Wanderers in Eternity – Chapter 7


Table of Contents: Preface | Life Cycle | Chapter 01 | Chapter 02 | Chapter 03 | Chapter 04 | Chapter 05 | Chapter 06 | Chapter 07 | Chapter 08 | Chapter 09





“Come in, come in, sir. I thought you would show up around this time.” Seeing the pleasant smiling round face of Reverend Subuthi and hearting his gentle voice, Ajith Henegama climb the few steps that led to the temple.

As if to subdue the heat of the evening, a mild breeze bled in from the Thisara Lake. When Ajith stood the Veranda of the temple he could see the lake and far to the right the massive pagodas in Anuradhapura.

“The questions you had asked me in the letter, I cannot give answers by merely writing back. It was best that you came to meet me and talk about it all,” saying this the priest pointed to a low stool and asked Ajith to sit down.

Before saying thanks you and sitting down, Ajith fell down, on his knees and worshipped the priest. He could still feel a slight pain in his left arm.

“It was after reading the letter that you wrote to the newspaper that I was tempted to write to you, reverend. You had very well explained the stream of life.”

“Sometimes, rather than giving a long sermon, sir, one can write a small article like that to explain a whole lot more to a whole lot of people. So, tell me, sir, are you still in the army?”

“No, reverend. I retired recently. I was injured in Jaffna in 1983.’

“Oh, my, what happened ?”

“I was in a jeep nearby when a land mine exploded. A piece of metal got lodged in my left arm.”

“It’s good that you didn’t die from the explosion.”

Ajith found it hard to speak.

“Several of my friends died that day.”

“Life is like that, sir. Even if a previous karma would not pay back, sometimes accidental deaths can happen. Just the way a lamp is doused by a wind that blows in from nowhere.”

“I came to see you, reverend, after reading about hypnotic regression in your letter.”

“Podiya, Little one!” the priest yelled towards the interior of the temple as if not hearing what Ajith had just said. A young boy in a sarong appeared by the door. “Bring something to drink for our gentleman here. Have you ever had a drink made from the Ravawara plant, sir?”


“Tea made from the herb Polpala or Ranawara is very good for you, sir.”

“I will try it.”

“Bring that with a chunk of jaggery, little one. You must be used to drinking tea with sugar.”


“I don’t drink regular tea or use sugar. Those are things the white man taught us, bad habits that one cannot get rid of. They gave us tea and sugar. Now we can’t do without them.”

“That’s true, reverend.”

“So tell me your story,sir.”

Because of the friendly attitude of the monk, Ajith found it easy to open up and talk.

“The first time it happened, revered was after the incident in Jaffna. I started having a dream about a Tamil woman.”

“It this someone you have seen before?”

“Yes, reverend. One day while we were driving to Jaffna passing Niveli, one of the jeeps had an engine problem and our whole convoy stopped some place. There was a tobacco plantation nearby. This woman was in a hut nearby. She had a little boy with her. I felt as if I’ve known them from somewhere.”

“You could remember like that from previous life memory.”

“That’s the way I felt, reverend. As if I’ve known her in a previous life, as if my soul…”

“There you go, sir. There’s no such things as a soul.”

“I mean, when I said soul, it was from a previous birth experience.”

“That’s true. We go from life to life – our consciousness. But there is no such thing as a unchanging soul. Everything changes all the time. Lord Buddha in his sermons also said that there is no such thing as a soul. Because of our attachments that we think that there is a soul.”

“I don’t know the metaphysics of Buddhism that deeply, reverend.”

“You can learn all that, sir. One wrong point of view that we create is the idea of having a soul. You know why? Because our desires want to have something to call our own. Therefore we grab on to the idea of a soul. But in this time universe where everything is changing all the time, how can there be an unchanging soul. sir? Really, I mean, everything changes all the time.”

“That’s true, reverend.”

“I don’t think you have really studied the dependence origination in Buddhism? Because of the formations arise the consciousness. The formations arise because of ignorance. From the darkness. It is the stream of consciousness born that way, that makes all the attachments. From lifetime to lifetime this stream goes on ever changing.”

