Unlike his talented elder brother who had fallen into bad habits and withered away, Mohit, equally talented had made the most of his potential. At twenty seven he was a highly paid, highly regarded executive in a highly rated multinational company. Reshma, his beautiful wife, also an executive in another reputed company, never tired of graciously acknowleding all the many compliments that came their way as a couple. But she was shocked to return home one evening to find Mohit sitting with a slim, beautiful young girl in his lap. He was so engrossed in caressing and stroking the girl’s long flowing tresses that he didn’t even notice Reshma’s presence. Engulfed by an ‘end of the world’ feeling, Reshma ran out of the house, managed to drive somehow to her sister’s home and sobbed her heart out.

With the beautiful mystery woman’s regular presence in the house confirmed by the maid and more than anything else, by Mohit’s damning silence, Reshma consulted a divorce lawyer.  Mohit and Reshma had been a popular couple on the social circuit and had many friends who were baffled and saddened by this sudden turn of events. Determined to get to the bottom of the big puzzle they began investigating and the startling, almost unbelievable truth soon came out.

Mohit was indeed entranced by the beautiful mystery woman. But she wasn’t a ‘living’ woman. She was a ‘pishachani’ Mohit had met when visiting an astrologer friend who also dabbled in the occult. Both the ‘pishachani ‘ and Mohit were attracted to each other. When it was explained to him that she was not a ‘living’ woman, Mohit was even more fascinated by the concept of a love relationship  with a beautiful spirit woman.  Even though a deal existed between the astrologer and the ‘pishachani’, the wily astrologer was happy to ‘transfer’ the deal to Mohit and the ‘pishachani’ .

In fact, for the astrologer it was a stroke of great good luck because the ‘pishachani’ had become very possessive and interfering and he’d been wondering how to scrap the deal. And in any case, the ‘pishachani’, with her powers of being able to look into the past and the future had already fulfilled her part of the deal and made him rich, famous, a well known TV face, by making uncannily accurate astrological predictions which he’d obviously passed on as his own and earned the formidable reputation of always being ‘spot on’.  

But can the spirits of dead people or other supernatural agencies do ‘work’ for living people? Yes they can and in fact this is an occurrence that is more common than realised even by people who are familiar with the supernatural. But how is it possible? In some cases, the spirits are made captive by their handlers, usually tantrics. In other cases, supernatural agencies and entities, like the ‘pishachani’ in Mohit’s case, ‘work’ for a particular person after a ‘deal’ has been struck, i.e. the ‘pishacha’ or ‘pishachani’ agrees to do certain things for the living person who has opportuned ‘him’ or ‘her’ and the person in turn agrees to those conditions.

In the Vedas ‘pishachas’ are ranked lower than the ‘rakshasas’ (demons). The Mahabharata and the Brahmanas describe the ‘pishachas’ as created along with the ‘asuras’ and the ‘rakshasas’ by Brahma, who formed the gods, human beings, gandharvas, etc., from drops of water. The Puranas describe them as descendants of  Kashyapa and his wife Pishacha.

According to another theory certain souls remain trapped as pishachas (ghosts) in the astral plane known as ‘Preta Loka’ that co-exists with the physical plane of Earth. In the Srimad Bhagavatam Chapter 24 of the 5th Canto Srila Sukadeva Goswami explains “In the sky called antariksha, are the places of enjoyment for the Yakshas, Raakshasas, Pishachas, ghosts and so on. Antariksha extends as far as the wind blows and the clouds float in the sky. Above this there is no more air. Below the abodes of the Yakshas, Raakshasas and Pretas by a distance of 100 yojanas (1287kms) is planet Earth”.

Sometimes, such spirits voluntarily strike a bargain and agree to do things for a living person if  the person provides them with shelter and whatever else the spirit wants.  Such spirits are often visible in a human form, complete with voice and so on but can without warning become either invisible or if angry, appear in spirit or ugly or grotesque forms and very capable of killing living persons. In the case of Mohit’s obssession with the ‘pishachani’ it was some of these traits and the general ‘pishacha’ pattern which was finally used to separate the two.

Based on tips given to me over the years by those familiar with the supernatural and guidance from a baba who frequents the Lado Sarai forest near Mehrauli in Delhi, it was made clear to the ‘pishachani’ that she must let go of Mohit. This enraged her so much that she took on a horribly grotesque form. It was a most dangerous and risky moment as in her rage she could have chosen to kill Mohit. As it happened, Mohit was so shocked at the transformation of an etherial beautiful form into someone ugly and wizened that he fell unconscious. Seeing him in such a state seemed to melt her heart and she relented and agreed to let go of Mohit. Perhaps she also realised that because Mohit had seen her grotesque form, she’d lost him anyway.

Today, there is only a remote chance that the ‘pishachani’ will return to trouble Mohit and Reshma. But people who are aware of what happened to him are still troubled by a question: is it ethical for living beings to make spirits captive or make them do work for them, even if the work is not evil? My own view is that it is highly unethical if spirits are made captive against their will and forced to do work.

However, if a spirit is adamant about not wanting ‘mukti’ (release)  even after many tries and wants to strike a bargain, there is no harm provided three conditions are met. One, that the work the spirit does helps other or fights evil and is never evil in itself. Two, that  the option of ‘mukti’ should always be left open for the spirit. Three, efforts from living beings should never be given up to persuade such spirits to leave their earthly existence and travel to higher realms, even in the case of ‘janaats’, ‘jinns’ and other benign categories of spirits who are on earth or trapped in the spirit world just above earth for centuries.

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