Lets start with work of others.

We have both good and bad in us. Its our choices and our actions that defines us. (Any superhero movie will have a version of this one.)

Good versus Evil is one of the most ubiquitous mythological aspect of human civilization. (Zeitgeist)

And far away in some recess
The Lord and the Devil are now playing chess
The Devil still cheats and wins more souls
And as for the Lord, well, he’s just doing his best (The Spanish Train, Chris De Burgh)

Chris maybe correct, I think. If the god and the devil indeed possess the power to control the fates of the living and dead; then yes, they must be playing poker or a game of chess. Lives change dramatically on earth. Suddenly, a new card comes up and a floundering hand can yield a big win. Or, a calculated and thorough move is a deadly amiss because we missed one more factor in the plan. To Lord, or the Devil, our lives are naked and they play the character of peeping tom upon us and juggle with our lives. Maybe its our turn to return the favor and see what they talk about us.

If any sense has to come out of this piece of writing, please assume that for some irrelevant reason, I was in a limbo. Probably it was something like the one in which Dumbledore explained a lot of stuff to Harry in the final chapters. I had walked into a room where I could see the Lord and the Devil sitting across each other. Something was strange. If we take a speech, or rather “preach”, analyzer and scan the words of various religious figureheads, we would find a remarkable peak at one point: Lord and the Devil both sentence us for our actions. It would be mighty offices for the Lord and the Devil to sieve the enormous data off the rap sheets of countless men and women and possibly cattle and birds also. And yet, here I am in a room which is peaceful, quiet, empty and clean of any feathers or coconut water for that matter, filled with a white mist surrounding the Lord and a grey one around the Devil. The Lord kept looking at the Devil; waiting for the Devil to speak. Or perhaps it was the Devil’s turn to wait for the God to start a thread of conversation.

I helped myself to a chair in between them. They noticed my presence and went back to staring at each other. I have a pretty proud head and being ignored that way didn’t sit well with me. Probably God was playing the same ball with me as I play when I ignore him. Or they had been at this discussion table for a very long time but the room gave no hints of any other object or inhabitant. I wondered how much time had passed since I took the cold seat. And I saw my wrist watch appear on the table. I thought the God was behind this miracle, but he continued to measure the Devil and looked stony as ever. Perhaps it was best to leave them alone for their “extended” period of silence.

The God stood up. The devil leaned back and let his head rise. The Lord stared down in silence. The Devil shook his head and took out an invisible cigarette of his mouth. He stood up and strolled past me giving a malicious smile to meet the God and said, “Look. It has been a year of silence in this room.” My jaw fell open and I could barely mouth ‘Really?’ The Devil continued “I remember you were quiet for a decade last time.” I screamed before I could stop, ‘Oh my fu-‘ I stopped as I felt their gaze fall upon me. I completed with a tame ‘God.’ The Devil smiled at me and got a frown from God which could have completed the word I didn’t utter. He carried his speech to the Lord “Yes, I lured a lot of people into my trap and brought their doom. But do you really think that I am going to repent? I did not regret last time and I am not willing to try any form of remorse and seek your forgiveness. So in front of this kid (“Kid ?”) as witness, I confess that I have sinned, but I feel no compunction. Regardless of your position in the battle against me, you will never give up and show these people hope. But on the previous counts, I have defeated you fair and square. So, if you want to win this battle of silence at the table, you can have it; but lets continue with our job, and discuss on how to consume this world of men.”

I joined the discussion with a question. “You people just talk here? My entire world worships you as a protector from this Devil and you two just exchange a few “What Else?” and “Hmm” with each other interspersed over years?”

I stopped my rant as I felt their gaze fall on me and looked up earnestly for an answer. They looked at each other and smiled. Still looking at the devil, the god said, “What did you expect? That we would be scanning lives of your species? This is our home, and I am amused to ask you the question: do you see any filing cabinet to store souls? We live together and give deals (choices) to fellow human beings in their lives. The Devil –”

The Devil cut in sharply, “Speak for yourself, my dear friend. I shall advertise myself later.”

The Lord looked at me. I pointed at the devil and spoke, “Fair enough.” The Lord eased his expressions and continued, “You have your own methods to interpret us. You worship me and condemn him in the same book, place or event. You think that the Devil is just an opposite of me. So whatever you know about the Devil is based on what you know about me. Worse, all of that knowledge is something which you have assumed about me, us. You assume that you know me and what I expect from you. And then, preach stuff about both of us, presumably having learnt about only one of us, in books, in institutions, in crowds.  We have no business in deciding what happens to “the countless souls” that land “at our gates”. We have a single room, with a tea table. I don’t think it would qualify for your hell or heaven.”

