Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Power of the Spirit


Fiction

When Ram Kumar hurried through breakfast and got ready to go out on Sunday, Mandira knew where he would be going.   Nevertheless she asked, “Shivam and Shivangi have a lot of homework.  Projects and FA assignments.  They need help.”

“You help them; I have duty at Bhagwan’s gate.”

Bhagwan was a godman who gave darsan every weekend to devotees.  Thousands of devotees would come seeking the godman’s blessings.  They would squat on the ground in an enormous hall and listen to Bhagwan’s speech.  And then they would render some voluntary service like cleaning up, cooking or serving the meals to the devotees or doing the dishes.  Ram Kumar always opted to render his services at the gate.  Frisking the devotees to make sure that they were not carrying any mobile phones or cameras or intoxicants.  The job gave him a strange sense of power.  “Jai Bhagwan!” he returned the greeting of each devotee with due solemnity.

I have so much work to do, mumbled Mandira to herself.  Cooking, washing the clothes, cleaning the house… and then help children with their endless projects and assignments.   Why does he think that voluntary service at Bhagwan’s ashram is holier than service to one’s wife and children?

“Prajapati had three kinds of children,” Bhagwan began his sermon.  “Gods, men and demons.  They all lived with their father Prajapati as students of sacred knowledge.  Having completed their studies, they asked for the final message.  And Prajapati said, ‘Da’.” Da was Prajapati’s answer to all the three, gods, men and demons.  And what did they understand?”

After a dramatic pause, Bhagwan continued.  “Da meant damyata to the gods.  Self-control is what the gods learnt.  Datta, generosity, is what the men understood.  And the demons took Da to mean dayadhvam, compassion.  The gods and the demons are all within ourselves.”  Bhagwan went on teach the importance of self-control, generosity and compassion in the life of every devotee. 

“Why the hell do teachers give so much work to children?” fulminated Mandira when Shivam and Shivangi pestered her with questions like why there more white elephants in Thailand than in India or whether Australia would appear in the East or West to a person standing on the moon and looking at the earth.

Since all the devotees were already seated, Ram Kumar sat down with the other volunteers at the gate and discussed why Mr Narendra Modi chose to visit Bhutan first.  The discussion slipped to the need to remove all the Congress-appointed governors from the various states.  Since their knowledge of the issues could not outlast Bhagwan’s speech on the education of Prajapati’s offspring, the discussion came home and revolved on the latest acquisitions by their neighbours in the respective colonies or colleagues in the respective workplaces. 

It was then that Ram Kumar’s eyes wandered into the enormous hall where the devotees sat listening to the merits of self-control, generosity and compassion.  One boy was trying to capture the picture of Bhagwan on his mobile phone.  How did the boy enter the gate with a mobile phone in the first place, wondered Ram Kumar.  Serious lapse of security.  He rushed and brought the boy red handed to the gate.

They showered a volley of questions on the boy while Bhagwan continued his holy sermon blissfully.  They threatened to beat the hell out of him if he didn’t speak the truth.  They thought of calling the police and gave up since that would draw unnecessary attention of the media. 

“My mother wanted to see Bhagwan,” the boy had explained.  She could never attend the sermons since she was always busy at home. 

“How can anyone receive Bhagwan’s darsan on a stupid phone?”  The devout gate keepers were scandalised.  The matter was too theological to be solved at their level.  They decided to take it to the Core Committee in the evening. 


As the boy stood like a condemned criminal, Ram Kumar felt a surge of power rising in his soul.  

15 comments:

  1. How foolish is Mr RAM who is escaping from his responsbilities towards his children and giving his time to so called BHAGWAN who is making people fool actually he is not making people fool , they themselves are fool and how one innocent boy who wants to show BHAGWANS picture to his mother is beaten up by his devotees .. INDIA is a Place where in every street u can get MANY BHAGWANS .. and see how Bhagwan and his devotees are treating his innocent followers .. I have seen many a times this type of situation .. liked the way you have written..REAL INDIA REAL BHAGWAN WITH HIS REAL DEVOTEES HAHA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most people who consider themselves 'religious' turn out to be like the protagonist in the story, mere gatekeepers of spirituality. And the fact is that they only want to be that. Their motives are not anything spiritual.

      Delete
    2. Most people who consider themselves 'religious' turn out to be like the protagonist in the story, mere gatekeepers of spirituality. And the fact is that they only want to be that. Their motives are not anything spiritual.

      Delete
  2. I liked the surge of power in Ram Kumar's character ... such surge occur in all husks who think themselves as 'person' and who are placed here and there, everywhere, male, female in whole of our society. Empty shells..- RamKumar, devotee, perhaps the Baba.. Living persons- (good/bad don't know) wife and the boy with the phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There can be no spirituality without humanitarian feelings... yes, husk, that's what we will have in such cases.

      Delete
  3. Sad, but true state of society. How can spirituality can exist without love and compassion?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When people fail at home, they turn to religion - and fail more miserably!

      Delete
  4. " surge of power' ..yes obviously..a man like him who is oblivious of his own duties towards his family and prefers listening to Bhagwan's teachings..listening only but fails to understand and grasp the true meaning... It's a pity that most of the ' religious' people belong to this category in our society...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For some people, religion is like politics - a source of power.

      Delete
  5. Its a sad state of affairs to realize sometimes how a few words play out in the society. People seem to have a strange sense of association and personalization to a few godly words and easily link them up to the practices than the true essence of it. It really is a painful thing to know that most important values in the society or a personal life take a beating because of that :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How many people genuinely seek spirituality? I have seen more people following religious practices for purposes other than spirituality.

      Delete
  6. I read this to my mother yesterday. She got impressed by the story and me too. :)
    After reading I concluded that those who turn out to be the gatekeeper of religion and righteousness, those judge and lay rules, are the ones who escape their own duties...

    I have heard that real sages live a good family life, providing for their family. Ram Kumar feels the surge of power for he got into a position to question the actions of someone else. How about he questioning himself? Then their could have been a realization. Generally, those who don't monitor themselves are those who try to monitor others.

    Children need to read this story so that when they grow up they become self-monitoring and not judgemental.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't need to add anything more to what you've said, Namrata. I can only say that learning goodness, learning to retain the beauty of life from compulsive marauders, is an arduous task. My next blog is related to that theme, a review of the novel 'The Goldfinch'.

      I must add that I'm flattered by your reading the story to your mother.

      Delete