Pratyaksha Brahma | Arjun Pratap Rana

Pratyaksha Brahma | Arjun Pratap Rana

“Things don’t happen the way they do because of science; science is the way it is because things happen the way they do.”

The soft, subtle and calm tone of Kaka abruptly shifted gears as if the driver had touched some wrong chord.

“I didn’t mean it that way Kaka….”

“Whatever way that was meant, one cannot question the ultimate authority of God. Period.” Kaka didn’t even allow the driver to finish his sentence. Once pouncing off the ‘period,’ the heavily panting Kaka went to hands folded sit back position and turned his face away to look out of the window.

A few minutes earlier…………………………….

Through the moderately warm winds of late summers of the desert of Rajasthan, a white ambassador crossed an occasional tree by the side of the road. Sitting under the shade of the tree, the old man looked too insignificant to be noticed despite waving both his hands to get the driver’s attention. The distressed old man kept waving and looking at the car’s back zooming out of his view as his frail shout faded out in vain. The old man, yet again, looked around at the never-ending, vast desert in despair. There was no sign of any form of life besides a few vultures hovering at unusually low altitude, probably waiting for their prey to turn motionless, and that single, life-saving tree for if it wasn’t for that tree, the old man could have succumbed to the harsh dryness of his hostile surroundings. Having scanned an entire 360 degree, the old man once again looked at the vanishing car and shouted ‘Hello’ with all the strength that was left in his otherwise alive body.

To his surprise, the view of the car stopped getting any smaller; in fact, it started getting bigger with each passing second. Finally, the car came to a complete halt beside the enthralled and ecstatically hopeful old man. He didn’t even wait for the driver to roll down the window pane and started explaining his unfortunate landing at the place and pleading to get hitched, which looked like some gibberish mime act to the driver from the other side of the window.

“Relax,” said the driver as he made his way out of the car with a bottle of water and offered the same to the man “Here, have some water.”

The old man finished the bottle like a hungry infant would finish a bottle of milk. He even splashed the last few drops on his face. The soothing touch of pleasantly cool water made the old man feel alive again like some doctor revives a patient, who was losing pulse, through a defibrillator.

“Thank you, thank you so much beta, God bless you” the simple words of blessing coming from the old man seemed truthful enough to be gracing the driver with freeing him of all his sins.

“Arey Kaka, it’s ok, don’t say thanks. You would have done the same thing for another human being. Where are you headed to? Come, sit in the car, I will drop you.”

Kaka looked at the empty water bottle which was still in his hands and then looked at the driver extending a facial apology for having finished the entire bottle.

“It’s fine Kaka; I have another bottle in the car, come, let’s get going.”

It didn’t take long for Kaka to hop into the passenger seat and the driver turned on the ignition.

“By the way, what were you doing here in the middle of nowhere, Kaka?”

“I was on my way to Pratyaksha Brahma temple.”

“Pratyaksha Brahma? Kaka, that temple is still around 140 kilometres from here. Did you plan to get there walking?”

“No, I was on a bus with other passengers. A few kilometres from where you found me, the bus broke down, and we all were stranded at a deserted place.”

“Oh, yeah, this is a difficult patch to drive on. There is no shop or help around when you need one, and this road is also in the worst form, but someone should have called up for help.”

The water bottle settled in the cup holder had become tilted due to the bumpy road. The driver adjusted the water bottle back in the cup holder.

“Yes, someone should have, and people tried too and then just kept trying. There was no network coverage. So, while others kept struggling with their smartphones in the no coverage zone, I decided to walk down the road.”

“Wow, why did you think of doing that? The bus driver could have fixed the bus and the group of people would be having more food and water supplies at least.”

“I waited for some time, but then no one was making any progress. People just gave up when technology failed them. So dependent on their phones that at one point the biggest concern for most of them was the dying battery. Can you imagine?”

“Yeah, boon or curse, but technology has certainly changed the face of humanity.”

“Not only changed, but it has also completely ruined it. That’s why I don’t trust technology, and I don’t like herd mentality either. I have never been dependent on circumstances; I create my ways.”

Kaka had a tone of pride in his voice which comes with years of experience and dignified existence.

“But your way could have resulted in your…..you know.”

“Death? ” Kaka completed what driver hesitated to.

“Well, yeah, you know how cruel a place like this could be. The day could dehydrate you and night could freeze you” the driver said.

“Yes, I know, but one thing I learned in my 27 years of army service is that accepting defeat is much worse than dying trying and moreover I have always had complete faith in my God. Pratyaksha Brahma wouldn’t let anything happen to me, at least not until….”

“Not until when?”

“Not until he gives me Pratyaksha Darshan.”

Kaka was seven years when he first came to Pratyaksha Brahma temple with his father. Ever since then, it had become customary for him to visit the temple once every year. The legend had that Pratyaksha Brahma gives Pratyaksha Darshan (provides the apparent vision of himself) to his true devotees at least once in their lifetime. Kaka’s father always attributed everything right, which happened to him and his family, to his devotion for the Pratyaksha Brahma; however, he couldn’t attain the highest form of devotion as he never had Pratyaksha Darshan till the time he died. Kaka was 17 years at that time, and even after his father’s death, Kaka continued the tradition and maintained one visit per year to the temple. Kaka also attributed all his life’s achievements to the Pratyaksha Brahma’s blessings and Kaka was truly confident that he would experience the Pratyaksha Darshan before he would die.

