(Connect ‘Kolaveri Di’, India’s World Cup 2011 win, etc, with your destiny)
1. THE SEARCH:
From Ash to Venkatesh
Aishwariya Rai talked about it – a vacuum in her heart. She told the press once, “You know as Miss World, I was suddenly exposed to so much that after that year was over, there was a vacuum!” (The Times of India, 20 October 1999). Telugu language movie star, Venkatesh admitted to Y. Sunitha Chowdhary, a journalist, this empty feeling inside the soul: “A stage in my career came when a series of films of mine became hits. We went on a victory tour and when thousands of people were rooting for me I remained unaffected. It hit me that I wasn’t being carried away. That calm and silence was confusing. Despite my successful career and personal life I could sense something amiss. It was spiritual unrest…” (The Hindu, Friday Review, 13 January 2006). A news magazine reported that in the leading engineering colleges group in India – the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs) – there were 8 suicides in 2011 taking the count only till the month of October (The Week, October 31, 2011). This particular issue reported that Nitin Kumar Reddy, a student of IIT Chennai, sent an email as a suicide note to his parents and “hanged himself from a ceiling fan in his hostel room after he got a semester extension.” It seemed as if he had done this inspired by what happened in the movie 3 Idiots (Hindi)/Nanban (Tamil) where a student in a similar situation commits suicide. In heads so full of intelligence, it was shocking to note, were traces of emptiness – emptiness so haunting that it triggered the tragic self-ending of lives! He had a dream job with a great company. Who? This United States based Analytics Engineer who worked for companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo. He was not in the danger of being fired. But did you know what Devan Kalathat, the person we are talking about here, did one fine day? He turned the gun on five of his family members including his 11-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter and finally killed himself (www.huffingtonpost.com, 1 April 2009). Devan, felt so empty despite a dream job in an advanced country, that he felt compelled to empty bullets onto the bodies of his own babies!
When you resembled Steve Jobs…
Do those real stories which you just read strike a chord in your bosom? Have you felt the same vacuum in your heart? Think of the nights you hit the bed and stared into the ceiling and asked the question, “Is that all there is to life?” You walk with a spring in your step. You invariably flash a beaming smile. Your eyes sparkle. But deep down inside you are perhaps empty. But in the hollow of your soul you are perhaps bleeding. You are chirpy outside but possibly chained on the inside. You seem to be happy on the outside but hollow on the inside. You appear to be delirious on the outside but are actually depressed in your inner recesses and no one knows. Mankind – from Kapil to Kajol – is on a search for meaning, for fulfillment in life. There is a universal feeling that “life means more”. Life surely means more than growing up, studying, finding a job, getting married, having kids, becoming a grandpa and dying. Man is constantly on the hunt to discover that ‘something that is more to life’. We are all searching for true peace. We are all searching for salvation. “A college dropout, Steve Jobs floated through India in search of spiritual guidance prior to founding Apple.” (www.dnaindia.com, 6 October 2011). If you are searching for the meaning and purpose in your life here is a promise for you from the God of the Bible: Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed (Jer. 29:11, The Bible, Message version)!
2. THE SURPRISE:
Becker’s most expensive five seconds!
In our quest to find what is missing in our life we try out different things: Drugs and discos; porn-watching and perversion; shopping sprees; boozing binges; passionate petting of the private parts of those of the opposite gender; working long hours, etc. But when these are tried they leave us emptier than when we started out. We can try to fill that vacuum with loads of wit or wisdom or work or women or wine. Yet that vacuum will surprisingly and stubbornly stays, we have discovered, haven’t we? Vijayalakshmi was a young woman who hailed from the small town of Eluru in Andhra Pradesh who headed to the big city of Chennai in search of money and fame. The erotic roles she played in the movie industry, gave her the notorious nickname – “Silk Smitha”. She reportedly had naughty affairs with different men. But all of her naughtiness did not stop her from tying a knot around her neck with a sari to bring her life to naught via hanging from the ceiling fan in her bedroom on 23 September 1996. She was still in her thirties when she did this. Sex outside of marriage boundaries did not quench the inner thirst of Silk Smitha whose life inspired the movie, The Dirty Picture, with Vidya Balan in the lead role (The Hindustan Times, 6 November 2011). It only left Silk feeling hungrier than ever, and more dejected than ever! After he lost his last game in Wimbledon, Boris Becker entered a restaurant in London, feeling lost. He met a Russian model there. He had sex with her in the broom cupboard of that restaurant. The act lasted only for five seconds. But those were the most expensive few seconds of his life, he would confess later in his autobiography. The result was of this sin was torment and tears, he later confessed (www.thetelegraph.co.uk, 4 November 2003). “You don’t find in sin, what you entered sin to find!” – Becker found out that day.
