Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Squirrel, The Monkey, The Bear & The Guru !

This blog post has had its birth in my offensive mood. So, just in case it offends someone’s sensitivities, I firstly apologize for the hurt. However, not in the wildest of imaginations, shall I apologize for the content following this. I stand by every word written in it and i mean everything that I wrote. It is probably my way of expressing love for a person who changed my life.

It was like any other day. It was like any other place. But, nature though had suddenly and silently shaken the world of faith that moment. Time put three diametrically different feelings - love, hatred and indifference - at swords with each other. It made faith, doubt and silence battle out each other. And it was all happening on the banks of a small river.

Virgil, the squirrel was silently crying. A few hours ago, it had received the news of its spiritual Guru’s passing away. It was a pain, that would need years of mourning. Rafiki, the monkey, though was more happy than ever before. He never had any appreciation for the Guru, although given his monkey mind, he would, from time to time, appreciate the humanitarian works done. And Barry -the bear, couldn’t care for anything. He was a sort of atheist by birth and never believed in the principle of Gurus. He thought that the whole concept of divinity, miracles, followers was too foolish to be followed and too insignificant experienced.

It had been four hours since a word was spoken among them. A small, howling wind had just picked up and it swayed the branches of the tree on which Virgil and Rafiki sat. Barry was comfortably resting his back against the trunks of the tree.

Rafiki ( The Monkey ) : Barry, why don’t you say something ? The silence is too eerie.
Barry ( The Bear ) : Say what ?
Rafiki ( The Monkey ) : Well, anything. Just don’t be silent. Something big has happened today. How can you keep quiet ?
Barry ( The Bear ) : Oh.. Rafiki, Just because something big has happened doesn’t mean I poke my nose into it ! And by the way, I know that our friend Virgil believes in the Guru. So, let’s not hurt his feelings.
Rafiki ( The Monkey ) : Oh Virgil, you wouldn’t mind, would you ? I know you wouldn’t. I have always been curious about knowing whether the Guru was really Divine. I personally doubt it. You know, when you see all the videos, hear the rumours, read all the articles, see the BBC news clippings, the commentaries and other happenings – anyone would. In a perfectly rational world, I cannot accept it without doubt.

Virgil was silent in response.

Rafiki (The Monkey ) : So, Barry, now that Virgil doesn’t mind, what do you think of the Guru ?
Barry (The Bear ) : Hmm Rafiki, I don’t know & I don’t care. Personally, I believe that God has no right to exist on earth. I mean you see all this suffering around you. And people say that God is silently witnessing everything. I ask, why should he even witness ? A silent witness to all the suffering happening on the planet deserves more punishment than anything else. If at all there is a true God, he is not doing what is expected of him and what is..

“What do you want Rafiki ?”, interrupted Virgil and speaking for the first time.
“Oh Virgil, you all right ?”, asked Rafiki hearing the almost choked voice of Virgil.
“I asked, What do you want ? Why this discussion ?”, asked virgil.
“Hmm, well, lets say i want the truth”, said Rafiki sensing the seriousness in virgil's voice.

Virgil : What truth ?
Rafiki : Whether your guru is a godman or a conman ! A miracle worker or a cheat !
Virgil : So, how do you know that what I shall say will be the truth ?
Rafiki : Well I do not. But I just want to know your perspectives.
Virgil : But since why do you care for my perspectives ? And why of all days, today ?
Rafiki : Its not out of care you see. Its more out of a need for rationality. Besides, there are thousands of crores of rupees at stake. And one has been hearing so much about the trust and other things.
Virgil : Rafiki, I am too small and too insignificant to discuss it all. I do not wish to speak. Can we all stop this discussion ?
Rafiki : Oh come on Virgil ! Who, if not you ? You have been born and brought up in Guru’s faith all life. So, why shy away now ?
Virgil : I am not shying away.
Rafiki : Then why are you not answering my question ?
Virgil : What question ?
Rafiki : The question of whether your guru is a godman or a conman ?
Virgil : hmm, what answer do you want to hear Rafiki ?
Rafiki : Your answer.
Virgil : Well Rafiki, you said ‘your’ guru. So, its already clear where your allegiances are and what your perspective is. So, I do not want to loose a friend by speaking my side.
Rafiki : Oh come on Virgil, be a sport. You know I wouldn’t mind.
Virgil : That’s the point. Of what use is my perspective, when it cannot cause your perfectly reasoning, rational thoughts to mind it ?

At this moment, Barry the bear got impatient.
Barry : Virgil, why don’t you speak it out, just so that this monkey can shut up and we all can sleep peacefully !
Rafiki : Sleep ? Oh Barry ! How can you think of sleep ? I mean, I know you are an atheist. But sleeping ? Not today ! Especially when our friend Virgil is sad !
Virgil : Well, Rafiki, honestly what is that you really want want ?
Rafiki : To hear you and your perspectives of the alleged happenings within the Guru’s ashram. Of the trust. Of what the media has to say. Of how will you carry yourself from now on ?
Virgil : What else ?
Rafiki : That is it !
Virgil : No, that is not it. There is something more.
Rafiki : Naa, that is it.
Virgil : So, what is your motive behind trying to know of the incidents, happenings and rumours ?
Rafiki : Well, there is no motive. I just want to know.
Virgil : Ahh, I know you have a monkey mind. But I have never seen you act without a motive. So, what really is your motive ?
Rafiki : Well, if that’s the case, then let us assume that my motive is prove your faith wrong.

