Thursday, March 22, 2007
A synchronicity I felt the urge to mention
This is one of the sleepless nights that I often encounter. To add to it, I have a slightly upset stomach and a slight irritation in my right eye: there's something growing on the inner side of the eyelid. That is besides the usual chain on endless thoughts zooming in my mind like honeybees around a flower, or rather, like horseflies. The fact that I am sleeping next to my mom doesn't help. Ideally, I should sleep like a baby with her around.
So, I quit trying to force myself to sleep, get out of bed, tiptoe to the living room, switch on the lights, and continue reading from where I left off Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho. I'm reminded of something that happened last week with regard to the same book.
It was a regular weekday morning; I got my regular bowl of corn flakes and milk ready, and walked into the living room where I usually relax and have my breakfast. For no specific reason I started thinking about faith, and for no specific reason a scene from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown played in my mind. The scene where Silas goes to the Saint Sulpice Church, destroys the keystone, and then goes on to slay the elderly nun. Then I thought about Jesus and why his teachings were so popular and why would people believe him to be the son of God. It also occurred to me that Jesus existed some 2000 years ago, very close to the estimated period of the Mahabharata. Was it Krishna whose legend spread by word of mouth and is so distorted that people came to know him as Jesus? I know this sounds ridiculous but, as I said, this thought came to me for no apparent reason. Oh, and just a necessary disclaimer: I do not, in any way, mean to demean the legend of either Jesus or Krishna. To me, both are respectable and irrelevant at the same time. Then, inspite of having no plans to read that morning, I picked up Like the Flowing River and started reading a chapter titled Raj Tells Me a Story. I have been reading the chapters in their serial order, though it isn't necessary. Incidentally, the previous night, I was about to read this chapter, but on second thoughts, left it off for the next reading session. I will quote the entire story here. I don't think any further discussion will be required.
A widow from a poor village in Bengal did not have enough money to pay for her son's bus fare, and so, when the boy started going to school, he would have to walk through the forest all on his own. In order to reassure him, she said:
"Don't be afraid of the forest, my son. Ask your God Krishna to go with you. He will hear your prayer."
The boy followed his mother's suggestion; Krishna duly appeared; and from then on, accompanied him to school everyday.
When it was his teacher's birthday, the boy asked his mother for some money in order to buy him a present.
"We haven't any money, son. Ask your brother Krishna to get you a present."
The following day, the boy explained his problem to Krishna, who gave him a jug of milk.
The boy proudly handed the milk to the teacher, but the other boys' presents were far superior and the teacher didn't even notice his gift.
"Take that jug of milk to the kitchen," said the teacher to an assistant.
The assistant did as he was told. However, when he tried to empty the jug, he found that it immediately filled up again of its own accord. He informed the teacher, who was amazed and asked the boy:
"Where did you get that jug, and how does it manage to stay full all the time?"
"Krishna, the god of the forest, gave it to me."
The teacher, the students and the assistant all burst out laughing.
"There are no gods in the forest. That's pure superstition," said the teacher. "If he exists, let's all go and see him."
The whole group set off. The boy started calling for Krishna, but he did not appear. The boy made one last desperate appeal.
"Brother Krishna, my teacher wants to see you. Please show yourself!"
At that moment, a voice emerged and echoed throughout the forest.
"How can he possibly want to see me, my son? He doesn't even believe I exist!"