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Namah Journal

Consciousness and health

Cancer: a chance to recognise the disharmony among the various parts of the being

Monica Gulati


This article is based on personal experience but has vast implications for us all. The author knows why cancer came to her: to shed light on her entire being. She has consciously used the torchlight to organise herself inside. She has stepped out of victimhood and not wasted the Grace that has so unexpectedly stepped forward at this point of her life. With the Light present in the words of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, a sunlit path appears! It is a path unfolding to an entirely new way of living. How can she not be grateful to this disease which has helped her tackle the immense task of human life? What would we do, what must we do?


In 2014, at the age of 32, I began a new phase of life. I was about to become a mother for the second time. And I was going to be diagnosed with bladder cancer pretty soon after the delivery, the symptoms of which had been visible during the pregnancy. Soon after the diagnosis, there was guidance and light being shed on each phase of the life ahead. If not for the work of Grace, I could not see anyway how that life for me could have moved ahead. I had been given a rare chance to look at the various parts of my being, and recognise for myself the disharmony present. If not for phases like these, one faces the prospect of leading an ignorant life without even getting to know the parts that constitute us, and the state they are left in.

“Disease is needlessly prolonged and ends in death oftener that is inevitable, because the mind of the patient supports and dwells upon the disease of the body (1).”

“An illness of the body is always the outer expression and translation of a disorder, a disharmony in the inner being; unless this inner disorder is healed, the outer cure cannot be total and permanent (2).”

I was not aware of the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother when cancer happened to me. Although there were people from the holistic/alternative healing, and educational fields that I knew in circles where I worked before and after marriage in 2010 as an alternative education coach to students in colleges. After marriage I found myself stuck in a few new roles I wasn’t much prepared for — as a wife and daughter-in-law. As a wife, there weren’t many expectations of me because my partner and I were deeply connected. But slowly I found myself internalising indirect, sometimes misunderstood, unsaid and said expectations from everyone around me. The new family was lovely, but the conditioning associated with the daughter-in-law comes usually as a loaded gift in the Indian context. So, it came to prominence within me as well. Pretty soon, I started internalising what everyone else might feel or think about me. There was a violation of my inner sanctity and which I constantly allowed, in the mental and the vital space. Most importantly, I wasn’t present or aware of these happenings in my mental, vital and physical domain.

Lack of a higher purpose

“An aimless life is always a miserable life (3).”

Later I could greatly relate with this when reading about it in a book while doing a course, ‘Scripting Pathways of Change’, organised by the Gnostic Centre in Palam Vihar, based on the teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. Indeed this was what was happening to me. I had lost a higher purpose in my life, getting sucked up in family affairs and new roles. Before marriage, I was dedicated to alternative education solely, thereby learning and mutating along the road. But after marriage, there was a stagnancy that had come with being stuck to a particular home, role and the same daily affairs. I had nowhere else to offer myself to.

Of course, all this knowledge came about much in retrospect. Right then, I was only struggling and suffering, without even knowing it. I would take breaks from the daily routine, attend some workshop or another that inspired me to take up activities such as photography and Vedic chanting, or even to spend some time jogging, but the idea behind all those experiences was not for anything higher. It was more a rebellion against the present state of affairs, more in arrogance than in any sense of groundedness or as an offering to the Divine. I had not the slightest idea that I could offer all of this to the Divine and let Him take me ahead. I had moved a bit further away from my body. I had abandoned it and went wherever my emotions would take me, wherever my thoughts took me, I wandered. I had no idea of what I felt in the body when I harboured these thoughts. I had no clue of what I was feeling in the body when I felt stuck during that phase of my life. No clue whatsoever.

Disharmony in the physical, vital and mental

First of all, I must say here, that it is only now that I can talk about the parts of my being as mental, vital and physical. They were all mixed up, in a great chaos, no harmony whatsoever then. Also, they had no harmony within themselves too — the state of mind was such that whatever thoughts wanted to come, came, and stayed for as long as they wished and made formations which had no positive impact on my own being or others. I am talking about the major percentage of thoughts. Although one discipline that persisted with, in oblivion, was that I never publicly discussed anything about any other being around me, virtually no indulgence in gossip. There were times when my mother would call and I would have nothing to say to her, or any topic to discuss, as I did not want any of my home things to be put on a platter. But the mind was in a bad shape,with thoughts playing havoc all around.

During the first pregnancy I had maintained a certain physical discipline for myself: Vedic chanting, pre-natal yoga, and reading good books. But by the second pregnancy, I had no time for any such discipline, looking after and running around the first-born and then looking after the newly born little one who needed me the most. A greater disharmony dawned. As I was not in my body at all, I had no idea what else was happening to it. I can just say that I was absent and unaware.

Later on, when I sat down for my meditations to be in intimate touch with myself, my body, and through books and mentors, I found out that there was a lot of restlessness and fear in the cells of the body, the physical cells. I could feel it very strongly. As if the faith and surrender to the Universe, the Creation was absent. As if there was a separation: One was me and the other was the rest of the existence and the ‘me’ could be harmed by the ‘rest’. There was this disruption in the flow of the things as they were, a major duality.

There would be a certain thought visiting my mind, I would buy into it and then expectations would arise, either of my own self, or of others around me, or of situations to be in a certain way and not in that way. And when that did not happen, all kinds of suffering arose. Those feelings that I took as my truth wandered about in my body, got stuck at various places, I didn’t even know where at all. Feeling of being misjudged, there was a feeling of not following what I really wanted to do, a feeling of not knowing what I really wanted to do, a feeling of being stagnant and repeating one cycle daily, a feeling of not being content, a feeling of a sort of emptiness within, a feeling of being betrayed into this whole idea of having children, feeling of being lost. All these feelings had become my truth, I was unable to look at them from a detached perspective.

