Sunday, March 08, 2009

Questioning the Lord

the format of the mahabharat is definitely Q & A. sages, skeptics, gods, sinners, kings, warriors, passersby - they all ask questions. not all questions are glinting diamonds of insight. some are audacious and smart; but many are the mahabharatan equivalent of "huh?" and "why me?" and "who is she?" ...but they are asked nonetheless.

almost all questions get a story in response. it is the listener's job to listen carefully, and hold onto the thread. there are times when the question is unanswered. maybe because the questioner is not ready for an answer to his own question. maybe because a readymade answer would make it too easy. why extract teeth in a hurry when they will fall out on their own, and leave one all the richer for having played with a loose tooth, faced the fear and joy of having a tooth finally fall out - leaving a pulpy, bleedy bed at one end, and a beautiful enameled pearl at the other.

of late, though, believers are warned not to test their Lord. i wonder why. anyone who has the answers will not fear being questioned. we seem to have developed a collective fear of having our palms skinned for making 'ignorant' queries. the only time we feel safe enough to ask a question - i do this too often - is when we know half the answer. else we sit still in the crowded room and hope some extroverted other will compensate and make the right sounds.

it's these crowded rooms that are the problem. most contemporary forums for question-asking are crowded rooms (schools, press conferences, satsangs, book launches, public blogs). and crowded rooms are better suited for show-off questioners and derisive conversation, than for asking a sincere question. when you question the Lord, it isn't the Lord you are testing. you are testing the depth, sturdiness and mettle of your own question.

9 comments:

Xav said...

We feel totally safe when we ask a question and get instantly the answer to it. So the question has no time and need to exist. I wonder.

Really interesting words, beautiful thoughts and tooth metaphor!

Phoenix said...

The very 'extracting out' of the tooth forcibly, the moment it gets loose, renders all further contemplations futile and limits them to mere abstractions. Why just The Mahabharata ? Q n A, in any form, requires 'ceremony' as a prerequisite. Entrance examinations, quiz shows, parliament sessions, court hearings.. damn near anything!
Thoughtful as well as thought-provoking.

Read the 'Anatomy of Excess', and it made me look forward to reading 'Kari'. Good job :-)

AnoNick said...

Lovely metaphor. :) But I guess perhaps we are too shy, nowadays, to actually voice our doubts? Perhaps because we are scared no one else is interested, that others won't care. We want to fit in.

My perspective anyway. :)

simplypallu said...

Brilliant observation, I must say.

Stumbled here from Deez / Rashmi's blog(s), and have been lurking since a year or so. The pictures have always amused me, but this text made me holler a hello :)

Prashant Trivedi said...

the wise gno that gnowledge never arises out of questioning

the whole point in mahabharata is about serving not questioning including all the guru-shishya relationships etc

one gets all the answers through serving the lord, not questioning the lord

thats the conclusion arjuna comes to after all the questioning that is gita

amruta patil said...

there are enough feverishly unquestioning people (and I don't mean the corporate types) in 'service' of Lords the world over...and look where that has taken us. surely devotion doesn't mean suspension of curiousity and enquiry?

Phoenix said...

We shouldn't come to any conclusions without investigating the premises properly. And a thorough contemplation tells us, we never really question the lord. its out faith we question. Our beliefs. Even the realities accompanying or comprising our imaginations. And all of these are entirely questionable. Its not as if they just CAN be questioned. A more beneficial approach requires questioning as a MUST. And as I said before, the questioning requires some amount of 'ceremony' as a form of ornamentation to make it palatable to our people.

If its blind, it isn't faith !

Prashant Trivedi said...

smile ... yes their lord is not for the questioning which relates to where one is heading - higher or lower

*the real lord* lets one have
*real eyes* ... one that can actually see ... proper seeing automatically answers all questions

curiosity & enquiry can be used or misused & most don't really have any real sense of curiosity or enquiry otherwise they would not get lost in these small prison paradigms of this puny existence

Prashant Trivedi said...

for phoenix -

all are blind

so faith is out of question