It’s very easy to become a ghost. All you have to do is to refuse to move on to the other world, refuse to be escorted by spirit guides or family members and friends who have passed over before you. No one can force you to leave, not immediately anyway, if you’re determined to remain earth bound. However, establishing the identity of earth bound ghosts is not always so easy, particularly when two people who are seeing an apparition regularly night after night differ on whose ghost is haunting them. Pandit Vishnu, one of the priests at a neighbourhood temple had also officiated as a former bureaucrat’s family priest till he died suddenly through accidental electrocution.

A month or so after they heard about his death, the former bureaucrat and his wife were startled by nightly visits by an apparition. While the former bureaucrat recognised Pandit Vishnu even in a somewhat hazy form his wife remained unconvinced. But, as I wrote in the last column, both agreed they had to do something urgently about the extremely disquieting supernatural nightly visits which robbed them of both sleep and peace.

Clearly, the possibility of the apparition being that of Pandit Vishnu had to be established or eliminated. Had there been anything unfinished between the the former bureaucrat’s family and Pandit Vishnu? Nothing, the former bureaucrat had answered, except that we had promised to a give a certain sum of money when his daughter got married but that stage never arrived. I had got my clue, a clue that led to the unfolding of yet another fascinating glimpse into ghosts and the afterlife. Fortunately, both the former bureaucrat and his wife were extremely cooperative and lost no time in following up on the suggestion of locating Pandit Vishnu’s family.

It transpired that Pandit Vishnu and his wife longed for a child but remained childless for almost six years. Then they were blessed with a daughter and were overjoyed. For Pandit Vishnu, his entire world revolved around Arpita, his daughter. Many of his daydreams were spun around her wedding, which he was determined would be the grandest he could manage and to that end, he began sounding out devotees for possible donations. Once we had that information, contact was made with Pandit Vishnu’s spirit. Yes, indeed, he was visiting the former bureaucrat and his wife and some other devotees nightly in the hope that they would remember their promise of a donation for his daughter’s wedding.

On earth, there are zombie debts. According to Investopedia, owned by IAC and the world’s leading source of financial content on the web, “Zombie debt generally refers to debt that is more than three years old, which has either been forgotten about, already been paid off or belonged to someone else. It can also be the result of identity theft, a computer error, or a fraudulent attempt to collect on a debt that does not exist. The original creditor will most likely have given up on the debt and sold it on to a debt collection agency.”  In the other world, debts are not given up or time barred. They are pursued, usually by the ghost of the person to whom the debt has to be paid. Neither, for that matter, are unfulfilled promises forgotten. Unpaid debts and unfulfilled promises both have consequences, usually unpleasant. In the case of the former bureaucrat and his wife, it was an unfulfilled promise, albeit unintentional, which led to their haunting by an apparition with an acute emotional bonding to a loved one.

James Van Praagh, world-famous medium, co-executive producer of the prime time series Ghost Whisperer, and author of the New York Times bestseller Ghosts Among Us, and a later book, Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us about Life, writes, “Ghosts become stuck when they feel responsible to someone on earth, particularly a baby or child.” In the case of Pandit Vishnu it was his overwhelming love and concern for his only child which prevented him from “transitioning” to the other world.

Some ghosts connect to people with whom they have no emotional family connection or genetic connection at all solely because of unfinished business. In Pandit Vishnu’s case, his real emotional connection was with his daughter. However, the former bureaucrat and his wife unwittingly became a part of that father-daughter emotional connect because of a promise that meant a lot to Pandit Vishnu but remained unfulfilled at the time of his unfortunate death. In no way were the the former bureaucrat and his wife responsible for not living up to their promise during Pandit Vishnu’s lifetime and in being haunted night after night by Pandit Vishnu’s apparition, they became innocent victims of a play of circumstances.

But the moment this became clear to them and they took steps to ensure after contacting Pandit Vishnu’s family that the promised sum of money would be given at the time of his daughter’s wedding, the spooky nightly visitations from Pandit Vishnu ceased. By honouring and redeeming their promise the former bureaucrat and his wife had helped not only to free themselves from being haunted but also freed Pandit Vishnu from a major earthly concern. “Almost anything that a spirit feels compelled to do or witness before it goes to the light can cause it to remain here until it feels comfortable with how it has left things. A medium, or someone sensitive to spirit energy can help the ghost to resolve its issue and transition over”, Praagh explains.

Pandit Vishnu was neither a visiting spirit nor a lost soul. He wanted to move on but remained earthbound because of unfinished earthly concerns which he couldn’t or didn’t want to default from because of his sudden, untimely death. Obviously, if you have unfinished matters weighing on your mind, dying is not a solution to earthly problems or earthly concerns. Neither does dying write “finis” to emotional bonds and this applies to both the dead and the living. Pandit Vishnu’s daughter Arpita is certain that her beloved father may be on his way to the higher realms right now but will return and be there on her wedding day later this year to share her happiness and give his blessings.

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