I was addicted to tobacco chewing from the age of twelve. I am now 73 years old. I would chew an entire sachet of tobacco (about 10 gms.) in a day or two. I would not be able to stay without chewing it for even five minutes. No matter how much I tried to kick the habit, it would not leave me. Many doctors had advised me to quit the habit for fear of mouth cancer but I would say, “Even if I am to develop mouth cancer, I cannot give it up.”
I started the spiritual practice of chanting the Name of my Family deity and the special protection chant of ‘Shrī Gurudev Datta‘ since 1997 as per guidance by the Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SSRF) but my addiction continued. In 1998, I came to stay in the hermitage (Ashram) of SSRF to render service unto the Absolute Truth (satsēvā) free-of-charge as my spiritual practice. I served in the kitchen. One day in 1998, on a religious festival day, I was so totally engrossed in the preparations and a feeling of worship that I did not notice that an entire day just passed by. At night, I had a nagging feeling that something was amiss. When I thought over the events of that day, I realized that I had not chewed tobacco throughout the day nor had I thought about it. At that very moment, I decided not to touch it again. Since then my addiction of 54 long years went away. I did not experience any withdrawal effects. Due to the spiritual practice as advised by SSRF, I could give up my addiction without making any special efforts.
– Ms. Annapurna Ambhore