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How long will the Lord sleep?


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The Creator, the One who made all these things come to be with a wave of His hand, once came to survey His earthly reign.

It is not often that He takes such royal tours. He had immense faith in the way things were run in the world by those He had crafted with great diligence. So He left them to their own defenses and intruded less in their affairs.

But for a while now, He has been ill at ease. He has been receiving ominous signs in His sleep. He has been dreaming of mountains spouting red liquids and jolted by jarring notes of human cry. He felt a taste of venom in the ambrosia, heard melancholy in the nightingale’s voice and a hint of untowardness in His heart. Even His omniscience seemed blotted now.

“Something is amiss with the human creatures. They aren’t in peace and seem to be in great difficulty,’ He said to His deputy. ‘I must go physically and know what they are lacking in lately.’

‘My grapevine says it is love, my Lord. Love, it seems, has tarnished.’ The deputy rubbed his ears and said a tad weakly. ‘But how can it be?’ he added. ‘You had intended them to be Your perfect synonyms. Wisdom was supposed to be their hallmark, and love their character. You had made them flawless in spirit and essence. Yet, rumour has it that they are now bereft of both wisdom and love, and are languishing in penury.’

The creator nodded pensively.

‘I must go, live in their midst physically, know what ails their lot and dispense the remedy by hand. The humans and I haven’t met in a long time. That’s causing the disquiet probably. It’s time I gave them an audience.’

So saying, the creator embarked on His journey. The celestial horses shook their mane and neighed, signaling the start of a long, divine ride. They galloped past time and space, and when they reached the fringes of the world, they were ordered to pause, and the Creator took stock of the mortal territories.

In a sweeping glance He caught the picture of life, as bestowed upon the earthly kind. With deepening dismay, he peered through layers and layers of black patina that had settled on the world, like silver wares left unpolished for long. The nights were more sinister than what he had intended, and the days grosser. Beneath them He saw life floundering, weak in its knees and feeble in its spirit. The decay was spreading at an alarming pace. Of all things, the plight of man was the most deplorable.

Spurred and shaken by what He saw, He was convinced it was time for a reappearance. A second coming. He had promised them that He would come and restore order when anarchy sets in, that He would save them when they stood on the verge of doom. He was their Saviour. They were His responsibility.

But then again, how on earth will He appear before them? In what form and by what name?

He could not reveal Himself with halo and wings. Nor with conch, disc and mace as some conceived him. Who would believe it if He said it was Him, REALLY HIM come to save them from ruin? Many mortals had impersonated Him on silver screens and festival grounds. He would be passed off as another grease-painted imposter. He had to masquerade and take aliases, and present Himself in familiar forms, as things they saw every day.

First, He asked a Rose flower. ‘Will you be my disguise? Can I work through you to fix this worldly mess?

‘But You dwell in me already. This fragrance is the essence you have poured into me. Ask the snaking river.’

The river said, ‘Already, Lord. But for You, how would I flow and reach the sea? Ask the bumble bee.’

‘Already. Isn’t this nectar your quintessence?’ the bee buzzed and hovered over the halo in obeisance.

Thus, one after the other, all the sentient and insentient things vowed that they were filled with Him to the brim already. However, no man saw them for what they were. The human beings had other fallacies. Of finding God in other places and not in the familiar things.

‘Already. Already. You are in us already.’ The words rang in the Creator’s ears as He wandered aimlessly in the streets – invisible, watching men and women milling about, catching every twitch in their face, feeling every deep sigh that passed by, wondering how He should manifest so that people would recognize.

It was then that He saw people making a beeline to some designated spots not far from where He stood. From the way they scurried and swarmed the fanciful places, He suspected they were a treasure houses. It was probably there that people found the material things they sought. He had little clue about what they could be seeking. He stopped a few people scampering down, and asked them what it was all about.

‘What are you rushing towards? What is in there? What is this place called?’

But no one heard Him speak, no one felt His hand on their shoulder. How will they? To them, the Creator is intangible. He is out of bounds for immediate mortal experience. They placed Him on pedestals, installed Him in niches and made Him reside in spaces they called by different names.

‘Hey, listen.’ He tried again. But His words fell on deaf ears.

The Creator was puzzled. How would He make Himself heard? How would He tell He was there to help them? Defeated by their indifference and ignorance, He merged with the crowd in an attempt to catch a glimpse of what transpired inside the tall bastions. It certainly looked to be a special place for them.

Inside, He saw chunks of people on a euphoric high and some in calm stupor. Installed at the far end was His earthly embodiment. He looked around and absorbed the commotion with heightening interest. The people who had assembled had a common purpose. Seeing God. Affirming their faith. Seeking boons. Banishing banes.

To them, this was the house of God. It was here that they sought and found Him, and fixed their fickle faith.

The Creator stood amidst the thronging men and women, and watched the script play out. Hordes of men and women were chanting His praise, some swinging in a trance as if they had had a tryst with a wish-granting deity.

As the chants reached a crescendo and the frenzy rose, the Creator called out desperately. ‘Look around. I am here. I am here. Don’t put labels on me. Don’t bind me to a place. Don’t fix me to a seat. Find me in a flower, find me in fire. Find me in all things around here. Don’t place fetters on me. Don’t love me as if I were a possession. I am nobody’s commodity. Love me unconditionally. Liberate me from your restricted creed. Let me be free.’

Alas, the Creator’s wail got drowned in the human hysteria. He stood there, lost like a child at a carnival. Failing to make sense of the goings on, He gathered His divine trail, hastened down the aisle and exited the place they all called God’s sacred abode.

Behind Him, they praised and worshipped Him. They sought favours of numerous kinds. They wept, asking for redemption from their woes.

He heard their voices ringing out in tandem with the sacred bells. ‘Descend from the heavens, Almighty God. Didn’t you to promise to come whenever we have a need? Come, fill our coffers, fulfill our dreams, and erase our pains. Show us you exist.’

Rattled by their limited love and restrained faith, the Creator fled the human precincts.

He bolted past the rose and the river, the bee and the bough, the plateau and the meadow, the pebble and the snow, and all that He had met on His onward journey. They watched His hasty retreat with consternation, and heard the horses’ neighs peter out into the skies. Soon, He was gone. His immutable presence quivered feebly in the fibers of the myriad living and non-living things that had recognized Him. All except man saw Him for what He was.

‘You have returned earlier than you said. Isn’t everything well with the creatures?’ asked the deputy, reading the flustered face of the Creator as He dismounted the chariot. ‘What transpired on earth, Lord? What makes you so distraught?’

The Creator shook His head, wiped his brow and said, ‘I can only say this much of men. They have lost their sight and sense. I was in their midst, yet they didn’t see me. I spoke to them, yet they didn’t hear me. I was present for them to embrace me, but they sought after me as if I was nowhere. They have created my distorted versions that I don’t recognize myself. How do I cure those that don’t see light even in the day? What has caused this blindness, I can’t say. This isn’t what I had conceived them to be. I must mull over it. Their souls must be redeemed. I love them too much to let them be ruined by ignorance. I must find a way to save my offspring.’

Saying this, the Creator descended into a state of deep contemplation that would last millions of years. Beside Him, the deputy stood patiently, waiting with hope for Him to awake from His cosmic sleep and pronounce, ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT, AGAIN.’

How long the wait would be, no one knows yet. Not even the mighty Lord.

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