Ruzbeh N. Bharucha
Before I begin writing about the most powerful blessing, prayer and state of being, let me do a bit of rambling first. I assure you, in a very warped way this incoherent monologue is sort of connected with the main theme of this incoherent monologue.
I have often wondered as to why I was parceled off to a boarding school, in Panchgani, when I was just six years of age. On and off I have had a few glimpses of my early years. All my deranged life, I have had this faint memory of my school bus being taken to a police station. Then to the hospital. The next day dinner in a very well kept home. All three incidents would keep resurfacing.
Then a shut cupboard. Me within the luggage compartment of a car. Lot of commotion outside.
I would nod my head, wonder and then get on with making a professional hash of whatever I was indulging in.
Last month I had gone to visit my God mother who stays two hours away from Pune. I call her Aai, which in the Marathi language means Mother. She had come to sweep and swap at my maternal grandmother’s place. My mom who was pregnant with me, liked the young, hardy woman and it was decided that henceforth she would live and work at my grandmother’s place and once I came out, yelling and screaming, her life revolved around me. Thus, I call her Aai and for her I can do no wrong. God can go ahead and try to make her see reason that I should have been strangulated at birth, but for her, I am beyond reproach.
I meet her once every few months. That day for some odd reason I spoke about the visions of the police station, the hospital, the cupboard etc and she smiled and proudly told me and my friend’s about it all.
Well it seems when I was not yet six years of age, I had gotten into a fight with another boy or a group of boys in the school bus. The fight was rather ugly and none of us boys would let up so eventually the bus had to be taken to the police station, where cops separated us. The hospital vision was a follow up to the police station. One of the boys was badly injured and I was also hurt. So late at night, our parents arrived to see their five and a half year or slightly older children, sitting on plastic chairs, bandaged and all, with two cops snoring their lawful lungs to glory. The dinner followed the next day as one of the boys was badly injured and it was like my parents waving a white flag on behalf of their very strange son. Of course, there were no doubts that I must have been at fault because just a month prior, I had hid myself in the luggage compartment of Dr. Gandhi’s ambassador or fiat, while the entire school searched for me. Even then cops were called and an official complaint of kidnapping was going to be filed, when I came out of my hiding space, grinned and sort of ran for dear life.
The cupboard scene was a few years prior to the school scene. I had hid myself in a cupboard and my poor maternal grandmother had to eventually call the cops and then they heard some knocking from the cupboard and viola I surfaced out and asked for some food as I was truly hungry.
So I was packed off to Billimoria High School, Panchgani. I was told I was being sent for a picnic. We all got out of the bus. I looked around. I asked my cousin brother, Viraf, as to when were we going to return home. He smiled and said, six months later, I said, jolly good, and a few minutes later, Rohit Bachkaniwalla and I were involved in a fist fight.
The normal complaint about me was that I was only interested in having a good laugh, playing and raising cain. Religiously every teacher would tell my parents through letters and personal meetings that they all loved me but I was always up to mischief.
So I could never understand why my maternal grandmother and my dad’s dad, would always bless me saying, ‘hasto-khelto reh’, which in English means ‘always remain and be joyful and playful’.
I would scratch my head and say ‘ok for sure’, and then taking their blessings literally, all I would do was to have a great time, playing, laughing, climbing trees, mountains, doing stuff which if Providence had an iota of common sense would have made sure I left my mortal battered body.
Then I would get grief from teachers and family and I got sort of tired of being blessed with one thing and when one tried to live up to the blessing there was chaos and long drawn lectures .
So one day I looked at my grandmother in the eye and I told her, ‘make up your mind, either you want me to be always happy and joyous and playful or you want me to become like all those sensible boring children who listen to everything everybody tells them to’.
I remember my grandmother chuckling and her sweet tummy going up and down and she wiped tears of her eyes and looked at me and told me, ‘what will you do once I am dead and gone, I worry for you’ and I told her to stick to the main issue of either blessing me with something sensible that did not get me into trouble or then standing up for me when the boring world sort of threw a tantrum at my mischief.
“You latching everybody’s door in the colony while they all slept was not nice and you have made a lot of people angry…”
“That damn milk man saw me, didn’t he. The same chap you keeps adding water to the milk. He had it tomorrow….”
“So as for my blessing, you shall know it’s true worth when you grow up and have a family of your own or may be when I am gone to Sai.”
Nearly four decades later I remember her words and most importantly I cherish her blessings. A lot of us are blessed or we bless others with stuff like, ‘ long life’ ‘ healthy life’ ‘prosperous life’ and the strangest of all blessings to women ‘may you never be a widow in your life’ which sort of means ‘ may you die before your hubby cops it’.
I have been blessed with such stuff as to become enlightened and have my chakras opened and what not and I always wonder, who in the right mind wants all these strange blessings.
All I want is to be happy and take every blow and every up and down, life, fate, karma, whatever has in store for me, gracefully, joyously, playfully. Growing old is mandatory and boring. Growing up is optional. Stick to the latter. Adults are boring because we no longer have joy and playfulness in our lives. Our priorities have changed. We have become exactly who we as kids would dread and make fun of. Boring. Intellectual. Judgmental. Ungrateful. Stupid, stupid, adults.
