My creative writing teacher Ms. Anupa Lal asked me to send her my thoughts on this Eschatological Laundry List by Sheldon Kopp, author of ‘If you Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him’. Here’s what i wrote:
It has a very Christian and also somewhat of a Jain philosophical touch to it. I say Christian coz of the “this is it” messages, and Jain because of the “i am alone” message. “This is it”, pushes us to take action now, and not leave things on fate or control to anyone outside to help us out (we Indians look to the stars way too much; including me often). This ‘resolve’ shows in the west’s material progress, and organising things in a manner that makes life comfortable for them. The Jan message of “I am alone” ensures that a seeker is not dependent upon the outside to seek her salvation (perhaps not even the Guru; there does not seem to be a big emphasis on the Guru in Jainism, other than acting as a facilitator; in Hinduism it is way more emphasized and carries huge importance in one’s spiritual journey).
While both of these may be true and certainly deeply profound in their own ways, their is no opportunity in these messages to discover and add any playfulness to ones life. These messages are very straight and have a i-know-it-it-works feel to them. The dichotomy and the unknowing or mystic aspect of Hindu philosophy is completely missing from these lines – Shiva being a medicant and an intense tantric who taught using sexuality to find salvation; Krishna instigating Arjun to fight a war, and yet talking about Yoga int he same breath. The playfulness and perhaps even the purposelessness of life is a message that goes missing in these lines.