient chants. After she sat down and paused for a while, we all surrounded her, eagerly waiting for her to utter some words of guidance. Then we realized that she was in a trance like state - she was in another dimension and messages poured in via her. Being one of the world’s best in the field of psychic mediumship/ channeling, Ipsita-di acted as a medium for both Mukta and the remaining consciousness of the deceased king (who—as per Mukta—has already reincarnated) simultaneously at that moment. Once again, we got to know about her unhappy life, about our Wiccan Brigade travelers who had been there in the north-eastern part of India and London when she was alive. Some were her siblings; some were her companions and associates. This time, during the spirit communication session, Mukta’s aggression was much under control even though the pain remained and she occasionally spoke with a touch of humour.


After the bonfire got extinguished, we went to our teacher’s room for the Yogini chant. Once again, Mukta communicated with us and lot of unknown facts and strange information came through Ipsita-di to us. We also got to understand that she was stabbed with a knife, which led to her death. Whatever I had sensed on 31st   December 2017, regarding the Meiti (Manipuri) princess’ death, seemed to be correct. It was indeed a lifetime experience for me who had only read about spirit communication through channeling but never witnessed it earlier.

15th February, 2018:


Post-breakfast, we had set out for the Nartiang megaliths and monoliths site, at Jantia Hills by 10:00 am. Some of these vertical and horizontal monoliths — including dolmens (horizontal often roofed passageways) and menhirs (long vertical ones) — were huge in size compared to the rest; and each of them was an energy centre. Time stood still as we explored the site and learnt a lot of things from our teacher. From the Nartiang site, we went to the nearby Durga Temple, which is supposed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peethas (holy sites for the devotees of the ‘Shakti’ cult of Hinduism) mentioned in the Hindu Mythology. After we came back to the hotel, post-dinner (hosted by Ipsita-di), like the previous two nights, we got more information about Mukta’s life and ourselves through the spirit communication session. 


16th February, 2018:

On the last morning of our expedition at Shillong, post-breakfast, we sat down with Ipsita-di on the nicely mowed grass behind our hotel—absorbing the atmosphere and observed her performing Shamanistic rites accompanied by some ancient Native American chants. Before we left for the Guwahati airport/ Kolkata at 11:00 am, some of us went upstairs to the loft like second storey of the hotel, to see the only oil painting (of a deceased queen) that had been hung on the hollow wooden wall. The moment Sibashish tried to settle it, somewhere at a distance a raven cawed — a sign of the spirit presence around us. We came back and later again went there with Ipsita-di. The atmosphere on the loft was cold, and grim and it reminded me of my vision that I had on 31st December 2017 — the face and dead body of a beautiful young Manipuri woman attired in bright red ‘uttoriyo’ and bedecked in jewels, suddenly hanging down from a wooden loft and staring into my face with widely open eyes (as if in a state of shock).


A strange feeling was prevailing within me before we had set out for the psychic expedition that our lives would undergo various transformations after we come back from the Shillong expedition. We left the place with a bit of sadness but deep within we knew that our lives will not be the same again after we land in Kolkata on Friday - 16th February evening, and probably it has already started.

Epilogue:

At a Wiccan Brigade session. PC: AHAVA Communications

Mukta was a Meitei (Manipuri) queen who got wedded into a reputed royal family hailing from the north-eastern part of India. I had done some research before writing the historical background: keeping the political and cultural aspects in mind, the royal families of some of the north-eastern states of India had commenced the practice of getting into matrimonial alliances in the late 18th century and it continued into the 20th century. The Bengali Nobel Laureate, Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore was close to three generations of a certain royal family and probably had written some verses keeping the tragic queen Mukta in mind. Through one of the spirit communication sessions held later, we got to understand that he indeed knew Mukta and the Wiccan Brigade travelers who had gone for the Shillong psychic expedition. Mukta had also communicated on the same lines. During one of the spirit communication sessions held at Shillong, it seemed that Mukta had narrated her own life while reciting the first four lines of Tagore’s song, which acted as a code for me before doing the mediumistic painting:

Shey kebol paliye beraye, drishti eraye, daak diye jaye ingitey,
Shey ki aaj dilo dhora gondhey bhora boshonter ei shongitey||
O ki taar uttoriyo ashok shaakhaye uthlo duli|
Aaj ki polashboney oi shey bulaye ronger tuli|


At a Wiccan Brigade session. PC: AHAVA Communications


The mediumistic painting, which I had been asked to do, was tough indeed; and I had based the portrait upon Ipsita-di’s feedback, my vision that I had on 31st December 2017, the thoughts that came to my mind, and on Mukta’s feedback that came through Ipsita-di’s psychic channeling. The ‘Mukta’ story doesn’t end here – she is still waiting to see justice being done to her by sharing her story with the masses, and my handing over her portrait to some people who were once closely related to her. Her painting will go to the right family (whoever she chooses) that will be blessed with abundance and prosperity (as per Ipsita-di’s insights)! My tarot card readings gave the same message. And I firmly believe that the painting will not remain with me forever.


Monday, November 23, 2015

My unplanned trip to Balurghat


The unplanned Balurghat trip just happened out of the blue between 21st and 22nd November 2015, when my mother wished to visit the place where she had spent 3.5 years of her childhood days. I was trying to go during the time of Diwali but Destiny had something else in store for me. Later my sister also joined us. The journey by Gour Express was terrible –maybe because I always find train journey horrible but overall the trip was adventurous and my mother succeeded in seeing all those places that had etched out memories in her mind, 52 years ago! Accommodation, eating joints and internet connection can pose challenges for an individual if one is not well informed about the place.
 
Tior Kali Temple


We reached Balurghat late and post-lunch we started our sight-seeing with Tior Kali temple, and went on to see the India-Bangladesh border at Hilli, spoke to two Bangladeshi individuals who probably offered “Dawat” to Bangladesh (I could not understand the accented Urdu mixed Bengali language clearly) and the BSF jawan posted there. 
 



While standing on the No-man’s land between India and Bangladesh, I genuinely felt sad and emotional thinking about the consequences of the current and erstwhile political conditions, India’s partition, how the common man has become a victim of the situation. Now one has to take permission to go to the land that was once upon a time, a part of India’s identity.

From Indo-Bangladesh Border we went to see the Choddho Haath Kali temple at Hilli and Bidyeshwari Kali temple at Patiram. Choddho Haath Kali temple sees a 14 human hands long Kali idol worshipped on a new moon night in the winter time. It is attended by the people of India and Bangladesh and this year the puja will be held on 10th of December.


 
Choddo Haath Kali temple

Burama Kali temple


On the second day of our trip, after we visited the Burama Kali temple, we had decided to visit two other places - Bolla Kali temple at Bolla village and the excavated site of Bangarh (not Bhangarh of Rajasthan) that is some 45 kms away from the town. I had read a lot about these two places before we reached Balurghat and my excitement had soared.

Other places where we couldn't go were tomb of Bakhtiyar Khiji on the western side of Bangarh on the bank of Punarbhaga river, Maulana Aata Shah's dwarga, Patiram Thakur Estate, Patiram Dhaam, Sarongbari forest, Tapan Dighi, Dogachi forest, Raghunathpur forest, Barihatta, Kal and Dhal dighi, Mahishbathan, Mahipal lake, Shamibrikhkho and Panch bhaya village, Matasha lake, Jyotirmoyee temple, Baba Agnihotri temple, Khanpur, Kulik Bird Sanctuary at Raiganj, Usha Haran Road.

Before I write further, I must mention that mad people like me and my sister who have interests in seeing these things would perceive things differently. What surprised us immensely was the fact that the people whom we had met before going to these two places, said – “there was nothing to see at Bangarh” nor could they say anything clearly about the Bolla Kali temple.

Bangarh:


Before going to Bangarh, one must visit the Dinajpur District Museum and see the excavated statues and figurines acquired from various sites in and around Balurghat. Most of these comprise Vishnu, Saraswati, Lakshmi Narayan, Vasudev, Surya, Manasha, Ganpati, Shiva (and Nataraj), Kali, Bhairav, Bramha, Chandi, Ardha Narishwar from the eras of the Mauryans, Guptas, Palas and the Senas. 










