Believers And Non Believers
From times immemorial there has been a schism between believers and non-believers. What is important to understand is the invisible bond that binds every being and object in the world, muses the writer.
One bright Sunday morning last month, Vikram dropped in to discuss his thesis with me. He is my ex-colleague from the previous organisation where he was my junior and has been promoted now to be the Head of the department there. He was working with me for his Ph.D. in Banking Technology. Apart from being a researcher working under my supervision, he was a dear friend too. After our two-hour long discussions, we started talking about some other things over a cup of tea.
“Sir, I know you are a man of many tastes and hobbies, and I believe Astrology is one of them. Right?’” He asked me casually.
‘’Yes, you know that’’ I replied.
“Does Astrology really work?’’ His tone was serious.
‘’See, this is not an exact science. Many times it gives accurate results, many times mixed. Sometimes it does not work at all, some unknown variable of nature comes into play and events take a different turn. But yes the overall trend and position of the stars can be seen and studied and accordingly you can judge whether the timing is good or bad and can make some provisions accordingly.’’ I made general remarks without getting into elaborate specificities.
‘’But I don’t believe it at all, sir.” He said in a firm voice.
‘’Yes, dear, over the years I too now believe in one’s own Karma, leaving the rest to God to take care of. But why the sudden interest in this?” I asked him after a pause.
Hesitatingly, he went on, ‘’Actually sir, for the past few weeks my job has become unbearably difficult for me. My juniors conspire against me all the time. They go straight to the Director and speak ill of me in my absence. The Director too lends his ear to them. The prevailing atmosphere in my department is of complete mistrust and I am not able to do my job properly.’’ His face had a haggard look now.
‘’Hmmm, so?” I asked guessing where it was leading to.
‘’Just a thought sir. Can you see my horoscope?”
‘’But you just mentioned you don’t believe it?”
‘’Yes sir, that’s true. But sir, any help in this situation is welcome. If you can, please . . .?”
‘‘Ok, tell me your date of birth, time and place.’’My laptop was already on, I fed his details into the pre-installed Astro software I had in the system. I looked at his Natal chart, Moon position and the current Mahadasha and Pratyantar Dasha. After a few minutes of analysis, I told him that it was the Ketu that was in transit causing all the trouble for him. His immediate question was the remedy without getting into further details.
‘’See, the planet is aggressive for another one-and-a-half month after that Venus’s Pratyantar Dasha would start and things would start getting better,’’ I tried to comfort him.
‘’No sir, passing even a single day is difficult these days. One-and-a-half month is a very long period for me. Any day my management may say goodbye to me. I have started looking for positions in other colleges. Please tell me some upaya (solution) which can save my job,’’ he pleaded feebly.
‘’Ok, then from now onwards, start serving your neighbourhood dogs. Feed them twice daily. Don’t you ever abuse or kick them.” This was the simplest and most effective remedy for him.
‘’What dogs?’’ Suddenly, he laughed. ‘’Sir, you mean serving stray dogs in the alley will keep those ‘dogs’ away from me!’’ He continued laughing.
‘’Yes, you can say that. All the things – material or non-material, all the relations – everything around us represents one or the other planet. Dog is not only man's best friend but also associated with planet Ketu. So, if we start taking care of things that are directly related to a particular planet, then eventually the malefic effects of the corresponding planet start lessening. And in our scriptures, dogs are called Darvesh. So feeding and taking care of them is a gesture of respect and gratitude in the ultimate analysis,’’ I explained to him though apparently he was totally unimpressed.
‘’Don’t know sir. How dogs are related to my problem? How feeding them will help me in my job? Please don’t mind sir. I don’t believe there is any correlation between the two. And you know sir, I hate dogs. In fact, I’ve had a phobia of dogs since childhood. I just can’t stand them when they come close and start sniffing me. Anyways, sir thanks. I’ve taken a lot of your time today.” He stood up to go. I saw him off at the gates and he started walking back to his place. Since his house was in the same vicinity as ours, he often walked down to our house.
One late evening, after a few days, I was returning from the market. I saw a man surrounded by dozens of dogs. It was dark but I could see the man was carrying a big wooden basket from which he was feeding something to the dogs. When I went near him, to my utter surprise, he turned out to be other than Vikram. He too saw me. Leaving the dogs, he came to me.
After exchanging pleasantries, he told me, ‘’Sir, the very next day after visiting you, I found a little puppy at my front door. He was bitten on the leg by a dog and was in terrible pain. I took him to a vet and he gave him a proper dressing. My wife liked the pup very much and we are keeping and taking care of him. From that day onwards, my perspective about dogs has changed and now I am following your mantra of serving these poor creatures. My situation at the workplace may or may not change but I get inner satisfaction from feeding and playing with them.’’
Suddenly the glaring headlights of a passing car lighted up Vikram’s face; I found it glowing with peace and joy. There was an elated look in his eyes that only the believers have! Perhaps he had realized the essential oneness of all beings and non-beings in this universe. The words of the Catholic mystic Francis Thompson started echoing in my mind:
All things my immortal power,
Near or far
To each other linked are,
That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star.
Perhaps, Vikram too had realized it.
Dr. Dhiraj Sharma is presently working as a faculty member at Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab (India). He has fourteen books and more than fifty published papers to his credit. Professionally, he is actively involved in writing, teaching, and research, and is personally working outside his academic comfort zone. He is a keen Birder; Nature & Wildlife Photographer; Realistic and Semi-Impressionist Painter.