As a child I used to be terrified of ghosts. Wild horses couldn’t drag me to dark places and if I did have to venture out after dark I would always take an unwilling adult with me. Until the day when my grandpa asked me if I truly believed in ghosts. I said yes. Then he asked me if I believed in God. Again I nodded, “Of course!” It was the thing he said after that stumped me and then took care of my fears. He said, with a twinkle in his eye, “But obviously you believe more in ghosts!”
About to protest vehemently, I suddenly stopped as his meaning dawned upon me. If I truly did believe in God why couldn’t I trust Him to save me from the ghosts? I obviously didn’t have enough faith in Him.
So deep-seated was the fear of ghosts that it was tough to convince myself that He will take care of me in the far-fetched eventuality of any ghostly encounter! But finally I did it.
From this sprung the question that if He was always around then why should I look for Him in various temples, churches, mosques, or gurdwaras? Over the years I have been to many of these but more to appreciate the serenity than any serious quest of finding God there. And perhaps to witness the faith of others, which strengthens one’s own faith. And therefore visiting temples has never been high on the list of priorities, much to the chagrin of my more God-fearing friends.
My own relation with Him, on the other hand, has never been one of fear but of a friend. He is always around, doesn’t need to be told what I want, and doesn’t have to be bribed to grant my wishes. He is the one who, perhaps, knows whether I should be granted those wishes or not. Like a good friend He’s just a thought away, knows when you need cheering up, and when you deserve pulling up! And I trust that He does know best.
I believe we can find Him in those everyday tiny miracles around us. It is just that we, with our imbecilic shortsightedness fail to see him in those small things. Or feel it’d be blasphemous to associate him with things which are by rights, below His contempt. Forgetting that when He’s the Creator, how can even the smallest thing be immaterial to Him? We acknowledge Him when we hear of big miracles but then why should we expect only large-scale miracles from Him? Why must He come up to our expectations to prove that He is? Yudhishtra didn’t need to see his viraat roop to know Him, Duryodhana did.
How can we fail to see His beauty even in the smallest flower, His gentle care in the miraculous escape of an ant from certain death; and His love in the way he opens a chink in the skylight when all the doors and windows have closed for us?
The other day, the damp cheerless weather and a series of events had me down in the dumps. My pet pestering me to be let out, just when I was in the middle of a hundred things and fighting a demoralizing losing battle with writer’s block, was about the last straw. But I had to stop what I was doing and take her out.
It was like stepping into a magical land, our ordinary little neighborhood had transformed into something out of a fairytale! It was bathed in an awesome glow—the dazzling golden sun in the west lit it up against the stark contrast of dark thunderclouds in the east and large raindrops fell as lightly as mist. Looking up instinctively, I saw, after years, a full rainbow in all its glorious colors.
The gloom that was enveloping me lifted in that very instant. Hadn’t it been God calling me to come and have a glimpse of His infinite wisdom and beauty?
If I have this Constant Companion with me everywhere, then why must I search for Him elsewhere?
Madhumita Gupta is a freelance writer and teacher.