I was born in a big Indian punjabi family as a first child after two years of my parents marriage. Our family was a big joint family. My grandfather Mr Makhanlal Kohli was fourth child and eldest son of the family. My great grandfather Mr Sadh Ram Kohli belonged to Shinkiari which was in Hazara district near Mansera & Abotabad (now in Pakistan) in North West frontier provience region.
Most families here were punjabis and belonged to ‘Khukhrain Biradari’ a special cast of punjabis with almost twelve sub castes in it. Language of people here was punjabi but it was a very soft and high version of Punjabi. Men and women of Shinkiari used to be very beautiful with sharp features.There were no schools here and children used to go to madrasas or in gurudwaras for learning. Where ‘Bhaiji’ a kind of priest of gurudwara used to give them basic knowledge. The language taught here were Urdu and Punjabi.
This was a very beautiful hill station full of natural scenic views with lots of streams which in local language villagers used to call ‘chashma’. Seprate streams were used by men and women for bathing.
Most of the time the village was covered with snow. During those months locked inside their homes women used to weave shawls and large bed spreads known as Bagh. The bright colours of embroidary were very attractive and eye catching. It was used in auspicious functions and was also given to a girl as gift at the time of her wedding.
My great grandfather lost his parents at a very young age of twelve years.Being an orphan now, he then started working for Ghanshyam Das and Saran Das two brothers who were big contractors of that area. Britishers ruling India used to give them contracts of forest clearance. My great grandfather was a very honest and trust worthy employee. He won the trust and hearts of Das brothers. Once these brothers fell into trouble. They cut more trees then ordered by officers. As a punishment they got two years imprisonment. While they were in prison my great grandfather took good care of their business. With his hard work he took the business to new heights.
After their return the Das brothers found a flourished business and were very impressed by my great grandfather’s honesty. Out of love and reward they helped him to start his own business. He started his general merchant shop and soon with his dedication and hard work he managed to get its branches and two other shops of cloth business.
At the age of 28 he felt the need to get married and married an orphan girl of a village near Rawalpindi. She had two siblings a sister Sita devi and a brother Harikishan. My great grandfather took good care of both of them too… Just as per his name he was a very simple, honest and big hearted man. He was very generous and kind too. Anyone who used to visit their village for business had to accept hospitality of my great grand parents. They used to provide free meals to even strangers, who used to come to that village. Haveli (a very big house) of Kohli’s was famous for its hospitality and generosity.
Yes, I remember it was a summer night. Year and month I don’t remember very clearly. I was almost six or seven at that time but not too sure.We all, my parents, my younger sister and me were sleeping at terrace of my maternal grandmother’s home. It was a very big house in a big building, where six families were inhabited. All six families were very close had warm relations with each other. During summers everyone used to sleep on terrace which was very spacious and big. We all were lying on cots. Adults were chatting, youngsters were talking, sharing jokes with a laugh. Everyone was happy and full of life. Those were days when people knew how to socialise in real sense.
After a couple of hours the loud talks reduced to murmurs. My father used to tell me and my sister bed time stories every night. They were actually lessons of history and from mythological Indian books, which he used to tell us without reading, making it very interesting. He was narrating some story that night too and I was listening while watching stars and moon above, something I used to do without fail every night.
Suddenly I lost the track of what he was telling and lost in the stars. Suddenly Stars started growing in size and became very huge. My background became blur and after a few seconds everything vanished from my sight. WOW!!! I was flying in universe but without my body. All alone! I was Colourless! Weightless! Formless! Slowly even stars and moon started disappearing. Now there was no up or down, no front or behind, no here and there,no end or beginning, no space or time, no direction, no colour nothing! Almost nothing and I was part of universe without even feeling that universe or feeling anything. There was a peace surrounding all over, inside and outside, though there was no inside or outside. I was one with it all, without any end or beginning, yet could feel my formless form, my shapeless shape. It is not easy to describe in words what I experienced. There was some mystic music flowing. That was a magical, mystical experience! It was state of NOTHINGNESS!
That is the only word I could describe it in. I don’t remember exactly how long I stayed there to experience it, as it was beyond time and space. Beyond senses and their perception. Beyond the mind and it’s boundaries. Beyond everything yet it was a completeness. I wish I could dwell there forever but I had to come back to share this precious experience many years later through this blog with some chosen ones! With you all and I believe there is a purpose behind it too, a grand one though we are unable to decode it yet but there is a purpose!
When I returned back to this illusionary world I felt a jolt, a current. My father was still narrating the story. I was too numb and speechless to utter a single word. I could feel the force of gravity and weight of my body. I wanted to go back in that Nothingness. The surroundings and every little murmur and other sounds felt like great noise to my ears. My own body weight seemed unbearable now. I was in cage again. I wanted to experience that freedom forever. I wanted to taste that bliss once again! But all I could see now were stars and moon smiling back to me; as if asking me- “How was the ride? Shhhh! Keep this secret to yourself! “
I very strongly believe this experience was a hint or clue or glimpse from The Universe to me. Either I had been there in some previous birth or it was an invitation to come back home, showing some promo and telling me the aim and real destination of soul. Showing me the way to home or was it; itself a home? Still have to discover…
But after that experience I lost my art of meditation, forgetting it completely for many many years…I never shared this experience with anyone till few years back. Many magical and mysterious things kept occurring in my life from time to time and I am ready to share it all now…Still this was the biggest out of body experience till now. Who knows how many more secrets are there to unveil! May be this was just door of that mystical world and that realm that still waiting for us to explore has much much more…
Every life starts with a cry and every cry validates there is still life but every life deserves an end with smiles.
Till you are at peace and ready to accept the new beginnings and wave away endings of some endeavours with smile the journey should go on…
That journey between first cry and last smile is what life is all about!
I cried first time in this life on 2nd of August 1972. Hey! don’t even think I’m too old, since I’m not. Haha…I still live in my twenties or early thirties in my mind and heart. ‘Age is just numbers’- someone told me. I agree with this statement. Our thinking or I should say progressive thinking decides how old we are mentally and it sometimes reflects on physical appearance too.
So I cried like a baby with noise only in my early childhood days after that I grew up in a very calm and quiet person. There was some inner maturity inside even when I was two years old, that I still remember very clearly. I was not like other kids of my age. I was blessed with wisdom, which helped me recognise the difference between right and wrong even at that young age.
Universal mysteries were my great curiosities. I sensed at that innocent age of three that some bigger, magical force is there which is working all the time. Many times at night I felt someone is watching me from that enormous bright star lit sky. Before the birth of my younger sister who was born two years three months later, my true friends were stars, sky and its unsolved mysteries. Which was quite unusual for a child of that age.
I started practicing meditation at age of two without knowing that it was an advanced stage meditation. I still remember I used to sleep with radio on at my bedside listening songs (I had a great inclination towards music since childhood) and after switching it off I used to practice thoughts control process, wondering why my mind can’t be shut just like this radio. Where are control buttons of our mind. Then I used to try to go thought less for a few seconds. This went on till I reached age of 6 or may be 7. This was my secret as a child. More for since as a baby I was unable to explain it to anyone. I was wise inside my mind but explaining it to adults was not an easy task for me.
Then after practice of many years I reached the stage to go deep in it and then one night the magic happened…
Today I feel free of attachments. There is a kind of freedom which I never felt before. This gives me liberty to speak about my life journey, it’s ups and downs, fun and secrets. Using all spices of my life I am ready to serve this crispy yet simple life story. Let’s begin…