Monday, August 27, 2007

God helps those who help themselves...

The papers tell me that India is the second highest in the world, when it comes to terrorism related incidents, causalities and deaths; second only to Iraq. Well, should we congratulate ourselves for this 'distinguished honour' or berate ourselves about this sorry state of affairs!! How did the situation become this critical and why don't we retaliate are the first questions that come to our mind as we read this. Compare our subdued reactions with the aggressive ones of US after 9-11. Whether good or bad, both words and the actions (which were louder) kind of made it clear that the US was not taking any shit from others.

We have always believed in the principle of Ahimsa. We got our independence by the same method [or so the story goes]. But, are n't we carrying it a bit too far? There is a Jataka tale about the same. There was once a poisonous snake that lived in a hole in a field. It would bite anyone who ventured close to it, whether or not they tried to harm it. A Buddhist monk who was passing by spoke to the snake and advised it not to do so and told it to follow Ahimsa. The snake paid heed to his words and totally stopped biting anybody. Soon the people lost their fear of the snake. They hit at it with stones and sticks and harmed it whenever it came out. Slowly, the bruised and battered snake could no longer hunt, and started growing feebler by the day. At this time, the monk happened to pass by the same field. The monk was shocked to see the sorry condition of the snake. When he found out what was the cause for the snake's pitiable state, he told the snake that he had asked it not to attack anybody, but had never told it not to raise its hood to threaten its attackers, or even to retaliate in self defense. The snake now got the true picture of what "Ahimsa" meant. It meant, never to willingly attack or hurt another living being, but, it gave you full right to protect yourself, against other's attack. So applies to us. We now let the terrorists to walk over us. Corruption and constitution delay Justice, and, offenders walk free, free to terrorise again.

Another thing I have n't been able to stomach is the utter religiousness or should I say religious follies that are rampant. The Prime minister has knee pain, and a maha yajna is created to appease the Gods to relieve him of it. The beginning of a new year - a super smashing Havan is conducted to ensure that the coming year is peaceful and prosperous. The rains are delayed, crops fail, people are dying - and, the Rain god and his cronies are treated to a ghee-rich feast, so, that satisfied, they ll 'shower' us with their blessings. Eclipse, floods, drought, earthquake, tsunami - the cure for all disasters - Appease the concerned deities!! The absurdity of this approach never fails to amuse me.No, I m not an aethist, Yes, I do go to temples etc; but, isn't there a saying that goes - "God helps those who help themselves" ?? The current situation is like that of a student, who spends all his time praying, rather than preparing for his upcoming exam, with the blind faith that God will protect him. In my opinion, God is not external to us, not a puppeteer who pulls the strings and enjoys the play unfolding below. He is a force within us, a source of confidence when we are unsure of ourselves, a pillar of strength when we are feeling weak, a place of solace when we need comforting. He surely would not want us to waste millions of rupees on building Him temples of gold and giving Him precious offerings. Rather, if that money were used for the development of the needy, I guess He would be appeased more. It is said in the Gita - "Karmanyevaadhikaaraste maa phaleshu kadachana" . The Lord has decreed that we should work, do the best we can in any situation, and, then, He shall see that we get the success we deserve. Instead, we lean on to Him, like parasites, hoping that with no inputs from us, He shall do all that is to be done. Well, great expectations :)

It is time the Nation rose as one, time we forgot all our internal quarrels - of caste, religion and regionalism, and remembered that we are all, deep down, Indians. And, as Shahrukh Khan says in Chak De, "Pehle apne desh ke liye khelo, phir apne team ke liye, aur phir bhi kuch jaan bachi, toh khud ke liye khelo" . When will "India rising" become a reality, rather than an election slogan!!

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