Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Reason For Hope

I watch news on TV for a few minutes after I return from office while sipping my tea. Serial blasts at Srinagar, Kashmir was the major news. Attacks were mainly on tourists. Tea tasted bitter. I looked out of the window. A sort of gloomy weather. It has not been raining though it is monsoon. Dust coloured clouds hover with no sign of water in it. I had to drop S for maths tuition. I decided to spend one hour around his teacher's home- there is a tree with a stone bench underneath. I took along with me the book 'Essential Zen' to cheer me up. The evening and the cool breeze soothed me a little bit. I read the book till the sun completely disappeared. Reading Zen has a magical effect.

He was offered the whole world,
He declined and turned away.

He did not write poetry,
He lived poetry before it existed.
He did not speak of philosophy,
He cleaned up the dung philosophy left behind.

He had no address:
He lived in a ball of dust playing with the universe.
(Jung Kwung)

I took a walk since I had another 15 minutes to spend. Moreover I could not sit on the bench further as mosquitoes had started attacking me. I thought, they also have a right to live. Another Zen koan which I had just read came to my mind.

A student asked Soen Nakagawa during a meditation retreat, "I am very discouraged. What should I do?"
Soan replied, "Encourage others"

All the cheerfulness I had forced upon me soon fizzled out when I reached home. News of serial blasts in Mumbai was there on all news channels. I felt very uneasy and restless. I am very discouraged and helpless. But how can I encourage others? While I was enjoying the cool breeze along with Zen, bombs had exploded in trains at Mumbai snuffing out many innocent lives. While I returned home, many people would never be able to.

I couldnot sleep. Browsed net for some news. Read about Zidane and Materrazzi. It seems Materrazzi insulted and humiliated Zidane and he retaliated with a head butt. But what did these innocent tourists in Kashmir or train commuters in Mumbai do to these killers? What did the parents, wives and children of these dead persons do these terrorists?

Two days back I had bought a book 'Reason For Hope' by Jane Goodall, the great Chimp researcher whose video 'Among the Wild Chimpanzees' (by National Geographic) I had watched several times. Instead of reading from the beginning I chose the chapter 'Death' where she had written the trauma and pain of losing her husband. In the Introduction she writes: '......People ask how I can be so optimistic in the face of so much environmental destruction and human suffering; in the face of overpopulation and overconsumption, pollution, deforestation, desertification, poverty, famine, cruelty, hatred, greed, violence and war. Does she really believe what she says? they seem to be wondering. What does she really think, deep down? What is her philosophy of life? What is the secret ingredient for her optimism, her hope?'

She has a reason for hope, and I believe we all should have, even it means waiting eternally.

No comments: