Sunday, March 26, 2017

SABKA MALIK EK



















“I laugh when I hear that fish in the water is thirsty…
I laugh when I hear that people go on pilgrimage to find God.”

-          Kabir


I have never been to Shirdi. But, I have, always, been awe-struck by Sai Baba’s life and teachings. He and Kabir will, always, remain close to my heart…

Last evening, along the Eastern Express Highway, I saw hundreds of pilgrims… men and women, young and old… dozens of volunteers, vehicles carrying food and beverages, medicines and first-aid… saffron flags and silver palki… some chanted… some laughed… some quietly walked… By foot, our driver told us, it would take the padyatris about eight days to reach the shrine at Shirdi… Many groups across the city organize these pilgrimages, he told us.

Faith is purely a personal matter. Right from inside the car in which I was commuting, I remembered Baba’s life… So utterly simple and uncomplicated it was… Nothing in possession, yet, so rich it was…  God of the mosque and God of the temple were same for Him… He preached, that everything man clinged to was perishable and a simple surrender to God alone was the true source of one’s happiness…

So, as I watched those pilgrims, last evening, I was wondering: Would Baba bless me if I remembered Him from where I was… Or, would He insist on my coming to His shrine, walking all the way for eight days! 

I am no one to pass a judgement on another man’s faith… If he believed in meeting Baba at the end of the 8-day-long pilgrimage, so be it… I am sure, there is blessing for every sincere seeker!

But, as I said, I can meet Baba from wherever I am and whenever I long… just by remembering Him from all my heart…  

“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine,” said Abraham Joshua Heschel, “but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.”  Yes, as long as the heart does not cease its longing to reach Baba, to me, my clinging to a shrine seems futile…

Kabir had said, “All darkness vanished when I saw the Lamp within my heart.”

The life and teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba and Kabir shall, always, remain special to me… They shall remain above all the man-made boundaries of religions… Temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras, synagogues and every other shrine shall look small compared to the simple beauty of the life and teachings of these two souls…

‘Sab ka Malik ek.’ It doesn’t matter, which route we have taken to meet Him.


GERALD D’CUNHA


Pic.: Azriel D'Souza

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