Death and Faith

It has been a while since I have thought about this topic. For some reason that I am not aware of, I have been hesitant to write about this or discuss this with anyone else. I vaguely brought this up with Preeti early 2011 when I was about to travel to USA in March. However, I did discuss this with Samita Thakur on length. I just was unable to discuss this with Preeti because I knew she would be completely psyched about it and just didn’t want her to get upset.

For a decade (2000-2010) I have maintained the place that “I am not afraid of death”. I believed that everyone has to die one day and once I die it is over for me. Death will not affect me because I am gone. I have always wanted a swift death; didn’t want to suffer. I don’t know when, but my thinking changed and I realized it when I started to travel so often to Hyderabad for office assignments. This was in the year 2010 itself (January to March). And, then later that year I had to travel to USA for office work. I had 2 trips planned in that duration and flying just made me so stressed out. I was paranoid about flying and the second time (March 2011), I was just over the top. It was so much so that my blood pressure was up to 130/100. It was that time when I discussed it with Preeti and Samita.

Of course, they both did mention the same thing that I had believed for almost a decade – why do you care? you can’t control it; if it happens it happens. If something bad has to happen it can happen anytime anywhere. I knew all that, yet air-travel has just been so stressful. Around time of travel, I would find reason in everything about why it happened this time and why not last time. A few examples:

  • Aparna’s mother-in-law asked to come to meet me especially in March just before travel and I was thinking – “why now? why not last time?”. Preeti told me she wanted to last time too and I was relieved;
  • I didn’t want to pick up a flight and just wanted to be assigned a flight to travel.

And there were more. It was a huge thing – I was challenging every event in March just before travel. Yet, I did travel and did arrive in Plymouth safely and now I am sitting today writing this on the eve of my travel. This time the travel plans have changed unplanned and once more I am asking myself the same question.

However, some part of me has always asked me this question – “Why would God bother to kill me in such an unusual way?” I don’t travel much, so why make all this trip on work assignment just to kill me in an air accident or put me through a misery. He can do this when, where and how He wishes it. I can’t explain myself why would he do this now; I have a daughter to take care of, a wife who thinks of me as her life and two parents who would be devastated if anything would happen to me (I just can’t imagine what would happen to them).

To top it all, I feel so sad just thinking about this. As I write this post, I am trembling from inside and I have a feeling that I have never had before – I can’t describe it. The saddest part is my realization that I am not trusting God and His decisions. Where I have faith in Him, I still think about this and in a way challenge His actions. He has done so many good things for me, and if He has decided to do this to me then who am I to question His deeds. I never questioned when good things happened; why about this. This is something out of my control and if it has to happen it will happen. I just can’t do anything about it.

I just need to find peace around this topic – if I continue to think about this that I am letting go of my Faith in Him; my faith in Him that he will take care of me; my Faith in Him to take care of my family. For a very long time, when I pray, I asked for one thing and one thing only – “Please do what is best for me”. When I start to think of all this, I let go of my faith in Him and his decisions around me.

<side-thought>Next few lines should help me understand and put this topic to rest for ever</side-thought>.

I have started to believe in Karma more strongly in recent times and believe that what we get is a result of our actions. I believe that God keeps a score for us – good deeds give us points and bad deeds take away points. What happens with us is a result of what our score is. I believe that Death comes when we have fulfilled our purpose in this life. I don’t know the purpose of my life, but whatever I do is in that direction – I just don’t know it. I don’t want to digress from topic, so I am going to end it by accepting my Faith over my fear.

I want to carry on with my life believing that God is going keep a watch over me as He has done in the past and He is going to do the same for my family too. I will just go about doing my stuff and try to do the right thing. I will try to choose my purpose and make people around me happy. Rest I will leave to God. He has brought us to existence and He will do what is best for us. Death is just another way of tempting me to let go of my Faith, but I will not. I will not stop doing what I am should do (Karma), and I will do it using my best judgement. God will judge me for my actions.

I have had doubts if this I should share this thought and what is the right way to share these thoughts with my parents, siblings, wife and children. So, after thinking for a long time, I am going to publish this post, because this is the easiest way for them to know what I believe in and what I have gone through for last 2 years. This is the best way for me to pass on my Faith to them especially in times when God is testing us. I just want everyone to know that I don’t think of death all the time, and I want to be around to fulfill my purpose of a son, a brother, a husband and a father. But, based upon my actions God will decide when I have served my purpose. And to let you know, as I end this post, I feel much lighter that I was a while ago. I know now, that I need to fix a few things in my life and do it while I have the time.