“Really Kaka? Do you believe in that primitive myth? I have met so many devotees of Pratyaksha Brahma, but I have never seen one who claimed they had experienced Pratyaksha Darshan” the driver didn’t realize that challenging someone’s faith, especially in God, has always had unpleasant consequences in the history of human existence.

Kaka was no exception. Driver’s practical disposition in the matter of faith and then such a blatant display of the same wasn’t received well. Kaka adjusted the water bottle, which had tilted again in the cup holder and sat back, looking out of the window.

“Sorry Kaka, I didn’t mean to…..you know….” 

“No son, I am not angry.”

“Oh, so? Have you ever….”

“I am just disappointed” the driver was interrupted by Kaka as he continued, “Yes, not with you, but I am disappointed with this whole generation, this so-called scientifically woke generation. No one understands the true faith anymore.”

“It’s not like that Kaka.”

“It is like that son. Having lost faith in any and everything is indeed the root cause of all the problems everyone is facing. Relationships don’t last long; they are shallow because there is no faith in them. Family members fighting each other over property; again, lack faith. The education system, the government, the very well established foundational institutions are crumbling down as a result of people not having any faith in anything. And I know the reason why?”

“Why?”

“Because having faith needs courage. When I served the army, we were trained to have complete faith in the orders of our senior officers. If we would have failed to abide, we were to face serious consequences. And we were courageous enough to have faith, even in the most difficult of situations. My faith has always kept me alive.”

“Kaka, army analogy cannot justify having faith in mythological legends.”

“Why not? Faith is not subjective. It is one of the few human emotions which are absolute. It holds the same definition in any context. A newborn baby survives to grow up based on this emotion alone; it is the faith on its mother that keeps him going, the complete and unquestioned faith.”

“Yeah, but Kaka, having faith in God is different.”

“No, it’s not” Kaka looked in no mood to allow any rational or irrational leverage in the debate.

The driver stayed silent for a while and shuffled his fingers on the steering wheel as he looked around the vast barren land around, which looked yellowish through the tainted glass of the car. The driver had been silent not because he had accepted the argument posed by Kaka, but because he was thinking about how to counter that argument.

“Achha Kaka, tell me one thing.” 

The driver observed that Kaka was facing away, looking out of the window.

“Arey Kaka, why are you getting upset? I am not as enlightened as you are. I am sorry if I said something wrong.”

Kaka turned his face, “No, no, I am not upset. Yes, tell me”.

“Kaka, why do you go to the temple?”

“To pray, to worship, to seek forgiveness.”

“But how do you know your prayers are being heard?”

“I believe that they are being heard and then the incidents happen.”

“Incidents?”

“Yes, like I believed that Pratyaksha Brahma wouldn’t let me die in that desert and prayed for my life, and then you came here to save me. It is an incident which strengthens my belief.”

“Oh, so in this context, I am the messenger of Pratyaksha Brahma, sent on a rescue mission,” the smile on the driver’s face was more of fascination instead being that of ridicule, but Kaka perhaps misinterpreted it.

“Yes, maybe, at least that’s what I believe. You are free to believe otherwise. I am not forcing you.”

“But this could be a pure coincidence. I happened to be passing through this road, and you were there and then…..”

“Yes, it could be a coincidence, but God also plans every coincidence. Anything we humans don’t understand, we give it names such as ‘co-incidence,’ ‘anomaly,’ ‘exception,’ ‘accident,’ but the truth is, there are no unplanned events. We fail to comprehend God’s plan. Everything happens for a reason.”

“I agree, everything happens for a reason, and that reason could be best explained by science or logic, isn’t it Kaka?”

Kaka remained silent. The driver looked at Kaka in anticipation of a reply, but none came from him, forcing the driver to add further to his argument, “If you think about it, centuries ago, people used to believe that Earth was the center of the Universe. People associated every physical phenomenon as an act of God, but over time science has been able to explain everything. We know now with certainty that everything happens because of science, don’t we?”

“Things don’t happen the way they do because of science; science is the way it is because things happen the way they do.”

The soft, subtle and calm tone of Kaka abruptly shifted gears as if the driver had touched some wrong chord.

“I didn’t mean it that way Kaka….”

“Whatever way that was meant, one cannot question the ultimate authority of God. Period.” Kaka didn’t even allow the driver to finish his sentence. Once pouncing off the ‘period,’ the heavily panting Kaka went to hands folded sit back position and turned his face away to look out of the window.

The driver cleared his throat and looked at Kaka, who was still in no mood to exchange glances or dialogues.

“What if….” And then the driver didn’t deliver the rest of that sentence. Irrespective of his lack of attention, Kaka got eager to hear what driver had to say.

“What if what? Say it, complete your sentence.” 

“Leave it Kaka; you might get upset yet again.” 

“No I won’t, C’mon, tell me.”

