In Delhi, there lives a jeweller whose sister-in-law, just 32 years old, committed suicide when she learnt she had cancer and it was at a terminal stage. The sister-in-law had always been jealous of the jeweller’s wife, and after committing suicide, her malevolent spirit entered the jeweller’s wife and virtually ruined the jeweller’s family. She speaks through the jeweller’s possessed wife several times a day and declares triumphantly, “now you are in my control and I will see that you are never happy ever again”.  When possessed, the voice of the jeweller’s wife changes to that of the sister-in-law and so does her entire demeanour.

The jeweller’s possessed wife has become like a ghost herself. In a normal state her face is almost chalk-white and her figure is so frail it seems she’ll disappear any moment. But with bulging eyes, flared nostrils and heavy breathing, her lips tightly drawn over her bared teeth, she looks terrible and terrifying when in a possessed state. After the possession started, the jeweller’s once flourishing business soon hit rock bottom, their children too have  gone astray, and worse, one member of the family has to stay awake at night on guard, as in the possessed state the jeweller’s wife tries to kill others. The jeweller’s aged father, went into a state of shock and now just sits at home or elsewhere — unresponsive, his eyes staring blankly into space.  For almost 3 years, the jeweller tried through various pandits, tantrics, paranormal experts, gurujis,  etc., to get his sister-in-law’s spirit out of his wife but was unsuccessful.

Everybody, declared that his sister-in-law’s atma aapki patni me saama gayi hai. Usko nikalne ke liye bahut kharcha chahiya. But unfortunately, having spent a fortune already on pujas, etc, the jeweller could no longer afford the bahut kharcha or  heavy expenditure. That’s when he came to me. After several tries, I was able to speak to the sister-in-law’s spirit and she agreed to leave the jeweller’s wife if Narayan Bali was performed for her in Haridwar. We fixed Pitri Amavasya day for the Narayan Bali in Haridwar, though I had doubts whether it would work because jealous spirits like the sister-in-law who have died an unnatural death often go back on their promises. And sure enough, it didn’t work.

 When injustice and unhappiness precede an unnatural death, especially a suicide, a haunting is almost always a certainty. Even after special prayers are performed for shaanti and mukti of the unfortunate soul, it remains difficult for the tormented soul to move on to higher realms, partly because it is so tangled in the sequence of unhappy events that preceded death. Even after giving a shraap when alive, after death the spirit continues to seek revenge because continually avenging the wrongs done to it brings it a sense of peace. The sequence of events due to which the spirit has suffered is so strong that it is difficult to erase it from the cosmos, and it keeps getting replayed.

If things begin to go wrong very shortly after you have moved into a new building, it may be just coincidence, in which case matters will improve in time.

This is why someome familiar with supernatural phenomena can often save an individual or a family from dying at the hands of an evil spirit, but cannot always permamently erase replays of the sequence. It is essential to remember that the actual scene or spot of a happening is all important and whether one is linked or not to what happened in the past does not often matter. In other words, if you enter a haunted house, you are bound to be affected by the spirits there regardless of whether you were related or not to the previous occupants or to the spirits haunting that house.

 If things begin to go wrong very shortly after you have moved into a new building, it may be just coincidence, in which case matters will improve in time. But in case they don’t, it’s always worth checking out it’s history, especially if you have a pet that is restive in its new surroundings. That’s because animals and birds, especially dogs, cats, horses, geese and crows, are very sensitive to supernatural phenomena and can actually not just see spirits, but can also sense disaster or death coming, as they did in the Gujarat earthquake and the tsunami and countless other personal incidents.

 A building just one house away from ours was given a shraap by two sisters who were in legal possession but evicted through trickery by a greedy relative and the building was re-built into three storeys of shops. Whoever occupies that building suffers losses and one shop in particular — believed to be the puja room of the sisters, who are now dead — leads to ruin of the occupant in just about a year and a half.

 In the jeweller’s case, despite his ruined state, he hasn’t given up on trying to get rid of his sister-in-law’s spirit. On the jeweller’s imploring,  this year again an attempt to release her spirit will be made on Pitri Amavasya. The very special, evocative Pitri Paksh  — ancestors/spirits fortnight — or Shradd period  comes once a year and is said to be a bridge between the world of the living and the world of spirits, between us and our loved ones. Different religions and cultures give this period different names and the dates and duration are sometimes different. But it is observed world wide.  The traditional belief is that during this Pitri or Shradd fortnight, which falls between September 17 and September 30 this year for a majority of Indians, our loved ones and other spirits descend to earth and spend a whole fortnight with us.

 Special ceremonies are performed on Pitri Amavasya — the day the visiting spirits are said to leave earth — to bring peace and a meaningful after- life to all  people whose death date falls on a particular date and all those whose tithis or death dates are not precisely known, all those who are bhule, bhatke, i.e., forgotten, restless, including dead plants and animals. Given the significance of  the once a year Pitri Amavasya which will occur on the 30th of this month, it is advisable for all those who want to give shaanti to, or to gain it from spirits to perform special ceremonies on that day.

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