I was sitting impatiently at the lobby of the hotel, waiting for my son’s Leadership camp to conclude when I noticed the elderly European couple slowly walk past the reception towards the door. The lady had a copy of the city map in her hand. With her other hand, she was gently holding her partner, a lanky white haired gentleman. He had a guiding cane in his hand and dark shades over his eyes. As he slowly wobbled down the ramp, it became apparent that he was blind. My attention was diverted as Amaan excitedly came into the lobby with his friends and I didn’t think of the couple till we were slowly driving home. A blind tourist? What on earth will he see? What will his overall experience be? Why should he take all the pain?
I genuinely felt sorry for this vulnerable wayfarer.
I get similar feelings when I think of some of my very close friends and relatives who claim to be atheists or deem themselves agnostics. I have the deepest respect for their views. But I sincerely feel sorry for them, for choosing to keep their eyes tightly closed as they move through life, denying themselves of the light of spiritual Vision… that fluttering of the soul’s lashes deep within….opening floodgates of warm and tingling light….that allows you to experience lingering moments of love and peace….the ecstasy of submission, the bliss of sacrificing, the delight of giving… the relief of being in an impregnable sanctuary under the loving care of the almighty.
How I wish that they experience at least once, the feeling of assurance that prevails when one chooses not to bear the heavy mantle of decision at times when logic and reason falls short of showing you what is right. A few months back, the resident doctors taking care of dad had given us a tough choice- to take him off the ventilator and to let things be. They reasoned nonchalantly about relieving him from pain, giving him the companionship of his loved ones, and to let him pass away comfortably. One even advised me to pray to god to take him away soon to lessen his suffering. We disagreed for we fully knew that birth, life and death were prerogatives of the almighty and we simply didn’t know enough to take the right decision. Our mandate is to fight without giving up and to leave the outcomes to the almighty.
Dad fought on bravely against that formidable bout of pneumonia for few more weeks before succumbing to god’s will. Spiritual wisdom tells us to utter thanks to god even when you lose a loved one. For the one who departs gets to be embraced by eternity, a never ending saga of either pain or pleasure depending on how he lived his life, the values he cherished and the deeds he chose to send before him. As they say, in this life you have intermittent bouts of pleasure and pain. In the next one you get either one… forever. Moreover, Believers take comfort even from their afflictions since they consider hardships to be blessings that cleanse them from past sins. They also believe that every bad thing that happens to one is a substitute for something worse that could have happened.
Believers don’t get stuck in a state of helplessness when their loved ones move on. They believe that they can continue to serve them by praying for them and doing good deeds on their behalf. It is said that only three things help you after your death- Continuing acts of charity that you leave behind, knowledge and enlightenment that you have spread and righteous off springs who pray for you. It is even said that the souls of the dead would know about and be comforted from our prayers. The feeling that you get when you do something worthwhile for these departed souls is indescribable.
Every day, I get to do something for my dad and even convey my love and adoration for him. And as I utter my prayers, I get to reach him through the grace and love of the almighty and in spells of absolute bliss; I feel proud of being a worthy son.
How I wish I could have some of my atheist friends partake a bit of this bliss. How I wish they could also revel in this comforting spell….
I can understand the objections that would be arising in the minds of some of my readers. Proof/Superstition/Illogical/Waste of time/Escapism/Fallacy…….
For those who don’t want to embrace faith yet, let me defend my suggestions based on rational arguments. In psychotechnology, we talk about two types of thoughts- Empowering ones and dis empowering ones. It is not about the correctness of your paradigms, it is about their use- as to what they allow you to be and become… If they give you hope, shake you out of immobility, motivate you to do good deeds, and turn into a better person… why bother about their definiteness? Just stop wanting to be right for a few minutes, give in to these empowering beliefs and get to bask in the euphoria of spiritual initiation.
The great secret however is that if you suspend disbelief even for a second and give the power of faith a chance, you will soon be overwhelmed with evidence of its truth.
I had once read about an incident that happened in a train. A man was sitting opposite to a family comprising of a young man and his parents. The young man who was seated next to the window would frequently exclaim- “Dad! The clouds are following us, Dad the trees are moving backwards”. The baffled man asked the father- “Is your son alright? Why is he behaving like this?” The father replied – “My son was blind all his life. We are coming from the hospital and he is seeing these things for the first time”
How I wish my friends could also see… at least once….