The Journey Of God

The Friend

God was His playmate. After all, His grand-dad always told stories about God where he was naughtier than Him. Playing pranks, stealing butter, tying a serpent around the stomach, riding a mouse — all these antics of God seemed inspiring. He definitely wanted to try them at some point in life. Well, may be when He was much bigger and taller. He always liked visiting the temple — which was supposed to be the House of God. And He was always fascinated by how many Gods seem to exist. It simply meant there were so many of those stories that He would hear from his grand-dad. So many different idols to play with. Krishna, Ganesha, Shiva, Rama — the list would go on.

The sanctum santorum at his home housed all these Gods and their idols. He had been clearly instructed not to touch any of them. Which he found strange. He would be dressed up as Lord Krishna on Janmashtami — but then he would always wonder why the distance between Him and the Gods prevailed at the sanctum santorum at his home.

He particularly liked the Elephant headed God Ganesha. He seemed all powerful and serious, yet had a funny face with a trunk and a rotund stomach. And his arrival once a year meant lots of sweets and a new set of clothes. He was the God that you had to pray to before starting anything good.

He had his own set of idols — which somehow never got the attention like the ones in the sanctum at his home. He would play with them, make them have food, bathe them, put them to sleep. Gods, afterall, were like everybody else. On their birthdays and in temples, they got special treatment. When He played with them, they were his playmates. He smashed the idols on the floor one moment; cuddled them the next. Hurled an abuse at them when he was agitated; and they rested next to him when he slept.

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Journey Of God

The Rebel

The first death he saw in life was that of his Grand-dad. He was in disbelief for days together when this happened. How could God take away the life of someone who worshiped him so dearly for years together?

And if God really existed, why did he lose three table tennis competitions after reaching the finals each time? He had prayed ever so fervently that morning, requesting God to ensure that he won the finals. It wasn’t to be.

After two years of just saying Hello, he finally had mustered courage to ask her out. But then, one minute into that all important conversation, she had spurned him with a giggle that mocked his approach. Where was God when he went through the agony of disappointment?

Well, the simple answer was God didn’t exist. God was just imagination. God was just belief. To believe he controlled everything was a myth — an argument of the weak. It was man with his sheer will, determination, poise and ability who controlled everything.

He watched movies that glorified God and his prowess. He read mythology where good battled against evil and God took some form or the other to save the world. Yet he would watch the society around. The poor, the deprived, the incapacitated. People who were suffering, and would continue to suffer — though they worshipped God with fervour and — as he later realised — fear. Good would never triumph over Evil in all cases.

Youth ignited the fire of science, rationalism and liberalism in him. He argued against rituals that seemed to have no connection with the outcome. How could a promise to shave his head guarantee a job in an MNC? How could the birth star of a girl mean that her in-laws would suffer a tragic death?
Why would God ask a cow or a goat as sacrifice? And why would God of one religion instigate thousands against the God of another religion for a small corner in a room where it was believed he was born? And why did he stay in silence when thousands were killed and blood flowed like water in his name?

God simply did not exist.

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The Prisoner

The battles of Life doused the fire in his eyes. The blows of reality weighed on him and bent his spirit. As he grew battle weary, he found the Elixir that mattered — God.

He cajoled his rebellious spirit into performing the first set of rituals his family priests prescribed. And Lo! He reaped the rewards immediately. The Gods were propitiated by his surrender and showered their blessings. All his problems at that point seemingly vanished into thin air. The priests claimed victory for Gods, devotion, fear and of course themselves.

And then, he was imprisoned. Within walls of Faith. Handcuffed to fear. Yet free of responsibility — because God controlled his life. God made sure he succeeded. God was to blame if he failed. If he wanted something dearly, all he needed to do was appease God with a Yaga. His wish would be granted.

He made a beeline to all temples his family and friends recommended. He set aside a portion of his earnings for temple offerings. Pictures of different Gods adorned walls at his home. He sported vermilion in the morning and sacred ash in the evening. He forced his kids to visit the temple once every week. They needed God’s blessings.

Debates of God’s existence never had any meaning in them. The debate that mattered to him was which God is superior. Ofcourse, it was His God that was superior. His God, his faith were the greatest. And he went to the extent of confusing God and Faith with the country. He derived a strange jingoistic pleasure with this equation. He would worship his God — and that would be his service to the country, he proclaimed.

From a tiny slit in the walls of his prison, would peep in rays of rationale that had nurtured the fiery spirit in his Youth. In sporadic moments of insanity, he would take a step or two towards the light. As it pierced his eyes and his conscience, he would look away.

The darkness of His Prison had never questioned him

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The Veteran

Though delayed, grey hair and wisdom did set in. The lens through which he viewed the world did change — literally and metaphorically. He had seen enough of life to not get carried away by success or cowed down by failure. His family had tided through crisis and his progeny did not depend on him for sustenance. He was finally finding a balance.

God appeared to him in new light now. Somehow, this was close to the way he had viewed God when he was a child. God was his friend. A benefactor. May be he controlled everything and may be didn’t. He was there — like everyone else- he was just there. Watching. Not necessarily watching over.

Scriptures, mythology, religious texts seemed different. He grasped their meanings and purpose at a different depth. The journey was on the intellectual plane. He was not reading them for peace. He was reading them because he was at peace.

If anything, he started believing the concept of Karma. As you sow, so you reap. Work was Worship. A good deed would beget a good one. And not necessarily in you next life which no one knows if it exists. But here and now. Justice would be delayed — but never denied.

He still made a beeline to the temples. But the purpose was different. The purpose was the journey and not the destination. The Gods were nestled in the mountains, amidst nature, for a reason. You could trek through the greenery, work hard to reach the temples. The long journeys themselves provided an opportunity for reflection. And the vacation provided a much needed break from the problems we were grappling with day in day out in our lives.

He stopped offering money to the temples and instead started spending the same on the poor and the destitute. He now saw God in service. During his morning and evening walks, he made friends with people of all faiths. Visited their places of worship and listened to their preaching. He realized Gods never discriminated.

He went to his childhood cupboard and opened the trunk with the idols of Gods. The Elephant God smiled at him. He always did.

God had come a Full Circle.

Originally published at https://simplysimha.blogspot.com.

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Alok Simha

Alok Simha

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Blogger. Bengalurean. Sales Professional. Trying to explore the world within and outside with words. https://simplysimha.blogspot.com