This is a transcript of an interview with Mrs. Ruchi, who has been experiencing attacks of sleep paralysis over the past 4 years. For details with regards to why it happens please refer to the article on Spiritual research into sleep paralysis.
Ruchi, 25, is a microbiologist from Melbourne, Australia who has been experiencing attacks of sleep paralysis over the past 4 years. The following is a transcript of an interview that we had with her.
Interviewer: Ruchi can you please tell us when these paralytic attacks started?
Ruchi: I do not remember the exact date; I think it was in March 2002. I can clearly remember the first time it happened. I had just finished a nice home-cooked meal and was lying back on the sofa in the living room when it happened. At the time, I was living with my parents in the UK. It was an eerie experience as I was fully conscious but could not move my body however hard I tried. Even though my dad was just next to me watching television, I could not call out for help. I later found out that he thought I was sleeping, as my eyes were closed. I could feel my blood circulating very fast and there was this buzzing sound. I thought I was having a heart attack.
Interviewer: How long did it last for?
Ruchi: About an hour.
Interviewer: Ruchi, was there any plausible explanation about what could have prompted this, I mean were you on any medication, depressed, stressed or do you have any history of hearing sounds?
Ruchi: No. I am pretty much the average person doing things by the book; I cannot see any reason why I would have had such an experience.
Interviewer: Did it recur after that?
Ruchi: Yes, it did about six or seven times over the years, until I got married in 2004.
Interviewer: Did you tell anyone about it?
Ruchi: No, as I felt people would think I am going crazy.
Interviewer: So after getting married did it subside?
Ruchi: No, on the contrary, it increased in intensity after I got married and settled in Brisbane, Australia. In fact, there was one afternoon when my husband was working with a friend of his in the other room, while I was resting in the bedroom. It happened again and lasted for some 3 hours. I could not call out for help, even though they were just in the next room.
Over the past 1 year it has increased both in frequency and intensity. It got to a point where it was happening every second day. During every paralytic attack, I felt a pressure on my body. It was generally restricted to the chest and the throat region. In some cases the pressure on my chest escalated to throttling of my neck. During the attack, I have difficulty breathing and I feel suffocated. The attacks last from a few minutes at a time to 3-4 hours in some cases. Quite often, it is accompanied by a foul smell.
Another peculiarity is that it is most likely to occur on full moon and new moon days.
Interviewer: The reason as to why it is more likely to happen on a full moon day is because ghosts are most active on this day.
Ruchi: I see. My sleep at night was at best intermittent and I would end up going to work tired. I was always sleepy and yet I was fearful of going to sleep. Of late, I am also able to perceive a presence just before it happens.
Interviewer: So how do you come out of it?
Ruchi: Well, I cannot do much while I am in a paralysed state. I try to call out to my husband for help. Sometimes a few muttering noises come out of my throat, which then alert him about my condition. At the time, he shakes me and I am released from the paralysed state. On other days, it is a waiting game until I am released from the state.
My husband is a seeker who is practicing Spirituality under the guidance of the Spiritual Science Research Foundation. He would advise me to take spiritual remedies to counteract this paralysis and tell me that it was because of an attack by a ghost. Initially I would not believe it and was casual about putting the spiritual remedies into action. Later as the attacks increased, I became more sincere with the spiritual preventive remedies.
Interviewer: What were the spiritual preventive remedies and did they help?
Ruchi: I take a number of spiritual preventive remedies.
- Salt water treatment 2 times a day: This includes soaking my feet in salt water fortified by adding a pinch of Holy ash (Vibhūti), along with simultaneous chanting of the Name of God and a prayer that the black energy engulfing me be pulled into the salt water.
- Putting Holy water (Thirthā) around my bed and praying for a protective sheath around myself before sleeping.
- Lighting incense sticks of sandalwood fragrance.
- Prayer for protection throughout the day.
- Circumambulation around the idol of Shrī Gaṇēsh at least 21 times. (This means going around Shri Ganesh’s idol.)
- Chanting of my family Deity’s Name.
- Chanting of Deity Datta’s Namefor protection against ancestral problems.
Having no background of this type of remedy, I was a bit skeptical initially. However the distress was so overwhelming, that I was ready to do anything to get rid of it. As I experienced a reduction in attacks after taking these precautions, I gained faith and invested in them more seriously.
It is like I fortify a protective sheath around myself by taking these precautions. On the days that I do not take these precautions, I am more likely to get an attack of sleep paralysis.
Interviewer: I understand that His Holiness Dr. Athavale recently gave you some advice.
Ruchi: Yes, He asked me to do ‘nyās‘. I need to bunch my fingers towards my chest and chant ‘Shri Gurudev Datta’ as much as possible. I was to do this along with the other usual precautions that I explained earlier. (Shri Gurudev Datta is the chant for protection against problems caused by departed ancestors.)
I put them into practice immediately and there was an immediate effect. It’s been about three weeks now and I have not had a case of sleep paralysis. On one or two occasions in the three weeks, it recurred fleetingly for a few minutes. After a very long time, I am able to get a good night’s rest.
Interviewer: Would you like to add anything?
Ruchi: I feel there is a positive thing that has come out of this experience. I am much stronger mentally, as I know I have the tools to fight my difficulty. I also realise the importance of regular spiritual practice and the need to protect myself spiritually.
Please click on the below media file to hear Ruchi’s account in her own words.