Bollywood Director, Mahesh Bhatt makes a great point we must consider here: “It’s true. Stars (not just them, each of us, we would admit) hide their pain and emptiness not only from the media and the world but also from themselves.” Then Mahesh goes on to talk about how the movie stars “act out their inner pain in a wide variety of ways, including wild living, drug-intake, angry brawls, etc.” His conclusion is telling: “But having seen and experienced the highs and lows of the show business oneself. I can say with certainty that drugs won’t help you to deal with the loneliness of stardom. Money won’t help you. Sex won’t help you. You take a drink or drug to quench the fire that blazes inside you. Instead the alcohol and drugs (and the rest of the stuff you do) only make the fire burn more insanely….” (The Hindustan Times, 13 May 2001).
Why this emptiness & ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’?
You know what? The Bible, God’s Word put in human words, agrees with Mahesh Bhatt here. The Bible explains why we have such emptiness in our hearts in the first place. It is because we try to fill that emptiness without God, who alone can give us real and ultimate enjoyment (Eccl. 2:25, The Bible). “Life under the sun, will be meaningless and futile until we make a living relationship with the one above the sun – God!” (This is how Selwyn Hughes summarized the message of Ecclesiastes – one of the 66 books that the Bible is a library of). Only God can satisfy our search for true meaning in life. “Show us the Father (Father was the word Jesus used for God) and we will be satisfied.” That is how Philip, one of the disciples of Jesus expressed this truth (Jn. 14:8 The Bible, NLT Version). Pascal put it precisely: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in our heart and only God can fill it!” That God-shaped vacuum entered our souls because of sin, the Bible explains (Isa. 57:20,21, The Bible). “Emptiness is their only reward,” the Bible says, when it speaks about people who make sin their life-style (Job 15:17,31; The Bible, NLT Version).
The emptiness, the God-shaped vacuum entered our lives because of sin, the Bible explains. In the song, ‘Why this Kolaveri di’ which became the most watched Indian song on Youtube.com (with 48 million hits in four months), Tamil Movie actor Dhanush sang these lines: White skin-u girl-u girl-u/ Girl-u heart-u black-u. These lines reveal the hurt of the boy who has been ditched in love by a “white girl” with a “black heart.” Did you know that the Bible teaches each one of us have “black heart” (and not just girls with white skin)? Prophet Jeremiah in the Bible wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9, The Bible). In other words what Jeremiah was recording here was this: everyone heart is blackened by sin! We are all sinners – from Gandhi to Godse, from Mother Teresa to Lady Diana - without exception. This is an assertion of the Bible (Rom 3:23). Hollywood interestingly titled a movie, Six Degrees of Separation. The Bible’s teaching is that sin has separated us from God who made us in his pattern (Isa. 59:2, The Bible). Hence this empty feeling in our soul came into existence. The Bible also warns that sin will make us its slave and ultimately take us to the lake of burning sulfur where worms would feast on its ever-conscious human residents which Jesus called as Hell (Mk 9:48; Jn 8:34: Rev 21:8; The Bible). Hell was created by God for the Devil and his Angels, the Bible declares (Mt. 25:41, The Bible). It is the Devil who brings about an endless, restlessness and vacuum in our being as he is in that very state. In the Bible, Jesus pointed out that he wanders around desperately looking for a place to rest (Mt. 12:43, The Bible). The restless Devil brings in restlessness and void in your heart and, if given room, he can push you to self-destructive habits like smoking, porn-watching, having sex outside of marriage, fits of rage, use of profanity, etc (See Mk. 5:5 in The Bible).
3. THE SURRENDER:
Two who willingly walked into tough situations – Dhoni & Guess Who?
The Bible also makes it clear that we cannot fill this emptiness in our hearts on our own (Isa. 57:12, The Bible). You can’t lift yourself with your bootlace, can you? Our good deeds are like a woman’s menstrual cloth in God’s sight, according to the Bible (Ezek 36:17). Max Lucado wrote, “Two kids in a mud puddle can’t clean each other. They need someone clean. Someone spotless. We need someone clean too. That’s why we need a Savior.” That brings us to the reason why Jesus – God cloaked in human flesh and bone – came to planet earth two millennia back.
