Saturday, July 15, 2006

Not a Mango Orchard

We are not mangoes. We are not apples either.

They say that the birth of each new child means that God still has hope in the world. I feel that it also means God still wants to get some work done. I believe that God sends everyone with a purpose, and the abilities to fulfill that very purpose.

What is that purpose and who determines it? Only the Creator of the scheme of things knows and determines the purpose. Who in this world figures out this purpose for each one of us? Now this is an interesting question.

It shouldn't surprise most of us if we say, "I am the only human who knows me the best." The abilities that were given to each person were given to them, and so, I believe, was the sense of purpose given to each individual. To a child, it's very clear: I like electronics. I like coloring. I like sitting and thinking. I like talking and making friends.

The child does not criticize or judge their ability – their innate talent. And there is a direct and positive correlation between the purpose and the talent. A talent is the tool to fulfill the purpose, which is a task. Like task, like tool. Like purpose, like talent. You cannot fit a hammer into your sole and dance the ballet.

The Divine system of morality is centered on the individual: the individual is responsible for themselves and their acts. That is why it's equally wrong to commit a personal sin alone in a desert or at home in the city in front of your parents. If you must not take a drug, you may not take it even if you are the last person on earth (which will be very depressing, but!). Likewise, if you do something good, it does not matter where and how you do it and who's watching you.

Won't we all agree that we want our subordinates and dependents to behave perfectly morally in our absence? And that, if we think about it, those who supervise us want the same from us? (Hard, but true.) So what does this mean? The system of governing each person's life is within that person. Each person is their own judge. And if they are the judge of their conduct, they are also the judge of their larger purpose.

Let the point come home now: God created each person to achieve a certain objective – big or small in human eyes, but absolutely important to God. For God, each person's task is as important as another's. Just as to an architect, the nuts & bolts and bricks & mortar are as critical as the doors and the woodwork and the tinted glass-panes. He instilled that objective, that purpose deep in each person's psyche, and gave that person requisite talents to fulfill that purpose. Every person is born with an awareness of these.

It takes nurturing and development to make each person understand the use of their tools to do their task. You are a surgeon. You want to perform a surgery. You are taught the use of specific tools to undertake that surgery. With time and learning, you may use a more extensive and sophisticated array of tools.

The tragedy is that most of us are taught to lose our talent. We are not taught to understand and live our purpose, but to forget it. We are taught to live out a set of expectations set by this unnamed, iron-curtained thing called the "society" or "economy."

It's as if the parents, the teachers – as if this monolith called the "society" – bring up the children like mangoes in an orchard. The children are all prepared to be the same, look the same, taste the same. They are expected to ripen to near maturity when they can be picked up and sold. A lot of anxiety is part of the process; leading up to the sales, failing which, God forbid, a mango is a loser fit for the farmer's household chutney. The ultimate purpose of each child's existence is to sell well, and make sure it does not embarrass the farmer with some kind of un-ripened death, some apple-of-a-different-idea.

We are not mangoes. We are not apples, either.

We are humans, tuti-fruity: we have our own tastes, flavors, colors, shapes, sizes, seasons. We have our codes within us, and only we can read them right. Our talent and potential has no expiry date.

And we are certainly not up for sale: for we are humans, not mangoes.

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