The voice in our heart


Opinion | 30 Sept 2017 | Asia Samachar |

SIKH PLAY: Marjaana to Mittar in Kuala Lumpur – Photo grab from SikhInside

She grabbed my arm and buried her face on to it hard. I knew why. After all, she’s only 5 years of age. Anything resembling a monster or a demon or anything different from her surroundings would certainly frighten her. On the stage, right in front of the both of us, Kauda, the man-eater has just made his appearance. Bloodied eyes, gnashing dirty teeth, big and burly, complete with a necklace made of small fake skulls. And he immediately pounced on the protagonist of the show we were watching, Mardana. My girl was terrified.

Like any other father, I tried to calm her down by saying it’s all a show and that wasn’t a real demon about to eat a man right before us. And then, the booming voice of Baba Nanak’s character grasped the stage and its audience. She couldn’t understand what Baba Nanak was saying, as I nudged her and whispered to her to see what happens next. She was still terrified but she knew Babaji somewhat made Kauda tremble before Mardana, who was now standing tall from his cowering position earlier. And then it hit her. The light bulb flashed above her head. The demon was afraid of Babaji, who protects us all!

SEE ALSO: When Mardana came alive

Like any other typical and somewhat old fashioned Sikh family, my wife and I have tried to instil the belief that Baba Nanak, along with the other Gurus, were best personified as someone that the children could identify and connect to. And when anything disturbed our children at that very tender young age, especially when dealing with fear, we have assured them that Babaji was always there to protect them, shield them and fight for them. Never mind if they haven’t even understood a word of Gurbani yet. As long as they hold on to their beliefs that these personified men were larger than life, and were more than qualified to imbue the traits of loving, caring, brave Sikhs on to our girls. Then, we really hope, our children would naturally take to their teachings and lessons as they grow older and grow out of these personified impressions of theirs.

What struck me even more that night, was my little girl’s realization and acceptance that this voice belonging to Babaji, was all it took to assure her that her fears that gripped her tight can be overcome effortlessly. Later that week, while remembering this moment, I lamented that life would be a lot easier if we had a voice like this assuring us from our own fears. Let’s be honest, each of us have our own fears daily. Some even hourly.

From the day we obtain consciousness, we have fears as a child like my daughter, fears from our imagination, of being abandoned. We have fears as teenagers like exams or losing a family member. We have fears as young adults trying to conform to society, of failing, of physical harm. We have fears as we have our own children, fears of their safety. We have fears of our children’s fears. And on and on. None of these are in strict order because we experience fear in so many forms at all ages. The older we grow, the many more we are fearful of.

But we also, almost always, react like my daughter at the sight of Kauda. We are gripped with panic, and we always react to it. Unless you’re a Saint, I don’t think any of us can escape from this very human trait. Sometimes, fear overcomes us to the point of paralysis, whether in the face of mortal danger or over a period of our lives where we forget to be happy and free. We cannot fight fear, like how we cannot fight evil. Because fear and evil will always be there if we fight it. We can, however, convert fear into something that keeps us aware, we can convert evil into goodness. It’s easier said than done, I know.

But I really believe we have been equipped to manage our minds, keep our minds calm and still in the face of fear and avoid paralysis. I believe meditation, any form of it, when put into practice, helps us to silence our screaming minds. And when silent, then perhaps we could have our own booming voices in our mind, to direct us, to assure us just like Babaji’s voice did for my 5 year-old girl. And, perhaps, my wife and me should also start equipping our children with the same. After all, we all need an assuring Babaji in our hearts at all ages.

Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.

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