Ideology

110

Ideology

Here is a newspaper account of torture practised in modern concentration camps.

The victim is bound to a metal chair then electric shocks ore administered to him in increasing intensity till he confesses.

The torturer cups his hands and slaps the victim on the ear repeatedly till the eardrum breaks.

A dentist straps the prisoner to a chair and drills till he strikes a nerve.

The drilling goes on till the victim agrees to cooperate.

Human beings are not naturally cruel.

They become cruel when they are unhappy —

Or when they succumb to an ideology.

One ideology against another;

one religion against another.

And people crushed in between them.

The men who crucified Jesus could very well have been gentle husbands and loving fathers who practised cruelty to maintain a religion or an ideology.

If religious people had always followed the instinct of their heart rather than the logic of their religion we would have been spared the sight of heretics burning at stakes, widows walking into funeral pyres and innocent people slaughtered in wars that are waged in’ the name of God.

Compassion has no ideology.

The Song of The Bird

Anthony de Mello S. J.

The Dream Contract

068

The Dream Contract

Nasruddin was fast asleep at nine in the morning.

The sun was in the sky, the birds were singing in the trees and his breakfast was getting cold.

So his wife decided to wake him.

He woke up in a rage.

“Why did you wake me up just now?” he yelled.

“The sun has risen in the sky,” said she,

“the birds are singing in the trees and your breakfast is getting cold.”

“Breakfast be damned,” he said,

“I was about to sign a contract worth a million grammes of gold!”

With that he closed his eyes to recapture his shattered dream and those million grammes of gold.

Now Nasruddin was cheating in that contract and his business partner was a tyrant.

If, on recapturing the dream, he stops his cheating, he will become a saint.

If he struggles to free the people from the oppression of the tyrant he will be a freedom fighter.

If, in the middle of it all,

he suddenly realizes he is dreaming,

he will become Awakened. Enlightened.

What kind of saint or freedom fighter are you if you are still asleep?

The Song of the Bird

Anthony de Mello

WHO AM I?

74

WHO AM I?

A tale from Attar of Neishapur

The lover knocked of his Beloved’s door.

“Who knocks?” said the Beloved from within.

“It is I,” said the lover.

“Go away. This house will not hold you and me.”

The lover withdrew and pondered for years on the words the Beloved had said.

Then he returned and knocked again.

“Who knocks?”

“It is you.”

The door was immediately opened.

THE SONG OF THE BIRD

Anthony de Mello

Don’t change

52

 

Don’t change

 

 

I was a neurotic for years.

Anxious, depressed, selfish.

And everyone kept telling me to change.

And I resented them, and agreed with them, and wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how I tried.

What hurt the most was that, like the others, my closest friend kept urging me to change.

So I felt powerless and trapped.

One day he said “Don’t change.

I love you as you are.”

Those words were music to my ears:

“Don’t change. Don’t change.

Don’t change… I love you as you are.”

I relaxed. I came alive.

And, suddenly, I changed!

Now I know that I couldn’t really change till I found someone to love me whether I changed or not.

Is this how you love me, God?

 

THE SONG OF THE BIRD

Anthony de Mello

The Song of The Bird

3

THE SONG OF THE BIRD

The disciples were full of questions about God.

Said the Master, “God is Unknown, the Unknowable.

Every statement about Him,

every answer to your questions,

is a distortion of the Truth.”

The disciples were bewildered.

“Then why do you speak about Him at all?”

“Why does the bird sing?” said the Master.

Not because he has a statement, but because he has a song.

The words of the Scholar are to be understood.

The words of the Master are not to be understood.

They are to be listened to as one listens to the wind in the trees and the sound of the river and the song of the bird.

They will awaken something within the heart that is beyond all knowledge.

THE SONG OF THE BIRD

Anthony de Mello