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What is doubt, my Lord?

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 / Published in Poetry / 2,527 views

Chaitanya Charan:

Is doubt a question, or is it the way to an answer?
Or is it a dead end, along which one shouldn’t venture?
Is doubt the sign of a weakening faith?
Or is it a higher understanding’s opening gate?
To slay doubt with knowledge’s sword, I resolve,
For study of scripture will all doubts dissolve.
But alas! Study brings more questions than answers.
Fearing my doubts may be true, my heart shudders.
“In what you call infallible, so much is obviously wrong,”
Declare scholars with degrees, many and long.
Seeing their intellectual prowess, I cannot but wonder,
“How can they err in what they so rigorously ponder?”
I despair, I falter, I contemplate, I pray,
“Show me, show me, O Lord, show me the way.”
In inspiration’s flash, You reveal the missing link:
“By study alone, in the heart, scripture doesn’t sink.”
For the word of scripture is a call to action;
A call to service, to prayer, to meditation.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
The proof of scripture comes by meditating.
As I meditate and utter fervently Your holy name,
My doubts, their disguises exposed, flee in shame.
Whenever my belief, I doubt,
Am I not believing my doubt?
Is this not illusion’s sinister game
To make my desire for You lame?
There is no getting away from belief.
In right belief, not doubt, lies true relief.

As I pray before You with folded palms,
Begging for unerring belief as my only alms,
Your loving presence warms my heart with grace.
Of the dense fog of doubt, there remains barely a trace.
Thrilled, I realize: Devotion is the science that gives experience.
Without awakening devotion, one can find no evidence.
For “objectivity,” scholars keep bhakti afar and deem it their
They end up with loaded heads, empty hearts; that’s their
As I seek devotion by serving devotees with humility,
The answer comes, disarming my doubts with its simplicity.
Figures and numbers are not scripture’s ultimate gift.
Our lonely heavy hearts, they alone cannot lift.
As the ages change, so do our world and our perception.
What was obvious then may not be so now to our vision.
Neither are scriptures wrong, nor are scholars right.
Blind to scripture’s purpose, they argue and fight.

tarko apratishtha srutayo vibhinna
nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah

Debate and argument, even if based on scripture, has no end
Furnishing quotes, every scholar does his own opinion defend.
The truths of scripture are hidden in devoted hearts
And can be fathomed only by following their paths

But beyond all doubt and change is one enduring truth.
God loves you and me; this insight is scripture’s ever-ripe fruit.
Through scripture comes Thy impassioned love-call.
Illumined by its clarity, I see all my ambiguity fall:
“Come, come, My child, to My abode, free from anxiety
Why do you languish in this world of misery?”
Seeing the mundane scholars bungle and wrangle,
I pray Your love-call pierce their doubts’ tangle.
I smile gratefully, seeing my doubt’s destruction
And resume my march to You with resolute conviction.

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