“It must be a memory like that I have, reverend. When I saw that woman’s face, a series of strange feelings were born within me. I cannot explain it all. How can I explain all this to you, reverend?……A feeling of love, affection”

The priest nodded his head as if he understand. “It is an attachment, A ever strong attachment indeed.”

Since podiya brought two glasses water and a saucer full of chunks of jaggery on a tray, the conversation seized for a while. Podiya offered the first glass to the gathered his hands together in worship. The words “May be well” came out of the monk’s lips.. Podiya offered the first glass to the gathered his hands together in worship. The words “May be well” came out of the monk’s lips.

Ajith accepted the other glass, tasted the warm liquid and bit into a piece of jaggery which he took from the saucer.

Which podiya went back to the bark interior of the temple, the priest asked Ajith, “So, sir, did you tell that woman about this?”

“No, reverend. That woman’s husband had been taken away by the police. They have told her that the army had taken him. In the end she came looking for me to the camp. She asked me to help her find her man. This happened more than five years ago.”

“So, did you try to find the man?”

“No, reverend. The land mine exploded in the meantime. I was taken to the hospital in Vavuniya and form there I was transferred to Colombo. I was in the rehab and then I got to do office duties. But I could not attend to my work right. That explosion and everything afterwards kept bothering me.”

“It is very hard to forget something like that, I know. Everything is in our mind.”

“So, reverend, amidst all this I keep seeing the face of that Tamil woman. I feel that I have to help her some way.”

“Do you have her address?”

“I have an address in Niveli. I wrote to that address, reverend, but there’s no reply. And there’s no way that I can go to Jaffna now.”

“That’s true.”

“That woman knows Singhalese as well. She had lived in Nugegoda when she was small. We are also from Nugegoda. First I thought that I might have seen her there somewhere. But after that explosion, I had another dream. It was a fire…. There was a man in the middle of it……..” Ajith found it hard to say anymore.

“You seem very uncomfortable, sir.”

“I came in search of you after I read the article you had written paper about hypnosis. When I heard that you can hypnotize a person and find out about his previous life……”

“Will, let’s try it then,” the priest showed some enthusiasm. “Many have looked into their past lives and had corrected errors in this lifetime. Then only one realizes the dreamy illusionary nature of life. Then one truly realizes that there’s nothing to hold on to as yours or mind. Some others want to go on in this journey…….that’s the human nature….”

“I really feel like what is the point of being born again, reverend- when I see all the suffering that is going on all around.”

“That is a good understanding.”

“I wonder why people have to kill each other. For what?”

“That’s true, sir. why” Do we take any of this when we go? All that we take with us is what we have done- the good and bad -the force of Kamra. That is why we should always do good and do the best we can. We need a boat to go across. the stream. We have to make that boat sturdy and strong without any holes in it. We have to build and guide our thoughts in the same way. Isn’t that right?”


“Well, let’s go then to the room.” Following the monk who stood up and adjusted his robe, Ajith entered another room in the temple.

“This is an old temple. The rooms are very small. We have one other monk here. He has gone to Anuradhapura to teach meditation.”

“This appears to be a very quiet area.”

“Pathirupa dese vasocha – the Buddha said, live in a suitable area. We have to create a surrounding that is suitable for us to live.”

“That is true.”

“Lie down on that bed.” In the middle of the room was a small bed with a chair nearby. When he lay down, Ajith could see the blue curtains on the windows and the pale blue wall all around.

“Blue is the color to calm down. Lie down like that and close your eyes and think of floating in a nice clear cool blue stream of water.”

When Ajith closed his eyes, he heard the priest’s voice very close to him from the direction of the chire.

“Now, concentrate on your feet. Now wash away the tenseness in that area and relax. Let that cool water wash away all the rigidity.”


“You need not reply. Just act according to what I say. Then afterwards whatever questions I ask, find the answers yourself and remember them.”

Ajith went quiet.

