Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Tsunami

Hari Warrier, a colleague, friend and pranic healer wrote this.

The toll is mounting everyday. Tsunami Sunday has shaken us out of our slumbers like 9/11 never did. There is something about disaster which brings out the best in man – and the worst. So we have a virtual flood of aid and relief materials pouring towards the affected areas. There are touching stories of man sharing food with his pets, schoolkids launching collection drives, lots of people all behaving very nobly.
Parallely, there are tales of looting of villages as men with small hearts and smaller minds try to make hay while bodies rot. But that is man for you – an imperfect animal if there ever was.
The question everyone is asking is, Why? Why did this happen? For what fault are these lakh and a half people, many of them innocent children, dead? Is God angry with us? But isn’t God supposed to be forgiving, benign, benevolent, loving? And anyway what great wrong could kids have done? No less than an archbishop has sadly raised the question: does God exist, for heaven’s sake?
It is like this.
God is an all-loving, benevolent parent, sure. But the thing is, He can see through our little bodies, and see us for the souls that we really are. Whatever happens is for the best – for our soul, not the body.
Hoy! you say. So now we have to believe not only in an invisible god, but this soul nonsense as well.
Just bear with me a little The people who died in the tsunami were paying karmic debt. Does that mean they were all bad guys in past lives? Well, we ALL are bad guys, past life or this life. Karma is not about past only, it is also about the present. Every time we reject God, or curse our neighbour, or cheat on our spouse, or yell at our kids, or under-declare our income to the government, we are incurring bad karma. It all adds up.
Karma is gobbledegook, you say. I am out of here.
Well, your soul would dearly love to be out of here. But the truth is that it is stuck with this body, and all unholy nonsense that the mind dishes out. It is not the body that has a soul attached to it, but the soul that is shackled to body. The soul is like the chap who wants to race ahead, but is hampered by a heavy suitcase that is the body. As karma adds up, so does the weight of the suitcase. Pity the poor soul.
And another little matter: we are all part of God. That is, we have our existence IN God. There is no plural for God. What about the Hindu pantheon? Well, it consists of Devas or Devtas – who are, in simplistic terms, beings higher than the human form, but still not God. Everything, simply everything, has its existence in God, call Him Krishna, Allah or Christ (at that, Christ never claimed to be God. It was always ‘son of God’).
So why did the tsunami happen? Why does any Act of God happen?
Why, simply because this earth that we take so much for granted, is also a part of God, a living thing. A very small part (we are miniscule, nano stuff...). And like all other living things, earth too goes through cycles of catharses.
Every day, in our unthinking, uncaring way, we fill her up with our crap, our plastic wastes, and God alone knows what else, which earth ingests uncomplainingly. But there comes a time when earth too retches, throws up. And God arranges things in such a manner that some good can come out of such cataclysms – a few thousand souls manage to get rid of their bodies, a few million can donate a day’s pay, a few dozen perform acts of heroism of which they would not have believed themselves capable...
Notice, the Nicobar tribals seem to have come out of the tsunami without much trouble? Animals in wildlife sanctuaries have survived. And domestic animals, which got inkling of trouble brewing hours before their sense-benumbed ‘masters’, simply wandered away to safety. Most of them, at least. So even the devastation was choosy. Those who did not need to die, survived. Miraculously, even seven days later, floating back ashore riding cusions and broken doors.
What is the lesson? That we must return to primitive way of life? Wouldn’t that be ideal? No housing loans, no job insecurity, no college grades to worry about... But that is not feasible. What is the next best alternative?
Why, remember God at all times. Remember Lord Krishna’s little homily to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra? Perform your duties without any expectations, without any attachment. Do your stuff, and forget it. Neki kar, aur kuen mein daal.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you go out and kill your neighbour and ‘forget all about it’. Because in other parts of the Gita, Krishna has spelt out what is right and what is wrong – which anyone with rudimentary intelligence can figure out. Don’t lie. Don’t kill. Don’t cheat. Etc etc. And at the end of it all, like Kabir put it, Dukh mein sumiran sab karen, such meing kare na koi, jo sukh mein sumiran kare, dukh kahe ko hoi?
Translated, if you remember God in good times, why should there be bad times at all? Why indeed? Pity, then, that the first reaction of many tsunami-hit seems to be to reject God outright. But then, we’re still carrying that suitcase – thanks to our power to ‘reason’.
The mind is like a muddy pond (have you heard the analogy of the beautiful lotus that lives in the dirty pond? The lotus is the soul, but what is the dirty water? The mind, obviously). We need to allow the mud to settle down before we can see to the other side. The more we think, the more we agitate the water, preventing clarity. And the more thoughts we create, the dirtier the pond gets... Difficult, from the bottom of a pond like that, to see the lotus floating on top, no? We need to still the water that is mind, allow the dirt to settle down, before we can see the lotus, and understand the meaning of incarnate life. Which, of course, is where meditation comes in...
But for centuries, we’ve been living it up like there is no tomorrow. We’ve been busily improving our little material lives, discovering the wheel and then inventing automobiles to drive and crash into innocent people, discovering electricity and inventing electric toasters and washing machines so that we have even more time to live it up (with less effort), splitting atoms and then inventing the bomb. One shudders: if we ‘discover God’, to what use will we put Him?
To Acts of God against enemy nations? Help us, God. Please.

1 comment:

S said...

Hi Just happened to read this philo-psycho piece worth pondering. The language and thought processes touches the sublime and deviates from what I have been reading in your otherblogs.