Stirring words of Swami Vivekananda have ever inspired many young minds to overcome their trauma. The following is a stunning story of how Swami Vivekananda’s few words changed the life and spirit of a young girl.
It was March 2006. I went to a reputed bank in Kolkata to open my account. I was new to the city. It was as usual busy day for bank; I was waiting for my turn to come. Someone called me from behind, ‘Hello Ma’m, hello aunty’. I was surprised who may call me aunty in this city. I looked back and saw a beautiful lady draped in sari; with bank Identity card hanging from her neck. I looked at her smiling face and sparkling eyes and it reminded me of Kiran, my neighborhood girl. ‘Oh my God! You are here’, I said. She came to me and hugged me, instantly my eyes glanced at her legs, she was walking gracefully. She asked about my family, I also enquired about her parents. She said, ‘Come to my room, we will talk’.
She gracefully took me upstairs to a spacious room and asked me as why I was in the bank. I told her about opening my new account. She called a peon and asked him to bring the required forms and then we started talking about Ranchi. I was still living in Ranchi; she had nostalgia about her childhood place. We were neighbours in a heavy engineering factory colony. She asked about every one of our neighbours. I was happy to tell her that almost all of her friends have settled well. We talked for a long time in between my formalities for opening account was done. She rang her father and told him about my visit. Her father, Mr. Sinha, was delighted to know about me and he requested me to visit them with my husband in the evening. I promised him and left for my apartment.
While returning, flashback memory of Kiran filled my mind. I had seen her as a kid, staying in the next block with her family. Her innocent beauty, her smile, her sparkling eyes and above all her behavior enchanted us all. She was a girl whom everyone loved. Slowly she grew up with other children of the colony. She acquired a name—‘talking parrot’—due to her nonstop talking habit. She passed school board with record marks and decided to study medicine, so she opted biology in high school.
She was very studious and intelligent but she did not like my subject chemistry. She used to come to me for help and by helping her in studies I was promoted from ‘aunty to Ma’m’. She always complained, ‘How boring is your subject! How could you manage such a boring subject?’ I used to smile and help her solve her problems and gave her certain hints on how to manage boring inorganic and organic chemistry.
Days passed by. She, along with other children of the colony, were preparing for their competitive examinations.
It was summer time I was taking out my car from the garage for my morning classes. Kiran came running to me, and asked me, ‘Aunty, can you please drop me to the station?’ Her father also came and said that Kiran is appearing in AFMC (Armed Force Medical College) examination which was scheduled to start at 9 O’clock. The centre for the examination was at Namkom, an army cantonment, which is about 20 km from Ranchi town and they were not getting any auto rickshaw for Namkom so they have decided to go by train. Mr.Sinha, Kiran’s father, enquired if I can drop them to Ranchi station so that they can avail a train to get down at next stop Namkom. My husband came forward and happily agreed to drop them at station and me to college. On the way, Kiran talked about her preparation and studies. We dropped them at Ranchi station and wished her the best of luck for examination then went to our desti-nations.
It was about 2 O’ clock in the afternoon, I was back from the college; I did not know what news was waiting for me. What I learnt from my neighbor was so shocking that I could not believe my ears. Kiran and her father took the first train available at Ranchi station towards Namkom. They did not notice that it was an express train which had no stoppage at the small station like Namkom cantonment. When the train did not stop at the station the train was running slow; her father jumped out from train and called her to jump out. Kiran jumped out but by the time train already had crossed the platform, so she fell on the track and one of her legs was under the carriage. Her left leg was totally smashed and she cried at the top of her voice, ‘Papa take me out, else my whole body will be under the carriage.’ Stunned father rushed and took her out from the track. She was in the pool of blood and her left leg was completely damaged below knee.
People came and helped them to reach army hospital. While the treatment was on, she was still unconscious. I could not believe that the cheerful girl I saw in the morning had met such an unbelievable accident. My husband came from his office and he too was shocked to know about her. We went to Kiran’s quarter but no one was there. We did not have courage to go to hospital to see her.