“Good, now concentrate on your ankles. Let go of all the tension inthat area and relax.” In this manner reverend Subuthi gave suggestion to relax Ajith’s whole body. In little while Ajith felt as if he were floating on a soft cotton cloud.

“Now, your thoughts can travel to the past. All those thoughts and memories we have stored in our consciousness. While you are like that move away from that body and you can go back in time.” Ajith could feel as if he were floating up in a lightness. It was as if he were in space and looking down at the earth below. With the next suggestion from the monk, he went back to the place of his pervious existence.

“Now, look at the surrounding where you live in that lifetime. Look to your left and to your right. Look ahead of you. What can you see? Look at the door from which you are entering the place where you live…… Look at the place where you live. Look inside your dwelling.”

What Ajith asw a shed near a canal. He realized that this was the area near the Delkanda Junction. Just as reverend Subuthi had suggested, he entered the shed and looked all around and then looked at his own self. This was the dark skinny man had seen earlier in his dream. He wore a white sarong and a T-shirt. Inside the shed were stacks of newspaper, bags made of hemp and bottles. At one end was a bed and on the bed a small child. He picket up the little boy.

“See what your name is?”

“Sun…..Sun …..Sundaram,” Ajith blurted out.

“You don’t have to answer me. Just remember everything that you experience,” the priest reminded him once more.

Now Ajith saw the Tamil woman outside the shed cooking something over open fire and a little girl who sat nearby. “Janaki…… that was his daughter …….. He was a Timil man named Sundaram in his previous life and he was a ragamuffin man collecting bottles and old newspaper. Janaki was my daughter.”

Now he could see the man walking to the canal with his two kids. Everything appeared like a movie.

After this he saw himself worshipping inside a Hindu temple and then sleeping with his wife in the shed. Then Ajith saw Sundaram with a large wicker basket on his head going down a road collecting bottles and newspapers. He saw the man coming home holding the little girl’s hand.

“Now let us come to the moment of death in that lifetime. You will not feel any pain. Float away and up, away from the body that was a burned. You will not have any more attachments to that body.” Ajith heard the priest’s voice. “See what happened to that body?”

Ajith saw a whole lot of people surrounding him on a hot afternoon. What he saw next completed his dream sequence. The men who surrounded Sundaram, poured petrol which they took from a nearby bowser, all over his body. The next instance he could smell the petrol. His throat had a burning sensation. “Anadawaney, aandawaney, ‘ he muttered without thinking. Ajith fidgeted on the bed but he could not escape this situation. The tears that filled his eyes seeped out from under the close lids and flowed down his cheeks. “Please, sir, don’t, please, don’t,” A flame came from somewhere and enveloped him. He felt an uncontrollable anger towards the men who was torturing him.

“Now, sir, come out of that situation. Look at it all from the outside. That body was only a temporary situation. Float upwards without any pain or sorrow of fear and come to the present moment. What I count to three, you will open your eyes without any pain, weariness or hurt. One – you are very close to waking up. Your body is very relaxed. Two – you are getting ready to wake up. You feel very comfortable. Three – wake up.”

Ajith opened his eyes and wiped away the tears from his eyes.

“Reverend, for a while I could not breathe.”

“What did you see?”

I was a Tamil man in that lifetime, reverend. His name was Sundaram.” He wiped away the tears that were still following from his eyes. “That was a very sad death, reverend. It was during the fight between the Tamils and the Sinhalese. This man was burned to death after petrol was proud all over him.”

“In fifty nine?”

“I think so. That Janaki is this Sundaram’s daugter.”

“See how it all work out, sir. In one lifetime we are bron Tamil. In another lifetime we could be born Sinhalese or in some European country. or else we could be born Chinese, Japanese or to some other race. So, sir, why do we become so proud saying we are this race or that race? All what we have received Physically, genetically through heredity. When we go none of us can take the skin color or the race.”

“We must be taking the memory and when we go, reverend. That Sundaram was very good at adding figures. I am also very good at math. Just like that Sundaram I like to eat Vasey. I just remembered, when my mother was pregnant with me, she said she had a great desire to eat those chili doughnuts.”

“She how it works! We do take our desires with us.”

