Dr. Kamala Maddali
© 2021 becomingakamala
In our actual lives, such Devis/women and Devas/men are those that awaken hard-shelled seeds within us, helping us break down the negative aspects of ourselves while embracing the positive.
The title of this chapter is dedicated to a “divine angel,” called Devi, a female angel or Deva, a male angel in Sanskrit. Devi means “goddess,” but it is also the name of the Hindu mother goddess. Devi embodies the concept of womanhood completely, a nurturing force, and a protector of villages (via Smithsonian). Despite her gentle nature, she is fierce. As well as creating universes, she destroys evil aspects of the universe for the greater good and peace of the universe.
My chapter is as follows: I cut my wrists severely in a moment of despair, feeling woozy after hours, and collapsed on the floor. What a terrible mistake I had made in the darkest moments of my thinking and confusion of life’s problems. My memories of how I came to be in an emergency room after how many hours are fuzzy. My vision was blurry, I could barely see without myopic spectacles, and I couldn’t see clearly with my naked eyes. Further to this, I was a total puzzle as to why I was doing this to myself. I’ve never felt like this since I was born—depressed, angry, devalued.
My life hadn’t even been a quarter of a century when I felt like the worst human to ever exist! I don’t know what happened to me and I wasn’t listening to myself. I couldn’t help thinking about questions ever since I opened my eyes, surrounded by tubes placed into my throat to drain poison I consumed to die along with the deeply inflicted knife wounds. The question being:
After my two days in the ER, I was moved to another facility, so I wasn’t quite sure where I would be going. It became apparent that it was a psychiatric facility that monitored a suicidal patient’s recovery and behavioral health.
At this psychiatric facility I was tethered to an observation ward I shared with other patients with the same kind of suicidal trauma. I was in constant pain and tears, incapable of speaking to anyone for two days. I was under constant scrutiny if I would try to commit suicide again and as I used the bathroom, I was naked—in fear I might renege on my promise to abstain from suicide again. I remember my shower in the bathroom made me feel like a dried seed in my shell. It reminded me so much of being hard-shelled without any sense. Whenever I touched a drop of water, I felt motion
less and lifeless, which is quite unusual for an aquarius-born human being like me.
In those two days, I overheard stories from people who I’m in the same boat with, but their stories were heartbreaking, from homeless to sexually abused.
In the midst of this, a divine-looking angel was visible far away in the room I was in; she had a smile as my mother, Sita, did.
An old me would probably have jumped up and greeted her and told how similar her smile was to my mother’s. However, I was barely motivated in speaking with anyone around me.
At the end of the second day, early in the evening, I heard a voice ask, “Would it bother you if I helped you, Kamala Kalyani?” The gesture sounded like my mother and maternal grandmother contacting me from overseas, thousands of miles away, out of love!
The enigmatic young woman in front of me held a book with an orange back cover. Despite my eyes being hazily swollen from tears, as I read the title, it stated, “The Bhagavad Gita’’ in English.
I was stunned seeing that picture as I saw a beautiful Caucasian woman holding a holy book of the oldest religion of mankind, Hinduism. I opened my eyes like the stars in the darkest of nights, shining heavenly powers. I found her inspi
rational radiance and appearance similar to a Devi, a female deity found in various comic books where Hindu mythology is depicted.
The Bhagavad Gita, the main Hindu sacred text, does not include angels in the same sense that Islam, Judaism, or Christianity do. In Hinduism, such angelic beings include gods like Lord Krishna, the Bhagavad Gita’s author. “Devas” and “Devis” are terms used in reference to male and female deities, respectively. Human gurus (spiritual teachers who developed divinity in their core) and ancestors who passed away. You may have discovered that Vice President Kamala Harris has a middle name called Devi, which symbolizes her true calling as the first female Vice President in American history.
There are not many people in the United States who remember my first and middle names back then. When I viewed Devi, that young Caucasian female who had been described as divine, I felt I saw a person of authority with divine intention. Her so deeply committing her speech to my name had a purpose.
Devi took an old note out of her book and read out the words:
“I hate you, Kamala Kalyani.”
I couldn’t stop staring at the note’s four petal, Lotus-like origami fold, which reminds me of a Kamala. It touched me deeply and began to awaken my inner core.
I was holding a book magazine with a cover of mighty elephants, which are one of my most favorite of nature’s creations. It was apparent she was very curious about my connection to elephants. I told her there are several reasons but also one of the main reasons being it represents the mighty Lord Ganesha, the obstacle-remover God who is a human with an elephant’s head we pray to in India. Hence, I am holding this magazine to my chest and would like to connect better with the Ganesha to better understand who I am.
We talked for hours, I didn’t even get to ask her name and she talked for hours about her acquaintance with India, her friends, and then finally she said, “You know the meaning of your names right?” I said I would love to hear her perspec
tive. Devi said that Kalyani is named after the Goddess of Knowledge who sits on the Lotus, a symbol for the Kamala. I told her my life story from my childhood until my arrival in the United States. You will find it documented in the first few chapters. In the end, she said, “Kamala, your story thus far reminds me of the great Indian prayer, the story of Gajendra Moksha.”
“Gajendra Moksha,’’ a prayer addressed by the king elephant, Gajendra to Lord Vishnu, who is the preserver god as per Hindu religion. In Hindu mythology, that means he keeps the universe going strong and saved from destruction.