Telephone service at my home is unpredictable. Most of the time I get a message almost half hour after someone was actually trying to call me. This is good if you are trying to avoid creditors. But not good if you wish to talk to family and friends. Seriously! I have come out in my balcony to get connected. This is my service provider (a prominent multinational company). He will neither serve me nor will he let me go. So I was somewhat surprised when my telephone rang at midnight. An unknown number was flashing on the screen. After a bit of hesitation, curiousity got the better of me.
I picked up the phone and said “Hello! Who is this?”
“ Bhagwan.” Answered the voice on the other side.
“ Bhagwan! Bhagwan kaun? – Singh, Thakur, Agarwal, Chatterjee, Kutty, what?? What is your full name? Or are you a dalit and do not use a last name?” I asked perplexed.
“I am Bhagwan, almighty, all pervading, omnipresent, omniscient” answered the voice.
“Yaar! This is midnight. This is not time for a prank call. I can report you to police. Bhagwan! My foot!” I was getting irritated.
“Beta, You gave a missed call. I am returning you call. Do you think I have time to play prank with you when America is waking up on the other side? Already, Jesus has taken over the place. Either you ask question, or I leave,” the voice on the other side was determined, but did not sound either macho or aggressive. Rather it was that of a tired middle aged man.
I said, “Bhagwan ji, I have been calling you for last so many years, through so many crises. You never answered. Why are you returning my call today? That too, when I did not actually call you on purpose. I was trying to call a friend, my call reached you,courtesy my service provider.”
Bhagwan sounded somewhat apologetic in his answer,
“Dekho beta, I know you called me many times. But understand, post independence in 1947, my workload has also increased. Earlier, I had 33 crore dev and devis for 33 crore people, almost one god to one person. Now, for a billion plus people, that ratio is nearly 1:3. I am not counting muslims and Christians. They have their own God. The way you guys are multiplying, may be another seventy years one devta will have to cater to ten devotees.”
“Do you think it is easy to cater to whims of humans? You people are so demanding. Your lists are endless. Please find a sample of requests that routinely come to me:
- a beautiful wife, homely, fair skinned, good at cooking, brings dowry,
- a good job with a lot of additional income,
- a male child,
- good education for child, all the from school to graduation. Admission to IIT and IIM must.
- good job for son, preferably in Google or Facebook or Microsoft, with a great package,
- a beautiful daughter in law who comes with dowry and good at house hold chores,
- a good son in law who does not ask for dowry and let daughter pursue a career,
- On top of that friends, relatives and neighbors should get less or not get at all.
Is it possible to fulfill so many conflicting demands? I keep quiet or give little bit to everyone. That makes no one happy.”
“What do I get for my service? Rotten bananas, sour mangos, moth eaten apples! Sweets are mostly cheap and made in rancid oil. Flowers are recycled. Offering at mandir is decreasing in quality and quantity. I am a middle aged person with few demands. But next generation is not ready to tolerate anymore. I am god, not a computer. You want good service, tip well.”
“Now I admit things have not gone as planned. Ask me what you want to ask, now that we are connected,” Bhagwan ji opened himself up for questioning.
After his long explanation, I was really embarrassed to ask about my narrow material self interests. So I changed my direction and asked,
“So tell me bhagwan ji, why are you flooding Kerala? They say it is Gods own country!”
Bhagwan ji sounded confused and responded forcefully, “Son, you need to improve your geopolitics. First, Kerala is governed by people who do not believe in me. They are atheists. When lord Ayappa’s home was opened up to ladies, did I say anything? So why are you blaming me for floods?”
“Second, Kerala also comes under jurisdiction of Allah and Jesus. Why are you blaming me alone? I can have a meeting with Jesus and representative of Allah. They are busy people controlling a lot of territory. I cannot guarantee anything.”
“But Bhagwan ji maharaj, it is your people Surya dev, Pawan dev, and Varun Dev have no coordination and communication. When Surya dev works hard, Varun Dev does not show up. Pawan Dev, less said about him is better. He takes so many holidays,” I persisted.
“Dekho beta, you do not unnecessarily blame my boys. You created global warming, now ageing Surya appears hot to you. Pawan is unhappy with his son Hanuman. Hanuman is busy building Ram Mandir, which is political promise of ruling party. So Pawan’s work does not get done. Meanwhile, Varun cannot move water heavy clouds without Pawan’s help. As a result it rains where it should not.” Bhagwan ji went on defensive.
“But Bhagwan ji, one call in fifty years! Your communication system is very bad. Don’t you think Jesus and Allah are more efficient? They have one window clearance for all problems,” I ploughed on.
“Yes communication is a problem. We rely on snail mail. My boys are not good using a computer. We cannot do e-mail, facebook, twitter, snapchat etc. May be next generation will be more savvy. I have talked to Jesus, when Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs come, we shall have a guest lecture.” While Bhagwan ji was explaining, I could hear agitated voices in the background.
“Look son, I have to go. It seems new applications have come for entry into Swarg. One from Atal Bihari Vajpayee and another one from M Karunanidhi. I am expecting trouble. Karunanidhi was a theatre personality, an atheist and also used to good life. He had three wives on earth. On earth, he did not care about me. I am sure, now he would like to enjoy comforts of heaven. I have kept Jayalalitha’s application pending. Atal Bihari was also a poet. If I allow Atal Bihari, then certainly Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi will appeal. You bring all your earthly troubles here and ask why I did not call.” Bhagwan ji disconnected in a hurry.
“Hello, hello, hello”, there was no answer. There was no dial tone in my phone. My wife woke me up, “Who are you hello, helloing in the middle of night. I am sure you are having an affair. NowI know why you stay up so late overnight. He Bhagwan, mera kya hoga!”
I was wide awake now. I understood problem Bhagwan must be facing daily.
Note : The topic of conversation with god is a serious topic in India. Since time immemorial many people have left their home, hearth and comfortable life in search of the eternal quest of finding God. Bhagwan Buddha, Bhagwan Mahavira, Adi Sankara, Ramanuja Acharaya, Baba Nanak, Kabir Das, Meera Bai, Sri Chaitanya Deb, Sri Rama Krishna Paramahansa, Ramana Maharshi, the list goes on and on, are a few exponents of such a quest.
As recently as hundred and thrill years earlier, disciple Narendra Nath Dutta, later Swami Vivekananda, asked his master Sri Rama Krishna, “have you seen god?” Master replied, “Not only have I seen god, I can show it to you too.” As a part of his sadhana, Sri Rama Krishna had brought life to clay idol of Mother Kali (mrinmayee) and made her conscious (chinmayee). Gadadhar Chakraborty, later Sri Rama Krishna, saw mother Kali as a living being and would regularly converse with her. That was his connection with god.
Whatever is written in this post is an effort to explain on a lighter vein dilemma of god (Bhagwan) when facing material demands from materialistic people. No attempt is made to offend anyones belief.