“I don’t feel in control of the universe but I feel more comfortable with myself. And I believe it’s because I’ve chosen to believe…I’m questioned by my rational friends, “Why do you believe in your Guru? …There’s no need, you should rely on yourself…Why can’t you make your own decisions? ” I said “Because I’m tired.” I’ve battled all my life trying to struggle to figure it out, what’s right and what’s wrong. And sometimes I just don’t know. Maybe I should pray just to be guided because my Guru is mortal, he’s not going to be around. So I do hope and pray that I surrender so much that I believe he is with me, or whatever it is I believe in, the higher force is with me all the time. So that I don’t have to depend on a physical means for questioning. That the answers will just come from within. That I will know what to do when it’s required of me.”
Joy Bimal Roy is a sweet, lovable soul. He lives in Mumbai, and the minute you walk into his home you are struck by the larger than life image of his late father, esteemed Indian film producer from the 1950’s and 1960’s, Bimal Roy. Under this massive portrait are many of Bimal Roy’s Filmfare awards, the Indian equivalent of the Oscar. Growing up in both the shadow of his famous father and then the absence of his father after his untimely death, has deeply shaped Joy. And, yet, Joy shared with me that he made a decision to be happy and he made a decision to believe in a higher power and in his guru…and these two things bring him peace.
I was unsure how to understand what it meant to have a guru—was the guru God or was the guru one’s chosen messenger? Is it like the relationship that Christians have with Jesus or was it more like one’s Rebbe? The answer that I have come to understand is that a guru is a divinely sent teacher perfectly chosen by God to facilitate the next stage of our journey. I think this is a beautiful thing because the spiritual journey is front and center in Indian society and culture. The internal journey is understood to be mission-critical to life. I’ve heard it said that India runs on faith (because if you’ve been there there is no explanation for how it would run otherwise!). My interview with Joy taught me that often the most important choice we can make in life is the choice to be happy and the choice to believe in a universal connectedness bigger than ourselves.