By Roshan Shah, New Age Islam
09 June 2018
There is no other like the Lord—there is no equal to Him. He embellishes this world and the world hereafter, and He gives us our permanent home there. He rescues us from the world-ocean; never again do we have to run the cycle of reincarnation.
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 136)
Tira had been living in the city for over a decade. In this period, he had changed houses half a dozen times.
Tira was tired of shifting every now and then. He didn’t want to continue living as a tenant in someone else’s house. As a tenant, you never knew when your landlord might ask you to vacate.
Tira really wanted to have his own house. “How I wish I could have a place which I’d never have to leave!”, he would think.
One day, Tira was with his friend Boki and was telling him about how fed up he was of being a tenant and how we wished he could have a permanent home of his own (Of late, this had become almost his only topic of conversation).
“You say you don’t want to be a tenant,” Boki interrupted Tira. “But do you realize that you have absolutely no choice in the matter? You just have to be a tenant till the time you die!”
“What do you mean?” asked Tira, startled.
“The fact of the matter is that we—all of us—are just tenants in this world. We reside here for a while—maybe 70 or 80 years or whatever—and then our ‘lease’ expires and we have to vacate the world. And then off we go we don’t know where! That makes us like temporary tenants here, doesn’t it? Some people’s ‘tenancy’ may be for just a few years. Others are longer-term tenants, but they’re tenants all the same!”
“Hmmm...I never thought of it like that before,” Tira murmured.
“Okay, you didn’t, but you could do that now!” Boki laughed. “It also means that people who own a house actually aren’t owners of it in the absolute sense—because God is the actual owner of everything. Whether it’s a palace or a hovel, they have to vacate it one day, when God calls them back. So, from that point of view they are temporary tenants too.”
“This is really interesting!” Tira remarked.
“And we’re tenants in another way,” Boki went on.
“How?” Tira asked. He was finding what Boki was saying really fascinating.
“We’re tenants of our bodies as well. Our bodies are houses that we temporarily occupy, for the period we’ve been allotted on Earth. Then, one day, God orders that we must exit our bodies and move on elsewhere,” Boki explained. “If you consider this, you’ll realise that every creature on Earth is just a tenant, temporarily inhabiting a body that itself is temporary.”
“My goodness! Boki, what you say makes real sense!” Tira remarked.
“I don’t say you shouldn’t look for a place you can call your own,” Boki explained to his friend. “But do remember that there’s no place on Earth that can be ours for all time, our permanent home that we’ll never ever have to quit. It’s good to be aware that even if we have a house that we call ours, we’ll always be tenants in the sense I’ve explained as long as we are in this world,” Boki said.
The two friends fell silent as they reflected on the words they had exchanged.
After a while Boki spoke again. ”So, the next time someone asks you for your ‘permanent address’, you tell them what they want to know but you could also tell them that there’s really no permanent address for anyone in this world in the ultimate sense and that we’re—all of us—just temporary residents here, for just a while,” he said.
“Boki, I didn’t know you were so wise!” Tira exclaimed.
Neither the kings, nor their subjects, nor the leaders shall remain. The shops, the cities and the streets shall eventually disintegrate, by the Hukam of the Lord’s Command. Those solid and beautiful mansions—the fools think that they belong to them. The treasure-houses, filled with wealth, shall be emptied out in an instant. The horses, chariots, camels and elephants, with all their decorations; the gardens, lands, houses, tents, soft beds and satin pavilions—Oh, where are those things, which they believe to be their own?
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 141)