Motherhood and Karma

I had not thought much about marriage, but, had chosen to get married right out of college.  I had not considered having children, until one  Sunday in October  of 1977, when I stood with my husband, in front of a children’s clothing store in a swanky part of Hamburg, Germany. The store was closed. Mikael loved for us to wander the chic shopping districts on days when the stores were closed.  He said it was because it was more romantic and there were no crowds, but I knew it was more like cheap entertainment.  I had never looked at baby clothes but on this Sunday stroll, I felt literally drawn to the store front of the Babe-Shop.  There in the display window was a pair of blue and white pajamas. The baby pjs were two-piece, a blue background with white ghosts all over  with the word Boo, printed here and there… They were adorable.  I had to have them, not only that, I had to have the baby boy who would wear them.  And right then and there I decided to have a baby.   There was nothing to think about.  I would come back on Monday, buy the pajamas and we would have the baby.  Mikael was quite stunned, but fine with the decision.  He did ask why this sudden change of heart.  I didn’t know.  All I knew was I couldn’t wait to meet the baby boy who was going to wear those pajamas!  Ten months later Carl was born.

I did not think of a second child until Carl was  five, and even then, it was his idea.  One day, he asked why he did not have a brother.  I said because I had him, I hadn’t thought about it.  He said well, I want my brother now.  Okay I said.  I asked Mikael what he thought.  He wanted a daughter, so he was very pleased.  I warned him that Carl had asked God for a brother.   He laughed.  I got pregnant.  In the last trimester, all three of us felt a child around us.  Carl called him Dragor.  I just felt my heart smile at the little presence that seemed to be around quite often.  Mikael too had felt this sweet presence.  He regularly woke by 4:30 or 5 am to catch up on work before he went to the office.   On several consecutive days  he had felt  someone else  awake walking around the house.  Checking on us, he found us sound asleep.  At another time he felt  a child peaking over his shoulder as he sat sipping coffee in the pre-dawn hours.  He was admitted a little spooked by his experiences.    Our Alexander was born ten days late, several months later.

I share this to say that, although I don’t know when the soul enters a fetus, I know that the soul is with the family before it is born.  Perhaps Carl’s soul had karma with me.  Perhaps Carl had karma with Alexander’s soul.  All I feel is that birth is no  random event or accident.  Our parents and our children share karma with us and have lessons to learn from us and lessons to teach us.   It is often not easy  to tell who is teaching who and what.

Imagine a young man, about 20 years old, with a crippled body, paraplegic, so frail that his entire body is in need of mechanical support. Visualize this young man being lifted from his wheelchair by his mother, who then holds him in her lap and feeds him from a plate of food, they both share.

Each morning for 10 days, while I was staying at an ashram in India, I would sit and observe these two people at breakfast. The mother was about my own age and her son around the age of my sons.  And always, the sweetest smile rested on both of their faces, as if they were keeping the most wonderful secret.  I was so drawn them that I would go particularly early to the Western canteen, in order to eat my breakfast near them. I would sit at their table, but several chairs away so not to disturb them.  No one else ever sat at the table.

I felt I was in the presence of a Divine Child. The young man radiated spiritual beauty and wonder.   His beauty was charming and sweet and more powerfully transforming than physical beauty can ever be. Even with physical deformity, he strongly attracted me.   Of course, part of the attraction was the love and devotion that these two people had for each other. That Pure Love spilled out into the space around them and I was soaked in it.  Sitting with them was spiritually trans formative.  I felt I was bathing in the glow of the sun or a pure, crystal lake. This young man was physically deformed, his arms and legs were shriveled and he spoke in a slur impossible for me to understand from where I sat and yet there was something so beautiful about him that charmed me. Each morning I would sit at their table as close as I could, to glimpse from the corner of my eye, this ritual between mother and son.  We never spoke or even acknowledged each other. Neither the boy nor his mother ever looked in my direction.

On my last morning at the ashram, returning from the meditation mandir, I felt a strong pull over my right shoulder.  I felt a nudge to turn around. When I turned, I saw an amazing double rainbow arching as if right over the mandir. It appeared at one entrance and ended at the other. There were in fact two rainbows, one on top of the other and each rainbow was complete and separate, not really a double rainbow, which would have spun out from a common center of orange. These were separate and distinct. I had never before seen a rainbow display quite like this.  And what moisture was there in that arid atmosphere to create such an affect? It was a mystery.

About halfway between myself and the mandir, I saw the young man in his wheel chair with his mother. They noticed that I was looking at something behind them and so turned to look. We must have been immersed in the rainbow for quite some time, for when I finally looked about me, I noticed  there were hundreds of people standing with their backs to me all absorbed in that miraculous sky.  As I was about to turn and continue on to my room to pack my bag, the young man turned his head toward me. Then his mother turned his wheelchair fully toward me and I became absorbed in the most miraculous smile I have ever seen.  Even to this day, I clearly recall the beauty of this young man smiling at me.   A pure, crystal clear radiance, true spiritual beauty emanated from him.  It became clear that true beauty is a product of ananda (bliss and delight) and ananda was the very essence of this young man.  I learned that True Beauty is warm and comforting, a joyful expression of the Soul.  It has nothing to do with external appearance.

I can only imagine what great karma was being played out in the relationship between that mother and son.   I can only say that that the ‘chance encounter’ with them had been a pivotal event for me.

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