Continuing the discussion, this time Harry answers his son Arjun’s queries about faith and religion. Do miracles occur in our lives? Or, are they confined to the scriptures alone? What is the cause of misery? What role do the fundamental laws of nature play in determining our lot? How does one achieve a state of bliss? Harry provides answers to these questions and more about faith and religion, in a free-wheeling chat over a drink in a first-class lounge at Bombay International Airport.
First dream, then do!
Harry: Oh, that! Yes, that turned out good.
Arjun: Very sleek bedroom with a big LED TV, a bar, a lounge and a workplace with beds convertible to comfortable chairs and pull-out tables with computers.
Harry: Yes, I remember Chabria was going to make one for Jayalalita and I beat him to it. I made mine using some factory workers and a skilled carpenter. That was a long time ago. There was no LED, the TV screen was LCD.
Arjun: Oh yeah, what did Chabria have to say?
Harry: He came to study the way I’d made my plans, with an extra dynamo on the same pulley to run my air conditioning system and refrigerator. He was sceptical about it, said they were not feasible with a Bajaj Tempo and that he’d believe me only when he saw it work. I told him that it was like building castles in the air. Only when you dream can you work towards materializing it.
Arjun: I know, it’s one of your favourite sayings and it always works for you.
Harry: It will work for you too, just stretch your imagination and believe in yourself. You are a smart lad, have faith in yourself.
Faith, Religion and God – how are they connected?
Arjun: Thanks, Dad. I will. Talking of faith, the other day Khush told me that you were discussing religion. That’s strange! That’s unlike you. I have never heard you talk about it.
Harry: What about faith?
Arjun: Faith, maybe, but not religion.
Harry: Hmm, well, every religion talks about faith.
Arjun: Do you believe in God?
Harry: God is subjective; how do you define God? Everyone’s idea of God is very personal.
Arjun: A creator. God has created us.
Harry: We have created God! Our needs, our fears have created God.
Arjun: I don’t believe in all this rubbish, please don’t mention this in anyone’s presence, they will think you are crazy. (After a pause) I am sorry, I vented out like this.
Harry: Don’t worry, I won’t. With you, it’s different. We generally speak our heart out.
Harry: I don’t know what I am, this is just my point of view and I am no one to say that I am right.
Arjun: Do you mind taking this further? I want to know how you think.
Harry: Sure, I know you have a mind of your own and no one can influence you.
Are religious practices wrong?
Arjun: Are you saying that we all are wrong in following religious practices?
Harry: Not at all. It’s your belief, a perfect way of life. It gives you solace, peace and the strength to face life. This faith gives you hope and positivity. Whatever works for you is great. As long as you don’t pray for a purpose and expect God to solve all your problems because you’ve given dakshina to the priest. I don’t believe in these miracles. These are mere figments of your imagination.
Arjun: I agree with you but these miracles do happen, there are all kinds of stories and some of us have witnessed them. You can’t say that it’s not possible.
Harry: Everything is possible, the mind strong enough to make anything happen, even miracles, provided you have belief and complete faith. We even have quantum physics to tell you that the wave-particle duality is the doing of the mind. But why do we seek miracles? For reassurance that God is with us? Isn’t the entire universe a miracle? The sun, the moon, the sky. Is that not enough to reassure you? We must pray to God with our actions, and that too causelessly. What’s the point in time-consuming rituals and praying for miracles?
Mother Nature – the root of all balance
Arjun: So, you do believe in God?
Harry: Yes, I do. My God is Mother Nature. I need to get close to nature. Its laws govern us. From the time you are born, the laws of the universe govern everything from the physical to the mental, emotional and spiritual. From atoms and molecules to planetary systems, everything is so fluid and dynamic and yet stationary. Everything is in complete harmony. Santulan!
Arjun: Equilibrium! I remember when I was seven years old you took me on a flight to Sydney and how everyone laughed when I asked why the plane had stopped moving.
Harry: Yes, I remember they were serving lunch and the aircraft was cruising at forty thousand feet. It was so stable, it seemed to be stationary.
Santulan – the balancing of forces
Arjun: Yes, it felt as if it was not moving. You said it was; only the forces were balanced. I remembered this and much later, I studied thermodynamics. I knew how the lift, the vertical component of drag balanced the gravity, making the aircraft fly straight and level. The skill of the pilot was evident in flying with zero acceleration and the slightest gradient to produce just enough lift for the passengers to eat their lunch in comfort.
Harry: That is a perfect analogy, son; this is exactly how nature balances and keeps us all in equilibrium. The universe is so dynamic and yet so static. The two balance one another. Santulan! From the time we are born, we follow these laws subconsciously.
A baby tries to walk, falls and learns how to cope with the laws of gravity. We learn everything from doing things. Life is a learning ground. The more you do, the more you fail. That’s learning by trial and error. We learn to coexist with love, exactly like atoms and molecules. Complete bonding in love.
In the process, we must guard against running away from ourselves. Social pressures are the conflicts that we grow with. We cannot detach ourselves from our surroundings. We have to learn to balance, that’s what nature is all about. Therefore, when you ask me about God, all I can think of is Mother Nature. We need to be as close to nature as possible. Newton’s first and third laws of motion tells us a lot about it. We all know about third law and its significance. Tell me the first law.
The laws of the universe
Arjun: Every object continues in the state of rest or of uniform motion unless acted upon by an external impressed force to change its state.
Harry: Yes, but what’s the external force? Gravity in science, peer pressure in society. Without this, you are beyond worldly pressures. You are in space, beyond the escape velocity of earth.
Arjun: But who has created the universe? The laws of nature? Who has created nature? The Creator, God.
Harry: Why does anyone have to create nature; it is self-created. Okay, we will go with what you say, God created nature, the universe and multiple universes. He has given us everything. We only need to abide by the laws of the universe to be happy. You are answerable only to your soul, the God inside you. Your destiny is governed by the universe; it is tailor-made for you. The day the umbilical cord is cut, you are independent. It is for you to benefit. The Creator has done everything for your benefit and now everything is left to you. Do not bother Him now, just indulge in action and abide by the laws of the universe for complete bliss.
Why so much misery all around?
Arjun: In that case, why is there so misery all around?
Harry: Because we seldom follow the laws of nature, the laws of the universe. The norms of society decide our actions. We do what is expected of us by our peers, passed off as God’s will. We are always trying to prove ourselves worthy and in the process we live a lie. The grip of attachment and ego leads to increased expectation and to greed, anxiety and fear, in turn. These insecurities make us miserable and we curse our luck, our destiny. At this stage we think of God and pray for solutions.
Arjun: Do you believe in heaven with God up there and the Devil down under in hell?
Harry: I accept your belief in God, but when you say up there, I don’t know what you are talking about.
Arjun: How do you work towards going to heaven when you die?
Harry: You don’t go anywhere, even when you die. Just look out of the window. If you don’t believe you are in heaven now, to hell with you. Heaven and hell are one as both are right here, nowhere else. If you believe life is hell, it certainly is so.
Arjun looks dumb founded, staring at his dad in disbelief. Harry smiles at him. His eyes are fixed on Arjun, studying his expressions. He nods in reassurance as his smile broadens.
What’s your view? on Faith and Religion
So, both Heaven and Hell are within you. Bliss lies in being in harmony with Mother Nature, while going against the laws of the universe can invite misery. This is the immutable truth but each of us interpret it in their own way. What’s your take?