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It happens for a reason and that too a good one

Last month has been a different one for me. Three things happened for me and all those were that are completely against my first nature.:

  1. I took a road-trip to Wisconsin, Chicago and Indiana all by myself. For someone who never goes alone anywhere it was a big deal. People close to me would know that I don’t like to travel much let alone go some place all by myself. This was a trip that happened all of a sudden and in the end it was a one to remember. When I started the trip I did not realize that I would be seeing one of the most amazing things I have ever heard of or seen – The House on the Rock. As the trip ended, I did realize that it was for the good;
  2. A couple of weeks after that, I went on another road-trip to Mt. Rushmore and neighboring areas. This trip I guess was another one out of impulse. I have not yet written about it, but in this trip I did drive though the most beautiful country side ever. I never thought I would do it and thought that my best would be the drive from house on the rock to Plymouth a few weeks earlier. But, this was even better (I will write about this soon);
  3. Another week gone by and I had yet another string of events on the day of travel back to India.

This is not the first time that things have happened around me that I can not explain. While I have a strong belief in “the choices we make are the basis of what happens with us”; yet there are several times where I just can’t explain why it happened. Like today, when I had to cancel my plans, I lost my passport only to find it 30 minutes later. I never wanted any of that to happen yet it all that happened.

I am still trying to understand the events and decipher the reasons behind all of it. I can not  decipher any of that until next few days till the time I reach home safely and I am with my family or till the time I get my bags. The question arises at the point when all of it has happened as it should have happened – “Why did it all happened in a different way if the result was the same?”. Unless, something changes during next 36-40 hours.

I just spent last 5 minutes thinking what to write next and I came up blank – I just don’t know how to think on this. I just am blank on this. I just feel – that things happen for a reason and that too a good one. Few more hours to find the reason behind all this and realize what was good in that.

Selfless deeds don’t matter

Memorial plaque dedicated to Mother Teresa by ...
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A few weeks earlier when I was having a conversation with my nephew this topic came up. He said there is ni deed as selfless deed. We all see people around us praisung selflessness and any selfish acts are seen with disgust. The big question is do people know of an act is selfish or not? And is there a deed that can truly be defined as selfless?

Selfish deed can be defined as a deed that has been done for self interest or happiness. Ones selfishness leads one to do things that are directed for their own benefit. Any selfish deed will only mean their own benefit.

A selfless deed can be defined as a deed that has been dine without any self interest and only for the benefit of the others. A true selfless deed should not bring any benefit to the one who is performing the deed.

Now that we have the definitions out of the way, lets think abiyt his would you judge a deed to be selfish or selfless. Okay, did the definition not cover it? I think it did, but lets see that I be again. A deed that has been acted upon without any self interest will be considered as selfless only if there are alternatives that exist and are more profitable for the person acting upon it. However, a true or an absolute selfless deed would mean that the action has absolutely no benefits irrespective of the options available. I. Other words, if there are more profitable options availabe, the deed performed should bit have any benefits even if they are lesser. Anything else is selfish (phew that was easy).

The next big question is – how are the benefits quantified? The can be material or emotional. Lets say, if I was to do charity for an organization run by a friend or a colleague, and in return I expect to bb benefited in a contract or job than that is material benefit. But, if I do charity for an independent organization where I know no one and I don’t expect any returns, I am doing it for my internal peace and happiness. So now, if we take this argument and apply it all deeds and say that every deed is for self-hapiness then it implies that big deed cna be selfless. Everything that is done is don’t for an emotional or internal benefit. Every person has some interior motive to do it.

The last part may be philosiphical, but it is interesting and eventually leaves no room for any other discussions. I do nit know if I have an answer for it yet, but I do feel it very intriguing. Why? Simply because if thus is true, then all the praise that goes in for selfless deeds is nothing but a hypocritical, the praise itself would imply that the person who has done a deed with openness had an interior motive of getting praise out of it and hence getting benefit in the society of being a “better person”.

Now, having said all that, I think of Saint Mother Teresa and all the good she has done, and it breaks my heart to call her selfish. However, if I apply the same rule to her then she was very selfish. Now that simply can’t be true. But, the logic takes me there.

