• http://www.amazon.com/The-Thomases-Road-Realization-ebook/dp/B009BATQUA/

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Christmas Carol...

Christmas brings out fully the little child that I really am. I have always loved Santa. In my growing up years I read about the history behind this man called Santa. Santa Claus or rather Saint Nicholas was a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (part of modern-day Turkey). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out and is known in particular for secretly providing money for the dowry for three impoverished daughters of a pious Christian (he visited their house after they had gone to bed and left three bags of gold coins in three stockings left over the fireplace for drying). Many miracles were attributed to his intercession, and because of that he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker! His feast day is 6 December and it later got tied up with the Christmas traditions.

Christmas season is indeed magical. When my kids hope for Santa to come in his red dress I tell them that Santa always loves to give gifts secretly so he sends his gifts through someone and whenever we get something that we dearly wanted that nobody knew about, then it is Santa’s gift.

All through my childhood  I  believed that Santa  sends me a gift on christmas…and I still believe it! I have often got gifts around Christmas time that nobody knew I wanted, sometimes even I didn't know until it arrived its winding way to me!

My best Christmas memories are of Halwara Punjab where I was part of the carol troop when I was about 11 and 12 years old.  It was fun visiting houses and singing carol songs all through the Christmas season.It was a magical time indeed. I was very proud to be the one holding baby Jesus. There was only one problem.  When we got into the coach after each house visit, the Awesome Santa became just a normal man when someone adjusted his make up for him! That’s really a deflator for a child who wants to believe the Santa is real!

When we moved from there I missed the Christmas fervor in every other place. Missed singing the carols with a proper troupe…

From the year 2007  I had been thinking that it is the new born Jesus who should be getting a gift from me and not vice versa and so I was trying to gift baby Jesus something on Christmas. It was my book. Such a silly childish thought! So nobody but I knew of this Christmas co relation of why I only tried for a publisher once a year and that too as the year was ending. I worked on my manuscript as the Christmas season approached and would try usually for just one publisher and ... fail and work on my manuscript again. It became a cycle and I was thinking Jesus would take my book when he would be fully satisfied with it.  The book would grow as I re read it each year end and edited it adding new insights.

But as six years passed, in my heart maybe I was beginning to suspect that Jesus didn't really appreciate it too much or want  it on His birthday! This September after my book became an e-book, I wasn't even remotely thinking of anything for December but coincidentally my husband gave my book into print in the Christmas Season without being aware in any way of  my little secret! I was surprised and happy for more than one reason when I came to know of it a few days ago. Evidently Baby Jesus did want the book in print on his birthday, but from my Husband's Hands?! Who knows His mind or ways....

When I was tired of trying to gift something to Jesus, I got it as a Christmas gift to me instead! 

SO I have no gift to give this Christmas or do I? A few days before December 1st,  my daughters instrumental music teacher gave me the musical notes of Christmas carol songs! (Maybe he felt I would be interested in them as I had taken from him notes for some church songs a few months earlier.)  It was a surprise, so I felt that playing the carol songs on the synthesizer was what  baby Jesus actually wanted as gift from me.

 As I play a different carol each day of this December I am reminded of the times with the carol troupe. Travelling each day together as troupe to some different locality, different people in different houses. How I loved observing it all.   I remember also that  I  particularly observed the strumming on the Guitars. I remember how I fell in love with instrumental music. Didn't I always want to play the songs on an instrument? As I play them each day of december I am still not sure - it is a gift from me or again a gift to me?!


Friday, December 7, 2012

...In Love and In War

Santosh Vichivara, the 19 year old who lost his life protesting eve teasing, and other guys like him;  this post is for you. I wish you would learn the art of self preservation while standing up for your causes. The world does not gain anything by losing people like you who can stand up for what is right no matter what the consequences. So you are doing us a favour when you also take care not to lose your life in the process. The young blood takes risks, the mature are cautious. I wish people could be more balanced whatever the age, taking risks indeed ... but with caution!

There were 30 to 35 people outside the gate of his housing complex where this incident took place. If  he knew at least 10 of the 35 in the crowd and convinced them to move in, as a faceless crowd against the five erring teenagers, maybe he would have protected the girl and preserved the fine specimen of a man that he was. Stealth, shrewdness, planning and foresight are essential in a war for justice, not just courage.

A friend once told me that in ancient India, an aspiring King was supposed to learn 64 arts; two of which were deceit and theft. I was surprised and so he asked me 'How would a king learn to recognize a thief, a treacherous person etc if he himself does not know the art of stealing, lying and cheating!" That hit home. The Wikipedia is not as colourful in its descriptions of the 64 arts but I would rather go with my personal 'encyclopedia'; that is, my friend's knowledge.. Indeed these are arts, and are important for even the eventual victory of good over evil!

 The ethics of war are different, even the Bible shows that very clearly. I want to take the example of the story of David. Saul was chosen by God  to be the king of Israel to bring peace by ruling justly. This message of God was conveyed to him by Samuel. But later Saul changed and was more and more unwilling to listen to  God's orders (given through Samuel ) and began to do his own wish. So God chose David as the next king. Samuel was again supposed to give this message to Jesse’s son (David) but Samuel expressed to God his fear of being killed by Saul for this act. To this God told him “Don’t worry, Saul doesn't have to know. Give a feast in Bethlehem and invite all Jesse’s family to come” Stealth was employed in carrying out what was required; for 'self preservation' of Samuel! 

 David murdered Goliath and the whole world applauds that feat. Obviously murder was the right thing here as it was for eventual good. Killing enemies was the right thing to do in a battle (love your enemies?) David formed an enemy in King Saul and his life was forever in threat and he had to even live as an outlaw. He had to think where he would be safe. There were occasions when his hiding place was surrounded and he was on the verge of being killed, but he escaped. He lived many weary years of hiding from the king. During this time he went on raiding expeditions (looting?!)with Philistines (who were enemies of his land Israel, and so he had to ‘pretend” to be an enemy of Israel). If he had not 'cheated' them in this manner he would have lost his life and Israel would have lost its future king.

Those were different times, the era of kings and the rules were different, but  have the rules of war really changed? Indeed it hasn't. Even for our individual battles we often have to employ all our wits and all forms of arts. Dire circumstances almost invariably call for dire measures!

Now I want to move to another aspect of this story. From the time Samuel whispered in David’s ears (at the feast) that he is going to be the king, his life changed, from the carefree live enjoying all the joys of the natural world as a shepherd; to that of a fear for his own life. God had promised David that he would be king but there were so many tribulations before that really happened! He lived a life of fear of being murdered. But all this would have prepared him, strengthened him to be a strong and wise  king.   I was reading a book “Urantia” that had episodes of how Jesus managed the issues in his family, as a kind of father to his brothers. It dealt with many difficult times of  his life before he had to face the ultimate difficulty of 'knowingly and bravely' moving towards his torturous death. Life is not about just the end product. It is the whole journey of strengthening, of slowly and steadily becoming stronger and stronger; enough to handle the responsibilities like of being a king, or of being a sacrificial lamb.  

 It's Gods love for us that makes him allow miseries in our life so we could refine all our skills and also be able to think and take sound decisions. He just doesn't seem to bat an eyelid as we wail our lungs out, because he knows we can survive the misery and grow in strength if we use all our latent capacities. The one who sees every trouble as an opportunity to grow gains from everything and the one who blames and is angry with life loses the opportunity for personal growth and lives in constant misery and anger. Troubles are like falling into deep waters. The one who trusts would 'let go' and so float over the waters, the one who doesn't and fears or resists the waters, drowns. We can forgive God for allowing misery in our life if we can trust him, if we realize that to God ‘all is fair in His love for us’.

What a person is dealt with is part of life, it could be through  one or another’s hands or maybe through one’s own mistakes but what he does to get over it or rise above the situation is up to him. In this growth process we are allowed to make mistakes because we learn from them and grow more in wisdom. In fighting the battles in life we may do things we wouldn't in normal situation. David too did not always feel right; he often felt unworthy when God helped him and was kind to him (Interestingly he never questioned the misery God put him through!) Our body, our life, relationships, and all forms of arts are never mastered without some mistakes during the learning process. We may commit  errors  of judgement, mistakes or may even take dire measures as we learn the best ways of winning a battle for the  eventual victory of good, for winning a life that promises both worldly joys and heavenly happiness. We can forgive ourselves and so would God, because... all is fair in the 'Just' War.

Indeed when the purpose is ultimate good, all things do seem fair; be it in Love or be it War! Not just fair, it is imperative. Only if a good man can protect himself while saving another, would he be able to inspire others to similarly stand up for a good cause.

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