Papaji Helps a Ghost

I did have an encounter with a real ghost many years later. I had been invited by a devotee to stay in his house for a few days. It was a two-storey house with a small eight-feet-by-eight-feet room on the roof. I liked this little room and asked if I could stay in it. I told the devotee that no one else should come into the room when I was there, and that if I needed anything, I would come out and ask for it myself.

On the first night I was there, a man came and lay down on the bed next to me. He couldn’t have come through the door because the door was locked from the inside. When I asked him who he was and what he was doing in my room, he obliged me by telling me his story.

‘I am the original owner of this house,’ he began. ‘I built this room, intending it to be my puja room. I never got to use it because I died suddenly of a heart attack shortly before the room was ready. I had intended to inaugurate the room by having a reading from the Bhagavatam here.

‘Would you recite some of the Bhagavatam for me? I want to finish with this old desire before I take another birth. After the reading is over, I will take birth in the family of my son.’

He said all this while he was lying on the bed. I noticed he was wearing a Bengali-style dhoti. At the time I thought it a little strange that he should choose to conduct this conversation lying down, but I didn’t say anything. I was, after all, a guest in his house. Since his last pending desire was to hear this recitation, I chanted a few verses from the Bhagavatam for him. He left the room with a happy smile on his face.

The next day I asked my devotee whom he had purchased the house from. He told me that it was a Bengali family that had moved out because they had claimed that the house was haunted. A doctor and his wife had lived there before him, he said, but the wife had insisted that her husband sell the house because she claimed that her dead father-in-law kept appearing to her, demanding that she recite the Bhagavatam.

The woman lived nearby, so I went to see her to find out more details. She confirmed that her father-in-law had built the room on the roof and that he had intended it to be a puja room. She also confirmed that he had died of a heart attack shortly before its completion.

‘Ever since then,’ she said, ‘he has been appearing to me in my dreams. Every time he appears, he asks me to recite from the Bhagavatam. We moved to this new house because I thought that he was haunting the old house. But even here, he still appears in my dreams and asks for this recitation. I don’t know why he wants this text to be recited. We are all Shakti upasaks [worshippers] from Bengal. The only text we recite is the Durga Sapt Shati.

I told her that he had also appeared to me and that he had told me that he had had a great desire to chant the Bhagavatam at the opening ceremony of his new puja room. It was this unfulfilled desire, I said, that was making him reappear in her dreams. I suggested that she arrange a reading of the Bhagavatam in her father-in-law’s old room. I promised her that I could get the new occupants to cooperate.

‘Hire a pandit to do the chanting since you do not know the work yourself. Also, go and listen to it yourself, since your father-in-law would have expected you to attend the original reading. Have a proper ceremony, the sort your father would have had for the opening of his puja room. Give the Bhagavatam away to the pandit afterwards. You can also give him a dhoti, a kurta and Rs 101. If you like, you can also feed some brahmins.’

She followed my advice and the haunting dreams ended.

Excerpt From Nothing Ever Happened Volume Three, pages 206-207
By David Godman