Days passed by. Our whole colony was in grief as everyone loved her so much. After fifteen days or so she was brought to our factory hospital for further treatment. After few days we went to see her in the hospital. When we approached the cabin we could hear loud cry, ‘Please, leave me alone; I can’t, no I can’t.’ Another voice said, ‘You have to; I will not listen to you, you have to.’ We went to the cabin to see what was going on, only to see that doctor and nurses had brought crutches and were asking her to stand up with the help of those crutches. We went near her bed, her face brightened a little but immediately she covered her face with blanket and started weeping. I sat near her bed and held her tightly; tears rolled down my eyes too, but I could not utter a word.
Her physician called me aside and asked me to tell her to start her new way of living with the crutches. Her parents could not motivate her to use those crutches and see if I could help in the matter. I was not in favour of pressing her to come to terms of the tragedy. I replied, ‘Give her some time; let her mind calm down. I cannot press her to use the crutches outright.’ I went to her and sat beside her and simply held her hand without uttering a single word. Her father and my husband talked about the progress of her treatment. After this visit, we went several times to the hospital to see her; she would sometime talk and sometimes keep mum.
After about a month, she came home with crutches. I too visited her in the after-noons, after coming back from the college. She would always be in a depressed mood, speaking little. I felt bad for her—such a jovial girl turned into this state. One day I carried some small booklets of Swami Vivekananda’s sayings and left them on her side table. I did not tell her anything about the books.
After few days I went to see her again. I saw her sleeping. I sat beside her for a while and when I was coming out of the room, suddenly she extended her hand and caught hold of my wrist; I looked at her and said, ‘Oh, you are not sleeping! I thought you are resting.’ Surprisingly she asked me, ‘What are my strengths ma’m? I am only a crippled girl; I am useless in this world, isn’t it?’ At first, I did not know what to say and then I realized that she had read one of the booklets of Swamiji which were lying on her bedside table. I replied, quoting and paraphrasing Swamiji’s words,
You have great strength. You have your intellect which is not snatched away from you; there is no limit to the power of the human mind. All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that. Do not believe that you are weak; Stand up and express the divinity within you. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point; that is the secret. Don’t brood on your weak legs. You have to show the world that you are the bravest girl among us.
With tear-filled eyes, she looked at me. I picked her school text books from the table and placed them on her bedside table and told her with a smile, ‘Start from the most boring subject, the mystery of Chemistry. Can I help you?’ She did not utter anything. I sat beside her for a while and then went to see her mother in the kitchen.
As days passed by, she began to slowly recover from the trauma and shock she had been undergoing. I used to visit her often and try to cheer her with some amusing stories. After a few days, her father decided to take her to some hospital where artificial limbs were available. So the family shifted to Pune for her treatment. This was at a time when mobile phones were not common and one had to depend on the STD call. I spoke to her over STD calls once or twice every month. In one such conversation, she quoted Swamiji’s words, ‘“Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success and, above all, love.” I have learned this; so I am not afraid of my disability. I have to have only patience and perseverance. I have new legs now. May it be it is artificial but I can go round the world with this. I can do anything I like. I have started my life again. Thank you aunty, for helping me to come over the trauma I was facing. The booklets of Swami Vivekananda that you gave me are now my companion. I am recovering not only physically but mentally too.’
Listening to her, my heart skipped a beat as I had some guilt feeling because it was I who had dropped her to the station on the day of her accident. But I was delighted to see the change.
After this conversation, for various reasons, we lost track of each other. I had no idea as to where she was and what she was doing. And now, after so many years again the ‘little talking parrot’ was in front of me: composed, elegant and confident.
In the evening when we met at their house she told me the story of her struggle with her trauma which was not so easy to overcome. While her treatment was going on, she started again with her studies. This time she opted for commerce graduation course. Although it was totally a new subject for her yet she adjusted with it. She learned walking again but it was without the help of others. This gave her much strength. She realized that strength is life, weakness is death. So she started her fearless journey towards life.
Indeed, strength is life. And glory to Swami Vivekananda for his eternal message of strength and compliments to the young Kiran, the light, who bathed in this eternal source of inspiration and hope!
Who knows how many countless Kirans are getting inspired by Swamiji’s message of faith and strength!
When you have got the human body, then rouse the Atman within and say—I have reached the state of fearlessness! Say—I am the Atman in which my lower ego has become merged for ever. Be perfect in this idea; and then as long as the body endures, speak unto others this message of fearlessness: ‘Thou art That’, ‘Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached!’
—Swami Vivekananda, CW, 213
Source : Vedanta Kesari, January, 2015