Let’s look at a Cricket story which will help us to understand why Jesus came into this world. Virat Kolhi had just got out as Dilshan took a brilliant return catch. Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were back in the pavilion, already. 161 runs were still needed by India. They had to score them in 170 balls. That was the equation. It was the 22nd over. India were in a tight situation in the World Cup final at packed Wankhade stadium, Mumbai, on 2nd April 2011. India was in the danger of losing the game. Then someone spoke up. "I will go in. Though it is not my turn to. Just give me a bat!" It was the Indian captain. It was Mahendra Singh Dhoni speaking.
The world is in trouble. You and I are heading to hell, along with everyone else. "I will go in to save the world, Father! Just give me body to clothe my eternal spirit. I will get into Mary's womb!" So said the ever-existing Jesus in a possible planning meeting in the heaven dated eternity past. Then, over 2000 years ago, Jesus executed what was decided in that meeting. He entered the womb of virgin Mary. Thus happened the first ever Christmas (This paragraph is based on Heb. 10: 5-8 in the Bible air-brushed with creativity).
India became the first team to win the World Cup at home, thanks to Dhoni's daring voluntary act. You and I have the only way of being saved from going to hell n finding purpose in life because of Jesus' sacrificial, voluntary, act that resulted in the first Christmas.
Life’s never “full” without Jesus
Jesus specifically stated that he came to give each one of us LIFE – LIFE TO THE FULL (Jn 10:10, The NIV Bible). He came to plug that vacuum in the soul of every human heart and save every willing person from the disease that is far deadlier than cancer or AIDs – the disease called sin! He in-effect told a woman who had sex with at least 6 different men something like this: “The water of sex and men cannot fill the emptiness in your heart, lady. But if you come to me in faith and drink the living water I give you, you will be satisfied. Just like you drink water every day, if you have a living, daily, relationship with me, your life will be satisfied (John 4, The Bible). He says the same thing to you as well. Without a relationship with Jesus, no matter what you do or what you have, your life will never be “full” – it will always be empty and void. Yes, Jesus came to plug that vacuum in the soul of every human and save every person from his sins! He alone is qualified to do so because he never ever sinned in all his life – something no one else has done in all of the world’s history – and therefore did not experience a vacuum in His heart. He wagged his bony finger at his worst enemies during that time – the religious heads of the Jewish religion – saying, “Which of you can truthfully convict me of sin?” They were mum (Jn. 8:46, The Bible, NLT version). You see, because Jesus never sinned, he never had this emptiness in his soul and therefore logically qualifies to be the only one who can plug the vacuum in every human heart and give it purpose and meaning. He is the Living Water we must drink (believe in) in order to never thirst again (or experience the empty feeling in our soul).
No one can love you this much!
As sinners, you and I should have lived a life of dissatisfaction (a living hell of a life) on the earth, died and then should have gone to burn in ever-burning hell (the literal hell). This is so because the Bible teaches the wages of sin is death and death ultimately means hell punishment in the pages of Scripture (Rev. 21:8, The Bible).
But that’s when Jesus stepped in. The sinless Jesus took your place and my place when he was executed as a crass criminal on a wooden Cross atop a hill in Israel, two thousand years back. He shed his blood so that our sins – each one of our sins – may be forgiven and the emptiness in our souls may be gone (Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8, The Bible). The punishment that brings us peace was upon him when he hung on the Cross, the Bible declares (Isa 53:5, The Bible). A moving poem dedicated to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives for the country at Kargil, goes this way: He loves Ol’ Hindi songs just like you/ He hates injections, just like you/ He cried each time Amitabh died, just like you/ He has been in love, once or twice, just like you/ He’ll bleed if you cut him, just like you/ He’s gone to die for a stranger and that stranger is you! (The Times of India, Bangalore Times, 29 June 1999). This poem typifies what Jesus did for us in an imperfect way. He died a cruel death for each one of us when we were still sinners and far away from him enjoying the pleasures of sin. Our backs should have been whipped as a punishment for the sins of our body – be that be over-eating or masturbation coupled with porn-watching or any other unprintable sin. But Jesus took that punishment upon his own back. Strong-armed Arnold Schwarzenegger like Roman Soldiers whipped Jesus’ back 39 times with leather belts that had broken bone and nail pieces embedded on them. As a result his back was lacerated and looked like a plowed field in accordance to a Bible prophecy – just one of over 110 major prophecies that Jesus fulfilled during his earthly life (Micah 3:12, The Bible). He loves us so very madly that he himself took upon his body, the punishment for our sins for our body (I Peter 2:24, The Bible). Because Jesus is 100% God who in turn is beyond the dimension of time he could die for all humans of all time. Because He is 100% human (even while he was 100% God) he could became the substitute for every human being. As the Bible put it, “Jesus loved us and gave himself for us” (Gal. 2:20, The Bible). No one could have loved us the way Jesus did! No loves us the way Jesus does. And what is more - Jesus came back to life, a feat that points to the fact that he is God and he is above and alone everyone in the long line of self-proclaimed gods, so records the Bible (Rom. 1:4, The Bible).