“I also remember, that when I was small I got sick quite often. Mother says when I was little, I had a rash all over my body with blisters and around my mouth I had a rash.”

“Those could be memories from the previous time of death.”

“I can’t stand the smell of petrol. I would throw up every time I got order I did get over it. But I thing after I saw that Janaki in Niveli, I started getting sick again from the smell of petrol. Even now I can’t stand that smell. I would get a terrible headache from it.”

“That also is a memory. An unpleasant memory.”

“Now I am beginning to understand a lot, thanks to you, reverend. Now all I want is to see that Janaki at least one more time.”

“I understand. You want to take care of some unfinished business from that time. Did you say that the address is in Niveli?”

“Yes, reverend.”

“I know a very good doctor in Niveli. I will try to find out with his help.”

“I fell at ease and so much at peace. Actually now I don’t feel that kind of attachment like before.”

“You have realized something. You have come to an understanding about the illusionary dreamy nature of this eternal journey.”

“We die and reborn, then again die and reborn, don’t we reverend?”

“In the meantime we gather karma and suffer.”

“Are there heavens and hell, reverend?”

“We can be in so many different places, sir. On this earth alone there are so many places where we could be born. But the stream of consciousness need not always have a human body to wander in this eternity. According to our karmic forces, we are drawn and pulled to different places. From the light to the darkness and from the darkness to the light.”

“Because I came to see, a great burden had been lifted off of my head.”

“I will try to find out more about that Janaki.”

“Janaki Sundaram. She was married to one Shivankaram Appadurai. I will write down the address for you.”

Darkness had gathered outside by then. When Ajith came out of the room, he wrote down Janaki’s address in the monk’s notebook. It was doubtful whether Janaki was still alive in the chaos of the war. Where could her son be? Why was his face also so familiar?

“If you’d like to’ stay the night and go. Podiya can fix some dinner for you.”

Where I am staying, I told them I would be back tonight. Otherwise I would have stayed gladly.”

“You’d better go on then. I will try to locate that address. I have your Nugegoda address as well.”

When Ajith walked out of temple ground he felt a sudden great loneliness. As a few leaves of the Bo tree branches that extended outside the ground rustled in the wind, he looked up at them. As mentioned in the monk’s newspaper articles, could there be life forms and streams of consciousness all around this place? All that he was, was a stream of consciousness. How complicate were the thoughts born in that stream? What a chaos? What a web we weave from life to life? he thought. Now he was experiencing a memory from his previous life. It was not that easy to erase those painful memories. Janaki…. Sundaram…. The daughter he loved so much in that lifetime was now so far away. This time around, being born to a different race, he had carried a gun and gone in search of race of people who were related to him his previous life. Race was a condition one was born into only for one lifetime. They were temporary genetical heritages. everything was ephemeral. All was a dream. in eternity everything was ever chainging and impermanent.

He had to wait quite till a van showed up to take him to Anuradhapura with someone he had known during his army days. He had not revealed to that family his real reason for being here. He had only told them that he was going to see a Buddhist monk who had written an impressive article to a newspaper.

When he returned that night to one at his lodging asked any curious questions. Though he had dinner with the family and talked about various matters, the subject of reincarnation was well kept within him. Mostly they talked the problem with the Tigers and about their friends who had died because of the war.

The night Ajith felt that life is a sorrowful cascade that brought up happy bubbles once in a while. The stars that were shining in the sky were all part of this illusion.

He had a good night’s sleep. Thought he expected to see them in his dreams he did see Janaki or Sundaram. Early next morning, he woke up refreshed. He had the urge to go and find Janaki in Niveli. But these days even the thought of going towards Jaffna was a mere fantasy. In the north was one fiery chaos. Confident that reverend suitable would keep his promise, Ajith came back to his home in Nugegoda.

