“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” – John 3:20, NKJV
You cannot see yourself. Of course, you can see your beautiful face on a mirror. But what you see is not the whole you, only a part.
What am I telling? The truth is your face is not you; your eyes are not you. Your beautiful face that you see on the mirror is not really you. They are just a part of you. It is more to this than meets the eye. The truth is you cannot see yourself. The real you resides someplace inside.
I am a liar; I am filthy in thoughts; I am wicked in heart; I am egotistical; I am foolish; I am arrogant. These are the words or statements that we don’t want to say or confess from our mouth in the open before the public. I don’t know about you, but I do try to hide all these filthy rags inside of me, so that people shall see the only good things about me. Because nobody can ever see all these filthy things inside of me.
How do I know this of myself? Look inside of you in all honesty, and you will see your self clearly. But the problem is you can see only the things that are exposed to light, those hidden from the light are in the dark and cannot be seen even if you squint your eyes and try to see them. Nevertheless, there is a Light in the world that when you are exposed to it, you can see your real you clearly. Following is the story about how I found this Light.
Beginnings of My Journey Called Life
I was born and brought up in a poor Meitei Hindu-animistic family. My father is a mason and my mother is a weaver. Right from my childhood, fear of God was instilled in me, somehow. But my concept of God was very different. We used to worship the creation, not the Creator Himself. We used to worship sun every morning, tulsi plant in the courtyard every evening.
My Alma Mater 1: National Children’s School (1985-1991)
I started my schooling in a nearby local government primary school named National Children’s School. In the beginning, I was not good in studies. My roll number was at the end of the numbers in the class. Often I would quarrel with fellow students in school and return home black and blue, some other days with torn clothes. In exams, I would pass with a ‘simple pass’.
At school, teachers would rebuke me, and fellow students would ridicule me. And as a child, I was frustrated, and I didn’t know where to turn, what to do, whom to trust. Wherever I turned to, I was the object of scorn.
In Meitei culture, there is a tradition called Lai-thaomei Thaanba, which is a daily worship ritual performed by a woman or a girl of the house at the sunset. In some cases, boys also can perform this daily ritual. In those days, my elder sister used to perform the evening worship.
In this daily ritual, there are certain places in the house and courtyard where you just set apart the certain places as holy. And you wipe the floor with your hands using ‘holy’ water in small circular round shape, and you kneel down and offer your prayers. There are no idols or images involved in this ritual. In those designated places, you light a candle or burn some incense. My sister used to perform this evening worship ritual.
And one day somebody said to me, “Sanjit, if you want to be a good student, do this evening worship.”
I asked her, “What should I say to God?”
She said to me, “Tell God whatever you want or wish.”
It’s unbelievable what a simple belief of a child can do.
The next day, I approached my elder sister and said, “Sister, can I perform the evening worship?” Fortunately she consented. And immediately I started performing the evening worship. From that day onwards, I started my daily duty: performing evening worship.
At first, my sister didn’t believe that I would do so faithfully. Even if I went out for playing in the nearby fields, before the sun set, I would leave the playing field and run home just so I could perform the daily ritual in time. It’s unbelievable what a simple belief of a child can do!
Everyday in performing this worship ritual, I would kneel down and offer my long prayers to God. And at the end, I used to pray: “Lainingthou, make me good in studies.” (‘Lainingthou’ in Manipuri means ‘Almighty God’ or ‘King of gods’) Because I was tired of ridiculing me by my fellow students and I was tired of the rebukes of my teachers at school, as I was poor in studies.
People from my neighborhood used to make fun of me saying, “Sanjit, what do you say in your long prayers? I would return a smile at them without saying a word.
I would continue doing this evening ritual until I was in sixth grade.
As a child, my concept of God was: There is one big and powerful God. Below Him, are many gods. I didn’t know His name. I just addressed Him as ‘Lai-ningthou’ which in Manipuri means ‘King of gods’ or ‘Almighty God’.
Since I started doing the evening worship, surprisingly I started to see some change in me. I was quarrelling less in school. I would return home with torn clothes less. And slowly I started climbing in ranks in my class.
In those days, in government schools, there was Class A, Class B, and then there were Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 and so on. By the time I reached Class 1, I was ranked 30 out of 50-60 students in the class. At least, I was happy that I was climbing up in ranks in the class. And at school, I had less days standing up on the bench, and I had less rebukes from the teachers. Still, I was the object of scorn for many.
By nature, I am quiet and introvert, but I was determined. And I continued the same prayer in my evening worship ritual.
By the time I reached Class III, I became the topper in the class. In the first term examination in that year, I stood first in the class. And soon all the bad things about me seemed to turn into good. All the teachers started to say only the good things about me: “Sanjit, you are brilliant.” Here I need to mention my mentor teacher RK Bijoy for the guidance I received in those days.
Once you are ranked 1st in the class, you are a good boy or good girl. It doesn’t matter what’s really inside of you. It doesn’t matter whether you are deceitful or not, it doesn’t matter whether you are a liar, or filthy in thoughts or wicked in heart. The world doesn’t really care about what’s inside of you. The world only cares about how many marks you secured.