Wednesday, February 24, 2010

II- The Statement

“The next one is always better”. My friend said with an authority of a highly experienced person. We both were standing in front of my house and he was telling me about his new love interest. His previous girl-friend was conveniently given a quiet burial by him and neither did I try to mention her. Imagining the benefits of putting this statement to practice in our future life, we burst out laughing.

We were in our 10th std and little did we realize that the statement can affect our lives in ways we could not have imagined.

During the course of our friendship, my friend applied this statement diligently with respect to his love life. Later, when the job scene descended, sure enough, he applied the statement to his career and the meaning of the statement changed to ' The next job is always better '. Success, ultimately came to him.

Time passed quickly. I had completed reading the book 'Autobiography of a yogi'. The book had given me the puzzle pieces to form the grand picture of God. However the big picture was still missing. How do I relate the spiritual fact that the world is an illusion to the law of karma? Why is god formless and why is he everywhere?

How I wish my father’s guru was alive. He could have answered all my questions about god. His death itself gave rise to few questions in my mind. My father’s guru before departing for South Africa, had left a note for my father and he gave it to my father’s friend. As fate would have it, my father received the same when it was too late. The note, apart from stating that he is leaving this world assured my father that he is not dead and that he will always be with him.

What? People don’t die?? After the miracle in the Sanskrit exam, understandably, I could not dismiss his words easily. Morever, the scientific law that - All is energy and Energy can neither be created nor destroyed lent support to the assertion of my father’s guru.

It started to seem like a race to understand God and its creation. My competitors, the scientific community, wasn't sure as to what is the nature of the Universe either. They were getting desperate as there was no other reason for them to spend 10 billion dollars ( 50,000 crores ) to build the Large hadron Collidor ( The LHC ) to understand the nature of atoms which are anyways 99.9999% empty! Isn’t this the kind of thing that would make a reasonable person pause.. I wondered.

Time passed slowly this time. I was beginning to get frustrated. I thought maybe I am going mad and that maybe the race between me and the scientists is best left to the scientists. I didn’t know what to do or whom to ask.

Then I opened the morning newspaper and got my answer. God heard me again!

God is the best magician..I realized. He executes the impossible trick of commanding respect of billions of people without ever showing himself!

The newspaper was edited on that day by Chairman of Infosys- Narayana Murthy. In it, he wrote and I quote- “ I do not understand why people read fiction. Life is the biggest fiction”.

Ah.. Narayana Murthy was also in the race to understand God and its creation. Surely then, I thought was worth running. The thought of me wanting to quit the race was erased immediately and I began to take the liberty of comparing myself to Narayana Murthy. well..atleast in some respects. I also wondered who else was also in the race and who had finished the race.

The statement of Narayana Murthy also showed me that the next thing I had to do was pick and read the next book. Perhaps, God was wanting me to put the statement ' The next one is always better' to practice...:)

P.s- Please do not use the statement in your love life while you are in a relationship. It can have unintended and unforeseen consequences.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I-Finding God through Sanskrit Exam

I cheated. Seriously! has nothing to do with my marriage. The Year was 1988. I had shifted from Bombay to Delhi and had taken admission in Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, New Delhi ( 8th Standard ). Thinking I would bid goodbye to the Marathi Language subject, my joy knew no bounds. Alas..... it was too good to last. I encountered a bigger beast in the Sanskrit Language.

With a deep breath and with fear and uncertainty in my heart, I started taking my chances with this extremely alien language. Seeing the difficulty of my grasping the language, the teacher suggested and I complied, by enrolling for classes of Sanskrit language during the summer vacations. The teacher at BVB, who seemed more of a pandit than a teacher, tried his best to show that it was a very sensible and an easy language. Ultimately he failed.. and I followed him in his footsteps by failing .. in three subsequent tests. I never got more than 15 marks. The only consolation was that I had performed well in the other subjects.

The slowly approaching final exams took away my sleep. The thought of other friends scoring high consistently in this subject kind of depressed me. All izz well.. All izz well.. I kept telling myself and trying to learn the shlokas etc. In between my prayers to God, I tried to study for Sanskrit. My father always told me that God always answers. I really wanted to believe him but logic always took precedence. How can God write my paper in the exam? Then the miracle happened. I passed the exam with 75 %. I think I still have the report card somewhere in the attic. God did write my paper in the exam.

My father's Guru
It so happened, two days before the final Sanskrit exam, my father’s guru had come to stay at our house. He was a very learned man and had meditated in the Himalayas for 27 years. He also had tried to teach me the Sanskrit Language but alas..he may have conquered himalayas but could not conquer me. The faint idea of me winning against him quickly vapourised on seeing the dejected look on his face. For a split second I thought he was dejected with himself but logic told me otherwise. ..:(

The thought crossed my mind that it is useless for me to appear in the sanskrit exam as my previous appearance had not helped much. However my bright idea was firmly struck down by my father's guru and he directed me in a stern voice that I have to appear in the exam at any cost and that I need not worry and that I SHALL PASS. I quickly closed all the books, took his blessings and hastily departed from his room. I dismissed his statement as mere positive thinking but the courage to disobey him was not within me. So with great reluctance, I dragged myself to the examination room not knowing as to what to do next except wait for the divine INTELLIGENCE to somehow get into MY HEAD and give me all the answers.

I glanced through the sanskrit paper and I could answer only one question. I did and then I sat quietly waiting for what to do next. No god came..i looked at other students sitting next to me who were feverishly writing. I looked at my watch as to when the exam would be over so that I can escape this torture. I do remember smiling at my father's guru statement that I shall pass. It seemed hopeless.

I buried my head close to the answer sheet in order to become invisible to the teacher's questioning glance from time to time. I wanted to give him the idea that I was writing something.

During this ostrich-like attitude, I felt a tap on my left hand from a friend sitting on my left side. He had seen through me that I was not writing anything on the paper. He enquired as to why was I wasting time and not writing. I told him through hand gestures that I do not know anything.

At this, he snatched my answer sheet from me and gave me his answer sheet when the teacher was not looking. I resisted at his pulling my answer sheet as I had never cheated and did not want to.. but something told me to let go...which, on hindsight, I am glad I did..

I again went back to my ostrich like attitude while my friend completed my answers. On completion, he handed me the answer sheet back .. I hurried and handed the same to the teacher and got out of the examination room. The relief of coming out of the examination room was like winning the war after losing three battles.

In all the haste.. I forgot to thank my friend... we had never talked much before or after this incident. Yet, had he not helped me, the future may have been completely different. I came home and went straight to my father's guru. I told him what happened and how my friend completed my answers for me..he just smiled.

All was forgotton.. my Fathers guru entered samadhi a few years later.

Many Years later, in a coffee shop ( barista ) in south ex, I was waiting for someone. To pass time, I went to the adjoining book shop, picked up an obscure book and randomly opened a page, and read casually and was shocked. How is it possible? I said to myself.

The book was AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI by Paramhansa Yogananda. The passage that I read had some uncanny similarity with what happened with me earlier during my sanskrit exam. Moreover, I found that my father's guru's guru and the guru of Paramhansa Yogananda were the same. I got the book and read that night.

During that night, I realized that it was my father's guru that had helped through my friend. I remembered his smile again. Why did I not realise the obvious then? A tear rolled down my eye for not thanking him for making me pass the sanskrit exam.

The book and the sanskrit exam changed me. No longer was there a question whether GOD exists or not. whether God answers our prayers or not. The question that intrigues me now is Who is GOD? My search continues still..the answers are coming slowly.. the evidence emerging is exciting me to search for more.

A puzzling question remains..who actually cheated in the sanskrit exam?...:)