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Sunday, May 07, 2006

The many incarnations of God


Hinduism is known for the many incarnations of the supreme power, also known as God. For most part of my life, I’ve swung between being a theist and an atheist and have now reasonably settled down as a believer. I am definitely not religious or ritualistic, but I’ve developed a deep sense of faith. And despite this, there are several times that I question things.

My sense of faith has been shaped by several people. My parents and my close relatives. As a child, I used to be good at reciting slokas and one of my aunts made me recite the stuff everyday and give me a goody in return. I spent most of my vacations in Bangalore with my uncle and aunt. I remember that when I stayed with them, an evening prayer was mandatory. Everyone who was staying there would just get together in front of the puja room and say prayers. In a couple that had been through more downs than ups, I saw unshakable faith.

My aunt had been unwell for almost as long as I’d known her. A woman of great talent and intelligence, she had to rebuild her life after one major illness, and she couldn’t have done it without the support of her husband, my uncle. He took care of her like no one else could or would. His life revolved around her. And last year, she suffered a stroke. My first thoughts on hearing the news were, “Why her? Why him?” I couldn’t bear to see her suffer and more than anything else in this world, I really couldn’t bear to see what he was going through. But even during times when I broke down, he would cheer me up. He was always smiling, always hopeful, always the one with the faith that there was someone above who would wipe away his cares. Soon after I moved here, I lost my aunt. I rushed to my uncle’s side, hoping to give him one small bit of the strength to go overcome the grief. But he was the one who had to give me strength by telling me that she was in a better place now.

If a person believed in God, had unshakable faith and did nothing wrong, then God must take care of that person. Where did God disappear when one needed him the most?

I visited my uncle as often as I could. I took him to social functions just to get him out of the house. I cooked for him, gave him company when I could, and even sat down for a drink with him one day. A man who was otherwise so full of life, he started to withdraw. Taking care of her was his life’s work. A few months later, he joined my aunt. He left so that he could spend her birthday with her. Today, wherever they are, they are celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary and his 79th birthday together.

I know that I cannot dial a number and hear a voice say, “How nice it is to hear your voice so early in the morning!” Today, I don’t question the existence of God anymore. Sometimes, I question his intentions. Does everything happen for a reason? And when I ask, I figure that (as Tennyson put it) ours is not to question why; ours is but to do and die. That was his motto in life. I am fortunate to have had the unconditional love of this man. I am fortunate to have seen an incarnation of God in my lifetime. Today, more than ever, I miss him and can only wish him the very best.


Bappa: Wherever you are, I want you to know that I love you!

5 comments:

Caffeinism said...

That was so touching...I can imagine how it feels because I lost my grandma who was so very close and dear to me last september and tomorrow is her b'day...She came down due to cancer and the last few months were so difficult for us...I saw a woman so full of life and energy slowly die over a period of time, but she was one brave woman and fought till the end...

Mukund said...

I lost my grandma 5 years ago on this day and I am yet to come to terms with it. She is the one who taught me to keep the faith, come what may.....Reading your story, I think u were blessed to have had them.....And I am sure, they will watch over you as your guardian angels...

G'man said...

A rather emotional post.. Like I told you the other day, if God exists, I think He just likes to test the stronger ones to see how far they can take.. Almost like a tester!

Has to be me said...

Such a beautiful & touchy post. I only believe in God does whatever is best for each of us. He knows what each of us can manage to handle in our limited capacities. Leave everything to God to take care cos he knows what is best.

And BTW,today happens to be my grandma's death anniversary & she too was just like caffeism's grandma....a v.strong lady but had to give in to cancer.

Srivalli said...

Raaga, this is very touching and well written. I know years never really ease the pain the loss we feel...still hope you have recovered a bit from the pain you must have felt...