Mahamantra soothes a disturbed special needs child!
I am very passionate about my job as a teacher. The kindergarten class I taught was a collaborative class, which meant there were special needs children along with the normal mainstream kids. There is always a “para” (a professional instructor who cares for the special needs children) in the class, along with the regular teacher. The para assists those kids to help them function efficiently alongside the students from the mainstream class. My heart always takes an emotional dip when I come across special needs children.
Cute little African-American child Bristol walked in with a bright smile on her face that day. The para took charge of her along with other special needs kids while I started my regular teaching with the rest. As the day progressed, I felt concerned as I watched Bristol getting restless and agitated. In spite of the para’s persistent efforts she, at one point, became violent and threw tantrums, even pushing down furniture. Someone from the Behaviour Control group had to come down to the class to take her away. I felt deeply disturbed watching all this.
Later Bristol returned to the class and her mood seemed a lot better. She was willing to work in the class but very soon got restless and frustrated. It was time for school dismissal. I played some educational video songs for the class to help wind down before the children left school. While all the other kids danced and sang, Bristol was still in her tantrum mode. Just then the para instructor had to step out of the class and asked if I could watch Bristol for a few minutes. I agreed.
I held Bristol’s hand and sat beside her. My heart ached to see this little tender child not being able to have fun like the rest of the 5-year-olds who were happily dancing around. Overwhelmed by love and pain, I started chanting the Mahamantra. Bristol instantly looked up at me and said, “Miss Ram, I love you. Can I sit on your lap?” I was baffled, but responded eagerly, “Sure Bristol!
She immediately sat on my lap and nestled very close to me. I could sense her troubled self-calming down almost instantly. I was still chanting when she asked me, “Miss Ram, are you singing?” I said, “Yes Bristol I am. It is a special prayer to make you feel better.” Bristol was completely at ease by then and she said, “It does make me feel better. My mother prays a lot for me.”
She had had a very troubled day since morning, yet a few seconds of Mahamantra chanting had enveloped her in this blissful state of calm and peace. My eyes welled up and my heart filled with gratitude to our Sri Swamiji for having bestowed upon us this powerful, loving, Divine Name that can touch every soul beyond barriers of language, culture, country and mental state. To watch the divine love of the Lord blanket Bristol to comfort and soothe that troubled child moved me very much. I felt so grateful that I could wrap her in my arms and give her those blissful few minutes.
It is still tough to say whether it was Bristol or me who was in awe of the Mahamantra and its grace at that beautiful moment. My prostrations to Sri Swamiji for blessing me with this Mahamantra experience.