“hahaha.. There you go ! I love you Rafiki. You are so very caring about me”, said Virgil with a hint of sarcasm.
“Well, I believe that we were not discussing your acknowledgement of my ability to care”, said Rafiki.
“Hmm”, said Virgil.

Rafiki : Come on Virgil, speak up ! Do you still hold onto your faith ? After all that has happened over the past few days !
Virgil : Hmm Rafiki. Yes, I still hold onto my faith. Infact more stronger than ever. Rafiki, unlike a rational world, where people love those who they consider trustworthy, faith in spirituality is born out of love. An unconditional, selfless, blind love. And faith born out of such love is blind too. So your attempt to break my blind faith using reasons, is like an attempt to break a hard stone using a loud voice – It wouldn’t make any difference.

Rafiki : But isn’t it wrong ? I mean to bow yourself in devotion out of faith to someone, who isn’t truly divine ?

Virgil : What is wrong in it Rafiki ? I am not seeking anything, but his love. I am craving away for his affection. I am learning to be selfless. I am giving away my wealth out of detachment. I am living for him. So, what is your problem ?

Rafiki : But he is not God !
Virgil : What has that got to do with my devotion and what i do ?
Rafiki : If he is not God, how can you be devoted to him ? If he is not God, he cannot change your lives. All his miracles are cheap tricks.
Virgil : My devotion has got nothing to do with his ability to do miracles. I do not want a miracle that can change my life forever.
Rafiki : Well, its not right ! He’s fooling your intellect and toying with you.
Virgil : And he is doing that with my permission.
Rafiki : That makes it all the worse !
Virgil : Why are you scared of it ?
Rafiki : I am not scared. But it is not right !
Virgil : What is not right ?
Rafiki : I don’t know ! But something is certainly not right !
Virgil : What is that something ?
Rafiki : I don’t know.
Virgil : haha.. you see Rafiki, that is the problem ! You don’t know what you want out of this discussion. The simple truth is that for too long, your monkey-natured human mind been too selfish and too self-protective. It is scared of hurt. It has been trained to be so. It trusts only those who can never hurt. And at the first instance of hurt, it goes into a shell and shall never trust anyone, anymore.

Rafiki : What do you want to say now ?
Virgil : I want to say now what you don’t want to hear. I want to say that I shamelessly believe in the messages of my Guru. I trust him because I trust his principles. I trust him because I have seen him stand by his principles and seen him execute his principles. I have myself received education, healthcare and potable water facilities because of him. All of his activities were love executed in action. All of which built my faith in him. All of which miraculously transformed my life.
Rafiki : But that doesn’t make him a god !
Virgil : Rafiki, who, for you, is a God ? A person who at the wave of a hand can miraculously produce something for your astonishment or A person who can provide food to the hungry, medicine to the diseased and education to the illiterate ? A person who has been a life giving support for millions of people – building their hope, support, affection, love and trust for each other ?

Rafiki : That makes him a great human being. Not God.

Virgil : For me, that is enough to treat him as a God.
Rafiki : Hmm, you say that you would consider him a God even if he does not perform miracles. Then why do them at all ? Why have the videos and the slander against you when you can calmly do your work ?
Virgil : Yes, I would consider him a God even if he does not perform miracles. And at the videos, slander and all the articles, I am happy for them.It helps separate my faith out of love from their faith out of expectations. Rafiki, to love God just because he can perform miracles is like loving a woman just because she is beautiful. It is nothing more than lust. My faith and love though is dependent on an unconditional, infinite trust. And such trust can never be broken.
Rafiki : Speaking of trust, what do you think of the activities of his trust and the thousands of crores of rupees ?
Virgil : Rafiki, such a monkey you are ! Anyways, why would I even need to think of the trust and all such things ?
Rafiki : Don’t you think its your responsibility ?
Virgil : Don’t you see my faith has got nothing to do with the trust’s money and the humans controlling it now ? My faith is more on the message, the principles and the service happening around ?
Rafiki : You have become a brainwashed, idiotic blind fool Virgil ! Hasn’t he barry ?
Barry : Rafiki, I said “I don’t care” for what he is ! I want to sleep. I am tired. So, will you stop all this non-sense ? And neither you nor virgil nor any fool is ever going to change mind out of all this discussion.
Virgil : Barry is right. I am a fool. And someday, if my faith is proved wrong, I will die a fool. But Rafiki, what about you ? Not that I care, but just incase, through a remotest chance, my faith is proved right, what would happen to you ? Wouldn’t you have lived a life of doubt, slander and libel ? Aren’t you already living on the hope that he is not god and that you’d not have to atone for the guilt of having spoken bad ?
Rafiki : Hmm, let’s not talk about it.
Virgil : Ok. As you wish. I would shut up.

