My name is Madhu Sameer. Once upon a time I was a successful technology professional. In 1997, I sought a divorce, and in 2003, I moved out of the family residence. Hell hath no fury as the man scorned. I was forced to change my profession and began my study to become a psychologist. But again, the man bribed, threatened, and corruptly influenced many to unleash hell on me.
I am now sixty (60) years old. Samsaara is my story. It is also a universal story, a story of every woman in the world. It is the story of patriarchy, and how it decimates the fabric of the feminine self. It is the story of every marginalized section of the world society.
Samsaara represents a cycle of birth, death, rebirth. The cyclical process has no clear beginning or end but encompasses lives lived in perpetual, serial attachments. I was born, died several deaths along the way, only to be born again, as a stronger, better version of myself. My lived experiences over several continents were too voluminous to be contained in a single tome, and therefore, it was recommended that I break them up into different memoirs.
The first memoir, An Absurdity Called Love, is about my childhood and adolescence in India. My parents passed away at my birth, and the years leading from birth to the age of 25 were extremely tremulous, but I persevered and prevailed. I drew inspiration from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Gone With the Wind, Great Expectations, and Fierce Attachments (Vivian Gornick)
The second memoir, Love, Trauma & Individuation, is about my marriage. Unlike most Indians I did not want to chance an arranged marriage. Unfortunately, I had jumped from frying pan into the fire. Culture, and relatives made it impossible for me to divorce him. Its a story of enduring an abusive and exploitative marriage.
I finally broke away in 2003, which starts off the third memoir, The California Files. As I said before, hell hath no fury as a man scorned. A legal nightmare began in 2003 and swept away my dreams of being free. Sameer Khera, my ex-husband, molested my children and robbed us of over $10m in property and support by bribing professionals and public officers. This complex braiding of the story of my ongoing struggles to make something of me, with children’s lives, with legal proceedings that spanned the next 20 years, all of it was a complex process. Of all the memoirs, The California Files was the most difficult to write, so I tackled it first. By the time this book is published, the courts would have ruled on these matters, and so, the memoir is timely.
In order to escape from threats, assaults, intimidation and everyday domestic violence during the twenty years of pendency of family law case, I moved to New Zealand in 2015. The racial abuse, bigotry and financial abuse that I suffered in New Zealand made my woes in United States seem much more bearable. These trials and tribulations in New Zealand are covered in the fourth memoir called The New Zealand Files.
My character arc has followed a path of individuation. Of discovering myself. Of evalving in the face of challenges, and facing the amoral adult world all alone. Of demolishing constructs that I was fed by the society, to see things as they really were, not as we were taught that they are. To see the world through a new set of eyes. To find my place, position in the world. For this understanding of the universe, I am indebted to my education in Fresno State, the Buddhist Teachings, Meditation, Jung’s analysis of Book of Job, Bhagvad Gita and my journeys into the realm of Shiva. The fifth book, My Spiritual Odyssey, details my spiritual growth in the evening of my life.
Samsaara is the story of suffering, endurance, growth and individuation. It traces my life as an Indian woman, an orphan, agnostic, timid, easily frightened, manipulated and controlled, and a slow but steady transformation of this central character under the plethora of grueling challenges.
The series showcases the comparative lives of women in four continents, and how women experience law, order, career prospects in each of these continents. The series exposes the myth of equality of women in United States and in other first world countries. I promise that the natural conclusions will be quite unexpected and unique.
Saṃsāra (Devanagari: संसार) means “wandering”, as well as “world” wherein the term connotes “cyclic change”. Saṃsāra, a fundamental concept in all Indian religions, is linked to the karma theory where it is believed that all living beings cyclically go through births and rebirths. The term is related to phrases such as “the cycle of successive existence”, “transmigration”, “karmic cycle”, “the wheel of life”, and “cyclicality of all life, matter, existence”. Many scholarly texts spell saṃsāra as samsara. The website was not available so I added an extra “a” for convenience.
According to Monier-Williams, saṃsāra is rooted in the term Saṃsṛ (संसृ), which means “to go round, revolve, pass through a succession of states, to go towards or obtain, moving in a circuit”. A conceptual form from this root appears in ancient texts as saṃsaraṇa, which means “going around through a succession of states, birth, rebirth of living beings and the world”, without obstruction. The term shortens to saṃsāra, referring to the same concept, as a “passage through successive states of mundane existence”, a transmigration, metempsychosis, a circuit of living where one repeats previous states, from one body to another, a worldly life of constant change, that is rebirth, growth, decay and redeath. The concept is then contrasted with the concept of moksha, also known as mukti, nirvāṇa, nibbāna or kaivalya, which refers to liberation from this cycle of aimless wandering.
The concept of saṃsāra developed in the post-Vedic times, and is traceable in the Samhita layers such as in sections 1.164, 4.55, 6.70 and 10.14 of the Rigveda. While the idea is mentioned in the Samhita layers of the Vedas, there is lack of clear exposition there, and the idea fully develops in the early Upanishads.
Damien Keown states that the notion of “cyclic birth and death” appears around 800 BC. The word saṃsāra appears, along with Moksha, in several Principal Upanishads such as in verse 1.3.7 of the Katha Upanishad, verse 6.16 of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, verses 1.4 and 6.34 of the Maitri Upanishad.
The word saṃsāra is related to Saṃsṛti, the latter referring to the “course of mundane existence, transmigration, flow, circuit or stream.
The word literally means “wandering through, flowing on”, states Stephen J. Laumakis, in the sense of “aimless and directionless wandering”. The concept of saṃsāra is closely associated with the belief that the person continues to be born and reborn in various realms and forms.
The earliest layers of Vedic text incorporate the concept of life, followed by an afterlife in heaven and hell based on cumulative virtues (merit) or vices (demerit). However, the ancient Vedic Rishis challenged this idea of afterlife as simplistic, because people do not live an equally moral or immoral life. Between generally virtuous lives, some are more virtuous; while evil too has degrees, and the texts assert that it would be unfair for god Yama to judge and reward people with varying degrees of virtue or vices, in an “either or,” and disproportionate manner. They introduced the idea of an afterlife in heaven or hell in proportion to one’s merit, and when this runs out, one returns and is reborn. This idea appears in ancient and medieval texts, as the cycle of life, death, rebirth and re-death, such as section 6:31 of the Mahabharata and section 6.10 of Devi Bhagavata Purana.