Mystic Mantra: Key to happiness

Religions as well as do it yourself manuals provide keys to happiness.

A man who longed to own a magnificent bungalow contacted a builder who asked: “How big is your land? What’s your budget? How many rooms do you want?” Showing him a key, the man replied: “Don’t bother me with questions. I’ve got this key; please build my house to suit my key.” Don’t we likewise build castles in thin air on flimsy foundations?

Religions — as well as “do it yourself” manuals — provide keys to happiness. Each of these can be judged by its methods and merits. Anyway, I think that those who sincerely seek truth and selflessly serve God and humankind discover priceless keys that unlock timeless treasures transcending the dos and dont's of religions and traditions.

Keys are potent symbols in the Judeo-Christian worldview. For instance, first, Isaiah mentions “the key of the House of David” as a sign of royal trusteeship taken away from the unfaithful steward Shebna and entrusted to trustworthy Eliakim. Second, it was held that God gave rabbis and scribes — the experts in interpreting scriptures and laws — “keys” to judge what should bind believers and which penalties would pardon them. Hence, the phrase “to bind and unbind” was popular in Palestine of Jesus’ time.

While religious rules and rituals provide the means to worship God and foster family feeling among people, worldwide, they often become ends in themselves — rigid, sterile, inhuman and condemnatory — creating conflicts. Therefore, in chapter 23 of the Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus unleashes a scathing critique on the Pharisees and teachers of law for their rigid ritualism and loveless legalism.

In chapter 16 of the same Gospel according to Matthew, Jesus tells Peter, the headman among disciples: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.” Catholics interpret these “keys of the kingdom” and “to bind and unbind” to mean Christ’s commission to Peter — and his successors, the popes — to interpret scripture and formulate laws to promote Christ’s teachings.

While so-called “binding and unbinding” in diverse degrees through religious rules and rites characterise all creeds, the virtues of love, mercy, service, sacrifice and forgiveness which popes, imams and gurus propagate and preach are not the monopoly of any one religion. These keys universally unlock the doors to happiness and create harmony.

As December dawns — with “Advent”, meaning, “coming” — Christians are advised to be alert and active like doormen ready with keys to open doors for Christ to enter in at Christmas-time. Rather than expecting builders to build heavenly homes around some small key, let’s unlock our hearts and homes to welcome God whom Tagore says: “Comes, comes, ever comes.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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