Culture and Society

Faith and some lost feelings




           I remember reading a book by Tagore and stumbling upon a quote which has never left me since, “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.” I was fascinated by this simple thought and have pondered upon it every now and then. It was just one of those things you don’t notice. A little nuance, about a seemingly simple word, which can change its whole comprehension.

            Blind hope can be cruel. It is a plaything of the weak. Nothing, but a half hearted belief. That is where faith differs from ordinary belief, from hope. Often, it is a seemingly far-fetched imagination, but it has its roots in a rock-solid instinct.  Faith is what can take you through dark hours when everything else fails.

            I remember a small story which my grandmother told me when I was a kid. There was a drought-prone village, where the people were tired and desperate for rain. The fields were all dry and the animals, slowly dying of thirst. There came a sage in the village, and after seeing how everything was steeped in utter misery, he decided to perform a yagna, and appease the rain-gods.

            He gathered all the villagers and asked them to follow him to the hill-top where they would perform the ritual. All the villagers went along, but he noticed a small kid, who had come with an umbrella. [Or something to cover himself] He went to that kid and told him, ‘All these people have come here in the hope that it rains, but you, my son, have faith that it will.’

            These are the little things in life that matter. And kids have them immensely. We grow out of our innocence. We see the world around us, and we develop our views, our morals, but we forget that slowly and unknowingly, we lose our power to believe. We are not surprised anymore; we have lost that power to be completely overwhelmed by something. We are afraid to imagine.

            I remember watching a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson, and he mentioned a story which some teacher once told him. She was conducting her drawing class, with little nursery students. Everybody was told to draw whatever comes to their mind. There was a little girl who was very engrossed in her drawing. So the teacher went to her and asked what she was drawing. She said, “I am drawing a picture of God.” The teacher was puzzled, so she asked her, “but nobody knows what God looks like.” Without any delay, the girl replied, “They will in a minute!”

           This is the power of imagination and confidence, which we lose as we grow further. The power to commit mistakes. Especially in our country, where schools and teachers are so narrow-minded that any small mistake is immediately frowned upon, punished, and asked to be corrected a hundred times on a black-board. The kid is humiliated with insults. Or as Pink Floyd say, dark sarcasm. Kids are supposed to by-heart the text-book line-to-line, along with some typical typos and unimaginative descriptions. 2 points, 2 marks. If you don’t find the second point, just write ‘Hence the reason.’ BUT WRITE TWO POINTS.

          And lastly, one of the most precious gifts of nature which we force out from our body and mind, is spontaneity. In the mundane  riot of routine and formalities, we become slaves to our own thoughts. And the rules and regulations of society do little to help. Somewhere down the line, I feel, we have surrendered so much to the cage we have made for ourselves, that we have forgotten what it is to be instinctive. To be spontaneous. To wipe away the cobwebs of pretence and think with a true heart. Spontaneity is not just a thought-process, it is a virtue. A way of life.  It is the true expression of a man’s depth. Spontaneity is the prerogative of the deep. It is like a bubble in the ocean, which has its roots in the utmost depth.

          I honestly feel that there are these little things which can bring about a lot of change in what we are. Who we can be. And where we will lead ourselves. There is always a reason to believe in a better tomorrow. To search for something new, and find what we lost ages ago. To heal, and make whole. To have a moment, and let it transcend time.

          To better your yesterday and have faith in the morrow.


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