KISMET

“When the man met the woman of his dreams, he said it was kismet. ” “Perhaps it was kismet Jim won the lottery right after he lost his job.”  “If kismet does not interfere and allow someone to see the smoke signal, the injured man will die in the freezing canyon.” “So this is your fate destiny kismet you must rise up to it because no one else can take this job.” You have probably heard of such sentiments or read such statements .

The Urban Dictionary says: The word Kismet is of foreign origin and is used in Turkish, Urdu, Hindi and Arabic. In Hindi it means “fate” or “destiny” and the meaning is exactly the same in English. So instead of saying, “it is fate”, you could say “it is kismet“. According to Merriam-Webster, Kismet’ comes from the Arabic word ‘qisma’, which means “portion” or “lot.” Kismet was borrowed into English in the early 1800s from Turkish, where it was used as a synonym of fate. This was an expansion on the meaning of the original Arabic word qisma that led to kismet and one early 18th-century bilingual dictionary says it’s a synonym of “fragment.”

Kalyan Kumar, Vice-president of Human Resources at India Uniper, opines that ‘we often tend to view the word Karma through the prism of Kismet, or fate or destiny. Fundamentally, the roots of these two terms, namely, Karma and Kismet, are from entirely different cultural moorings. The word Karma is native to the Indic civilization, and is common to all of the spiritual traditions that were spawned by the Indic civilization. Kismet has its roots in the Semitic middle east, more specifically in Islam.’ According to him, ‘Karma is much more than Fate, Destiny or Kismet. The term Kismet or Destiny is in common man’s parlance that God alone determines everything. He is the creator, mover as well as the final judge! In the Karmic world on the other hand the doer alone is responsible for all the consequences arising out his actions. Karma by its very intent makes one responsible for one’s actions as well as its attendant consequences.’

In my South Indian dialect of Tamil, one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world, the word often used to explain the inconsequential happenings of life is ‘vidhi’ – It is all her vidhi that these things happened to her. Vidhi is explained as fate, which is written on the head, and is used both positively and negatively, to deal with the unexplainable incidents of living and being.

The negative connotation of the word often results in a fatalistic and simplistic acceptance of negative conditions or circumstances found in someone’s life. It produces a passivity that accepts, with a dejected finality, even what could, with a little more will and effort, be surmounted and overcome. It is the root cause of a defeatist mentality and frequently, the impulse and impetus for suicide and self-immolation.

The positive nuance of the word, on the other hand, recently struck me as being such a help to accept what cannot be undone or unmade. It assists in tiding over the sense of defeat at the missed opportunities, lends comfort when feeling loss at the lapse of time and acts as balm to the deep grief felt for what could have been. It provides the stimulus for a positive and constructive outlook and produces a beneficial and effective attitude. A posture of acceptance and compliance is then birthed, helping to release a free flow of forgiveness. Rather than fostering negative emotions of resentment, rancour and revenge that fester into unforgiveness, it assuages the emotions of antipathy and hostility .

Able to say to the guilty, ‘it is okay, it is just vidhi (or kismet), helps pave the way for bridging the gap betrayal has created and promote relationship by offering the olive branch over the hurdle of hurt. It can create a conducive atmosphere to accept the offender, foster an understanding of the offender and enable an acceptance of the delinquent. It can also prepare the wounded and the offended to receive the one who has wronged and deceived them. It will help to view those who are especially overwhelmed by the enormity of their action or inaction and overcome by the consequences of their participation or abstinence, with the right attitude of clemency and mercy. At the end, it would help offer pardon to those who are overpowered by the guilt of their commission or omission and a way out of defeat into dignity.

The victim would be able to rise above petty feelings of retribution and recrimination to heights of nobility in thought and attitude towards the perpetrator. It would relieve the aggrieved party of rages and grudges, ensuring well-being rather than ill-health born of harboring negative emotions. Forgiveness and reconciliation are powerful restoratives of wholesomeness, both to the injured and the assailant.

It is not that the former deny or sweep away the effects of the crime or violation, but are able to put it aside and move on. It is not that they condone or gloss over the crime, but are enabled to bear with the culprit. It is not that they overlook or just condemn the transgression, but are endued with the ability to bear with the transgressor. They are powerfully motivated to not linger in or camp around the hurt, but start the process of rising phoenix-like from the ashes of their disappointment and distress to new life and being.

