Donning the ochre changes nothing, if you don’t change, says Sadhvi Vrinda Om
What happens when one dons the ochre rob? Do you become transformed magically into a quiet, serene sadhu/sadhvi? Do you undergo a mutation of sorts becoming a super-human who is above the laws of the Earth? Like do you become a person who doesn’t feel the regular human emotions — anger, greed, lust, negativity?
“No!” laughs Sadhvi Vrinda Om, who is an award-winning author and poet, and was called Ismita Tandon before she took sanyas. In fact, far from it, she struggled to deal with emotions that we all deal with, including self-doubt. She writes all about it in her latest book, A Prayer That Never Fails, offering several user-friendly, self-help techniques to improve lives.
“For a long time after I had renounced, these basic human emotions were as alive in me as any other person. They are as inseparable from a human mind, as breath to the living,” shares the 40-year-old, who first worked as an editor with author and monk Om Swami on his books.
In the autobiographical book, she shares her journey, writing about her failed marriage, then dating a married man who abandoned her and the promise of a fulfilling love life. Then, she lost her father. Later, she lost even her mother. The pain had become so unbearable that she decided to take her own life, but survived the attempt.
When she came in contact of Om Swami, she saw life was bigger than her problems. Then, at 36, she decided to become a monk. “I decided to take sanyasa when I finally figured that God wasn’t ready to accept my prayer of taking my life. And I didn’t have the courage to kill myself. So, I figured, if I’m not going to die anytime soon, I might as well cast my selfish desires aside and do something meaningful with it by serving God and His world. Yes, it’s exactly how this played out,” she laughs.
She not only cast her prejudices aside but also helps cast away preconceived notions that one might have about renunciates. She might be in ochre now, radiating calmness, healing people, and carrying an obvious glow that comes with being at peace with life and oneself. But Sadhvi Vrinda is still as lively, as cheerful, as talkative, and as animated as Ismita Tandon.
So, what inspired her to share her personal life and incidents that might be considered somewhat scandalous by many? It is a gift to her “guru on his 40th birthday”, but also to “show the way to those who feel as looney as I once did”. She adds, “I had this deep desire to help people like me who were desperate and drowning, vulnerable and tired. If not for my guru, I’d still be struggling to put the pieces of my life together,” she says adding, that it is an attempt to show people that “if I can find happiness, so can you”.
But can one pull off this feat of battling one’s demons without donning the ochre? Those who don’t want to renounce the world but still want quality life, she says, “I‘d say, work very hard and be very good at what you do, yet, in the rush to be somewhere or be someone, don’t forget to remember God, to say your prayers. The whole world can fail you, it will fail you, but as long as you keep working on purifying yourself, He’ll never fail you.”
She adds, “As my guru (Om Swami) rightly says, ‘One step at a time, take one problem, one emotion and deal with it, then get to the next.’ It’s what I did. I dealt with them one by one. It’s never easy to peel the layers of your mind, and yet, you must begin somewhere. What’s challenging today, will be beautiful and effortless one day.”
And find something or someone that fills you with hope. “My guru is my beacon of hope, he’s divinity in a human form, it’s him I revere and draw my strength from. You too find your source of divinity and strength and peace and contentment will flood your life, too,” she concludes.
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