Spurred by a discussion with a friend, I find myself aroused “writer-ly” to churn out one heck of a post! We were dueling on why things happen like they happen before the discussion ended abruptly. But I wasn’t finished, so here I am.
Why, do you think, people around you seem to be in so much misery, which most of the times is uncalled for. Like a stationary motorcyclist getting rammed from behind, a plane crash, a suicide bombing, or, somebody being put on life support because of doctor’s negligence? Things that make you feel helpless. And rightly so.
What might be the reason? Is it just a coincidence when felony befalls us or is this part of a larger picture? Did we just happen to be in the vicinity when a bomb went off, or our plan caught a snug mid-flight? What ascertains what is going to happen to us? Permutations, combinations and probability or some divine algorithm is at play?
Mahabharata explains this in great detail. It introduces a concept akin to a bank account. You do good, your account gets credited, do bad, debited. This bank account surpasses life and death itself, it is an account not for your flesh, but for you soul, which is indestructible. Mahabharata says, sins you have committed will have to be paid for. This largely explains your “Oh god! why me??” questions. It is because of whatever wrong you did in your past. And by past I don’t mean your childhood, go way back, to your past lives. (If we will be anyways punished, why take the pain to do anything good at all? Because you want your future safe, stupid).
Another question springs up at this moment. If this Karma theory is right, then why do we pray? Why go to temples, churches, mosques and kneel down to pray (and pray to whom? but that comes later). Does it atone for the bad you have done, does it purify you of your past crimes?
Well, no. And that’s the general opinion, not something only I believe in. But I go further and pronounce praying to be a selfish act. It is just for us to feel at peace. Because I don’t think any honest, sensible God would want you to sit and sing his praises while you could be doing something really constructive with your time. Praying is meditating (difference being, in meditation you aren’t asking anyone for forgiveness or blessings). That also explains the reason for maintaining silence (or singing melodious hymns) and incense sticks. They are not for pleasing the Gods! They are for you to feel better.
But then all this bank account stuff, how do we even know it is true? Do we have concrete proofs validating life after death, rebirths and reincarnations? And I don’t want to side with any of the extreme view about its validity. I stick to the middle, I do not know. We humans have an innate desire to control other’s actions. Imagine, for a moment, if there was no “supreme power” to look up to. No concept of an omniscient being making a note of all your deeds. What if, (just like our mothers create feckless ghosts that will get angry if we don’t drink our milk) somebody cooked up a story, “See son, there is someone up there who sees everything. He is going to take an account of your life when your time comes. Make sure it doesn’t put you to shame, or HELL awaits you!” Unlearn all you know about Gods and divinity, what if this is what actually happened?
But then, this is just an explanation I forged up for having no explanation to the question: Is God real? That’s what we do, we are naturally disposed to cooking up explanations for things we have no answers for. We are ephemeral creatures. I don’t know what happened in my past birth (If we are still considering it) or what I am going to be in the next. All that matters to me is this one life and I know I have to be happy.
How do I make sure I am not on the other end of the accidents I mentioned before? I don’t.
I just make sure I am not doing anything bad for someone, consciously, and that I am kind. That’s it. Like Abraham Lincoln puts it –
When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.
And this religion does not need answers that have been eluding us since time unknown. We stay happy by adopting what we do best, Ignorance. Because Ignorance is bliss, my friend!
When I started writing, I had a a lot of things in my mind. But finishing it now, I am disappointed with how it turned up. Still, it is what it is.
Constructive, open-minded discussion? Most welcome!