I’VE CHOSEN TO BELIEVE
“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. 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, so 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 I walked into his home I was struck by the larger-than-life image of Bimal Roy, his late father, who was a legendary film producer from the 1950s and 1960s. Under this massive portrait are many of Bimal Roy’s Filmfare awards, the Indian equivalent of the Oscar. Growing up in the shadow of his famous father, and then the absence of his father after his untimely death, deeply shaped Joy. And yet, Joy shared with me that he made a decision to be happy. 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? Was 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 your 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 the most important choices we can make in life are a choice to be happy, and a choice to believe in a universal connectedness bigger than ourselves.