“Are you in this Queue?” he asked.
“Yes and No” I answered.
He frowned. At least I thought so.
Today I was in Nasik. Even before we started our work, people asked me whether I wanted to visit Tryamabakeshwar temple. Someone called me from Mumbai and suggested me to do so.
I have visited this temple many times and it is one of my favorite places. So, in the evening at last, people were able to convince me and thus we were there.
There was lot of crowd. One of the trustees was visiting temple then and so there was much more discipline than what is usually observed. As always, local people tried to arrange for some kind of special treatment for me – that in most of these religious places means avoiding standing in the queue. I don’t like to break the queue when so many people are standing there. If I want to visit temple, I should follow the standard procedures. If I don’t have time, well, no God needs me. We have a mutual understanding about not needing each other. We respect each other and let live other in peace.
I told the people around me not to bother about breaking the queue. I added that one should approach God by leaving aside material achievements – because they do not matter in the relationship with God. As the security guards did not allow ‘special entry’ today, people around me had no option but to follow the queue.
For last two days I had overworked. Lot of travel, no food on time, many challenges in the work I was supposed to monitor and had to be very patient to make people understand the next steps that were essential. I was completely exhausted and needed time to relax and refresh. Looking at the length of the queue, I said, “Ok, it looks like God does not want me to visit him today. Let us go back.”
On my casual remarks, the team around me panicked. They immediately started searching for some higher authority of the temple, with whose permission they could get me through easily. I had no energy to discuss rationality with them. My views on God are bit weird and it needed special efforts from me to communicate those to others. I realized that if I don’t stand in the queue, these people will continue to feel uneasy and they will keep on trying some or the other way to take me inside by the shortest possible way.
The only option for me to stop them was to stand in the queue as if I was really willing to visit the temple. It was hypocritical of course, but at times I have to be so – not for my own wishes, but to satisfy others.
So, I was in the queue physically and was not there at all emotionally or spiritually. Hence this: ‘Yes and No”.
And then I kept overhearing others. Two people behind me were discussing some Rural Development Scheme of Government and were sharing secretes about ‘how to get included in the beneficiary list’. A woman standing in front of me was reading an English book but her 10 year child was not allowing her to concentrate. A woman in her 30s was chanting Shiva stotra – she broke suddenly and shouted at her 8 year daughter for some kind of misbehavior. A group of youth was planning about what they should eat in the evening. An old lady was explaining her knee-ache to other lady. A young man was looking dreamily at some tree in the temple courtyard. A girl in jeans and sleeveless T shirt was sentimentally watching her plate in which flowers and other material for worship was kept. A group of children tried to bypass the queue and got a big scolding from elders. One elderly gentleman started his sermon on how the next generation is getting worse. I was wondering why nobody is using mobile and clicking and realized that mobile phones and cameras were not allowed inside temple premises.
The queue kept on moving. As it was a zigzag queue on every turn I had different people on my left and on my right. I kept on hearing different versions of life – mostly material.
Nobody in that queue was willing to give up material aspects of life even when they cherished to see the God, even when they were in the presence of God. I was not different from them as like a sponge, I was taking everything that was around me.
Was I in the queue?
“If you are not in the queue, you are not in the queue”, again he spoke.
I was surprised. Then I smiled.
I said, “This remark is very absurd, specially coming from you. It is more like Zen.”
“Well, if you are not in the queue, sometimes you are also in the queue,” he added thoughtfully. I cannot imagine him smiling, but I guess he was smiling.
“Decide for yourself,” he said and disappeared.
I am still tired.
I have yet to get some nourishing food – simple but nourishing.
Who was he? What did he say? Why did he say it to me? Did that conversation really happen or as always I was just dreaming with eyes open? Why it always happens to me? Is there any seed of truth in what he said or the fatigue is getting over me? Why can’t I stop thinking?
Lots of questions. There is sort of queue of questions.
Yes, somehow, I am always in one or the other queue.