Simply Nataka! Why Everyone, including Netas Pray to God, ONLY When Thirsty for WATER?
Mangaluru : Just look around the hoopla or drama/Nataka going around in the City, District and State, where from Christian Fathers, Hindu Priests and Muslim Clerics to today’s politicians, (MPs, MLC’s, MLA’s, Ministers) praying for rain which seems to be a knee jerk reaction- but in reality is nothing but publicity stunt, followed by wide coverage in media. Water shortages. Droughts. No rain. Many believe this constitutes cause to turn our eyes heavenwards and cry out to God to make it rain. Why is it that whenever we experience such drastic situations our first inclination is to pray? But on a second thought, did anyone including our Netas offered prayers to God when the Almighty gave enough Water and other resources? And answer for that is NOBODY!
Certainly it’s not shocking to read about (In Bible) Moses doing this multiple times during the Exodus from Egypt. Whether or not you are religious, as a matter of water policy, it’s quite disheartening, even disturbing, to hear about our modern leaders doing the same. This is not only a ridiculous and pathetic way to approach water scarcity, frankly it’s an insult to the Supernal Water Manager on High. I’m reminded of the moment in the Torah when the Israelites are being pursued by the Egyptians. They run smack into the sea, panic and Moses turns to God in prayer. “Please help us,” cried Moses…What was God’s response?
God didn’t part the seas right away. God responded, “Why are you praying to me?“ Now is not the time for prayer. Now is the time to swim!” (OK, not a literal translation but pretty darn close).Or, in the words of the Bedouins, “Have faith in God, but first tie up your camels.” Pray all you want, but first tie up your camels before you go complaining to God that they somehow wandered away!
Would we say we want to lose weight while eating junk food/oily kebabs/gulab jamuns etc and not working out and simply calling out to God to help us shed some pounds? Would we say we want more money while not working, not saving, not even buying a lottery ticket and simply expect our prayers to translate into gold? Ridiculous! But this is exactly what we are doing with our prayers for rain. Yes, we are facing water scarcity now, but when there was enough water did we use it wisely? Even now when there is water rationing, we see people going for car wash, use lots of water on gardening etc etc- and that our politicians are list bothered in bringing awareness among the people to “STOP WASTING WATER UNNECESSARY?”
Another example- we flush our drinking water down the toilet (literally) and simply let our treated sewage go unused, wasted, flushed out to sea. We live with antiquated water infrastructure, not wanting to spend our tax money on upgrading decades old water pipes. (In what other area of modern life do we accept 50, even 100 year old technology?). As a result we lose roughly 30 percent of our water to leaks (over a million litres a year). And then we have goofy earth movers (JCB) drivers with negligence cut water pipes while digging, and as a result litres and litres of water is wasted. Instead of leading with prayer, perhaps we should lead with better policy, practices and solutions to water problems.
Since last week, we have seen right from Udupi to Mangaluru and beyond, politicians have awaken in offering prayers to the Almighty seeking rain- but was it necessary to make a show out of it. They could have made an appeal to the general public to pray at their conveniences for rain and other favors. And people are not dumb, that they have to join in the prayer programme, which is nothing but a a political gimmick. I like and appreciate the appeal made by the Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, where instead of organizing a Public Prayer Programme/Inter Religious Prayer Programme for RAIN, he sent a media release, where he said-
“The weather forecast says that the monsoon is delayed. We are facing the problem of scarcity of water. I earnestly request all the parishes, institutions and religious houses of men and women to implore God to be merciful towards us and grant rain. We trust in the power of Lord Jesus to come to our aid. I request the people to gather for a mass prayer for rains on Saturday May 18 and Sunday May 19 at Churches. I ask all of you to trust in the providence of God and pray for rains unceasingly”. Well said by the Bishop, and that’s the right way to do it, and not put up a big stage, call leaders of all faith, and make them to blabber, Or go to respective religious institutions in a group and offer prayers- all this is nothing but NATAKA?
Will God answer their prayers? Frankly, it doesn’t matter as much as it used to. It’s certainly not cause for existential crisis any more. Even though people have been praying with their brains, hands and feet for decades, praying now during water crisis doesn’t make much difference. God will answer our prayers if we pray to Him throughout the year, and not only during times of distress or catastrophe. This is how we should all approach our water challenges, as well as how we should always treat prayer. Yes anyways, go ahead and pray for rain this treacherous Summer or simply because our town, our state or our country is running dry. But first, let’s begin investing in new pipes; requiring lawns and crops be irrigated with recycled water or, fasten your seat belts, be prepared to pay the actual costs for the water we use- and stop large water consuming businesses like water parks and Car washes .
It’s understood, that in times of famine, drought, and water shortage, there’s nothing anyone can do. Only God can spread mercy on the people by sending rain clouds. And now that there is excess of prayers offered from people to politicians recently in the wake of water scarcity, chances are that, God getting overwhelmed and excited may shower upon us way excess of unbelievable and torrential rain. And unfortunately, what if we get flooded or lives lost in the flood- I bet then once again people and politicians will go for one more show of prayers asking God to STOP the heavy rain? In conclusion, at the very least, before you stand to pray for rain, let’s begin sitting down on a toilet with a flush system, the place we flush 30% of our household water. This year, before we cry out to God for rain, let’s start by not flushing the answer to our prayers down the drain!