The One Above
by Kiran Jhamb
Whether you are a theist or an atheist, you have to believe in the existence of the One Above - the Uparwala. If you haven’t believed in Him until now, a day is going to dawn in the near future when you will have to. If so far you have not realized the glory of the Uparwala, at least after reading this article, you will realize. Once the idea is introduced to you, the links will become clear and soon you will be a firm believer of Him.
I spent my childhood in Ashapura in Uttar Pradesh. In our village, Nanhe halvai - the sweet maker - won a lottery. The whole village was excited. Everybody surged towards his house to congratulate him and get the traditional laddoo. Instead of thanking them, Nanhe said with simplicity, "Brother, all this is the mercy of the Uparwala. When He gives, He even tears your roof away so that His bounty might land." As a result, whoever visited Nanhe, after coming back, earnestly prayed to the Uparwala to shower His blessings on them as well.
As I grew older, I began to adjudge the might of the Uparwala properly. And the more I became aware of it, the stronger became my devotion to Him. If I went to any office and the clerk expressed helplessness, "Sahib, what can I do? Uparwala has given such orders," I immediately pleased the Uparwala and got my work done.
I reaped the benefits of repeatedly pleasing the Uparwala. Earlier I was a mere chaat vendor, today I am a big liquor contractor. Because of the mercy of the Uparwaley my tail has grown like the Hanuman's tail. Today my tail easily covers the distance from my village to the power corridors of Delhi.
My younger brother's promotion got choked up like some municipality drain. On my advice, he pleased the Uparwala and got his promotion. One of my class mates, Shuchita, who could never score more than a third division and who became a mere typist in a private company, knew how to please the Uparwala. Now because of His kindness, she is the manager of that company. When she is a favourite of the boss above, who can stop her from making progress? That other classmate of mine Isha, who always used to stand first, after facing many problems could become only an assistant school teacher. In the next twenty years, her hair turned grey, but still she is an assistant school teacher only. In the same school, Nandini had joined after Isha. Nandini due to the mercy of the Uparwala, super ceded Isha and became the headmistress of the school.
One of my uncles lives in Delhi. I stay in his house whenever I am on some errand in Delhi but it is my principle to charge, for my so called hotel bill, the people for whose chore I have gone there. I charge this money in the name of the Uparwala. If you are smart, you can earn money in the name of the Uparwala.
Adjacent to my uncle's house in Delhi lives Khanna Sahib. I have known the Khanna’s for a long time. Their family consists of two people - husband and wife. During one of my visits, I found a grand celebration going on at their place. On enquiring, I came to know that the Khanna’s had been blessed with a child after twenty years of wedded life. Next day, I went along with my uncle to congratulate them. As thanks, he offered me imported whiskey, and an excellent dinner.
I said, "Khanna sahib, it is very good that you got a child." Instantly with folded hands he replied, "It is Uparwaley's mercy." There was immense satisfaction on his face. Fervently he was singing paeans of thanksgiving. It was difficult to understand him since he was in a self-congratulatory mode. He kept on going about his clean slate and his good deeds which had borne him this reward.
This sound track kept on playing in my mind and made me wonder how and when the Uparwala decides to be merciful. When I came home, I asked my uncle, "Why did Uparwaley's merely wait for twenty years before showering on Mr. Khanna?"
My uncle answered, "Earlier nobody lived on the top floor of their building. Last year one Mr. Kapoor moved into the flat above Mr. Khanna's flat."
Hearing this, I became sober. Even after drinking large pegs of whiskey, if sleep eludes you, you turn philosophical. That is why so many of the great writers wrote after being soused in liquor. Earlier, I had been tipsy. Now I was drowning in philosophy.
I kept on pondering, ruminating, deliberating. In my childhood when Nanhe halwai had won the lottery, Uparwala was 'Bramah' - figure-less, shapeless - for me, as it is to the Arya Samajites. Today like a 'sanatani' - an idol worshipper - Uparwala seems to me to be in plural, having many shapes and avatars. One never knows in which form one is going to meet Him. I mean in any shape, at any place, at any time he confronts us. Sometimes He comes as Ramlal in the Income Tax Department or as Krishanlal in the Irrigation Department, or as Hanuman Prasad in the Electricity Department or as Bramh Prakash in the Education Department, or as Shiv Shankar wearing the black coat of Indian Railway, or even as Vishnupad wearing the black coat of judiciary. God is omniscient; God's leela (play) is eternal, boundless, and infinite. -------