Language therapy could be the latest tool for self-realisation. That is what an American journalist finds out by learning Hindi to discover her inner-self. Katherine Russel Rich, in her Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language, says her decision to learn Hindi was a part of her spiritual quest for self-discovery and healing. It was an attempt to look for a brighter future.
For her, tracking across the length and breadth of India was itself a spiritual journey that was fulfilling. But knowing the language of Bharat could give her a sense of who she was, and how she should look at things around her. The western society she lived in for decades could not give her a true reflection of the meaning of life. One is cut off with the Self (soul) in the so-called developed countries of the West.
Katherine, a former lifestyle journalist in New York, left all the glitter, to get back to the basics of life in Udaipur, where she learnt Hindi and had a deeper look through this language. She was thrilled within months to see the changes Hindi brought in into the process of thinking, behaviour and action.
The realisation that spiritual sustenance could be had in India only resulted in her deeper study of holy cows as well as holy men. As a part of this spiritual journey, she too spent a few weeks in the Ashram in Haryana that had become famous because of Julia Roberts' visit last year.
For Katherine, the journey to India was part of a process to mend her broken life. She had lost her job, her husband left her, and then fell prey to a deadly disease. All this contributed in her decision to have a hard re-look into the purpose and meaning of life, and whether she could yet have a life without her past. She says the language she knew was not in a position to help her know her own self. And hence she "had to borrow someone else's".