Search for a lost connection with the psychic

I had no idea that I was searching for my lost connection with my innermost. I just knew that something was amiss and that had to be now looked for, only after the initial diagnosis of cancer was given. Somehow there was this innate urge towards harmony. Who had told me that there is a psychic that can harmonise? No one in particular. Maybe there were traces in some books that I might have read, or the work I was doing as a job which reflected on various philosophies, or in my own life-phases, where I had earlier lived a harmonious life and now could see that I had fallen into a lower consciousness. I couldn’t point any single one out.

Who had told me that there is chaos in my life and which needs order and guidance? It means there was something, some part of me, which was aware that a greater harmony was possible, that something more than this seeming mundane life was possible, that I had not been living a sincere life, and it could be better indeed. This innate urge for harmony also came to me in retrospect, when I began making sense of what was happening.

Awakening of faith in the body and a spark of surrender

During one of my meditations, when I was internally scanning it and looking at its present state, I instantly connected with the Rain of the ever-present Grace. Whatever resistances where there, they had to be let go of, and I needed to become porous to absorb this Grace, that was ever-present in abundance. I remember how I felt completely soaked in that Rain of Grace and as if absorbing it in my cells, and thereby removing the fear and anxiety and restlessness by an overflow of the Rain of Grace.

This and one other experience with my mentor, told me surely that this was the way to go forward.

“The first contact with inner joy, inner beauty, the inner light, the first contact with that, which suddenly makes you feel, ‘Oh! That is what I want,’ you must cultivate it, never forget it, hold it constantly before you, tell yourself, ‘If I have felt it once, so I can feel it again.’ And encourage the body to seek it, with the confidence that it carries the possibility within itself and that if it calls for it, it will come back, it will be realised again (4).”

“If one takes care not to pervert it, the body carries within itself the certitude of victory. Cultivate this certitude instead of destroying it. The body carries within itself the sense of its divinity. This is what you must try to find again in yourself if you have lost it (5).”

Since that experience, it has been a practice to feel that faith in the body that ‘All is taken care of.’ That intense experience made me drop my fear of undergoing the two surgeries that were now required in order to be well. I had the most wonderful and spiritual time in the hospital during those two surgeries. I had humour and a strong divine connection to sledge me ahead during that seemingly challenging phase.

Stillness and surrender

“Peace and stillness are the great remedy for disease. When we can bring peace in our cells we are cured.

“Catch hold of a peace deep within and push it into the cells of the body. With peace will come back health. Any agitation, any narrowness prolongs the illness (6).”

Having touched upon something very peaceful, which felt like a part of me and yet not a part of me at the same time, I have held on to it as a lifelong commitment. For a regular terminology, I refer to this as ‘unconditional love towards oneself, or maintaining one’s Inner Sanctity, my sole priority in life is being a vigilant guard to my inner peace and nothing else.

Somehow there was a deep knowing that I ought to reside in that stillness, that peace that I had had a glimpse of. If I could feel it once, I can feel it more often and thereby increase the time I spend under its umbrella. For it centred me, saved my energy from dissipating through the outbound senses. It also gave me insights, many of which I would forget when I came out of that state if I hadn’t noted them down in the first place.

“Do not love your ill health and the ill health will leave you (7)” The turn of events so happened that I got more and more chances to read and work around the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I found a pre-school run by the Gnostic Centre purely by chance, guided by Grace. After that, I got a chance to read and look through the teachings, through the offerings of courses by the Gnostic Centre. In front of our apartment building is the Sri Aurobindo Society Centre of Gurugram, where I just went one day and started volunteering to work two days a week. All my focus somehow shifted to these things now and not on the ill-health. It was as if gradually my life got filled up with lots of clean water and slowly the mud and the dirt started to rinse itself off, drop by drop.

I could not see any other way ahead for myself, other than the surrender and continuous offering of my darkness and light to the Mother. It appears as if it was a plan of the Divine to bring me back home. And that is just the first step. It is just that now I know where to surrender, all my ugliness and pettiness and goodness, and the dark and the light and each part of my being as it shows up. It is just the beginning.

An effortless drive towards Harmony

This series of life-events somehow brought some bits and pieces of me together. As if they were getting organised around this centre, which can be called the psychic. Along with that came a constant knowing of the presence of the Higher Being. The work is huge and vast, it is only now that I realise this. But I can see that the first step has been thrusted upon me by the Grace of the Mother.

Something within seems to have found harmony and peace. Yet I am aware that a lot of stuff will still continue to appear and demand organisation in the course of time. But when the backing of the psychic is there, where is the space for fear?The work is vast; and I go on in aspiration, in prayer.

“So long as one element of the being, one movement of the thought is still subjected to outside influences, not solely under Thine, it cannot be said that the true Union is realised; there is still the horrible mixture without order and light, — for that element, that movement is a world, a world of disorder and darkness, as is the entire earth in the material world, as is the material world in the entire universe (8).”


1. Sri Aurobindo. Birth Centenary Library, Volume 17. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 1971, p. 126.

2. The Mother. Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 15. Cent ed. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust; 1980; p. 149.

3. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 4. 1972, p. 31.

4. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 9.1977, pp. 162-63.

5. Ibid., p. 164.

6. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 15, p. 163.

7. Ibid., p. 158.

8. The Mother. Collected Works, Volume 1. 1979, p. 8.

Monica Gulati, a learner and a seeker and an immunologist by education, is based in Gurgaon, India. She shares her experiences on going through cancer with faith at

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