Monday, July 20, 2009

Encounter with Rainbow

by Malsawmi Jacob

Just after rain, a little boy was walking home. He saw a piece of rainbow on the wet road. He at once looked up, hoping to see a real rainbow in the sky. But no, it wasn’t there. Then he looked back down on the road, but the rainbow there was gone too. The little boy became very sad. He lost two rainbows in a moment: one he saw on the ground and another he hoped to see in the sky. He lost the first by looking for the second. The little piece he had was gone while he looked up for a full one.

The little boy then made up his mind on two things. One, there’s no rainbow in the sky. Two, if you look up, the piece of rainbow you have will be lost. This became his philosophy of life as he grew up. There’s no rainbow in the sky. Don’t look up.

The young man was driving home in a drizzle late one afternoon. It was cloudy in front, but the sun was shining low in the sky behind him. Right ahead, well defined in rich colours, a rainbow bridged the horizons. And above it, a little smudgy but quite visible, curved another one. Double rainbow! It was impossible to ignore it any longer.

“But it’s just an illusion”, reasoned the young man. “The rainbow has no real existence. It’s just a visual deception created by raindrops and sunrays. It has no body that I can touch. Seeing need not lead to believing”.

“But you seem to be pretty sure there are sunrays and raindrops”, another voice in his mind spoke up unexpectedly. “How do you know they’re real? Aren’t they just illusion too?”

“I know the sun and rain exist, because I wouldn’t be alive if they didn’t”, he replied.

“Good you at least acknowledge that. Let’s put it this way: the rainbow is a picture painted by the sun and rain working together. But it’s real nevertheless, and has its own distinct identity”.

“But I don’t trust the rainbow. It cheated me badly in my boyhood, I can’t forget the hurt”.

“Aha! We’re getting totally subjective eh? Well then....How many times, between that boyhood experience and now, have you deliberately shut out the rainbow? Many times, you saw a rainbow from the corner of your eye, but decided to ignore it, having made up your mind to deny its existence. Even now, you can lie and tell yourself you have never seen a rainbow except the piece on the wet road that you saw when you were a little child”, continued the relentless Voice without sound.

The young man was silent now. He realised he must admit the possibility, no, probability, no, actuality of the rainbow as long as sun and rain exist. Denial of this is delusion, an act of lying to oneself. Lying to oneself is no better than lying to others. And if telling a lie is wrong, can living a lie be right?

But then, once you admit the existence of rainbow, there’s no end to possibilities.