Sunday, July 6, 2014

God - an investigation - part 7 - A conservation by the pond

The other day, as I sat reading near a pond, an acquaintance, who lives in my community came along with his wife and two children to feed the ducks that float there. It’s a lovely, quiet place, especially late in the evenings, when the heat comes down and sunlight mellows into a crimson red - a wonderful period of time when I can stretch myself on the bench and read, with chirpy birds all around me, and the placid waters of the pond gently reflecting the serenity of the trees around; and heavens, darkening slowly in anticipation of the night.

Oftentimes, I have met this gentleman here, and each time we wish each other, and our conversation never gets beyond it. This time around when he wished me, I replied (as is my usual practice...) “I am wonderful sir. And how are you...” He nodded his head and with a little bit of hesitation said “I am Ok, pulling along…..” With that brief exchange, I got back to my book, and he to his kids shouting out to them , and the ducks- encouraging them to come out and peck at the bread crumbs they had bought along.

After a brief while, the gentleman returned to the bench, and said “Sir, may I ask you something”. I closed my book and said “Of course, pls do...” He went on:

“I have seen you here many times, and on each occasion, I have observed that you always say you are wonderful, fantastic ; and never the run of the mill answer that people normally give : “I am ok..” or like sounding expressions . What I wanted to ask you is whether you really mean what you say, or is just your way or greeting someone. Pardon me for asking this, but I have never heard anybody, at least not in last six, seven years, with an insecure job market and a less then healthy economy sounding so optimistic and cheerful as you are…”

It was an interesting question, and I thought about it a little while before answering him:

“You know sir, I must with all honesty tell that I am indeed blessed and as happy as I sound. And I will tell you why... One of the most important realization in my life has been that most of us take our lives and everything about us for granted, including the fact that we are alive. It is sad thing that we do not experience death each day, because if we did, I am sure, each one of us will cry out with joy every living moment. You see sir, every living breath we take in is sustained by innumerable forces and events that “conspire” (if I may say so...) to keep us alive. The millions of cellular activities that keep this organic metabolism going, the somato-sensory framework that preserves our individuality, the bounty and the grace of this planet that revolves at a speed that is neither to fast or slow, the gravitational pull that keeps us grounded, the blessing of the sunlight that reaches us with optimum heat and light, the transformation of seasons that replenishes energy , the vastness of the oceans that keeps life moist, the riotous colors and sounds of nature that penetrate us without our beckoning. In fact to keep us alive and kicking is the greatest benediction that Life or God or Nature, whatever you may want to call it – can offer us.

Now, what are we worried about? Our Jobs, Our financial security, our children. None of these are even relevant if we do not rejoice in the fact of living. When we are in love with the throb of life within us, the pulsating vibrancy of our heart beats, the roar of blood flowing through our veins, then all the rest will follow. In the kind of society that we have built, there are inconsistencies, inequalities at the peripheral level of one’s psyche. But that’s the game all of us have agreed to play. So cribbing about rules in the middle of an ongoing game is foolish. Either play it to accepted rules, or quit it and do something else that is in tune with one’s inclination. None of this affects the beatitude of life. One of my favorite lines in the Bhagavad Gita is when Krishna admonishes Arjuna: “Fight the bloody war, my friend. What difference does it make to “You”, whether it is won or lost?” Simply rejoice in the ability that makes you fight. Hence I mean it Sir, when I say “I am Wonderful...”

I am sorry that I put you through this long winding answer, but the bottom line is this: if I cannot find joy within me, I am sure I will not be able to find it anywhere else. This is the resurrection of wisdom…”

God bless…

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