May be this seems to be a cop out or a denial or a disassociation, but I see it more as a coping mechanism that enables health and healing on both sides. It actually helps to come to terms with the issue, grapple with its impacts and move on to a virtuous frame of mind. Instead of squatting around wasteful emotions that tear at the soul, fracture the mind and destroy the physique, it helps build on a negative situation and utilize ‘what was meant to be evil’ to become a success, a strength and, in the end, a triumph of the spirit over animal instincts!

In today’s parlace, the word kismet conjures up pictures of a musical, a movie, a computer progam or a company, but in real life it is a lodestar of treasure. In truth, kismet or qismat in Persion, as in the story of Rumpelstiltskin, spins gold out of straw, converts dung into fuel and transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary and other worldly. Like the waves wiping smooth the ruffled sand, it smoothes the wrinkles of life and levitates normal human beings to be more like and closer to the Creator, Who causes the sun to shine and rain to fall on both the good and bad. Not surprising, since, by definition, Kismet is being sure that God is Sovereign over all and that you are under His rule!

* Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash
* https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/karma-kismet-same-kalyan-kumar/

Distractions Diffuse Destiny & Direction

The soldier who leaves the post he is guarding, or the goalie who leaves the goal he is protecting or the farmer who leaves his fields to engage in action elsewhere are all as distracted as the one who is led astray by attractions.

Distractions destroy focus by involvement in unnecessary activity. The legitimacy of any work is dependent on its focus on your destiny or goal.

Nehemiah realised this and did not allow himself to be sidetracked from the work he was doing (Neh 6:1-14). Jesus set his face as flint to go to Jerusalem and was not dissuaded from fulfilling His work. Paul did the same and in spite of knowing bonds awaited him in Jerusalem, made it a point to go there.

In sharp contrast, in I Kings 13:1-32, a prophet became distracted and ended up dead.

An athlete or a racer or any competitor will not allow themselves to succumb to distractions. They cannot afford to, for even a millisecond can make the difference between winning and not doing so.

So it is necessary to be careful to guard focus, wear blinkers, like a horse, to avoid being turned aside by distractions.

Being distracted while driving can be fatal. Being distracted while performing an operation can harm rather heal the patient. Being distracted in the kitchen can cause burns and other accidents. Distractions have severe repercussions in whichever task you set out to do.

Jesus talked about thorns that choked the good seed – anxieties of this life, deceitfulness of riches and hankering after possessions. These are distractions to the growth of the right seed that will not allow it to mature. Distractions are destructive and deterrent to growth.

The Psalmist declared ‘one thing have I desired and that will I seek after’ (Ps 27) and the Apostle Paul said this one thing I do (Phil 3). These men were able to declare that they finished the race.

We live in world where attention deficiency is a major disorder with attention span being less than 10 mins. Reason: availability of multiple options, tendency for quick fixes, insecurity that promotes constant preoccupation, fear that fuels avaricious grasping, discontentment that leads to frenzied acquisitions and finally, languorous leisure that aspires for maximum gain with minimum effort. We have become like hothouse flowers that bloom quickly and fade even more faster.

Beware of distractions in the form of legitimate actions that detract you from reaching your goal. Distractions can come in the form of relationships that are a snare to our walk on the narrow path. Your compassionate concern can entangle you with people who make you drag your feet or turn you aside from the real path. Barnabas missed the mark of high calling to partner together in the gospel with Paul by choosing John Mark. People can ride on you like the old man on Sindbad’s back.

Have single-minded focus to conserve your energy and reach your target. Throw off the unnecessary weight that would divert and delay you on the path to destination. Identify and weed out things that drain and dissipate your attention so that you can sustain strength to the end. Deal with and destroy distractions that turn you aside and make you an also-ran rather than one who won the prize.

*Photo courtesy https://unsplash.com/photos/gRsBNSKgfII

INTREATING INCENSE

Pray without ceasing,
As its the breath of godly life.
Pray without relenting,
Until you cross to the afterlife!

Pray that we may be daily transformed,
For to His image we must be conformed.
Pray that His Body may grow and expand,
Until we mature as God’s holy band!

Pray that you may ever be set free ,
From words that limit your destiny.
Pray that you may be wholly healed,
From things that disturb your equanimity!

Pray to be delivered from the hand of the enemy,
So that you may live in peaceful safety.
Pray to be forgiven of your sin and felony,
So that the nation may enjoy quiet prosperity!

Pray for it only depends on the One its addressed to,
He won’t mind how awkward or feeble it comes through!
Pray for the Holy Spirit empowers you,
You make a big difference when you do so!

*Poem inspired by Sunday sermon at NLAG, India
*Photos courtesy https://unsplash.com/search/photos/prayer
© SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL