16 June, 2009

Earth is People's Heaven !!

The younger sibling has had a spiritual advisor of sorts sitting right next to him on the school bus. Every morning, he would get into the school bus and even before he could comfortably seat himself on his seat and put his seat belt on, he would already be engrossed in an animated conversation with the child sitting on the seat next to him. So much so that he would completely forget about the hapless Mommy standing on the sidewalk, presenting a rather wild picture – what with her arms flailing out wildly in a rather futile attempt to attract the younger sibling’s attention and get him to wave a “bye” in return.

Do I need say that the child sitting next to him is a little lady ? This child is in Year 3 at the same school campus.

On some days, once he gets back from school, he lets us in on the gist of the conversations that they have on the bus – to school and on the way home. And this little lady turned into his spiritual advisor of sorts – when in bits and parts – she started to explain to him the concept of heaven and earth. She had apparently painted bright and lovely pictures of heaven in his mind and he was totally taken in and very much enamored by the concept of heaven. So much that the theory of death began to loosen its fearsome and frightening hold on him.

“When people die, they are reborn on Earth for many many times and after a million, billion, trillion, gazillion times of being born again on Earth – when they die again – then they go to Heaven.” he announced rather triumphantly one day – looking rather pleased with himself.

Now, the younger sibling being the younger sibling, I, for one, knew that this sheen of heaven and being reborn on Earth was not going to weave its magic around him for very long. It would not be long before those wheels in his head kicked in and started to turn furiously, churning out question after question.

I was not wrong – not in the least !!

“But why should people be born again and again only on Earth ?” came the question, after a couple of days.

“Oh Yes !! The salvos have begun in right earnest” was what I remember thinking to myself.

“Why does God not send people to be born in different planets ?” “That way we can see the all of the solar system.”

“There is no human life on the other planets, Abhay” said I, knowing only too well that I was indeed providing him with the ammunition for his next question.

Sure enough, there it was.

“But it does not have to be only human beings right ? That's soooo booooring."

And if God puts us back on Earth, does he only turn us into living beings with hands and legs and eyes and mouth and ears and all that or does God turn us into other living things too – like plants or water and all that ?” “It can be anything. And you told me that God is everywhere and in everything. And there is ice on the very cold planets and gases surrounding many planets on the solar system”. “So why cannot God send us there instead of putting us back on Earth ?”

He had a point and I had no immediate answer to the question. To answer the whole cycle of rebirth would mean introducing the concept of Karma and all the related aspects, which I thought would be a bit too much to handle, all at the same time. And more importantly, the concept needed to be simplified before the same could be introduced to the kids.

He has been ruminating about this concept of Heaven and Earth ever since and though this had been sidelined, with other things having taken precedence – it has definitely not left his mind altogether.

Today morning saw the siblings discussing Heaven and Earth again. And this time around, it was the elder sibling who was extolling virtues of Heaven – about how clean it is said to be and how colorful and bright and how there is no pollution there and how the fruits and vegetables there are so tasty and how it is said to be God’s home and so on and so forth.

All through the conversation, the younger sibling was uncharacteristically quiet. Not a peep, no questions, no counter arguments – nothing. And that in itself told me that there was something huge cooking inside his mind and that when he did put it into words – it was going to be of titanic proportions.

“But Aparna – tell me something ?” he said after quite some time - time that he had apparently spent reflecting and thinking.

“Why do people want to go to Heaven ?” “See, we live here on Earth, right ?” “So ….. Earth is people’s Heaven, right ?”. “So why can’t people keep Earth clean and make less pollution on Earth and plant more trees and all that …. so then Earth will be like Heaven.”

To say that I was dazed, is an understatement.

I mean, how very profound is that statement - “Earth is people’s Heaven”.

That statement totally floored me – not as much with its intensity or its philosophy but rather with its simplicity and straightforwardness.

It was not the complexity of the statement which brought a lump to my throat but rather the innocence that it brimmed with. Innocence in which one feels a very strong resonance of the truth. Innocence which is said to be very pure in its clarity.

Innocence which we human beings seem to shed as we grow. Rather unfortunate, but so true !

This is a rather huge concept – “Why cannot people be more responsible and act more responsibly in keeping their planet clean and pollution free ?” “Why can’t people think more about planting more trees rather than cutting them down ?” “Why do people not carry environmentally friendly bags whilst going shopping instead of carrying home multiple numbers of plastic bags from supermarkets ?”

These are questions that environmentalists scream themselves hoarse about, one that people still seem to ignore – to the point of callousness.

There are people who do care, there is a section of the population that does its bit towards protecting our home – The Earth – from spinning faster and faster towards its own destruction – but from the looks of it, such a section of the population is quite small – even now.

“Earth is people’s Heaven” – has seemingly been seared into my consciousness. It simply refuses to leave my mind.

Like Frank A. Clark once said

“There’s nothing that can help you understand your beliefs more than trying to explain them to an inquisitive child”.

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8 voice(s) said so:

Adorable Pancreas said...

He's already smarter than a good majority of adults on earth.

Just Like That said...

awwww... profound innocence indeed.
I wonder where we adults grew out of this innocence.... and why? :-(

Suma said...

he made such a valid point. Reminds me of something i read somewhere that 'the earth is loaned to us by our kids, so treat the earth well'

that quote you wrote at the end was sooo perfect!

Sands said...

How simple and yet so true. To think that a child can comprehend a fact many grown-ups have difficulty grasping. Abhay sounds like an adorable child :)

Preethi said...

Awesome.. Abhay is quite a thinker isnt he... and you said it Profound innocence.. he has a very valid point!!

Cynthia said...

You know, I've often heard my mom say that heaven and earth is right here...

Belated wedding anniversary!

karmickids said...

*humbled to her knees* What a wonderful statement. You have a zen master there Gauri...

Gauri said...

AP : (sigh) now if only I did not have to break my head over the nutty siblings cleaning up their desk after they are through with their work !! :D

JLT : Why ? I wonder too.

Suma : Yes - I remember that quote too. Lovely and apt.

Sands, Preethi, Kiran : He is a handful and a legful put together, too :D

Cynthia : Your mom is so right. And thanks for the wishes :).