Thy Will Be Done...
Where does the buck stop?

Ram Ramakrishnan examines the proposition that the study of Astrology would point to a scenario where martyrs as well as oppressors have no choice in their actions. This article concludes that it would be easy to state that both behavioural patterns are products of the divine Will, or in astrological nomenclature destiny. Then who is wrong and who is right? Who is to be punished and who is to be rewarded? Where does the buck stop?

There is this universality about the way songs are written and sung. The theme is encapsulated in a line or two with which the song begins and which is repeated after every set of lines that follow which in turn further elaborate a particular angle of the encapsulated theme. In Hindi film songs that have become famous around the world, this theme-line or lines is/are called a mukhda. Literally, it means 'the face'. I guess, the theme lines should have a similar exclusive identity in the musical compositions of all regions of the world.

I thought that it would be appropriate to devise a mukhda for this article as well, as it is akin to a song that my heart sings with a fair degree of conviction. It goes thus:

O Lord, let Thy divine grace be always upon me,
let Thy Will be done ... and the buck stops with Thee.

The inspiration to write this came after an evening of the ethereal kind a many-to-one 'questions and answers' session with Dada Vaswani, the spiritual head of the Sadhu Vaswani Mission, organized by a couple at their home.

It was a gathering of about a hundred and fifty people. Those wanting to ask a question of Dada Vaswani were asked to write it down on a piece of paper, which was then read out aloud over a public address system. It was then answered by Dada Vaswani, in his inimitable style with a soothing smile on his face, and wit in every sentence he spoke that seemed to lighten (and enlighten) the profoundness of each word that it carried.

Over the years, I seem to have developed this rather disconcerting habit of looking and analyzing everything that is said or heard in the context of my work with and research into astrology and the view of life and its possible working mechanism that such an enquiry seems to throw up.

One of the questions was in the nature of wanting Dada Vaswani to identify a path that leads to peace of mind. His answer to this was that one should endeavour to cultivate the ability to accept what is and what is to be, as His Will. He quoted many instances from history about men who underwent great sufferings and were proclaimed martyrs. He said that it was their acceptance of situations as His Will that gave them the strength to withstand the sufferings.

My mind began working at terra-flop speed to analyze this answer. Invariably, persons who are installed on a pedestal by history and tagged as martyrs, fight for a cause that they feel is just. Again, and invariably, there is another opposing perspective that is championed by another set of people against whom the 'martyrs' stand up and in whose parlance the 'martyrs' are 'infidels'. If what is and what is to be are His Will (and I too implicitly believe in this), then why is that the 'martyrs' oppose a particular perspective of thought in the first place? Why don't they accept this perspective itself as His Will? Why wait until being cornered, interned, tortured and then accept these as His Will?

The study of Astrology would point to a scenario where the martyrs, as well as the oppressors and every being ('had been' and 'to be' included!) have no choice. The martyrs had to stand up and oppose initially and then suffer and accept these sufferings as His Will. In reality however, both behavioral patterns were His Will, or in astrological nomenclature destiny.

Then who is wrong and who is right? Who is to be punished and who is to be rewarded? Where does the buck stop?

O Lord, let Thy divine grace be always upon me,
let Thy Will be done ... and the buck stops with Thee.

Another question from an inquisitive researcher of life was on the subject of cause and effect. The particular focus was on "as I have not done anything wrong, why do wrong things happen to me?".

The answer to this was that we do so many wrong things unknowingly for which there will be appropriate repercussions. And my mind was back in business, zooming away into the realm of astrological reasoning to see where this question-answer combine stood vis-a-vis the inference drawn from that study.

If wrongs can be committed unknowingly, then to be born and living would be wrong. On the other hand that we are yet living gives the feeling that we do so because it ought to be right or at least necessary for a purpose, unknown though it may be. Discussions on right and wrong are in a way akin to movies - one cuts a little slice of time and relative to the beginning of this slice and a particular perspective- brand someone to be the hero/heroine, some others as villains, comedians, etc., and conclude at the end of this slice of time that everyone (that survived) up to that point lived happily ever after. The 'ever after' would actually apply only to that instant of time and to that particular perspective but we are very over-generous by extending it to all time to come and all view-points of reference.

Consider a person in trouble now. Astrology can identify that the person will be in trouble, the nature of this trouble, its source and its outcome. If the source is to be another human, then that human has to do 'wrong', to inflict suffering upon the first person. If the second person decides not to trouble the first, then:

  1. astrology is wrong (which would make many a 'scientist' delighted)
  2. the theory of karma has no meaning as the first person (or any other person) can get away without any recompense for the bad (or good) done
  3. His Will can be challenged by our will

Maybe the reasoning is biased, but having been a student of astrology for so many years now, it appears that any one and all three of the above cannot be wrong.

Then who is blessed and who is damned? Who is to be the judge and on what basis is the judgement to be? Where does the buck stop?

O Lord, let Thy divine grace be always upon me,
let Thy Will be done ... and the buck stops with Thee.

There can be any number of elaborations given, each seemingly further supporting and strengthening the theme of this endless song.

This article and the views expressed in them may provoke some to accuse me of blasphemy and perhaps persuade some others to indulge in a smile and give a nod of agreement. Whichever of these may it be and whatever may be their number, they would have been directed to the wrong address and I will make haste in redirecting them to the correct one, up above.

Because, O Lord... the buck stops with Thee!

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