Friday, September 5, 2008

Chapter 43

The month of December passed by quickly and although I was busy with the many tasks associated with the wedding, I traveled to Nemili very often during this period.

Many were the challenges I faced in this month. There were tensions within the family as well as financial problems. However, each minor difficulty was smoothed out by Bala, almost miraculously. One day, I was feeling a bit low as this wedding was draining quite a sizeable chunk of my reserves. I happened to visit Nemili that day and sat in front of Baala trying to gain strength from her.
I hadn’t mentioned anything to Sri Ezhilmani or his family about my problems.

Just as I was leaving, Baby Amma gave me a few rupees and a coin with Bala’s image on one side and the Sri Chakra on the reverse.
“ Keep this money in your safe and don’t spend it”, she said.

The very same evening, help came from a close family member. Bala made sure that from that day onwards, all wedding preparations and expenses associated with it were completely taken care of. It was just like She had said: “ I am performing this wedding. You just have to come and enjoy it”.

While family tensions remained, I remembered Sri Ezhilmani’s advice to me on November 4th and tried to overlook them. In this regard, devotees of Bala gave me lots of encouragement . It was almost as if Bala had magically materialized a whole family to provide me support and friends to give me good and timely advice.

In particular there was one lady devotee who had the uncanny knack of calling me on my cell phone, whenever I was under stress. The act of just talking to her about Bala would immediately make me feel stronger and mentally refreshed.

One evening, just as my husband and I were preparing to go over to my sibling’s house to invite his family personally for the wedding ( as is the normal custom), this friend called me and said “ Please take care. Whatever is inside will surely come out”.

I had no idea what she talking about! However, I decided to stay calm and not react to adverse situations.

Later, that evening, after a particularly unpleasant episode at my mother’s house, where a lot of pent up anger was directed at my husband and myself, I realized the importance of her statement. I called this Bala devotee and asked her why she had said those words to me. She didn’t know. “I only repeated what suddenly occurred to me”, she said.

In the few days left before the wedding, I found myself bereft of the support of the bulk of my immediate family. However, one sibling stood by my side and gave me the courage to carry on. This, too was Bala’s plan!

She had foreseen all these unpleasant events way back in November which explained why her son, Sri Ezhilmani , had given me her command “ Don’t rock the boat. Stay unperturbed and don’t be goaded by family members into any fights”.

It was too late now. Bala was the only family left for me!

There was ashort period of time when these unpleasant events made me feel very depressed. I continued to blame myself, even though I had been a victim of abuse.
My confidence was sapped and I chastised myself for allowing situations to explode out of control.

Babaji and Baby Amma both bolstered my confidence. “Bala loves you and has accepted you as her family. If you are indeed a really bad person as your family makes you out to be, you can be sure we will not stand near you. Or rather, Bala will never allow us to help you. No one who is bad inside can paint so many portraits of deities perfectly. Don’t forget, Bala would never have accepted anything from you if you had been a hypocrite”!

These words of support did go a long way to remove my own fears and self doubt. Shaking off my worries, I focused on Bala and continually sought her support to make me a better person.

Amidst all these family problems that mentally taxed me, it seemed that the wedding preparations were sailing forward, guided by a divine power. Whatever obstacles I encountered were solved quickly.

The Muhurtham for my daughter’s wedding was scheduled for just after 12 p.m. on January 4th. This was a Friday and most practicing Hindus do know that Raahu Kaalam (inauspicious interval) on a Friday is between 10.30 a.m. and 12 p.m.
However, according to Bala, “Raahu Kaalam, Yama Gandam, parpathellaam Veenae; Balavai ninaikum Naal, Nalla Naal”.

(It is unnecessary to be concerned about either Raahu Kaalam or Yama Gandam; inauspicious times; whenever you think of Bala it’s a good time, and a good day).

However, I ran into a lot of problems trying to convince people that the actual time of wedding didn’t really matter as Bala would be present.
The lady who was in charge of printing the wedding invitations looked at me strangely when I said this “ Don’t you care for your daughter’s welfare?”, she said “ When will you start the Kaasi Yaathirai? If you start this at just before Rahu Kalam, there will be huge gap in time before the Thaali is tied after 12 noon. None of your guests will sit around for this long. Please rethink the timings to be printed on the invitation”.

I appealed to Bala silently. She gave me the answer. “Fix a Bala Parayanam for the time-gap” . I contacted Sri Ezhilmani and this was soon arranged. The people attending the wedding could wait whilst listening to the lovely songs sung by the Bala Parayanam members!

My daughter arrived a week before the wedding. However, on the day she arrived, there was a Bala Parayanam at Kancheepuram and I had to attend it. There was a lot of opposition from my family. “ How can you go to attend some group singing , miles away in Kancheepuram today? Don’t you have to be at home to greet your daughter?”.
My daughter did not really mind and understood my decision.

It was as if Baala was testing me at every step, observing my reaction to situations. Every single time, I chose Bala first, and demoted all other matters to secondary importance.

Baby Amma had given a lovely saree for my daughter. The day after her arrival, my daughter wore this saree and we traveled up to Nemili . I wanted her to receive the blessings from this family. I made my daughter pay her respects to the entire family. Just as she did namaskaram for Babaji, he remarked “ I have known her, perhaps in a previous birth. I feel, I know your daughter more closely than I know you!”.

For my part , I felt my daughter was truly blessed as she was lucky to have Bala and her entire family “perform” her wedding.

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