And makes me sad to think that it is these so called “selfless and great” people who get the most out of it and other who have motives of salvation and happiness are left behind. Ever heard of “neki kar kuain main daal” (do good and forget about it, don’t tell it). That is something which is a rare commodity today.

Thinking all this, I have come to a conclusion that it don’t matter if a deed is categorized as selfless or selfish, as long it is a good deed. If the society can go past the selfless act and praise all good deeds, the world would be a better place to live in.

Be a Slave or Be Selfish

Slave transport in Africa, depicted in a 19th-...
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My nephew (Sushant) has started his new blog and he started off with a great topic – Being Slave. However, as the comments started up and we picked up the debate it left me with this thought – “Be a Slave or Be Selfish”. In one of his comments, Sushant mentioned that there is nothing called “Selfless deed” and argument being – if a person chooses to be selfless and take up pain, that is for their self-satisfaction and hence it is not self-less.

I see things a little differently. Let me first explain now I perceive these 2 scenarios:

 – Slave: Is a person who does not have a choice and are asked to do something against their wish.

– Selfish: Is a person who performs a deed for their own happiness.

Every person will fall in either of the two categories.

In my comment here, I have explained the point where people are given the option of being able to choose or not. What is unquantifiable, is the fact if someone has chosen. It is easy to spot bondage and slavery when it is physical and people are chained and beaten when they don’t do as asked for. However, when someone is chaining their thoughts and taking away their free-will it is simply not  quantifiable.

To set the semantics right, it is not one’s choice to be a slave and in relations one would not even know that they are slaved because they are brain-washed by the master. A Slave in relation would not even know what hit them, and they are driven by a feeling within them that leads them to believe and do what their “master” says.

It is only when you have a choice is when you can be selfish or not, but a topic for another day. And, I re-phrase a few things I said earlier in the post:

Every person will fall in either of the two categories. Do they? Or is there a 3rd category – Non-slave and non-selfish?

Being a Slave is not a choice, it is thrust upon; so you cant be selfish. You just don’t choose

God’s role in Karma

Wen god pushes u to the edge of difficulty,trust him fully.Coz only 2 things can happen Either he’l catch u when u fall or he will teach u how 2 fly

This was posted by my sister-in-law on facebook and it led me to re-think a very old belief that I have had.

We can trust in God only if we have Faith; and if we have Faith, trust will come naturally.

I am confused because  if you know nothing can go wrong then that means we dont have a role to play. The only choice we got is to jump. I believe that God gives us choices – Jump or not. One will have a bad consequence like – We dont jump we dont learn to fly or we jump and we get hurt. The choice is ours and we dont know what leads to what makes is more difficult.

I have believed for a very long time, that everything that happens, happens for a reason and that reason is always good. God does takes care of us. I dont want to let go of my belief, but I have started to believe in Karma a lot more and how it shapes our life. And, currently I am finding it difficult to put these two together.

Destiny!!

Destiny is seen as a sequence of events that is inevitable and unchangeable.

Well this has me confused – It is also said – “you can choose your own destiny”. If Destiny does exists, then no matter what I choose to do throughout my life, all those actions nonetheless lead me to a very predetermined destiny. So where is my free will? So why do I struggle everyday with all those decisions that I make? Why do I even exist as a puppet?

 

The feeling of being stuck

I want to move on, but looks like I have placed myself in a position where I cant. I find myself stuck at a place where some of my personal priorities are taking a hit on what I have want. I find myself at a point in time when a passion suddenly does not excites me. I just dont want to go back to that place. And No it didnt happen overnight, the process took almost 3 years and now I have reached a place where it is no longer with me.

Now a very important part of my life kicks in and I need to answer a very important question: Was that a passion or just an addiction? the answer can change my life in ways that I cant think of today. I need to answer myself on what I need to do – balance out my personal priorities and let go of my ambitions passions or go back and find what I lost over a period of 3 years.

Both options have their fall outs and I need to see what is more important for me – ?? vs ??. Sadly, I dont know how to put these in words that describe what I am thinking and I do not wish to say those words and end up hurting loved ones.

I dont know who to turn up to for answers that are neutral; I dont know even if anyone can come up with a neutral answer. Every person has their experience and unique situation in their life and their answers are influenced by those situations. What I am feeling is unique in its own sense and I need to find answers in those situations only. I hope I can reach out to God and seek guidance.