The finesse with which some of the statues – sculpted out of slate or black granite stones - were done during the era of the Senas differentiates them from that of the Pala dynasty. And we also get an idea about the religious influence of those eras.



When we entered the Museum, we got to see a black coloured Nandi bull, a flat cylindrical wheel like structure next to it and a ganpati statue behind it. I was purchasing the tickets while my sister was touching the bull. Suddenly, she smiled and told me to feel it. It was pulsating and so were the flat cylindrical wheel and the ganpati behind it. Deepta you must see these things! I was surprised and enquired about the centuries they belonged to. The person gave a vague reply and took us around to show us the other contents. 










I must say that alongwith all these there were some old coins, thing like the eight annas stamp papers; or the parchment papers bearing ‘Manashamangal’ epic text that reminded me of my ICSE/ ISCE Bengali papers.
  




One of the black rocks at the Bangarh site and the four octagonal pillars of Vishnu temple still pulsate when one touches them. One interesting thing about the pillars is the carvings on them - pyramidal and rectangular forms.


   


From ancient manuscripts and inscriptions archaeologists have come to know that there was a district named Kotibarsha with its capital at Devkot near Gangarampur town, which was locally known as Bangarh, which is located at a distance of about 45 km from Balurghat. The place has historical significance, as numerous excavations have unearthed several archaeological ruins and icons, especially from the Mauryan period to the Muslim period.




In fact, during the Gupta period, Bangarh was the capital of the district of Koti Barsha in erstwhile ‘Pundra Vardhana Bhukti Pradesh’ or North Bengal. The list of ancient remnants discovered here includes manuscript of King Naipala of 11th c., statue of century, octagonal granite pillars of an old Vishnu temple, walls of buildings, statues and other small objects.




The ruins of Bangarh tell a lot about the importance of this area. Its capital town Devkot is considered to be a historically famous place, from where a large number of inscriptions dating from Ashoka age to the Middle ages, have been discovered.


The four pillars of Vishnu, which the local people call “Chaartey Kola Gaach” is now surrounded by huts near a Catholic church in the heart of a village in Bangarh. 

Till date one can see some slate pieces strewn around, fragments of some sculptures scattered here and there. Some villagers have found pieces and have retained them without knowing the importance. One young man even mentioned that a Lakshmi Vishnu idol had been snatched away from him by some people traveling on the highway on one night. He was offered 50,000/- to a lakh of rupees for handing over the idol but he insisted that he would like to retain it for his worship purposes. He was forced to part with it when they held the pistol at his head.

While returning from Bangarh we missed the dwarga at the excavated site; and the 260 years old Kantaji temple, which has intricate terracotta works on it walls and is located at Bangarh because the driver was unaware of its existence. Built on sandstones blocks during the reign of Maharaja Prannath, the nava-ratna temple had four corner towers decorated with rich ornaments and was dedicated to Radha Krishna. On its third storey there was a central tower that collapsed in the 19th c.




Bolla Kali Temple:

 Frankly speaking, Wiccans like Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, Deepta Roy Chakraverti; or people who study Tantra might be able to tell more accurately about earth's potent energies and the Devi's power felt at these kinds of sites – at Tior Kali & Choddo Haath Kali temples (Hilli), Burama Kali temple (Balurghat bazaar), Trikul Kali (near Balurghat), Bidyeshwari Kali temple (Patiram), Bolla Kali temple (Bolla village), Shuur Kali temple (popularly known as Daakat Kali though it was never worshiped by dacoits), and so on. Except for the Trikul Kali temple I could manage to see all of them and each one of them has an interesting story to tell! For me Bolla Kali turned out to be the star attraction of my entire Balurghat trip. She was like a showstopper of a fashion show – keeping people eagerly waiting till the end of the ramp walk on the T-shaped stage! I actually felt like that when the driver told us to visit her at the end of our sight-seeing else we might not be able to pay a proper visit.

The village Bolla is situated 20 km away from Balurghat town on the Balurghat- Malda Highway. There is a famous Kali temple named after BOLLA Ma Kali. The story behind the temple says that a zamindar was arrested by the British as he could not pay the tax for his zamindari. Goddess Kali came to his rescue and the Zamindar was freed the very next day. As a token of gratitude, he built a temple of Goddess Kali and started worshipping her. This is a story that we get to see in the website but the book written by Dr Hirendra Narayan Sarkar says a completely different story.


