posted by Kamala on Mar 26
Dearest Friends and Family,
We have never gotten around to telling you about Shiva, Really, though knowing him, we are receiving a reconditioning in our outlook on people, seeing our own small conditioned mindsets. We have all learned so much from this young brave heart.
Briefly, as it’s a whole life, and a few paragraphs can’t say much, Shiva is a young boy, hailing from a village in UP. From a very poor family, which had alcohol abuse. The family began circus work when he was about 8 or 9, he is not sure, as he doesn’t know when he was born. From publicized political events that he can remember, it seems he may be about 15 – 17 years of age. But he only has peach fuzz, so, I don’t know…since the last time we saw him, his face has become more angular, and I know Link’s did that when he was around 16…
The circus work was intermittent and dangerous. Shiva had certain ‘acts’ to perform that were in my mind, very gladiator like, and coming from deep human ignorance.: breaking tube lights on his arm, and then eating the cut tube. He told us he would collect the glass in his throat and then get it out somehow after leaving the ‘stage’. Putting flammable liquids in his mouth then lighting them on fire. Piercing his throat with metal skewers, and his cheeks. Sitting on a bike for 10 days at a time, not eating or going to the toilet…these have all left horrendous damages upon his physical person. His lower facial muscles don’t move much. His voice sounds strained and a little huskey, he can’t take hot or cold liquids or foods, and has some trouble swallowing. Recently it seems also that his teeth are getting loose in his gums. Tension seems to have aggravated the acids in his stomach. He doesn’t eat much.
About 3 years ago, he was sent out of the family nest on his own to get employment, and went to work for a circus in Paoli, Kerala. He only worked 20 days, and was cheated of his earnings, and helped back to his village by a kind autorickshaw driver named Shashi. In the family nest at that time was his drunk father, his little sister, Goudan, his mother, who gave birth to a baby boy named Kala, a few months after his return. He has a significantly older brother who is married with children of his own. Shortly after the baby’s birth – maybe one or two months, about 2.5 years ago, the mother and father went to do an act in the circus in Chattisgarh. The act involved one parent racing around the inside of a deep tube well in a car, the other on a motor cycle. Done correctly, the centrifugal force generated enables them to do astounding vertical displays. The vehicles crashed however, and fell, both parents were killed. There was no question of compensation, Shiva didn’t know to ask.
Shiva went to his older brother with the baby siblings. Kala was obviously sick, it was congential TB, although Shiva did not know it at the time. His brother’s wife didn’t want the sick babies near hers, and the elder brother advised him to throw them out on the street and forget them. Shiva was shocked by his response, and went to each and every relative he knew of in the village and beyond. No one would help him and his siblings. An old Muslim man in the village gave him 100 rs, and without tix, he and his brother and sister traveled here to Kerala. He felt he had nohting and no one in the north, and remembered the kindness of Shashi in Paoli. He found Shashi. Baby Kala was getting sicker, and Shashi helped Shiva get into a hospital with them both. A kind Dr. intervened, and he and his sister and brother lived in a hospital for 1. 5 years, while the Dr. placed an ad in the newspaper for funds, got them, and conducted necessary operations on the baby brother, who eventually, amazingly, recovered from the TB. During this time in the hospital, Shiva received no education, but was busy with the care of his little sister and brother as needed. At one time he did work in the hospital electrical area for 2 months, but the work stopped. During this time, he frequently saw a Christian sister coming into his baby brother’s room in the ICU unit. She never spoke with him however, and he didn’t think or know that he had any rights to ask her what she was doing.
One day, he was told to bring Goudan and go to Kala’s ICU room. Once there, he was told to leave his sister there, by the hospital manager, and to go to the Dr.’s room. The hospital security took him there, and together they sat for about 20 minutes, ‘waitting for the doctor.’ After 20 minutes, the security guard told him he could go, and he went back to his brother and sister. They were gone. He ran to the room where their clothes were. Their clothes were gone. He was thrown out of the hospital. When he asked for Goudan and Kala, no one would tell him anything. Getting desperate, he broke a window and threatened to commit suicide, as he had nothing to live for. The police were called. The police said they could not help him. Shiva went out, and somehow met the Police Commissioner, who spoke Hindi. The police Commissoner called the manager of the hospital, who came to his office. They spoke, The PC said, I will give him Rs. 700/ to go to his village in UP and bring a letter from the village Sarpanch ( headman of Panchayat) verifying that he is indeed the brother of the little ones. If he is the brother, he will get the letter and return. If he is not, he will disappear with the money. Shiva took the money, went back up to UP, got the letter.
Now the PC told him to stay in the juvenile home, while he worked on the case. So, he went to the juvenile home. There, In a few days, the Christian min he had seen coming to his brother’s room came with his brother and sister. She denied knowing him as their brother, and said that at any rate, he appeared to be under 18, so she would not release the kids to him. The orphanage still did not want to release the children to him. From their view, he was unemployed, unstable, emotional, prone to get upset, had no skills, etc. The names of the children were changed to Roshan and Roshni.
Shiva was now stuck in the home. One night, with another boy there, he escaped. Shiva went to see the PC, the other boy went home. The PC said, ‘Now I can’t help you, you have escaped from the juvenile home and broken the law. ‘ Shiva went back to the home. A case was registered against him for escaping in the first place. When the judge asked him why he went out, he said, ‘I’m here to find my brother and sister. I don’t want to stay here.’ The judge asked him about the other boy who had escaped with him. Shiva said that he had gone home. The judge then said that he would write a letter saying that Shiva was 18, so that he could leave the juvenile home.
We met Shiva right after Darshan with Amma in August. In fact, while I was in her arms, I was aware of an outraged young voice, yelling…I knew, as things often happen, that it was a case of someone whose situation was being ignored or misrepresented. AS he was shouting in Hindi, as I rose up from Amma’s arms, I turned and said, ‘What is it, son?’
From there, Link and I heard his story. He had come to the ashram because he had heard that Amma was Bhagvan, and he wanted to be with his brother and sister. By this time, the orphanage had told him that unless he had a house, he could not have his brother and sister. He was desperate, upset. He was looking for a job. The story was misconstrued to Amma, she was told he wanted a house to bring his family too, when he was only asking for work, and trying to make her aware of the situation. So, having sorted it out, Link mentioned to Amma that he wanted work. Amma said he could have a job. In a few days time, he got work, welding. Regrettably, he was not given a mask or dark glass to protect his eyes. His eyes were hurt horribly from the bright light, and he stopped work and spent the rest of the day crying with pain. After that, the linguistic barrier between him and the workers further alienated him….after a week, he took what wages he had made and went to see his brother and sister. That ended that job. Several other attempts were made around the ashram to help him get work, but he would leave after a few days, and go see his brother and sister.
Link and I in the meantime went to Poustinia, and several other caring people in the ashram got involved with his situation. A young boy, unknowing about labor, not knowing that his poverty makes him a virtual slave in India, ignorant as to the value of money, generous to a fault, illiterate, yet, who respects the love in his own heart, and honors it above all else. Through friends we kept in touch with what was happening to him.
When we came back we were told he had a hotel job in Calicut. We thought that sounded OK…Shiva came down to visit for just a few hours, bringing with him big Krishna Muurti’s which he must have struggled to carry in the train, along with a conch he had found on the beach as gifts. We all encouraged him to demonstrate ‘labor stability’….
It was about this time that our real education through Shiva began…..