The last few years of Ajith’s life were spent in a depression and a frustration. After the unfortunate incident in Jaffna he was thoroughly disappointed with the whole of life and the world. Since he could not carry a weapon and go to the front any longer he ended up working in an army office in Colombo, but he could not concentrate well at the job. That man burning in the middle of fire haunted his mind all the time. He had no courage to tell about this to anybody. In reality he had no close friend who was willing to sit and listen to him. After his best friend Buddhi had died in the fiery explosion, he felt very much alone in the world. Gradually he became a snail that had crawled into its shell. The only thing that shed some light to his life was article that reverend Subuthi had written about rebirth to a newspaper. This article explained how dreams could carry memories from life experiences. It also told about western scientists and doctors who were using hypnosis as a means to pull out previous life memories. As soon as Ajith read this article he decided to go and meet reverend Subuthi. He wrote to the monk and when an invitation came with a reply, Ajith traveled to north of Anuradhapura to meet the monk.

After the hypnosis session with reverend Subuthi, Ajith felt as if a circle was getting completed. The only missing link was Janaki. He felt if only he could see her one more time and talk to her, he could go back to his old way of living. But who could he tell all this to? Who would believe all this?

When he home, his mother Mallike Henegame saw her son’s long drawn face and asked him what was the matter. She only knew that he to see some friends in Anuradhapura.

“What are you thinking about, son? How are things in Anuradhapura?”

“People are just living, mother. Some have a lot of fear about the coming to attack.”

“You are worried about something?”

Ajith forced a smile.

“Tell me what happened?” Mallika sat near Ajith in the veranda.

“I met a monk, named Subuthi of Thisarawewa. He hypnotized me to find out about my previous life.”

“So what did you see?”

When Ajith explained what he saw under hypnosis, Mallika listened without much belief. “So, you think that you are that Tamil man?”

“I don’t just think. I can feel certain things. Don’t you remember you say that when I was very young I had blisters all over me and that I had a all around my mouth? All that is memory from my burning in a fire.”

“When you were very young you did mutter some words which I could not understand.”

“I understand now. In Niveli I saw the daughter from my previous life.”

Mallika remember something. The trip that she had taken to Kataragama with Ajith…….

“You may not remember, son, we went to Kataragama to release a vow when you were very young. At that time we saw a Tamil family by the bridge. You went running to them. If I remember right, the man who was there called his daughter by the name Janaki.”

“I don’t remember any of that, mother.”

“I remember, I remember quite well. Sister said later that you ran towards the van that were in.”

Ajith let out a deep sigh.

“When you were little, you got scared by a truck carrying petrol, then had high fever. Brother told about it later.” Remembering her eldest son, Lionel who had faced an untimely death, Mallika felt a burning pang in her heart. She also let out a deep sigh.

“Do you think that broughtis a good place, mother?”

“How can we know, son? your brother was always stubborn. Why else would he join a revolution like that?”

“He may have done what he thought was right at the time.”

Knowing of the dislike mother had about talking about older brother, Ajith changed the subject.

“What I would like to do, mother is to meet with that girl one more time and talk to her. The reverend told me that he know a doctor who lives in Niveli. He will find out and let know.”

“Oh, I don’t know……”

“I already feel a great change within me, mother. I understand about the memories and desires that we carry from one lifetime to another. I understand that none of this belong to us. I know why I don’t like the smell of petrol…….”

“From your very young days, if ever you went in a bus, you threw up. You never could stand the of petrol.”

“Now that I know the reason behind all this, I can face the situation much better. Do you know why I am so good at math? That Sundaram was very good with accounting. He was saving money for his daughter’s dowry.”

Ajith could visualize the scene from the canal site in Delkanda Junction. He had a great urge to go there and see.

“I am going for a walk, mother.”

“Come home before it is too dark,” Mallika advised.

Ajith’s home was near the seventh mile post. To walk to Delkanda Junction from here it took him about half an hour. It was very slow walk. Gradually, the darkness fell all around. As he neared the canal shore, a faint twilight was spreading over the surroundings. Moving away from the crowds at the junction, he turned to the right. To the left of the main road, beyond the elephant eared Habarala plants on the shore of the canal, could be heard the laughter of the kids playing outside the shanties. Ajith stopped abruptly. He felt that the stop was right here.