“See, I am not questioning your faith, I am just curious to know how someone could develop such a strong faith. I mean something in your past must have happened to make you feel the way you feel, isn’t it?”

“Why? Why something has to happen for me to believe in the ultimate creating force? My God is not selfish then why should I be?”

“If that’s the case Kaka, then why do you visit this temple every year? Couldn’t you have faith in your heart and be wherever you are and still can expect God to be merciful to you?”

“God is not merciful to me or anyone else because we offer something to God. God is not looking for petty favours. I do what I do because of myself. It makes me feel good.”

“Interesting, but I am still unable to understand,” the driver looked confused.

“You were talking about science, right, so let me explain the way you would probably understand. Do you know the gravitational force? So, does that force has different effects on different kind of people? No, right? God is the creator and accumulation of all such natural and supernatural forces, why should God behave any differently? God is impartial, unbiased to each one of us, but if someone would try to misuse the force, the force itself will destroy that person, just like the force of gravity would destroy a person jumping off a high rise.”

“Hmmm, then what difference does it makes to you? I mean what is the difference between a devotee like you and let’s say a sinner?”

“We all are sinners. We calibrate our sins differently to scale down the feeling of guilt. For us, a murder is a bigger sin than cutting down a tree. The difference probably is that I acknowledge my limitations and do not keep boasting in the pseudo glory of human brilliance. I am aware that God did not bless me with consciousness to feel detached, the purpose of consciousness, on the contrary, is to feel attached. I have chosen my ways to attain that attachment. Someone else might have their specific ways or maybe no ways at all. God does not differentiate.”

“Wow, I never thought that way before, but….” 

“Go on, say it, but what?”

The driver continued, “consider a hypothetical scenario Kaka, ok? What if I pull over right here, right now, to the side of the road, and then I attack and kill you? Would you say then that your faith did fail you?”

“Haha, That won’t happen my son.”

“I know, that’s why I said to consider a hypothetical scenario, just imagine if that happens, what would be your reasoning then?”

“Firstly, I believe that a person like you would never hurt someone, but even if we think hypothetically, as you mentioned, then I think you would be the one messing up with the force you don’t understand and that you will have to face the repercussions for the same, while I would still be taken care of by my faith, my God”

“So, you think Pratyaksha Brahma will come to save you even if I tried to kill you right now?”

“I don’t think, I believe so like I believed my faith would save me when you came to my rescue, and even if I am not saved, I will be at a better place.”

“Better place? You mean heaven? Or afterlife?”

“I don’t know, I just believe. My God can never abandon me.”

The driver looked at Kaka with an expression of disbelief. He was still trying to comprehend the sheer brutality of Kaka’s honesty when all of a sudden he observed Kaka turning his face towards him. Kaka looked tense and moved his lips to shout the word “lookout” as loudly as he could. It all happened so quickly that the driver hardly got any response time. He looked ahead and found a wild pig standing in the middle of the road, at merely a few inches of distance. He tried to push the brake pedal with all his might, but pedal wouldn’t go down. He briefly glanced at brake pedal and saw the water bottle stuck between the brake pedal and the car floor, obstructing it from going down. In a matter of seconds, the car came to an abrupt halt, and the shock of the impact forced the upper body of the driver to accelerate forward with great force. The driver’s head struck hard against the steering wheel, making the horn go off.

Kaka’s unconscious mind finally registered the continuous noise of the horn. He slowly opened his eyes in fear of looking at the horrific bloodshed on his adjacent seat, but what he saw, shocked him even more.

An environment of complete chaos. Dead bodies spread all over — some police officers, forensic experts, and media photographers clicking uninterruptedly. A team of paramedics was continuously shoving the shrouded bodies inside the ambulances. Amidst all this, there lay a charred toppled bus on the end of the road. Kaka wanted to stand and walk around to analyze carefully, but he couldn’t even move. He tried to move his hands to feel his face, but he couldn’t also move his hands. He tried to scream, but he couldn’t utter a single word.

“Doctor, I think the lone survivor is conscious now,” Kaka heard someone saying that.

“Oh good, C’mon, let’s attend him” Kaka heard a few rushed footsteps approaching him.

“Sir, sir, can you hear me? Do not panic Sir. We have the situation under control, and you would be given the most intensive medical care possible. You don’t have to say or do anything right now; we need you to relax”, Kaka couldn’t figure out who said that, but all he did was a nod in agreement to what was said to him before he shut his eyes.

“Take him” someone instructed.

That was the moment of realization for Kaka. He remembered how the bus had skidded on the road before tilting and finally toppling over. The screams of horror and horrendous scenes of brutality, which had scarred the silence of the desert a few hours ago, arose afresh in Kaka’s vision. The last memories which Kaka could recall were those of helpless victims crawling in attempts to be able to touch their loved ones one last time. That was the moment when Kaka had lost control over his conscious self, only to open his eyes a few

moments later, sitting exhausted under a lone surviving tree amidst a vast barren land.

A thought came to Kaka’s mind, “but I was supposed to visit Pratyaksha Brahma temple” and then he realized, probably that won’t be necessary now.


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