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Darshan



I have never told Rashmi whether or not to do puja or to pray to God, but have guided Rupa into knowing God as my duty to our child. I used to tell Rupa that she belonged to the highest caste of the Hindus way of life so that her duties were to God; however, since October 2006 I left her to find her own path in life having read to her the preface to this book so that she may learn to discern between delusions and truth. I would not teach her anything about religion but would give my up-to-date opinion if she asked.


Rashmi did not believe in ritualistic religion. She used to pray and do puja after bath in Rupa's room where I had erected an altar for the worship of God. But on reflecting on our fate of going from riches to rags she stopped doing puja. With Rashmi and Rupa I used to the South London Durga Puja each year but stopped going when I found Mr Ambika Dutta unhelpful in securing for me the assistance of a councillor to take my case through the House of Commons with regard to the correspondence that I had with Speaker office when I needed a representative for legal protection. I wore a Durga talisman on my arm that my father-in-law had sent Rashmi and me during this struggle but Rashmi took hers off as she did not wish to wear it and I took it mine off once the string needed replacing.


Despite her 'protest' to God that she would not do puja anymore for the misfortune that He has seen this family over in my fate she said she had an amazing sight in November 2006 when a vehicle had driven in ahead of her with Jaganath's eyes stuck on in a poster that she could clearly see. She felt that the Almighty was making His presence felt to her. Once during our last visit to India as I had sat in a train and another train began slowly overtaking it until its name came to my view as 'Gitanjali Express', whereupon our train sped up again and left it behind. I found myself so excited that I even told my barber that I felt that Almighty was providing me with a darshan. And during my work for Shell Wigmore petrol station one evening two very well dressed and groomed young men had came up to me at the counter, one having a badge with 'Jesus Christ of the latter day Saints' written on it. I was immediately taken over with the feeling that darshan was taking place, and asked 'You are a special church aren't you?' The man nodded and gave me a leaflet about the Mormons with their telephone number to contact them if I was interested in more information. I felt elated as if the Almighty had decided to pay me a visit through other religious people.


I sometimes wondered about getting myself tattooed with 'Sri Krishna' on my arm for permanent darshan and to seal my faith in God but decided against it on the grounds that perhaps I was being presumptuous; it might represent an attachment; and because I did not know my fate. How long would I survive? The world could collapse around me at any time and destroy my theories and thoughts about God as being nothing but delusions based on fairy tales. That is why I did not preach anything anymore, not even the pursuit of truth which may be seen as an adventure of futility that had consigned me to the psychiatrist's chair. Darshan was a bonus that meant that I was travelling along the right lines, but like truth darshan had to be awaited. I decided that only if circumstances made it happen would I go to a temple such as the Puri temple in Orissa where I saw Jaganath as Sri Krishna. Similarly, I would not be taking part in religious ceremonies unless these came my way.


However, truth and dharma remained of importance. I therefore discussed with Rashmi our eating of meat in view of our belief in ahimsa, with Rupa also raising questions on this issue. Whilst in hospital in 2004 I had not only given up meat for a period of six weeks but had also given up onion and garlic like many devout Hindus do. On my return home however I saw that Rashmi was now having to cook food for me separately and this had increased her already high work load. I therefore resumed meat eating. Now she commented that her parents and grandparents were all God fearing and God worshipping people and they ate fish and meat, as did my parents. She believed that eating meat not only provided a tastier diet, it was healthier, and one needed to maintain ones health if one had duties to other family members yet to be fulfilled in life. I said that eating meat as a readily available item of food seemed acceptable so long as we had not killed the animal that we ate. On reflection however getting someone else to do that killing amounted to the same thing. I wished to give up meat even though I found it also tasty but Rashmi was not inclined to. 'What are we going to eat?' she questioned. Rightly or wrongly we continued to eat meat.


Similarly, my patriotism was subservient to my religion in that I felt I could no longer go to war for any country without just cause because of my belief in non-violence and ahimsa. I found that I could not kill an insect now let alone a human being. The epic Mahabharatta however showed clearly that killing on the battlefield was justified on some occasions according to God. But what was a just cause? Was it limited to considerations of one's personal rights or of the rights of the State that one lived in? Does the State have conscription, in the absence of which what were one's duties to the State? If the State goes into a war that was unjust to one's mind what is the position of the citizen in terms of killing the State's enemies? I decided that I could not go to war in such circumstances unless I was forced to do so and it was highly unlikely that I would be tested on this matter at my age. At the same time I found that I could no longer rejoice at the losses suffered by western imperialist forces in their wars in the Middle East as receiving deserved justice from God.


Thus every day was a new day for fresh reflection and analysis. Even darshan ceased to be important. I used to watch television news and documentary programmes avidly as a source of knowledge but now found that these were no longer as gripping as they used to be. Not that knowledge or God had become immaterial: God was still the Atma residing in my soul to give me day to day guidance in what I did and how I acted. And God seemed to take care whether or not one worshipped or sought Him.



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