Some believe that worship of Bolla Kali in this belt dates back to 10th or 11th c. AD, during the last segment of the Pala dynasty rule at Bangarh. It was during that time when Tantra was taking a concrete shape in North Bengal belt alongwith Buddhism and Jainism. Initially, the Goddess was worshiped in the Tantric format by various sages and it is believed that as a result the potency of the place has thus increased. Even today the first Friday after Raash purnima (full moon cycle that mostly falls in and around every November) witnesses 3.5 lakh devotees visiting the village. 


A three-day fair is organised at the village during this time. People who see their wishes getting fulfilled go there – offer animal sacrifice/ donate various things including ornaments made out of precious metals and stones/ small Kali idols of various sizes during this puja. One would see people working tirelessly with yellow coloured ‘Etel’ mud and straw creating thousands of idols for those three days affair.  

This year from Friday 27th to 30th November 2015 would be the time when the devotees will witness the idol of the Goddess bedecked in jewels that are kept with State Bank of India.

I was impressed by the huge unfinished Kali idol that is equivalent to the length of 7.5 human hands and the ambience within the temple premises, which saw many other devotees sitting around the purohit and praying. Both my sister and I were totally awestruck and stared at her, mesmerized. Instantly, a strange calmness descended upon me and all the unnecessary stress acquired over the past two and a half years - in my professional life - seemed to ebb away. I was overwhelmed and was convinced about the purpose that had actually dragged me to Balurghat.

When I had stepped out I was completely relaxed and while I remembered Deepta Roy Chakraverti’s words, there was a smile on my lips. My school friend Indrani Biswas had also said a similar positive thing before I had started towards Balurghat. My college friend Debjani Chunder sounded super-excited when she had heard about the trip and said - “You can go only when there is a divine call for you” - when she heard about Bolla Kali and other Kali temples in that region. 

If the Goddess so wishes I will go there again to see her in the near future even if it is only for 15 minutes. And may the Goddess bless both of you – Deepta and Indrani for being so understanding and supportive!


- Nilanjana. 23rd November 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

How my past lives have influenced my current lifetime!

I never knew why Christmas carols or Buddhist chanting or esoteric stuffs create a strong impact on me; whereas I don’t feel that affinity towards Hinduisim even though I am a Hindu by religion in this lifetime. Yes, the persona of Krishna or Indian mythology fascinate me a lot, the way the serene expression on Buddha’s face does! Why do some people seem so familiar and you can read them well, or why your rationale try to suppress your intuition when you see people and feel something: all these things have deep-seated connection with your past lives!


You may like to call me mad but every time I happen to get into deep meditation to do past life regression in order to unravel a mystery, I come across something new. Between April and October 2013, I underwent past life regression thrice (didn’t succeed during the fourth attempt) and received answers to my questions related to my life’s purpose. In 17th c I found myself in the western world born as a Frenchman serving Christianity through a foundation and the society, and in 19th c India, I saw myself as a non-Indian businesswoman. In both the lifetimes, I saw three individuals from this lifetime that played significant roles – two of them (who play major roles in my professional life now) were related to my professional lives in 17th and late 19th centuries. The third one who was there in both the lifetimes as a supportive friend (17th c) and spouse (19th c), gives good guidance in this lifetime.
I had a curiosity about my lifetime in 18th c and so one day I was back-calculating about my earlier lifetimes - with the help of a software that works on the natal chart – using my date and time of birth. The results showed that probably I was born twice – once as a magus deeply into esoteric stuffs and also in South-east Asia heavily into art and music and supporting the downtrodden. Another prediction showed that maybe I was also born in the Pre-Christian era as a Roman nobleman, and probably that is why I have a strong liking for Greek and Roman mythologies.

The earlier past life regression experiences didn’t leave me upset even when I saw myself becoming a rich widow at a young age and taking up the reins of business in 1950s. I understood that in each lifetime I would have to be professionally and spiritually active but I do miss that 19th c spouse or 17th c friend. But what happened between 30th January and 1st February 2015 was something totally strange and had a strange healing effect on my psyche.

