Having had more than my fair share of failed relationships, I used every excuse in the book to say no, when the question of me getting married came up. But Baba was unrelenting, more so after Papa succumbed to cancer. The fact that Parag was an atheist was another excuse in my armour but Baba would have none of it. Having come from a multi-cultural, multi-religious background, I remained a nomad in my quest for answers and understanding of spirituality. My little sister Tulsi, all of 20 or 21 at the time, pronounced me agnostic! And here I fancied myself as the eternal Sadhak......
I argued long and hard till I was blue in the face. I did not want our children to go through ambiguity in that sphere of life. Be that as it may, my Baba counter argued saying that,”He is a good man and for now his way of life is his spirituality. He is also very intelligent and so he will eventually find his way to the quest.” I did not buy into it but nevertheless got married; because I wanted to and not because of the pressure I was under. I must confess though that I do blame Baba for my woes on days that Parag and I fight!!
But on a serious note, at some level this no religion, no faith, no prayers, only rationale bit, worried me, as the family grew. I always second guessed this aspect of our parenting style. I kept trying to understand Baba’s words and look for answers myself. And there it was, a simple forward from my dear friend Mini Naidoo, an artist and sadhak herself. She sent me a lovely story about three greats of Urdu literature – Ghalib, Iqbal and Faraz – and in a clean sweep, very vintage Mini-like, she set aside my misgivings and drove home the message that Baba had tried hard to make me understand.
Here is the story, in her words:
These three poets are legendary in Urdu literature as also their following couplets. The poets Ghalib (1797-1869), Iqbal (1877-1938) and Faraz (1931-2008) present their views on the universality of God in the couplets. It was not a feud. At best you can call it a poetic difference of opinion by intellectual and witty minds, spread across centuries.
Ghalib started it: In the 19th century, it was a bold statement. But then Ghalib was never known for meekness or following the crowd.
“Zahid, sharaab peene de masjid mein baith kar
Ya wo jagah bataa, jahaan Khuda nahin”
[Let me drink in a mosque; or tell me the place where there is no God.']
Allama Iqbal was not convinced and decided to reply about half a century later. So in the late 19th-early 20th century, his poetic reply to Ghalib
“Masjid Khuda ka ghar hai, peene ki jagah nahin
Kaafir ke dil mein jaa, wahaan khuda nahin”
[Mosque is the abode of God, not a place to drink. Go to the heart of a non-believer because there God is not.]
Faraz had the last word. (Later half of 20th century).
“Kaafir ke dil se aaya hoon, main ye dekh kar Faraz,
Khuda maujood hai wahaan, par usey pata nahin”
[I have returned from the heart of the disbeliever and I have observed:
God is present in his heart too, but he just doesn’t know it. (he is ignorant/sleeping].
Thank you Mini. Loads of love coming your way.....