Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Mahatma and me

For the past several weeks I've sensed the presence of another person within me. This started shortly before the election.
It's a difficult sensation to describe. At apparently random moments I've felt compelled to learn everything there is to know about Modigliani, or Islamic mathematics in the 13th century, or bee-keeping. These are not areas of research to which I would normally be drawn. And feeling compelled to learn everything there is to know has not translated into actually learning everything there is to know about these topics. A quick visit to Wikipedia always satisfies me... or, rather, always satisfies the urge that only a few moments before had seemed so overwhelming.

I don't think my behavior has changed, but my attitude towards this behavior has. When pouring a rye whiskey, for example, I no longer execute the action thinking, "Boy, this'll taste good - I really need this drink!", but rather, "This sacrament will strengthen me." Lighting a cigarette is no longer simply a concession to a horrible nicotine addiction, but participation in a ritualistic herbal sacrifice to placate the gods of agriculture.

Just who or what this second spirit inhabiting my body is eluded me, till about a week ago.
Then, at 11:17 a.m., Monday, 6 December 2010, it hit me.
My body has been inhabited by The Mahatma, the Great Soul that once inspired Gandhi.

The signs were subtle, the revelation stark and sudden.
First there were the dreams. For these past several weeks I've been dreaming in Sanskrit, which I don't understand and which has made my dreams even more baffling than usual. I doubt Mohandas Gandhi knew Sanskrit (his mother tongue was Hindi), but I'm pretty sure The Mahatma understands Sanskrit fluently. (I do wish The Mahatma would share this fluency with me! - dreaming in incomprehensible Sanskrit is more than a little disconcerting!)
Then there's my recent, again sudden, compulsion to spin.
No, not spin as in 'twirl around', but spin as in 'make thread'. I've constructed a crude spinning wheel from a bicycle wheel. (Those of you who know my mechanical abilities can imagine the less-than-satisfactory device I've constructed.)
I've been hitting local craft fairs in search of combed wool. Tho' I'm pretty sure Gandhi spun flax, not wool, nevertheless this compulsion to spin is easily attributable to The Mahatma.
(I note that the 'thread' I've so-far produced is more like yarn... and even calling it 'yarn' is a bit of a stretch.)

Note: I'm NOT claiming to be Gandhi, reincarnate! - Such a claim would be delusional, warranting my commitment to ye local mental hospital.
No, all I'm claiming is that The Mahatma has temporarily inhabited my body.
I'm guessing The Mahatma has been transmigrating since Gandhi's death, just to see what's out there.
In my case, I'm guessing my lack of religious convictions provided an acceptable receptacle.
That and my bad habits - alluded to above: I drink & I smoke.
I'm guessing that after 78 years inhabiting Gandhi, The Mahatma is looking for something other than strict asceticism, just for the experience.
Who knows what other bodies The Mahatma has inhabited since Gandhi's death - it's been over 60 years. Maybe I'm the first. (You know, 'one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day'... )

I don't know quite how to address this second person inhabiting my body.
'It' seems too impersonal, and I'm afraid to offend by choosing either 'he' or 'she'.
I'd ask The Mahatma, but I haven't yet figured out how to communicate with it/him/her.

My reluctance to confront contemporary U.S. politics may be attributable, at least in part, to The Mahatma's presence.
On the bright side, this presence induces me to expand my world-view to encompass more than just politics, to include, for example, bee-keeping.

Some might view this circumstance as an affliction, others as a blessing.
Me? I'm just taking it one day at a time.

Meanwhile, I've got to get back to my spinning.


  1. Well, the Mahatma is one possibility, to be sure.

    But since you don't understand Sanskrit, are you sure that's what it is?

    Is there a chance it might sound something like this?
    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

  2. Possession by H.P. Lovecraft wouldn't explain the spinning fixation.

  3. Maybe having to slow down with the older computer left you vulnerable for some michevous spirit. Think Loki, the jokester messing with your head.