It struck me like a sad little song. The article was only a measly paragraph, giving the bare facts, not saying much about the victim nor her killers. Maybe any more would have been just too much to bear. The piece, on page 6 of the July 27 NY Times, told of an ‘honor killing.” The culprit was a 70 year old grandmother of 16. I guess she thought she was doing right by her family. It was a Sikh family living in London, and grandma had arranged the murder of her daughter-in-law “because she was having an affair and wanted a divorce.” The victim, Surjit Athwal, was 27 and had been married for 11 years.
We periodically hear about these killings in the news. They probably happen more often than reported. Usually the killer is thinking that they are simply acting as God’s agent in the sordid affair, whether to punish a wayward family member or a suicide bomber against the infidels or the blowing up of an abortion clinic. I’m sure that in a court of law one of them somewhere has brought up the point that the sectarian state has no jurisdiction over them in the matter because they are doing God’s bidding.
But, in the Bible, God declares “Vengeance is Mine.” That means He wants to take care of it. And God has certainly had lots of practice. He’s been killing off people (the good, the bad and the ugly) since time immemorial. But we foolishly think that God is inept, that He can’t handle it or that He’s too busy with other things and that maybe He’ll forget. So we think, “I have to take care of it -why bother God? And I’ll get brownie points and it will look good on my resume when I get to heaven. I’ll have bragging rights.” This mindset only shows that one has very little faith. God is very capable of dispatching sinners and miscreants in His own way and in His own time.
Anyway, in this age, if He were to kill the sinners, He’d have to kill us all. So in this age, God has wisely developed an alternative plan. He’s appeared in the form of His Holy Name. The weapon of the Name is very subtle. Like an expert physician removing a cancerous tumor, the Name can destroy the miscreant mentality without killing the physical body. So yes, God wants assistants; not, however, to kill, but to spread love and mercy through the Holy Name. Like the Beatles sang: “take a sad song (the plight of the conditioned soul) and make it better.” It is written in the ancient texts: “In the age of quarrel and pretense (that’s this age – the kaliyuga) chant the Holy Name, chant the Holy Name, chant the Holy Name. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”
So to any would-be avenger reading this: don’t worry your pretty little head. God is on top of it. No one is going to get away with anything.
“The Blessed Lord said: Time I am, destroyer of the worlds. I have come to engage all people.” Gita 11:32
Note from author: I have a stack of New York Times newspapers waiting in my desk drawer. I get them from my father-in-law. He subscribes. After he finishes with it he graciously passes the paper on to me. By this time the newspaper might already be three weeks old. I keep them handy for some recreational reading and then finally pass them on to some of the New Vrindaban gardeners who make a more practical use of the news as mulch. (Maybe that’s why the lettuce is so tasty.)