Unknown to most of us and unseen by most of us, there are many different kinds of spirits co-existing with us on earth. All these spirits are very powerful. Normally, they don’t interfere in the daily routine of sentient beings. It is only under abnormal circumstances that spirits are constrained to interfere, their actions often creating havoc in people’s lives. There are times however, when it becomes a mission with ghosts to help living beings. For instance, many years ago, there was a very lonely stretch on the by-pass between Dehra Dun and Haridwar where several highway dacoities took place and unwary travellers, mostly car and taxi passengers, were often looted and sometimes killed.
Then, all of a sudden, things changed, not because of police patrolling but because a ghost began to guard that stretch. It was the ghost of one of the passengers who had been killed who decided that just like innocent children who are kidnapped and killed and their innocent parents suffer for no fault of theirs, innocent passengers and their families should not suffer.
When a vehicle would be stopped by the dacoits, the dead passenger’s ghost, wearing a blue checked bushirt and black pants, blood streaming from his slit neck, would appear and attack the dacoits, kill one or two while the others fled. The ghost would then escort the vehicle to a point where the road was not lonely and there were dhabas along the roadsides. Over time, the passenger’s ghost killed most of the dacoits and other dacoits left the area out of fear. When that road became safe, no one saw the passenger’s ghost again. There are many such supernatural incidents, with different themes in many places in India where a ghost or ghosts were or are good Samaritans. What and why is it, people often ask, that makes a spirit evil and conversely, induces a spirit to do good?
Actually, the subject of death, souls and ghosts and the entire supernatural is a very deep and complex one. But in each of these components of the supernatural — death, souls and ghosts — its is the manner of dying that holds the key to the nature of most supernatural occurrences. That’s because it is the manner of death that conditions the responses of the ‘transiting’ soul and what happens to it after death. For example, in some cases, it is a struggle for the soul to leave the body — three doctors who work in different very large hospitals have shared with me explict, revealing details about such cases. There are instances where the soul has left the body so forcefully that it broke the skull of the dying person. After a long and painful illness, the soul force too weakens and the passage of the soul, unless assisted by special prayers and positive, loving vibes, is often a prolonged process. Violent — including suicide and those who have been murdered — and accidental deaths fall into their own category, with the soul being virtually knocked or forced out of the body.
There was the case of Vaku Iyengar, a young 11-year-old boy who loved animals but was stoned to death by other boys because he was trying to save a kitten they were torturing. While Vaku’s heartbroken father was in favour of turning the wooden shack and backyard where Vaku used to bring injured animals into a Vaku Memorial Veterinary Centre, his mother was against it.
It is when this knocking out of the soul from the body is preceded by fear and suffering and is accompanied by a deep sense of injustice that ghosts are compelled to seek revenge. Such ghosts don’t want to leave earth and cannot be easily persuaded or forced to do so. Usually, a ghost chooses to stay on earth with a specific purpose, or has been assigned a purpose. Many documented instances prove, that just like the desire to take revenge is overpowering, bonds of love between people are also overpowering and don’t end with or after death. In fact, in the case of ghosts who don’t want to leave earth and cannot be persuaded or forced to do so because they choose to stay on earth with a specific purpose, or have been assigned a purpose quite apart from revenge and punishment, fulfillment of wishes and a desire to do good also often plays a role.
There was the case of Vaku Iyengar, a young 11-year-old boy who loved animals but was stoned to death by other boys because he was trying to save a kitten they were torturing. While Vaku’s heartbroken father was in favour of turning the wooden shack and backyard where Vaku used to bring injured animals into a Vaku Memorial Veterinary Centre, his mother was against it. “His obsession with animals caused his death”, she mourned, “ and a centre like that will be a constant reminder of the blow Fate has dealt us”. Vaku’s spirit was listening, and he decided that they should both have their wish.
Soon, a regular stream of injured animals seemed to find its way to the Iyengar’s backyard. Somebody it seemed, was leaving them there at night. “Why don’t you keep watch”, suggested Vaku’s mother. But his father just smiled. “Sometimes, it is better not to see” he answered. “You have your wish, because it is not an official animal centre. I have mine, because animals are being treated. And Vaku”, he added softly,” is the one managing it all”.
I have often been asked whether prayers for release and other rituals should be performed for such souls who are performing a very important public duty after dying. Actually, in most instances it has been observed that such souls are determined not to leave earth till their purpose has been achieved. In several cases, even after their main purpose has been achieved, the ghost continues to stay on, helping living people and other sentient entities in different ways, in which case seeking advice from a spirit guide on what to do in such a situation is recommended. Generally, once it has been confirmed their purpose has been achieved, it is always advisable to have special rituals performed for release of their souls so that they too can travel onwards towards higher realms.