The Lord spoke in a vague language. And it was lacking sense. He continued, “If there is anything that you have known correctly, it is the fact that you have the potential to take both good and bad choices. If we are present in this world, we are only in your actions. I am the symbol of fair actions which provides the highest good. My methods can often be laborious and usually depend upon the hearts of people. The methods would never work with those with less patience.”

It felt like being present in a weird classroom of religious fundamentals. I had not believed in what religious texts or figureheads have preached since a long time. And yet here I was, in the middle of a room with the proponents of the theory present in person. Listening to them, I felt like they had been made the whores of the “religious media” and paraded and flashed in the faces of the population in every stupid form. I took some time off from them in the chair, and pondered over the time spent over things that don’t matter. The name of God; the “difficult” path that must be taken to attain his blessings; the “tortuous fate” that awaits any soul who strays from the “path”. Various religious texts are replete with these concepts. How many have actually stressed upon the fact that these two can exist only in our actions? Probably some thinkers have said so. “We have both good and bad in us. We choose to take one of the paths.

It was a while when I noticed the watch lying on the table again. The time had barely passed. The Devil noticed the surprise look upon my face and said, ” This is your dream. You want to be here so your mind will manipulate the time”.

The Lord cut in, “Talk about manipulation, talk about yourself!”

The Devil looked at me and said, “And you thought he was benign! He fails too.” He turned to God and gave him a sarcastic smile. He said, “Even if I beat you, there is no need to jump in when I am talking. Yes, I was gloating over my victory; but I gave you a decent stretch of time to speak for yourself. I think I will count it as another victory, I manipulated you into a petty outburst! Now let me continue with him.”

It was odd to see the Lord being dictated by the Devil in that way. But, then it was an odd setting in which they were present. The Lord and the Devil both seemed to have noticed my dilemma. The Devil took the initiative, “Look. I know that this situation has rattled you over the definitions of two figures in front of you. But the Lord loses each time when you take my path. My path is often an easy one. It can give you a quicker result, maybe even favorable one. But, then we have to stay in business and therefore, you land in more sticky spots. If you went my way, there will be a day when the problem at hand will make you feel humiliated and you would regret that you ever took my path. That humiliation is my business. The God, if I have his permission, gives you a tougher path than me, but there is no embarrassment in the next part of your journey. His business comes from your satisfaction at the end of day. The only difference between us is that I gloat over my success, the Lord just moves on to the next deal for you.”

It didn’t sound like something completely new. After all, they had just translated the concepts into our everyday actions. But then, it was a major transition. After all, going to worship the Lord is a big deal. There are so many protocols to follow that WE made and wrote in books. There are custodians of that code, “The code is the law“, who decide how we approach the Lord and any deviation from the “path” is ostracized. Or rather, the deviation is devilry. The god is an embodiment of good faith and living and therefore, it cannot be restricted to the description of life and actions of one man. The concepts of God and Devil get any tangible significance from our own actions and behavior to the world around us. Words don’t mean anything, said or written unless it is backed by an action. The honesty and sanctity of a promise comes from the love and dedication put in the actions to fulfill the promise. Why should the concept of God and Devil be separated from actions? If God is all helping, all loving and all caring, how can one justify killing animals, or tagging and restricting the lives of people as untouchables in the name of same God? Religion has depleted its spirituality and is rather replete with what institutions exhort us to do. They ask the wrong things.

I asked God, “Why do we fail?”

The Devil said, “Since you saw no heaven or hell, you can ask him in straight words –” he takes a stance to mimic me and looked at God, “Why do you lose to him?”

The Lord gave me a calculating look. He cogitated for a while and attained a melancholic face. The Devil looked eager to hear the Lord’s answer. The Lord finally spoke, “I created the world of men and women and the process wasn’t defect free. Those defects were the seeds in you which gave roots to the Devil. The fundamental flaw among you is that you are limited. You don’t have infinite patience. Neither you understand everything fully. What you don’t understand, you would never be able to trust completely and you would always fear for what it could do to your lives. The Devil hacks this: your limitation and offers you a solution that will eliminate that fear of losing what u cherish for the time being. But once you make him an ally, he can tempt that scared corner of your heart into misgivings, again and again. Regardless of competition, I have no shame in accepting that he is a smart, cunning and shrewd option whom you cannot outsmart easily. The moment you deal with him, you may have signed a long term employment under his regime.”