His offer to you today is straight: “Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover with me!” (Math 9:37,38, The Bible, The Message Version). He longs to have a living, daily relationship with you as intensely as a mother hen longs to have her chicks under its wings, says the Bible (Lk. 13:34, The Bible). This isn’t a call to join a religion. No religion can plug that vacuum in your soul. Not Christianity! Not any other religion! Only Christ can. No other person can. Jesus also said, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (Jn. 6:37, The Bible). The Multi-National Companies may drive you away, but my Master Jesus won’t. Your boyfriend may drive you away, but my Jesus will not.
When Osama went to bed…
The only cure for ache in your heart is to leave your life of sin and believe in Jesus. It is to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. This is what the Bible teaches. When we will take a U-turn in our sin-filled life journey and get back to the ancient path called Jesus, we will find rest for our souls, the Bible asserts (Jeremiah 6:16, The Bible). The Bible calls this as “repentance”. Jesus preached to those who narrowly escaped death when a tower in the country he preached in – Israel – crashed down: “Unless you repent you too will all perish!” (Luke 13:5, The Bible). His message is the same to those of us who are still alive and kicking after mishaps such as the crumbling down of the over 100-storied tall World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001: “Repent! Turn from your sin!” Who knows when our next brush with death will be?! Life is short. Life’s end can come suddenly when we are thinking about it, one bit. Osama Bin Laden when he went to bed with his youngest wife on 30 April 2011 perhaps thought, “I will wake up to live another day to continue fighting the United States who have been trying to capture me for over 9 long years!” Early next morning the US Navy SEALS helicopter hovered over his Abottabad hideout and he met his death all of a sudden. Jesus calls those who take great pains to make great plans for the sixty or seventy years of their life they would live before their death without taking the same effort to prepare for years of eternity that would follow after death by this name: “You fool!” (Lk. 12:20, The Bible). It is never too early to come to Christ. But at any moment it can be too late because there is no salvation after death, the Bible reveals (in Heb. 9:27). Saurav Ganguly first made it to the Indian team as a teenager for the 1992 Benson & Hedges World Championships. He was dropped. But he came back with a bang in 1995 by a making a century on debut for India in the famous Lord’s cricket ground. Jesus too will come back, literally. Over 300 times the Bible declares in various ways and using different imageries that Jesus will return to planet Earth in a public, dramatic manner. He would do that to judge the world, we are told. He will do that in a sudden and unexpected way, as a thief in the night would break into a house (I Th 5:4, The Bible)! And to think the Bible – God’s Word in human words – has never ever gone wrong in over 600 historical events it has predicted! To ignore the words of the Bible would be like shooting yourself on the foot! And after Jesus returns for the second time, it would be too late for anyone to repent from their sin, then and come to him. He who is willing to save you now, would not be willing to do that when he comes back the second time, the Bible teaches (Luke 17:28-32, The Bible). If we uncovered our sins to Jesus and confessed them with an attitude of repentance, our sins will be covered when he comes back the second time to judge the world, thanks to his shed blood on the cross of Calvary. But, on the other hand, if we cover-up our sins now and act as if we have not sinned, then, on the great day of judgment our sins will be made public before the whole world much to our shame, leading us to an eternal torment in hell. This is the teaching of the Bible (Prov. 28:13, The Bible).
Sincerity alone is not enough – ask Mark Boucher!
