My friend Karan had a very serious accident. He nearly lost his life in that. How did it happen? I asked with genuine concern. He described the accident in detail. It was really a miracle that he wasn’t killed.
‘God is great’, he said beamingly, ‘I was saved.’
I had heard this expression so many times before, uttered routinely by many people
whenever they had any luck.
‘Why is He Great?’ I asked.
‘Because he saved my life in such a ghastly accident’.
‘But why did he make the accident happen in the first instance?’
‘Must be a reason. Maybe to punish me for something that I had done wrong.’
‘But whatever wrong you might have committed, it must be He who made you commit it’
‘No. The choice is ours. He doesn’t want us to do anything wrong.’
‘Then why does He create such situations, provide temptations?
If He is the Creator, the Provider, Omniscient, Omnipotent and all that, we are helpless. If
so, how can we be blamed ?’
‘He tests us to see whether we are following the right path’
‘What is the need to test us? Doesn’t He know it?’
Karan’s wife didn’t want him to indulge in such a heretical discussion. He might be punished again.
‘You must discuss these things with some expert, some theologian. We are content with the simple faith that He exists and that He is kind, merciful and benevolent. He protects the good and the innocent and punishes the evil.’
‘But if He is benevolent and kind, why do little children die, why do people fall sick, why do natural disasters take place, why are there wars…?’
‘I can’t answer you now. But there are answers to all these questions. All religions have theories about them.’
‘I have asked many of the preachers of different faiths and no one has been able to satisfy me.’
‘Then ask God Himself – direct’, she suggested authoritatively.
‘God! Where do I find Him?’
‘Everywhere. And specifically, within yourself’
That was some help. You can’t talk to Him if He is everywhere.
But you may be able to do so if He is in that narrow confinement – me.
My wife caught me talking to myself. From a distance, from a different room, she thought I was talking to someone. Coming nearer, she found no one.
‘What was that?’ She asked in wonder.
‘What was what?’
‘I heard you talk.’
‘Yes. I can talk,’ I said.
‘No. But there was no one. Not even phone.’
‘I was talking to God,’ I said casually.
‘God?’ She almost collapsed, ‘Are you crazy ?’
‘Do only crazy people talk to God?’
‘No, but you don’t even believe in His existence. How can you talk to someone who doesn’t exist – for you?’
‘But I have been advised to find Him and talk to Him – within myself’
‘You mean there is God within you?’
‘Yes. That’s what the good people say. That’s what Prema advised me.’
‘She couldn’t have meant you,’ my wife declared disdainfully. ‘God doesn’t – can’t – reside inside people like you.’
‘You must first make yourself worthy of his abode. Right now only the Devil possesses you.’
‘Then where is He right now?’
‘In me,’ she beamed, ‘Talk to me, with love, with reverence, with earnestness. As one would to God. Try. Seek and ye shall find.’
And ever since that I have done that. I am as far from God as I was on that fateful day, but the search is on.
I shall find Him. Someday. She assures me. It suits her.
She is happy. That suits me.
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