While working from Siliguri for an English daily, I went to a monastery in Darjeeling. I went there on a request to cover a strange phenomenon. It was about reincarnation. Curious as I was into the queerness of the phenomenon, I reached the monastery one fine morning with the majestic Kanchenjunga sparkling in the backdrop of the unfolding mystery. I was to meet a 10-year- old boy hailing from Boston, United States of America. He was just enthroned as a ‘reincarnation’ of the revered 12th-century saint, Gyalwa Lorepa amidst hundreds of devotees, including a number of foreigners from Europe and America, at the Druk Thupten Sangag Choling Monastery in the picturesque Darjeeling.
I met the boy. Earlier I had collected some information about him. I learned from the boy’s family members that he had shown signs of growing restlessness when he was barely five years of age. His sister narrated to me the sequence of events leading to the consummation, something which was as much mentally exciting as spiritually edifying.
What she said was that the boy kept harping that his home was far away from the Western world situated in a cloistered monastery cradled in the serene Himalayas. She said that things had further deepened as, while on a pilgrimage to Bhutan, her uncle had heard an oracle in a monastery asking him to return the boy to the care of Gyalwang Drukpa, his true spiritual mentor. “We were mystified by what was happening to us. At her wits’ end, my mother disposed our property in the United States and came to Darjeeling. We subsequently found that my brother’s real home is the 700-year- old Tharpa Lining Monastery in eastern Bhutan,” she said. I was also befuddled. I was wondering whether it was possible. However, being amidst the mystery unfolding at a mysterious monastery, it seemed that the seemingly tenuous borders between the tangible and the intangible were blurring.
Clinging hard to my rationalistic snobbery, I met the head of the Drukpa Lineage, Gyalwang Drukpa who was present at the monastery on the day. What he told me further deepened my sense of mystery. He said that the infallible guidance by way of oracles heard in a fabled Drukpa monastery in Bhutan was preceded by the spiritual upheavals in the boy’s mind. “Things happening thick and fast, the boy showed resolve to return to his ‘home’ in a Bhutan-based monastery named after Gyalwa Lorepo. We are proud to have enthroned him today as the reincarnation of Gyalwa Lorepo, one of the first two disciples of the first Gyalwang Drukpa, the founder of the Drukpa linage,” He paused and then said placidly while staring deep into my mystified eyes, “This is no miracle, no inexplicable enigma, no mumbo jumbo. Reincarnation is a fact of life as is the doctrine of karma. You see the huge gathering here and most of them are from Europe and America. They were once skeptics. But now they have ceased to rubbish the mysteries of life as sort of hanky panky. They are ready to look at the riddle of life with eyes unclouded by some preconceived dogmas.”
I was, however, far from being convinced. I spoke to a teacher from London Merian Makaoti. He said that it was his maiden encounter with what the Western world was inclined to dub as a weird case of para- psychology. What he said was interesting. “If we admit the post- death existence of soul and its transmigration on an upward scale through successive births and dissolutions, there is nothing queer in the conception of reincarnation. Memory might come back from behind the penumbra of myriad births at a momentous juncture in course of the evolution of a human soul,” he said, eyes beaming in a kind of invincible conviction. I then talked to another visitor from France, Drolne. She said that it was an experience approaching to what the Romantic poet Coleridge termed as ‘willing suspension of disbelief.’ Drolne said that skepticism about the subtler truths of life fuelled restlessness. “Peace lies in faith even if the faith revolts against the so-called omniscience of the materialistic puritans. We have come here to be mystified, to unlearn things we have learnt, be freed from the load of the materialistic denial which keeps us restless though we have everything to enjoy life lived in the senses,” she said thoughtfully.
I returned from the monastery nestled in mysterious Darjeeling, more mystified, more perplexed and, of course, more plastic to the riddle of life. Read more posts…
Friday, 07 December 2018 | Romit Bagchi | in Devbhoomi Spiritual—