As soon as I returned from the hospital, I had brought up the subject with my brother on one night with a plan to discuss the matter.
Younger sister and her husband who is a Govt. employee was present there. After I asked him what his intentions were, he said that he planned to move to full time spiritual life.
We asked him many things but specifically about how he expects that his mother would bear such a thing. He was not listening to our arguments. He was transfixed on leaving home, seeing God, and serving people – that was what he had to say. He insisted he wanted to see God to our utter bewilderment.
Our persuasion, trying to stop him, was not an ordinary persuasion. It was a persuasion of our lives. A persuasion were failure would have meant immense loss. Failure to pursue him to stay back would inflict such lasting pain on our lives which nothing can ever erase. We had to not only win an argument but win it to keep him from leaving. It was a fight to return him to our fold, our family, our feelings, our care.
On the first day we talked to him through the night into the wee hours. We told him that “we cant let him go”. “That mother would be alone”. “that all of our lives would change”… “that mother could be bedridden from the impact of him leaving”. “that we do not want him married if he does not want to”….”that, what do we tell people about the matter”. “that what would people think and tell about us?”. “that even if he decide to come back sometime later, his image could be tarnished”. “that we would let him pray”, let him pursue his spiritual pursuits as long as he does not leave forever.
We reasoned with him, cajoled him, and finally threatened him. However we were worried that putting too much pressure would destabilize him. We did not want his mind harmed by our persuasion. We wanted him to be a happy person. After all, he was our beloved brother.
He was under visible tension due to the little bit of conflict he might have been still going through regarding leaving life in our family and leaving. I also sometimes felt sad for him, that ‘he is having to fight this all alone’. That ‘his defenses were crumbling’ at the same time wondering why he was so stubborn. that, “what hit him so hard with spirituality?”.
However, I had to make sure that I don’t let myself feel saddened by the fact that on his side, there was none to argue for him because thinking for him meant loosing him.
His main argument was that “he wants to see God”. He revealed that he was going to join Ramakrishna mission. He said that he was not sure whether he would be selected by them as trainee but he said nothing to indicate that he would consider backing off.
We continued our argument following days on and off. Not so hopeful but trying desperately for a breakthrough but none came.