An associate at office gave a Buddhist mantra to listen to and she and another colleague said that immediately I went into a trance, had a flushed face and was swaying – a similar state of body and mind happens when one does past life regression. I could only sense that my body went numb and was trembling, with tears of both pain and gratitude running down my cheeks when suddenly I had a vision of a huge Buddha statue draped in bright yellow (with a thin red border) in a monastery; and a monk dressed in saffron walking off with his back turned towards me. I am not very sure whether the monk was my own self or someone for whom I deeply cared.

On 30th January and 1st February early mornings I played that mantra again and underwent a deep meditation for a longer duration to have a better understanding. Deep within I felt a sharp pang alongwith the anguish for losing something precious; it was as if I had resentment towards my Fate for taking away someone who was very dear to me and at the same time a sense of gratitude towards that statue of Buddha for supporting me during my trying times. It was a feeling that I never felt before. My tarot card reading yesterday confirmed about the reason of separation (the monk walking off was my twin soul) in the past lifetime but I still don’t have any anger towards him in this lifetime.

I didn’t realize that the unresolved issue from one of my past lives had created such a strong impact on my soul that the pain was wringing out tears from my eyes, which I didn’t try to check at that moment. But now am feeling a lot lighter because I have realised that it was a twin soul connection where we had to learn our respective lessons. I was frequently getting to see some positive omens shielded by Archangel Michael’s aura during psychic meditation sessions, since October 2014 regarding this twin flame issue. The heaviness in the heart is now gone and I felt Archangel Raphael’s aura leading to a calm of mind. Every time you undergo a past life regression session, you will witness some changes coming up in your life that will set you free from the psychic patterns of karmic obligation. It has happened with me earlier and I know that I will see some changes coming up soon!

As Dr Brian Weiss says, twin souls or soulmate relationships do not always materialize - maybe the partners meet briefly or cross each other's path to choose two different roads. If at all they meet for a lifetime then it will be only once in every hundreds or thousand years, but then for the relationship to be successfully working till the end it will involve investment of time and energy because there will be a lot of opposing forces operational whenever they come in close contact.

Signs of a twinflame/ twin soul relationships:

(http://www.twinflamesoulmates.com/twin-flame-signs.html)

There may be an unusual synchronicity or event that surround the initial meeting between first flames. Often you have a feeling or 'knowing' of something that you just can't quite put into words. Twinflames often encounter each other for the first time (whether in person or online) in an unusual way. The twinflame comes into our life in an unexpected way out of the blue and usually there are synchonicities and strange occurances or major shifts in energy the same week of the initial meeting. 

Most twinflame couples are physically at a distance or live in different countries. Often there is something that prevents the twinflames from being physically together in the beginning. This is usually because there is much energetic work to be done on the mental and emotional levels before the physical meeting can occur. If the physical meeting were to occur too soon the energy can often be too intense. 

The relationship is immediate, as though no time had been lost since you were last together. You feel comfortable with them and you feel you can truly be yourself with them. Sometimes conversation seem to last forever and there is not much that twinflames are not willing to talk about. It's as if you could share your entire life with this person and there is a level of openness and understanding between you that brings a comfortable yet intruiguing sense of familiarity. 
Shadows of lovers holding handsYou feel an overwhelming sense of love and attraction. This love is genuine and heartfelt and you feel magnetically drawn to their energy. This is not to be confused with lust or an obsessive love. Twinflame love is unconditional and transcends the ego. If you have found your twinflame it does not mean that the relationship will necessarily be free from issues or personal conflict. There may still be lessons and healing that must take place between the twin souls. Twinflames are still human beings on the physical level. 

You feel a sense of completion that goes beyond words. This feeling is about wholeness on a soul level that is beyond the physical. Each twinflame is still an individual and is not 'the other half of your soul' as if you are a complete soul now that you have found them. You are meeting an energetic mirror of your own soul. You share a vibration and you resonate with them. You even feel an attraction to the sound of their voice and it may even sound familiar to you. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Designing of RP-SG Group calendar, diary and greeting card 2015: my experience


Expressions! What imagery does it conjure up in our mind?