There was a palm trunk laid across the canal like a bridge to the other side. He walked over it like a real pro and reached the area of the shanties. His heart was beating fast. He felt as if he were choking.

This appeared like very familiar surroundings. This is where his hut used to be. But did it belong to him now? Was he Sundaram? Or it is just a thought in his memory? Physically therewas no likeness or a connection between him and Sundaram. But in his thought was the pain of Sundaram. Ajith’s eyes were filling up with tears. Why? Why? Why did they kill me? Why did they kill an innocent man that why? As his heart began to beat faster and faster he sat down in front of the hut.

A young boy came running to him asked, “Are you all right, sir?”

“Yes, yes, I am alright. My leg started hurting.”

“Saman, give the gentleman a chair to sit down,” a woman who stood by the door of the hut said.

“No, don’t brother.”

“Why are you here to meet someone?” the woman asked.

“No, I just came for a walk this way….” Saying this, Ajith stood up. Didn’t Sunsaram bury his pot of money around here somewhere? After he died, his wife must have taken out the money and gone up to Jaffna. Does Janaki know any of this? Janki’s mother, that is, Sundarm’s wife, could she still be alive?

“Are you in a pain, sir?”

“No, no, I am O.K. now. My let got twisted.” Ajith rubbed his shin. “How many years these houses have been here?”

“Oh, they have been here for a long time, sir. If you cannot go across that palm trunk, there is a bridge you can go across further up.”

“No, I can manage.”

While the woman and the boy kept looking, Ajith crossed the muddy canal and reached the road. Everything was engulfed in darkness very quickly. Just like the day had become night, one life had become another. Yet, the day was connected to the night. But, night was not day, Ajiththought.

Was he chasing a mirage? By the time he got home, father was home as well. Seeing his father’s face, Ajith realized that mother must have said something about his earlier conversation with her.

“I have heard about that reverend Subuthi as well,” father struck up a conversation.

“I don’t like to talk about that now, father.” Ajith said before going into his room. Mother and father looked at each other’s faces. Ajith decided to sit down and talk with his father at a later time. Every day he was waiting for a letter from reverend Subuthi. Although he wrote one more time to the monk, he did not get a quick reply.

By the time Ajith received a reply, two months had elapsed. On seeing the monk’s handwriting, Ajith’s hands started to shake.

“Mr. Ajith,” the monk had started the letter.

“I delayed writing back until Dr. Saminadan in Neveli provided me with some information. The woman named Janaki Sundaram is not living there anymore. After her husband had disappeared, Janaki had gone to live with her mother in Puttur. Her address in Puttur I am enclosing herewith. But going there at this time would be very dangerous and risky.

But I have arranged a way for you to see her. She comes to see her son Vasantharaja. He was in the Tiger movement. He had been taken into custody after the attack on the Nodhipura village. Now Vasantharaja is in Vavuniya at a prison camp. If you would like to, you can meet him as well.

I have found out a day that Janaki comes to Vavuniya. Next month, on the third. If you like to, come to the temple the day before, then we can go to the Vauniya camp the next day. Send me a reply.

May the triple gem bless you!

Subuthi of Thissarawewa……

Mallika watched as Ajith read the letter. She could see a pleasant smile drawing across her son’s face.

“What is the priest saying, son?”

Without uttering a single word, Ajith handed the letter to his mother. After reading the contents, Mallike asked “So are you going to see what it’s about?”

“Why not……”

“Shall we come too?”

“M….. no, mother. That I don’t like.”

“I talked with father as well.”

“This is something I have to go alone and face by myself. Maybe, on a later date……”

“Your sister is very curious too.”

“I told you ….some other time…….”

“O.k ,o.k., as you wish.” Mallika agreed. Her only happinss was seeing her son coming out of the shell that he had crawled into.

Quietly, she thanked and gave to reverend subuthi.


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Table of Contents: Preface | Life Cycle | Chapter 01 | Chapter 02 | Chapter 03 | Chapter 04 | Chapter 05 | Chapter 06 | Chapter 07 | Chapter 08 | Chapter 09