You may say, "I sincerely believe whatever I believe. Deep down in my gut I know what I believe is untrue. I do believe that Jesus alone is the Way to Salvation, the Way to true peace, the Way to evict the vacuum in my heart. But I am sure my sincerity will save me, give my life meaning and ultimately take me to heaven!" Hmmm. I hear you. I must say you hold a popular opinion for this is what you get to hear during conversations that border on religions most of the time. At this juncture, I an avid Cricket fan, recall a gripping World Cup incident. This took place in a match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Durban in 2003. It was a do or die clash. To book a birth in the Super Six stage South Africa had to win. It was a rain affected match. A message was sent out to Mark Boucher, the spunky Wicketkeeper batsmen that for South Africa to win the score needed to be at 229 by the end of 45th over without losing anymore wickets, if the match were, by any chance, stopped due to rain. Boucher smashed a six off Muthiah Muralidharan’s fifth ball over wide mid-on to bring South Africa's score to 229. He celebrated by punching the air. "I have done my job. My team will go through to the Super Sixes stage!" he thought to himself. "All I have to do now is to defend the last ball of the 45th over." And he did that with ease. The rains did come tumbling down following that over by Murali. The match was stopped at that point. Guess what happened? It was Sri Lanka, and not South Africa that went through to the Super Sixes stage of that World Cup. South Africa actually needed 230 runs – one more run than the 229 they had to win the game as per Duckworth-Lewis calculations. Boucher was sent a wrong message by his captain, Shaun Pollock. He believed that message with all his heart and defended Murali's last ball. He could have easily picked up a single if he knew his team actually needed one more run to get to the Super Sixes. Could Boucher have pleaded to the Cricket Administrators in the venue officiating that match, "But I sincerely believed, that this is what South Africa needed to win this game and get to the super sixes. Now let us play the Super Sixes! Let Sri Lanka take the flight home!" He couldn't have. You see, my friend, what you believe really matters. And Jesus claimed to be the only way to Salvation and Heaven (See John 14:6, The Bible). And Jesus gave you proof to trust his claims. The sinless life of Jesus coupled with astounding miracles was a combination no other god-man possessed. Since there is enough proof that the Bible is a historically reliable document (something we will not go into, in detail, for lack of space), we need to take what it records, seriously. Instead of believing in Jesus, if you believed – however sincerely – anyone else or anything else for your salvation – you will not be saved. You will be doomed to hell if you believed the lie, “It does not matter what type of faith you hold onto, as long as you are sincere!”
When Schumi Drove A Taxi!
Michael Schumacher was racing against time to catch a flight after having bought a puppy. This seven-time Formula One World Champion car-racer was in a taxi on the way to the airport. At that time, he politely asked the driver to vacate from his seat and took over the driving from him. And he drove incredibly fast and overtook at some improbable places to reach the aerodrome near Coburg in time. He gave the excited and amazed driver named Tuncer Yilmaz a very generous tip of 100 Euros over the 60 Euro taxi charge (www.Telegraph.co.uk, 11 December 2007). Jesus asks you to trust him and turn over the driving seat of your life to him by faith. When he drives the car of your life, the journey would be incredible and the reward he will give you at the end of that journey would be immeasurable - life eternal in heaven. What is more, every moment of your journey with him will be meaningful and purposeful. Don’t wait even a second to turn over the driving seat of your life to Jesus by faith.
Liar, Lunatic or Lord!
You have to make a choice about Jesus. He claimed to be the only way to fill the vacuum of your heart when he said he came to this world to make our lives “full” (Jn 10:10). Take him at his word. Believe him. You can call Jesus the biggest liar who ever lived. Or you can call him a nut-loose – a lunatic. Or you can call him the Lord - the only Savior of your soul and invite him into your heart and life. But you have no way of getting around his claims to say, “Jesus was one of the good men who lived in the earth.” In fact if you call Jesus as one of the many good men or god men of this world you are in-effect calling him a liar. He did not give you the option of doing that in the first place. So he’s got be one of the three: a liar, a lunatic or the Lord he claimed to be (as C. S. Lewis put it). He can’t be a liar. He was sinless, the Bible records. Even his worst enemies could not find a single fault in him. He couldn’t be a lunatic. He did not giggle in glee like a madman when he was hammered on the Cross – did you notice? He felt the pain and cried out in agony like a normal, sane, person would. That leaves us with just one option: he is the only Way to Heaven; the only Way to fulfillment and purpose in life. He categorically stated, “For unless you believe that I am who I say I am, you will die (which ultimately means to be cast in the lake of burning sulfur to be tormented forever) in your sins!” (Jn. 8:24, The Bible).
So, come to Christ, with a simple faith – even if we may never fully understand all about him – that he died and rose to take away the blankness in your bosom, right now without any delay!
By praying this prayer with all your heart you can invite Jesus into your heart and life and see the vacuum in your heart go:
Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. The vacuum in my heart is because I have sinned against you. Please forgive me. I repent of my sin. Thank you for dying for me on that hill and rising up again. Cleanse me with your blood, which you shed for me! I promise to live for you – with you helping me out. So be it!”
Please put the following matter in red in a grey box:
Duke Jeyaraj, the writer of this piece, won an elocution prize as a student in an inter-college contest in IIT, Kanpur. He had the privilege of working for companies like the HSBC. Presently, he’s a travelling, fulltime presenter of life truths from the Bible to the Google Generation. You may want to check out more writings by Duke, like the one you just read, at www.PurposeSPOT.blogSPOT.com or www.THEDaysOFYourYOUTH.com. If you have a question, please feel to email them at
This write-up is for private circulation only. Sowmya Susan’s image is on the facing page.