Run it by the book . . !

588

LATER this week on Republic Day, we will celebrate the acceptance of the Constitution of India by the people over seventy years ago. It is because of this constitution that no majority can bully a minority, no one religion can be thrust on another, and that citizens have different freedoms! It is a constitution which people fight hard to maintain and fight hard to live by as much as others fight to destroy.
It is because of this constitution that we live with freedom. As people following different religions, we also have our own constitutions that we need to live by and these spiritual books help us lead a righteous life!
A few years ago, I had gone to Chennai for a wedding, and since it was that of a friend’s daughter, and I was raising the toast, spent a lot of time with the guests. One girl in particular, an African American spoke at length to me about her dad, “One thing, he always told me,” said the American girl, “Is that when in doubt, about whether something is right or wrong, run it by the Bible!”
The wedding was wonderful, the guests departed, but those words have remained in my mind. As I hear many arguing about whether some ritual is right or wrong, or even talking about some book of discipline which their religious order has prescribed, I feel like asking them, whether they have run it by their religious book.
Around twenty-five years back, two ladies started a prayer meeting near where I lived. It was going great guns and they had quite a huge crowd attending every Wednesday, till on some issue they did not see eye to eye and a big fight took place. Both came to me, telling me of visions they had which showed the other a devil or child of the devil. “What does the Bible say?” I asked, and found to my consternation that the Bible was not their handbook. “We just pray, and rely on visions!” they both said. “Your visions may not be God’s!” I said. “How will we know?” they asked. “Use the Bible to find out!” I said.
There’s much adulterated religious teaching going on today. Preaching by preachers with charisma and personality, just like we have great orators in our country who paint rosy pictures. But just as our Constitution has stood by us all these seventy years, use your spiritual book to run things by from this week even as we ask our leaders to follow the Constitution this Republic Day..!