Ashutosh Vardhana: When Yasin
Scorned, Naresh Asked Silly Questions
Length: 155 lines
Narésh Asked Silly Questions
you pray to lifeless
statues, to elephants and monkeys, have you
no better sense? Why do you
follow this primitive religion?
Is not God greater
than your animals and artefacts,
is not God greater
than all human beings,
is He not spirit
as our Holy Scripture says,
and that of Jesus and of Abraham?
my simple-minded loving ignorance,
which I have inherited from
my mother. I've always felt very close
to God. I like
to see her, touch him, pamper him
and love her that way.
But you say,
all this is sinful aberration and idolatry,
and I'll be punished
on the day of doom? You make me
you tell me, I should
no longer worship
Ganésh and Hánuman, beloved friends,
no longer keep close company
of Ráma and of Krishna,
of Shíva and of Dévi, our mother,
of Ámba Máta, of Síta and of Sáti,
of Úma, Lákshmi and Saráswati,
who accompany me everywhere,
and give me strength
in all my enterprises.
I should forsake them all?
You tell me, righteousness requires
that I miss all these comforts?
Will I not be lonely if
I must pray only to Allah,
who is spirit, who is infinitely great and who is
so far away.
I'll find it hard to bear.
I find it hard to give up MY god
if you do not help me
to find YOURS.
Therefore, Friend, tell me
where is Allah?
Is he above me
in the sky, below me
in the earth, does he stand
on my right hand?
Or on my left hand (which God forbid)?
Does he float behind me (which God forbid),
or do I search for Him in front of me?
is everywhere, my Friend.
where is Allah, outside me or inside me?
is everywhere, my Friend.
Look at the dustbin there across the road.
I know now Allah is outside it.
Surely he is not inside
that thing, that vessel
of wrath and filth.
no, my Friend, Allah is everywhere,
that filthy bin,
and He will sanctify it, as He sanctifies
now you perplex me. Your omnipresent
Allah causes me unease. I have another
question. Forgive me if it seems
offensive. But I have
to ask it, to be sure
and really get your meaning.
The matter is important.
As you say
or infinite damnation
of my soul depends on it. I must
get it right. So please forgive
Surely there are three places
where Allah is not found,
firstly not in this bowl of excrement and second not
in all that is contained
within the covers of
The Satanic Verses
and thirdly not in Salman Rushdie's heart.
Admit that Allah is not there.
press me hard, my Friend.
We do not really like to think and talk about
extreme examples, constructed
and displeasing as they are. But
since you press me thus,
I must admit, Allah is everywhere, even
in all those places, which you named.
disgusting only for our simple
human minds, but Allah far
transcends such petty feelings
of disgust and does not truly
like a petty tyrant care
if his subjects indulge in pretty
poetic mockery, provided they
mock well and with esprit.
He likes a good laugh, and he
more than we
is capable of laughing at himself.
If He is angry, He's not really angry, He
only pretends to be
and plays with us.
Thank you, my Friend, for being honest.
I think you are close to converting me.
I like this Illat or Allah of yours.
Take off your shoes,
Allah is in the room
we are about to enter,
and in the carpet we will step upon.
Here is my Ganesh,
my dearest loving friend.
We are agreed, Allah is in this room.
But surely He is not
within this statue, to which
I pray and which
I worship and which
you have so often
a tease, my Friend, but I'm at ease
with you - and Allah
rest my case.
Let's go and worship Him together.
© Ashutósh Várdhana