I slowly opened my eyes. I was in some kind of a dark room. It was pitch black and there was no trace of any light. I had no memory of how I had gotten there or what this place was. I could hear voices but they seemed to be coming from all sides. I started to move, searching for some kind of a door. I kept going forward but I never reached any wall. It seemed as if the room was endless. I panicked and started running. Suddenly I tripped and fell in an awkward position, crushing my right hand under my knee. A surge of pain crept through my thumb. I got up and examined it. The nail had come off and my thumb was bleeding. And then I realized something much more daunting – my body was visible. Even in the dark I could see every inch of my body as if it was illuminated from within. It was then that I heard a voice.
“There is no exit,” it said.
It was a commanding voice like I had never heard before. It made my insides tremble with fear. It was the most self assured and cogent voice I had ever heard and the tone unlike any other. However, its source was out of sight, somewhere in the dark. I gathered up enough courage and spoke.
“Who are you? What is this place? How did I get here and what do you want from me?” I asked daringly.
“Your limited mind cannot grasp the location of this place and you perfectly well know who I am. Look deep inside your conscience and your dead soul and you will realize that I am the one who you have ignored and neglected your entire life. Intoxicated by your hunger for power and being lost in the illusion of your fabricated world, you ignored my omnipresence and supremacy. I have been watching you and observing your every move for every moment of your life. You declared me as just a figment of weak minds and did not acknowledge My power over yourself. Now you stand before Me and at my mercy. Need I say more about myself?”
I finally realized the situation and knew that I did not have answers to any of the accusations. Fear was a very small word to explain what I was feeling at that moment. I knew my end was near. I wanted to stay alive and so I decided to take an aggressive stance to buy more time. I spoke yet again in a voice full of false strength.
“I was born free. I worked hard my entire life to earn my place in society and the world. It was due to my own hard work and courage that I reached the heights of this world and earned respect. I deserved nothing less as a reward! But You are a dictator and your philosophy is flawed! You say that if we follow Your path of ‘righteousness’, kill our desires and dreams, sacrifice our wishes, be your slaves, we shall go to a heaven we have never seen and are not even sure of its existence. And if we follow our own free will and spirit we shall be punished and rot in hell? What is this? Why are we not allowed to lead our own life as we please? This is dictatorship! How was I to believe in You when I had never seen You, heard You, touched You, smelt You, tasted You, no sensory perception whatsoever! And You claim to resurrect me once I have died, once my bones have turned to dust, this is not only preposterous but also impossible! ”
There was a long silence. I was pleased with what I said. I knew I couldn’t have put it better. The reply came in that same secure tone which unnerved me.
“You are inches away from death and after that your destination, certainly, shall be Hell which, in any case, cannot be explained or described by a human tongue; it can only be experienced. From then on you shall suffer unfathomable torture and absolute pain through all of eternity, and yet you decide to stand up against Me? I pity your naivety and incompetence. You think that all that you have achieved in your life was due to your own genius and personal strengths? Had I not assisted you at every corner of your life through an invisible hand, you could not have dreamed to become the man you are today. You think I created you in this world so that you could earn money, become a rich man, live in massive mansions and drive long cars? You were unable to understand the very purpose of your creation! Or rather you did not want to understand it. You only get what you strive for. You strived for this world; you got the world. There shall be nothing for you in the hereafter. If you would have strived to know Me, to believe in Me, you would have got something wonderful beyond your imagination. You think I am a dictator? A dictator, a tyrant, would kill you the moment you went against his orders. He does not give you the time to correct your mistake or revise your flaws. I, on the other hand, have given you an entire lifetime! Have you ever considered that how many of my wishes, my commands you disobey in a single day from dawn till dusk? Have you ever thought for a second that all my commandments are for your own betterment? That if you do not follow them, there would be no difference between you and the animals? You will eat, mate and kill just like them! I gifted you with a divine soul. But you prefer darkness to the light. You prefer these few years of restricted life to an eternal one. You prefer a world that will perish, that will give you nothing but sorrows and pain over a land that will stay forever and is filled with joys your mind cannot fathom. I created this universe, this immense universe the boundaries of which your most modern science with its strongest telescopes cannot determine. And I created you. None of this was difficult. I created you out of dust the first time and I can create you out of dust yet again. It would be only too easy. You ask proof of My existence? This entire universe is a proof! Your modern science says that matter can only be molded not created. Yet I created this entire cosmos out of nothing at all. Isn’t this proof enough? You say that you have never had any sensory perception of Me whatsoever. All you needed to do was ask Me with a true and open heart. Look around you at this flawless world that I have created. Search for an error, a mistake. I challenge you to find even one fault. Look and look again. Surely your eyes will return to you defeated. Is this not proof enough of My ultimate supremacy? Yet you ignore Me. You consider yourself greater than Me. You, however, don’t even have complete control of your own body. Ask your brain to produce blood for you and your liver to think for you and your heart to breath for you and your lungs to digest food for you. Will they acquiesce? Never! They, like you and every inch of matter besides you in this universe, are under My authority. Look at you, even now you stand up against Me, thinking you can defeat Me. Open your eyes for once O’ mortal! ”
The words resonated in the blank atmosphere. My broken nail was hurting me but I had a much more pressing matter at hand. I stood there, wishing with every passing moment that I could vanish into thin air, somehow disappear or better still, wake up and realize that this was all a dream. I wished I could turn back time and undo all that I had done, start over anew. But nothing happened. I just stood there, feeling guilty and shameful at my stupidity and arrogance.
“I …I wasn’t a bad person. I gave to charity. I made tremendous donations to a number of organizations to help mankind. I also…”
“All those petty acts were nothing but a show put up for the world so that you could exhibit your fake generosity. They were carried out just to satisfy your burdened conscience. None of them was meant to please Me or done for My sake. They were carried out so that you could earn respect in your society, which you did. But you did not earn My respect or My honor. Your world was your god. Ask them to help you now. Can the money or respect you earned save you from the clutches of death today? ”
I was desperate now. I had no more excuses, no more answers. Then I did what any person in my place would have done. I fell down on my knees.
“Please forgive me! I realize now that I was wrong, I was always wrong. They say that You are a loving and forgiving God! I ask for your forgiveness! I repent! Give me another chance, just one more chance and I swear I will not…”
“Do you expect to be forgiven after all that you have said and done?”
“I am ashamed of my acts but not hopeless from Your mercy and compassion. Give me one more chance. Please.”
There was silence. I waited for my fate to be decided.
“The problem with you humans is that you forget too soon, too easily.”
And then a blinding light hit my eyes. I scream in shock covering my face with both hands and after what seemed like an eternity, there was solace. I opened my eyes yet again. Every inch of my body was drenched in sweat. I felt weak and could barely move, but now at least I could see. I blinked my eyes slowly and into focus. I was lying on my bed. I was at a loss of words. What had happened? Where had I been? Was it all a dream? It must have been because…
And then my eyes fell on my right thumb. The nail had come off.