Through an imaginative dialog between six men from different worldviews, Praveen Raju illustrates the implications of each in relation to the meaning and destination in life.

At the Indian international airport, in a small restaurant,  Five people are seated  around a long table relishing steaming tea . There is also a sixth person seated in a corner, of the next table, mutely watching  everyone. [The Five :  Christian, Atheist, Scientist, Hindu and Buddhist.]  The announcer in her concerned yet pleasant voice apologizes the passengers for bad weather and thick fog  and  announces  in a regular and serious tone concerning flight  delay for about three hours.

Suddenly, when the announcement was over, one of the five, Mr. Atheist, bangs the table and yells …

Atheist : MORONS ! Narrow minded Creatures, How can that be? Why can’t you just take off?, I mean you- the pilots.  [Everyone is stunned at the sudden outburst] 

Scientist : Huh! hey, did you say that? Well, that’s not possible Mr.whatever. That would endanger everyone’s life. You don’t know the principle of aerodynamics. Cool down, Let me explain this as per both Newton and Bernoulli law…..

Atheist : Oh pleeaaase.. give me a break and call me Mr. Atheist.  I don’t care what your laws say’s…. for I want to reach my destination by tomorrow evening.

Christian : (smiles) So sorry,  Mr. Atheist, you have a destination? -Err- I mean what’s your destination?

Atheist : (a bit lost) Laaas Vegggas… Yes I think so.

Christian : “I think?”, well,  You seems to be lost. Oh gosh…. did you say ”lost Vegas..?”

Atheist : Oh! I am so sorry Mr...Mr.. I am just disturbed about the delay [mutters something under his breath]. Christian : Call me Mr. Christian. 

Hindu : Ahh dear one, lost?- nothing is lost but a gain. It doesn’t matter how you are going unless you know where you are going. The final destination is the same.

Christian : duh! What?  You mean  all the plane over here goes to Las Vegas? My destination  is Jerusalem . I have been through this flight quite often to visit  my relatives and friends. Is this your first time sir?

Hindu : err- oh , yeah, quite  right, No, not all planes go there. Yes, its my first time on a plane. I am  going to Nepal for a religious ceremony and then later to USA (breathes in more oxygen). I have never been through all these routes or planes. I just reasoned based on the natural law  that the earth is round, [makes a circle with his finger] therefore logically, we all can reach the same point. isn’t it? But again, oh again… ( a bit lost in thinking and suddenly regaining his posture in a preaching poise ]… it doesn’t matter, really,  for all is Maya or in your language… what do you call?..ummmm- an illusion –yes that’s it. For nothing is real, for everything is unreal and We all are going to the same destination somehow. Isn’t it?

Christian : Huh! Same destination, somehow? How do you know sir? How is that when you have never been through all these routes ? In regard to real or illusion, Sir, I don’t understand you. Was that  statement for real or should  I consider it as an illusion? 

Hindu :Ahhh, there you go again Mr. Christian. Ignorance,  you need to be enlightened with reality that everything is an illusion.

Christian : Sir, How is that possible? Can we be enlightened when everything as you say is an illusion? Where can we bring the knowledge that has no illusion in it? and again how do we know  what we  might discover is real or an illusion and….

Hindu : shhhhh….that is very confusing Mr. Christian but maybe you must approach it by being broadminded. 

Buddhist : Ahh yes, I understand that one Mr. Hindu, I understand we are finally going to the same destination, to  being non-existent especially from all desires and attachment of the world which  we identify  it as nirvana.

Hindu : Huh! Well,  No sir, I didn’t mean that way. But anyways, the end is oneness with God and  its called moksha. You must greatly desire so by following karma or good deeds.   

Buddhist : Oh, that sound strange but with all respect sir, I don’t agree with you . All problems arises from desires and when all desires are  eliminated, we  come to a state of shunya, the void or zero and not oneness with any God.

Christian : But my friend, is it practically possible to eliminate all desires in this world? Isn’t desiring nirvana itself a great and passionate desire?

Buddhist : err-hmmm, Oh, I have never thought about that, Quite true, sir. I somehow practically couldn’t eliminate any desire. Every time I desire to eliminate one desire, another desire takes its place and I am full of another desire to eliminate another desire…huh, sorry, did you understand what I am saying? [everyone nods with sympathy]

Hindu : oh dear, dear. It doesn’t matter unless we are broad minded to accept all things to be true. Isn’t it Mr. Atheist?

Atheist : [breaking from a deep thought] huh, Yes, No, what? I don’t know, that’s crap, I mean, I don’t believe all these religious stuff, you know, there is no such thing as supernatural. I just want to reach my destination but oh, in my opinion, there is no destination as such except death and then nothing, really, nothing [sigh’s]. But yes, lets be broadminded. isn’t it Mr. Christian?

Christian : [smiles]You mean dressed fully in the grave but nowhere to go, Mr. Atheist?But let me read something for you [ Quotes the bible loudly] “ Broad is the road that leads to destruction but narrow is the road that leads to  life……”, Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, the life. No man goes to the father except through me”

Atheist : Says who? Ha! Nonsense, offensive, I don’t believe it. Quite a narrow minded quote. Isn’t it? 

Hindu and Buddhist : Yes, yes...indeed narrow minded. Don’t you agree with us Mr. scientist?

Scientist : [knead his  temple with his index finger and in a deep voice] Hmmmmm….Well, Even though I may not accept  Mr. Christian’s narrow quote theologically, I do think, he alone cannot be pointed out as being narrow minded. For in all  your  arguments, you have rejected or disagreed each others worldview instinctively. Isn’t it?  You excluded that, which did not fit your worldview and so to speak became narrow minded. Rationally speaking, in reality, we  cannot escape being narrow minded. 

Christian : Right on, Isn’t truth narrow as it excludes all falsehood?

Scientist : Precisely! Mr. Christian, In my research and experiment, I cannot be too  broad minded by mounting up everything and adding everything, it will blow me off. I have to narrow down my research to get my end product.   [Everyone seems to  agree]

Christian : Thank God, that Our pilots are not too broad minded to submit to the fancies of passengers to fly anywhere they want in the awesome space. I am sure our chef  is not too broad minded to add salt with sugar in this tea. [Everyone laughs, Suddenly, the sixth man rises from his seat and approaches the five}

Sixth Man : Peace be upon you sirs. My name is Mr. Muslim, I was listening to all of your [curls his finger to remark the double quotes] “remarkable” discussions but sorry to say friends, it was too narrow minded deliberations I have ever heard. But now, can I present my case and ask questions, if.. if  you all don’t mind? 

Atheist : darn it , shoot….. your questions , we still have another hour or so.

Scientist : [smiles] oh yes, explode…I mean…duhh... your case of how you are being broadminded.

Muslim : Hahaha, that’s nice way to put it Mr. Scientist and Mr. Atheist and quiet right. I for one, will shatter all these narrow minded arguments to prove how broad minded  my thoughts are. Ok, listen to me, let me begin that the Last  and the final way is…..

[The discussion continues for another long hour and later all of them traveled happily or say broadmindedly hereafter.] THE END 

Sakshi Times