How and why do God and Pain coexist?

Seems like one of those deeply philosophical questions right? And philosophy is the place to which the question will stay forever restricted, unless you personally go through earth-shattering pain yourself, almost daily. Pain is such a BIG word. Really. It is not limited or restricted in its definition or meaning. It could be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological and what-not. It could be direct or vicarious. Personally, this humble and pained author prefers the former. When you suffer on your own. Because then you know everything there is to know. The degree of that pain, the duration, perhaps the cause and if you are lucky, then the solution. But not so in the case of vicarious pain. When somebody else suffers, but red-hot iron knives slice your own body. When you can helplessly watch and fervently hope but not do anything that’s actually tangible. Hope. That damned word again! For the world, the word ‘hope’ comes with positive connotations. Sometimes, or a little more than just sometimes, this naive author also gets carried away by this same illusion. That hope is good, it’s light, it’s bright. Utter rubbish! Hope is nothing but a paralysis of the mind. A means of escaping the reality which is perhaps too harsh for the human mind to accept. Hope gives you illusions, but little else. So as I sit and watch my little baby brother suffer every single day, I can only ‘hope’ that life gets a little easier for him.

Wait. Let me tell you about him. My brother Anushrava, lovingly called Nony by everyone who knows him. He is 13 years old, and suffers from Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP comes accompanied by a whole lot of other problems, and Nony is forced to take more medicines in a day than you or I probably take in a month. CP essentially means he cannot walk, talk, sit, stand. Those actions 99% of mankind takes for granted. In short, he is a completely dependent little angel-devil. Devil because he is insanely naughty and can drive anyone up the wall with his antics. And ANGEL because I have never come across a human being with more courage, tolerance, love, resilience, grit, determination and good or bad – an unending capacity to live with pain without even a gasp escaping his lips. I’ve never met such a person and I can write it in blood and give that I never will. Life has been a battle for him since November 9, 1997 when he entered this world, and continues to be till today. But he is a brave little warrior. His spirit is indomitable and indefatigable.

Recently, I read a review of Arun Shourie’s latest book, which is about his son Adit, who also suffers from CP. There, this pertinent question has been raised – if God exists, then why is there such acute suffering in the world? If you are one of those lucky but incomplete souls who don’t know much about pain or suffering or loss, this question or for that matter, this entire post, is not going to be of much interest/use/whatever. However, if you are also a fighter, then somewhere you will be able to connect. I myself have been through a fir share of pain. But that is not relevant right now. So coming back to the point, I have gone through what I am assuming are the usual notions of faith and faithlessness. I have traversed that path from being a Believer to an Atheist, and back. Today, I might not be an ardent believer of any particular religion as such [I belong to a Hindu family. Lately, Buddhism has started fascinating me.] but I do believe in God as a supreme power who sees and hears everything, and most importantly, who PLANS every single move of ours. He is up there watching the show. Or as Shakespeare said, ” All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”. So I often find myself praying for the ones I love, and the world in general. Ofcourse, being a hopelessly selfish mortal, I focus more on the former, where I pray for friends and family, with a special heartfelt prayer for my brother [and a certain gentleman]. Yet, I see this illogical suffering. Should I believe that this is God’s plan? Or that my little brother is paying for sins committed in another life? I refuse to accept either, but I doubt my refusal has any importance whatsoever. Day after day, he smiles through his pain. He doesn’t fuss, doesn’t create a racket. Just quietly takes his pain and hides it beneath layers of chirpiness and laughter and that adorable twinkle in his eye. But perhaps God mistook this grit for acceptance. But Dear God, did you give him a choice between suffering and non-suffering, pain and painlessness, smile and tears? Do not give me the age-old argument that these things go hand in hand. Maybe they do once in a while, but every single day? NO SIR! This cannot be! What can possibly come out of torturing a little boy every single day? What is the aim? What is to be achieved by such horrendous terms and conditions imposed by Mother Nature? If his pain is painful to me, equally numbing is his determination to NOT GIVE IN, no matter what. That little brat shocks me! How can someone so fragile, literally, be so so Strong? It is usual for me to collapse at least once every month, clutching my tummy, and cursing the heavens, the hell and everything in between. He suffers more everyday and yet he doesn’t even let it show openly!

I salute his spirit, but it kills me to see the treatment being meted out to him by the Supreme Powers yonder. Because I can see no rhyme or reason. Everyday, his mother, his nanny and this imbecile writing this post wish that his pain be given to us, and he be allowed to live in peace. But that Almighty up there laughs his head off at this naiveté. He knows that inspite of all our grand claims and wishes, we can never bear the young lad’s pain if given to us, no matter how noble our intentions. Nony is His special Angel on earth. A unique entity sent to spread happiness and courage. Again, I salute the strong-willed young man he is….But God, don’t you think you should seriously consider cutting him some slack? Your test a couple of days back was frightening enough. Are you still seeking proof of his inherent capability to not bow, and ours to meekly accept? Because if you are, let me tell you that you are not being fair. He DESERVES a chance to live normally. In fact, he has EARNED it. Spare him. He is too innocent for such pain. You have  tested us all enough, or at least I think so, even if You disagree. So think about it. Nony is your own Spirit, after all…

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