They stopped for a while to let me reflect upon the most recent “teachings”. It made sense. We suck up to people and wrong ideas many times so that we can protect some other things from falling apart. Probably they are the things that we love. I could count numerous such cases in my own life when the fear of losing people or things that I loved made me to make the wrong choice. I lied to someone, I tried to cover up a defect in my report etc. all in the name of protecting something bigger. We love things but we fear losing it. Often, we cannot put enough faith into it and speak our hearts, and the truth. Probably we do not understand the person to whom we lie. Or we don’t know enough about ourselves to trust in our own capabilities before we fake to impress someone. Is this the limitation they talked about?

The Devil took the baton from the Lord and continued, “I have seen many artistic impressions about us. The Lord usually looks great and I am nothing more than a caricature. Probably you should make one on how we operate. I will give you some hint to draw it. Traditionally, the Lord’s path is that of a thin line. If you fall, you need a church to get yourself absolved of your “sins”. But you are limited, and therefore the fall is inevitable. Is that my chance at ensnaring you into my subservience? Not exactly, but it does provide me a chance. Again, remember that its your choice which matters ultimately. I will come back to this later. As I was saying, the path isn’t a fine line, rather a broader road with its own share of potholes, puddles of mud and all ingredients to make it messy. Why did the Lord make such a path for you? Well, he didn’t. You constructed it yourself. You love yourself, your small worlds around you and resist changes to it. Even if you are presented with a bare fact, your kind will continue to preach the wrong to continue the favorable status quo. Simply speaking, irrespective of the relevance, you don’t like things if they don’t suit your needs. It maybe someone’s habits or some idea like earth goes around the sun but any one who has tried to break the trend has been ostracized and ridiculed as a heretic. The Lord’s world changes and so do the people and their surroundings. Haven’t you heard “Change is nature”. In the end, you create a civilization which needs lies and cover ups to exist. Therefore, the difficult potholes are not something from the fourth or fifth worlds, they are just your imperfections of your own worlds. The Lord’s path is, thus, difficult and even if the correct set of actions provide the highest good for you and your species, mankind will always be the biggest source of friction in that path. On the far end of this road, there is an unmatched bliss. A serene world, in which you and your surrounding is satisfied.”

I took a breath. The Devil continued, “I hope you enjoyed that silent breath. Now, take some hints to draw my route, or Route 666. My choices are simpler and yield quicker results. After the initial beginnings of the “dark path”, there is a magnetic pull towards me. If you desire for a result and you need to resort to wrong actions, you will always need me to protect that result. I don’t have a liking for a particular type of human. All are equal when they seek the dark path. The first step is an easy one. A small mischief to attain the desired end. Remember that I never helped to solve the problem. I just gave a different route to follow. As the problem comes back to bite, I demand bigger and bigger slips. Eventually you slip into my pocket. Easy, huh? My path ends in a black hole of remorse. I can play the devil in that black hole as well and never let you take the step to make things right. But I am usually frightened at this stage of losing an employee. Remorse is a very strong feeling, which overwhelms every other emotion. It comes from a clear picture of loss, and clarity is my biggest enemy.”

“Anyways, leave the pencil and paper. I share this room with the Lord. I think that I can give you some more wisdom. Don’t think that just because you dabbled with something unethical, you are doomed. You don’t need the church or temple to recover your heart. You need yourself. If I can hack into the fear, and give you cunning ideas to bypass the problem, there is nothing wrong in considering me a problem and trying to bypass me. After all, you cannot eliminate me. But you can always try to keep my presence in your life to a minimum. It is our game to lure and persuade humans into the evil and the good parts of life. But, ultimately, its your free choice. You can always come out clean. You can always try to change the course. It will not be easy because of the complex world you knit in darkness, but that is the only way out of the black hole.”

The Devil stopped talking and took a chair in front of me. It was a while since I had looked at the Lord. He had been pacing across the room at a gentle pace. He stopped behind the Devil and bathed me with his gaze. Ultimately, he spoke, “I didn’t create him. I created you with an imperfect mind. You will always have an imperfect life. Only the ideas can be perfect. We are concepts. Therefore, we are perfection of good and the evil. But your life, imperfect as it may be, is real. You can have one perfect idea about yourself: your choices are yours to make and they alone define the “level of perfection” in your life. All actions are not evil, neither every true thing is good. Its all a matter of timing. The only essential thing is to live in a way that provides the best environment for free thinking to grow. Take a look at the room again.”

It was the same. The wrist watch was gone. Probably my time was up. Or rather, the idea of God doing such miracles was over. There was difference in what I felt in that room. There was no mist anymore because I didn’t feel mystified with that picture of God or Devil anymore.  People say that the Devil is needed to make the Lord real. The Devil isn’t real. The Lord isn’t real either. We are.