Since our childhood days we are taught that the face is supposed to be the mirror of one’s mind, the facial expression is nothing but its silent language while bringing out some facets of the persona.  Portraiture is one such technique that encourages an artist to delve deep into the recesses of her/ his subject’s character (of the portrait) in order to explore the numerous layers within a subject’s personality. Once an artist adorns her/ his work of art with feelings and emotions, the creation comes to life. And that is what it makes a portrait – be it realistic or abstract - so meaningful! ‘Expressions: the power of portraits’ is a well chosen theme for RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group’s calendar, greeting card and diary for the year 2015.


RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group greeting card 2015

RPG Group and RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group are known for their “elegant” and “classy” calendars. On 22nd October 2014, the eve of Diwali, after our celebrations at office got over, my former boss Sunil Bhandari, Executive Director – Corporate, sat down to discuss the calendar, greeting cards and diary; and showed me the photographs of the paintings, which he and the Chairman had shortlisted (except for the one of Bikash Bhattacharjee that later on I wanted to use for November-December in the calendar), and asked me how would I like to design the layouts. I suggested a basic layout based on whatever I’d visualized at that moment. But it was evident that unless and until I give them some shape it would seem vague for him. He decided to have a chat with my current reporting manager Sanjay Gupta, Head – Corporate Marketing, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, and the CEO of Au Bon Pain, for resource allocation; and also have the high resolution images of the paintings sent to me through Kankan Banerjee by the following week so that I could start my work with an immediate effect.


  
  
 
  
RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group calendar 2015

Unlike the previous years, this time Sunil Bhandari wanted to complete the work before the yearend and set a deadline of exactly 10 days for me for showing him the final layouts. He had been far more flexible for the ad/ designing agencies in the recent past that had stretched things to more than a month and a half, resulting in unnecessary delays in designing and dispatching the products throughout the first month of the new year. There is always a difference between a job being outsourced and the job being done in-house, in terms of the sense of onus and timeframe, setup and manpower involved, quality of the output and the efforts put in. And probably which is why people tend to rely more on the agencies and label them as professionals. My experience in this case is different – even though I was never considered as a “professional” but time and again I was asked to intervene for providing creative solutions like designing/ creating the last page of the calendar or a DVD cover for the outsourced job and so on. I remember pointing it out once to my ex-boss. It used to be a ‘ghar ka murgi daal barabar’ situation! But this time, I was surprised that three reputed ad agencies that are considered as “professionals” became apprehensive and hesitated to do the job after getting the brief from Sunil Bhandari. And a decision needed to be taken between the fourth one and me, the ‘ghar ka murgi’. His assistant Madhuja felt that since I’d done these types of jobs in the past, I could do it while his other team member Saumyapriya felt that it would be a mammoth task for one person, so it should be given to some other agency.

  
From left: RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group diary cover, back cover with spines on the either side, flap attached to one of the spines, page with poem/ quotes and the poet's signature, and other inner pages for writing 
 

Knowing my current relaxed state of mind and speed, I started my work on 29th October with a few conditions including the fact that that to save time and get rid of unnecessary confusion that usually arises due to diverse opinions, the final intelligent and filtered feedback from his current team should come via Sunil Bhandari only. Since I had worked with him for 14 years and being aware of his artistic sensibilities, I could rely on his feedback. In three days’ time, I gave shape to the layouts of the calendar, diary and the greeting card. Once he approved, I started developing the three things in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw. The job got completed in 14 working days and there were two areas where Sunil Bhandari chose to intervene – the images/ layout of the calendar cover, and the typefaces (14 font styles were downloaded by him) used on the calendar and diary covers, the inner page of the greeting card. I have used four amongst those downloaded fonts in three internal pages of the diary.

When I look back to the calendar design that I did for 2011, I clearly see the difference in terms of the output quality (though nobody else will be able to make out the difference), and my speed that has drastically improved in the last 1.5 years after my transfer to the Corporate Marketing department, thanks to my current relaxed state of mind. Unlike the ad agencies that worked in the past on this assignment, I completed the job in 14 working days’ time. I see this as a great achievement for myself! J