I have two brothers-in-law living in Orissa India, the younger one has been one of the most devoted worshippers of God that one can imagine in the bhakti tradition. He and his wife are also the nicest persons that I know, intelligent as lawyer and budding politician and a computer scientist, respectively. Every time my wife and I have gone back to India since our marriage in 1985, they have always gone out of their way to make us comfortable during our holidays.
For as long as I can remember the brother-in-law spends an hour in the morning doing the Hindu puja rituals and another maybe an hour in the evening. Everything, including going out for important business meetings and socialising stop for him until his daily worshipping is completed. People laugh at him saying what a nonsense of a person he is wasting his time like this. In addition he has always been totally dedicated to animals whom he takes care of by feeding them daily whether they are cats, street dogs, street cows, monkeys visiting the house, it does not matter. He tells off people who ill-treat animals outside the home too, including things like people taunting animals in safari parks. He never discusses his religion but his philosophy of inter-human relationships is par excellence.
So it aggrieved me a lot and it led to my earlier slide into atheism to see that since their marriage in 2005, his wife had four successive miscarriages, including a still-born baby in 5 years. Besides the fact that they desperately wanted to have a child, in India it matters a great deal if a woman cannot bear children because children are at the heart of society. People feel sorry for those who cannot have their own children and many even think that they could bring them bad luck so keep away. My brother-in-law, knowing that I was a scientist, asked me whether it is true that they could be cursed by someone that this misery of miscarriages would happen to them? I had to say that I did not believe in such superstitious nonsense. But he never abandoned his worship of God and it never occurred to him to give it up. His faith and belief in supernatural powers were so strong that he wore an extra astrological ‘talisman’ on his arm and they continued trying for a baby. On top of this his wife also had diabetes and required a lot of medical care.
Watching all this I said to my wife a year and half ago the same as everyone: where is his God? How could God do this to a devotee? Only if they could have a baby with all the worshipping he does will I believe that there is a God.
Earlier this year we visited them and they told us that the wife was pregnant again. They had kept it secret from everyone because of the tension in their hearts of what would happen this time. If with her medical condtion she arrived at the expected date of delivery with the baby still doing well they would have a Caesarian birth inview of the previous still born child. The date fixed for this was 20 July 2012, so the past weeks have been full of tension in the Panigrahi and Praharaj households. But a boy was born and is doing fine although the mother it seems needs further hospital care to bring her to normalcy.
There is another story to this. Last year when we went to Wales for our holiday, my wife asked me if I would take her to a St Govan’s Chapel, St Govan’s Head, Pembrokeshire, SA71 5, in South Wales coast, where she read that there was once a saint who legend has it had the power to make your wish come true if you made a pilgrimage to the chapel and expressed your wish to his spirit (presumably). I did not believe in such things but on the final day of our holiday I tried to find the place for her driving from North Wales to the south but the postcode was not being recognised in our Satellite navigation unit. We asked the local Tourist Information Board and got a local map but drove around for a long time and just could not find the place and had to finally give up. My wife would never tell me what wish she had in mind to say to that saint in St Govan place until the child was born and then she told me that the saint must have known how hard she tried to find that place and granted her dearest wish for a child for her brother and his wife.
The date of 20 July 2012, was significant for me also because I had finally completed my education of what is known to Science on Evolution and Abiogenesis after a 35 year study. Hence, I know now that all the events of my life were ‘arranged’ for me by God timed to perfection for true Realisation to have taken place. With the birth of the baby boy in our family circle I had finally run out of excuses. My visions were real. God had proved that he is not only true but is perfect with the timing of events that I alone needed to complete my knowledge of what I needed to know.