Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ordered to achieve


Sunday musings

“... if God spoke directly to your face and said, ‘I command that you be happy in the world, as long as you live.’  What would you do then?”

That’s one of the questions that has remained with me ever since I read Richard Bach’s Illusions as a twenty year-old man.  It remained somewhere within me without affecting me really in any significant way.  Later on, as a teacher, I used it many times in the class for conveying certain messages effectively.

Disclaimer: I don’t believe in God.

But I don’t question anyone’s faith.  What I question is the exploitation of people in the name of gods and faith.  I have seen many people drawing the much needed psychological (call it spiritual, if you prefer) sustenance from their religious faith.  I’d be the last person to take away such sustenance from anyone.

There are times when I felt that religious faith would be a blessing.  It can be a free panacea for certain ills that plague mankind in general and individuals in unique ways.  I’m unable to get that blessing.  My extremely critical mind relies heavily on logic and the rational faculty which refuses to condescend.

It dreams much, however.  Bach’s question is one of the recurring motifs in my dreams.  This Sunday, sitting at home watching the winter sunshine in the sprawling playgrounds outside the staff quarters where I reside I toyed with the question yet again.

If God appeared and told me, ‘I command you to write a novel,’ wouldn’t I quit my lassitude and spin out the tale weaving together the warp and the weft lying higgledy-piggledy in the loom of my mind? 

No doubt, I would.

Why am I waiting for God to come with the command?

Anybody would be an achiever if God came with some such command.  God won’t come.  The fact is the command is already given.  To each one of us.  If only we care to listen, it would be palpable.


Where there is a dream, there is also the skill.  Or, in the words of Richard Bach, “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true.  You may have to work for it, however.”

14 comments:

  1. How true! "Where there is a dream there is also the skill"...All we have to do is harness that skill towards achieving the dream.

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    1. Most people (including me) don't make use of even a quarter of their potential - this is the plain truth. I know very well how lazy I am.

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  2. so true... we have to wake -up and work.. Kiran has put it effectively as the quote ..:)
    and its a blessing indeed to have that kind of faith in God... I sometimes actually yearn for it.. its such a relief not to have this niggling critical mind of mine which prevents me to have ' that ' type of de-stressing faith , leaving all on him and doing many things but doing nothing at all !
    I must be sounding confused ...sigh!

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    1. Some confusion is inevitable when it comes to matters of spirituality. It took me many years to come to a conclusion in this regard.

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  3. Great article. Just to argue, fire gives warmth and also burns. Point is how we use fire. Similarly, people use god to harm as well as to help. I believe god is to be realised by a person. It is not to be heard or believed from some one else.

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    1. "Realised", yes, I agree. God is to be discovered within as one's personal truth(s). Such God makes much sense to me.

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  4. Where there is a dream, there is also the skill. Or, in the words of Richard Bach, “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” Sure Richard Bach was a smart man and so are you sir. When do I get to read your novel? And first copy is mine, advance booking.

    Humans I think are born lazy along with the talents that we have. Its this laze that just doesn't let us achieve all that we actually can. Sometimes what people feel is divine words gives them that push in the right direction.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Athena. Now I must start working more seriously, it seems.

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  5. Sir,
    Thanks for encouraging your readers to look for the god within and not without. And that work is worship. The best thing is you convey the same message in such luring forms that never seem grind the same mill. PS: I'm not sarcastic

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    1. There are only a few basic truths in life. They get repeated in various forms. Even the best novelists of today tell the same old tales in a novel way, that's all. Glad you find my way of presenting the same old truths.

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  6. "You're always free to change your mind, to choose a differnt future or a differnt past." My favourite line from the Messiah's Handbook. I think that sums up your viewpoint. I'm Twenty something, read the book, and ponder the very same questions. A little biased because I love the book more than any other so this just makes this the best post I've read on your blog. :) PS: would have been nice if you started this post saying "if god appeared as a barnstormer..." because that's probably how HE would....

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    1. Yes, Divya. Every 20 something has a lot to learn from Bach. When the Messiah's Handbook was released in India I rushed for a copy of it for the heck of it. Bach had become so much part of my psyche. We can rewrite our past too. It can be interpreted in so many ways. Unfortunately, our politicians are rewriting our past in ways that Bach or his God had not foreseen. :)

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    2. I completely agree with the part about Politicians rewriting our past. They do it to tailor the past to complement their legacy. As an architect it disturbs me to see heritage being vandalized or disregarded just because it doesn't comply with the political ideology of ruling parties in the country. Looks like some of this is beyond even the Messiah's control.

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    3. We have new Messiahs, Divya. New messiahs who perform miracles even with the past. Thus the killer of the Mahatma becomes Saint Godse, for instance. We can wait and watch; more miracles will come soon. There are far too many messiahs in the current dispensation.

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The group is always right

While having a frugal breakfast of dosa with chutney, I watched my wife’s face.   Pain was writ large on it.   Two days of struggle ...