Let’s talk to God first, before we talk to each other. That would help us connect and see that we are all one, says OSWALD PEREIRA
When I was a child, I used to sneak out of bed late at night, while my family was asleep, kneel before the altar in the living room, look up and talk to God. No, it was not prayer in the conventional sense, for I did not ask anything from God. I literally chatted with God, as if He were a Friend.
As children we are so innocent and believe that God is a good guy residing in the blue heavenly skies above, smiling at us and looking after us, including our parents, brothers and sisters and our friends.
In my conversations with God, I would often ask Him why there was so much sadness around, why there were so many poor people, why the big boys always bully the small boys, and so many other questions that cropped up in my mind.
Even at that young age of eight-nine years, I could see the suffering around, the imperfections in the world, the better-off and rich enjoying life, while the poor struggled to make both ends meet.
The priest at Catechism class had told us that all Christians, who were good would go to heaven, whereas those who didn’t belong to our religion, even if they were very good, would be denied a place in the Kingdom of God.
I considered this very unfair, but was too timid to tell this to the priest; so I decided to take up the issue with God. Thus, this topic became a daily part of my talk with God, among other pressing subjects.
There was a reason why this was so important to me. Among my close friends were non-Christians, including two boys, who were sons of a domestic help, and their elder brother, who was the captain of our village cricket team. Unlike the Christian boys, these two boys and the captain never bullied me, but instead gave me so much of unconditional love.
In my talks with God, I would openly tell Him how unfair He was to deny my close friends a place in heaven, just because they were non-Christian. God was silent, but sometimes it seemed He was smiling in that altar above. Perhaps, it was an optical illusion as there was always a small, bright light, shining above the altar at night.
My one-sided talks with God reduced as I grew into an adult. My family, who thought I would join the priesthood, because I scored 100 out of 100 marks in Catechism, were quite surprised that I joined the rat race and became a journalist.
But no matter how I much I drifted away from my Creator as an adult and in later years in married life and in retirement, there are some precious moments that I still cherish ― my small talk with God.
These days, quite away from the organised church that I am, there is no priest around to tell me of my exclusive right to heaven. In fact, the priests themselves have changed in this doctrine and no longer go around saying that other people not of the Christian faith will not be included in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Also, the tables seem to have turned and now-a-days, some fringe elements are excluding Christian and other minorities from the goodness of Divinity.
Things have changed for me, too, personally. And I now believe that I belong to all religions equally, without special allegiance to any particular one. There is Universality in all religions, as they all lead to One God. Therefore, Truth and Oneness is the true religion.
Talking about Talking to God, my beloved Gurudeva Paramhansa Yogananda has written a small, beautiful book of 46 pages, titled, How You Can Talk With God.
In the very first lines of the book, Yoganandaji writes: “Talking with God is a definite fact. In India, I have been in the presence of saints while they were talking with the Heavenly Father. And all of you, also, may communicate with Him; not a one-sided conversation but a real talk wherein you speak to God and He responds. Everyone can talk to the Lord, of course. But I am discussing today how we may persuade Him to reply to us.”
So, let’s talk to God first, before we talk to each other. That would help us connect and see that we are all one.