“And that's what i have been saying. Shut up guys ! And I hope the media shuts up too !”, said Barry drawing the discussion to a close on an evening, where the sun never seemed like setting down.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An open letter to the discouraged & criticized

If you had ever taken your father’s 30 year hard-earned money and lived through guilty feelings by investing it in something that shall take decades to repay, welcome to my world.

If you had ever sat infront of a banker, with not many collateral documents on hand and yet an intense desire to make a dream come true, welcome to this blog !

If you had ever wanted to try something that you wanted with all your heart and were criticized by a nobody for no reason, then welcome again.

And if you ever had a dream, but were shunned, criticized, scared into not following it - Then welcome to reading this open letter to the discouraged, scared, criticized and pessimists.


Dear all,

Firstly, this letter is not against any person. Secondly, this is not meant to create a radical change in anyone. And thirdly, this letter is definitely not a wish of how I want people around me transformed.

I, well and truly understand that the world around me is made up of all kinds of people. Just like the different colored threads of a dress is what gives it, its beauty, layers and design - different attitudes of people are needed for a person to make him/her understand various perspectives to life.

But then, when I look back at the 25 years of my life – there was a time I was tired. There was a time, I was getting fed up. There was a time, when i was getting irritated at how most people are in a default mode to kill others’ dreams. Of how they used words, looks, gossipy comments, an uneasy silence and ultimately sheer indifference to signal what they think of dreamy pursuits. I was fuming at the thought of how others smirk and derive sadistic pleasure in portraying the sense of impossibility in another person’s desires. I felt like screaming at how people could scare a family and confine them to within houses for the thought of risking peace in life. I felt like a sinner for having an attitude to go beyond what others’ thought was my limit.

But what can a powerless, lower middle-class Indian like me do in such situations ? Shouting back with words would mean “I am arrogant and headstrong”. Giving up would mean “killing a part of life within me”. Asking them to give me the time to prove myself would mean “facing skepticism” till I achieve it. And avoiding them would mean “living like an outcast”.

Any of the above options would only end up with me being hurt and demotivated. It would leave me feeling discouraged, scared, criticized and pessimistic. So, what is the way out of all this ? In fact, is there a way out ?

A simple and straight forward answer to it is “NO, THERE IS NO WAY OUT OF THIS !”

Honestly, after years of arroganly trying to follow my heart, I realize that it is none of other people’s business to support you blindly. It is wrong of you to even expect it. It is too much to expect people to unconditionally offer you kind words, encouragement, time and means for you to progress. It is impossible to make them stop talking about their skeptical perspectives of what you are doing. Also, societies do not tolerate people who run the risk of trying to be different while disturbing the harmony within themselves, their family and of people around them.

Then, how do we go about managing such trying times ? How do we dream, be crazy to go after our dreams and yet not run the risk of attracting evil attention ?

In my view, the best way to live life is to not counter but expect evils to live with you for every step and forever. In fact, I would treat them as necessary ! That is what shall add value to your efforts in the long run. People’s expression of your dreams’ impossibility and your striving to make your dreams a reality is what will make a meaningful life and the inspiring story. Life, nature and actions all live in duality. For every dream, there shall and must be an opposition. It is your responsibility to expect it, respect it and not give up in front of it. It is your responsibility to fight it, live with it and travel the distance. It is your responsibility to go take the past scars, present wounds and future hurt in order to live your dreams. It is the price you pay for attempting to be different from people and selfishly live for what your heart wants.

So, the next time, when people say you are wasting time in doing unnecessary things in life, just remember “When you are doing what your heart truly wants, you are never ever wasting time !”

When people say “you are just being arrogant, careless and egoistic”, just remember “When you are doing what your heart wants, you are living life in the way you want and for the purpose you want. It is not being egoistic. It is caring for the only soul who’d always be with you – your heart”

When people say “When you can be calm and peaceful as the person you are, why do you take risks and be troubled”, just remember, “Risks bring immediate troubles. Troubles, when triumphed or even when failed, bring meaning to life. And the ultimate purpose of life is to add meaning to the time we have been given. Not to just remain peaceful. If being peaceful is the only purpose of life, even the lazy sloth is calm and peaceful. That does not mean the insect has led the best life on the planet !”

When people say “I foretold you would fail and see I was right”, just remember “It is never a question of others being right or wrong. It is a question of you being human ! Of listening to your heart. Of living for it. Of telling times and people to come that you lived life on your terms. Of telling yourself that you have faith in what your voice has to say. Of telling god that you never underestimated the ability of his creation.”

And finally, regardless of what people have to say, just remember, when you are heart screams for you to go after your dreams, you better go after it ! People will have a lot of things to say. That is their job. But your heart has only one thing to say. It is your job !

With affectionate regards,

A fellow trier in making my dreams come true,

Sai Prasad Vishwanathan.