You know what, healthy life, long life, prosperous life, I have realised, mean nothing, if there is no joy, laughter and playfulness in one’s life.
One can have everything but without joy, laughter and mischief, life is like a five course meal, with no salt and spice and in the sweet dish no bloody sugar. Or like a sage once told a seeker who had spent years and risked his life countless times climbing the most ridiculously steep a mountain, in order to hear one life changing sentence from the sage who resided on top of the mountain and eventually the climber reaches the top of the mountain and sees this frail man, smoking something that in certain countries could cause legal issues and the man sort of scratches a certain section of his anatomy and says, ‘wrong mountain brother, that *&^%$ sage sits on that one’.
Of course, now I have realised a greater depth to this blessing, ‘hastey-kheltey rehana’.
We all are a byproduct of our karma. Now before I begin on Karma, let us make one thing clear. You either do not believe in God, or you believe in a Just God. A God who takes no sides. A God who is just and reasonable. Thus if you believe in a Just God, then you have to believe in the laws of Cause and Effect, or Karma.
Karma is the ramifications of our free will used in this life time or past lifetimes, which catches up with each individual and the karmic bill has to be paid. Lord Vishnu had to manifest as Lord Rama as He too could not escape the laws of Karma and thus if He had to come down on the physical plane, to pay this karmic bill, what hope in heaven or hell do we have.
The laws of karma dictates that as you sow you shall freaking reap. You can pray and lead as pious a life as you want to, so pious that your purity could give the Angels above an inferiority complex, but one cannot escape one’s own karma and if your destiny and karmic blueprint necessitates you to have your nose rubbed into the ground, you can be sure, your nose will be rubbed into the ground.
If in your karmic blueprint, financial success is not written, my dear psychotic friend, you can be rest assured that you will be in financial want through this particular lifetime. Remember, I am not trying to advocate fatalism, far from it. Yes, our duty is to give life and each moment our very best, but eventually results, be it success or failure, one needs to realise is not in our control. Thus, every religion and every Master preaches, that do your best and be detached to the rest.
So now if one is not destined for financial success, one can pray all one wants to, financial gloom will follow you like a demented shadow.
But when one does not pray for financial success but prays to one’s God, Goddess, Master, that ‘ Oh Upparwalla (The wise One occupying the uppermost penthouse in evolution), I am not seeking anything, though I in reality do seek a lot but am doubtful of receiving any of that, so here is what I am asking of You, which You can grant, without going all ballistic about karma and laws of destiny, and this is what I ask of You, that I go through whatever life has in store for me, with happiness, with joy and even playfulness as this You can grant me, as You are My Be All End All, and I am your messed up child with a wreckful of karma, but grant me just this and then let the laws of karma deal with me I have no issue’.
How can one’s God, Goddess, Master not grant us this little child like wish? We haven’t asked for a change of the karmic manifesto? No wealth. No progeny. No success. No fancy car. Nothing. Just something as understated as joy and playfulness. Most people do not even want all this. They want the big stuff. Bliss, power, wealth, leadership, but fools like us want the under-rated stuff, like joy and laughter, so Come on Lord, be a sport, You created us, did we ask You to create us? Nope. You did so. Thus, technically it is Your fault, we occupy this battered body and ravaged planet, so the least that can be done for us, is to bless us with joy, happiness, laughter, playfulness to go through whatever is in store for us with a smile. Do this for us. Do this for all those who suffer. All the kids and women raped and sold and killed. For all those suffering from illness and heartache and deceit and anger and hate and poverty and all the sorrow and helplessness and yes, yes, yes, it is all our fault and we have to go through carrying the load of our karmic bullshit, but let us go through it hastey kheltey.
If everything is about sowing and reaping, I am sure it is more about realising and learning from our mistakes. For those who have realised and learnt from their mistakes or experiences or the wrong use of free will, at least grant them the blessing of joy and laughter. That much can be done. This much can be prayed for by us all.
Eventually I have realised this simple blessing or prayer is all I would want. Love thrives where there is peace and joy. Spirituality thrives when there is centeredness. Life, in the body or in the spirit world, becomes a very heavy burden to carry without laughter and joy.
The problem with growing old is that you begin to miss the simple joys of childhood. In reality what one misses is the simple mad emotion called joy.
Often when I look back the only thing I truly miss is being filled with joy. The other stuff often seem to pale in comparison for something which was once an inherent part of our nature.
If spirituality is to become all serious and boring, then I want nothing to do with spirituality. But spirituality in reality is all joyful. The Masters, The Giants, were filled with childlike joy and playfulness. It is us the dwarfs, who are filled with our prejudices and judgmental attitude and our adult bullshit that has finished the very essence of spirituality and simple joyous living.
So if you want to bless somebody you love or even yourself, do not forget this hastey khaltey rambling of a man who saw the insides of a police station at the age of five so very hastey kheltey.
Ruzbeh N. Bharucha