By Humayun Gauhar

My friend Maverick was back, looking decidedly bemused and somewhat miffed. He cannot be taken lightly for he is the commander-in-chief of the monkey brigade of Islamabad’s E-7 jungle. It is good policy to keep him in good humour.

“What’s with all this life-after-death nonsense that you’ve been going on about for weeks? What happened to life before death?”

“Well, if you are being consigned to hell before death as we are on Earth, what else can you do? You have to try and understand anything good that might be coming your way.”

“Are you feeling suicidal?” asked Maverick, looking worried.

“No,” I replied. “Suicide is a very great sin and a sure way of not getting to heaven. Nor am I suffering from any illness. I am just wondering and inquiring and sharing whatever I think with you.”

“Thanks a lot, but you humans are collectively suicidal anyway. You have brought the world to the brink of extinction what with your armaments and environment degradation for a ‘good’ life and all. Your weapons of mass destruction can destroy the world many times over. All of them used at once can move the Earth from its axis. And you say suicide is a sin?”

“You’re right. We are collectively suicidal, certainly. But see all the good humans have done also. Our discoveries have helped humanity a lot. The question is: on balance, have we done more harm than good?”

“I know that,” said Maverick. “You invented ships for travel and trade, but also for war and conquest. You occupied and colonized the lands of others and plundered and looted them for your own enrichment, causing untold death, misery and human degradation in the process and leaving them in poverty and dependence for centuries. Slavery still exists, even in our own country.  You discovered nuclear fission, used some of it for good, like generating electricity and in medicine, but concentrated more on making bombs and their delivery systems. You invented aircraft and used them not only for travel and cargo but also to bomb and destroy under political and ideological pretensions. Missiles too. Should I go on? On balance I would say that you humans have caused more harm than good.”

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“Sorry,” I retorted, “the jury is still out on that. However, I have great faith in humanity. I believe that a time will come when good will outweigh evil in this world, though it will never overcome it altogether. After all, God says that we are His greatest creation. How can His greatest creation embarrass Him so?”

“Why should I bother anyway?” asked Maverick. “You humans believe that animals don’t have souls so they don’t have life after death.”

“True,” I said, trying not to look embarrassed. “It is generally believed that only humans and jinns have both life and soul. Animals only have life.”

“Forsooth and double forsooth,” said Maverick. “I couldn’t care less what you humans believe. Look at what you have made of our world and of yourselves. You are the most destructive species there has ever been. Look at us animals. We only gather or kill only as much as we need or can eat. You guys are collectors of carcasses. Shameful. Are you going to take everything you collect with you after death? You go out of this world pocketless and empty-handed, as you came.”

“But we have to leave something behind for our children, don’t we?”

“Look,” said Maverick. “The best thing you can leave your children is a good education, the best set of values, respect for life and the correct understanding of God. They will look after themselves and I dare say will do better than you. If they are morons they will soon waste all you have left them anyway.”

“True,” I mused. “All we take with us is the knowledge we have gained, what we do with it, the intentions behind our deeds and the good we do for the sake of doing good, not to gather fame and accolades, and how much we have opposed evil in our own way wherever we have found it. It is this what we will be judged on to find our place at some better level in the post-Earth dimension.”

Maverick was deep in thought, so I continued. “Our God-given duty is to recognize evil and to oppose it. There is tyranny of all kinds in the world, economic and political mainly. Big government is an evil, so is slavery, as is gender discrimination and child abuse, the vast differences between rich and poor, between people and states. We must be compassionate and spread love and knowledge. Most of us probably fail in this, which is our purpose of existence. We happily secure our petty ambitions in our briefcases, worry about our bank balances beyond our needs and gather wealth and property as much as we can, and try to acquire fame as well. No bad thing, but what do we do with our excess wealth? Do we use it for humanity, for spreading love, compassion and knowledge, or do we just accumulate it like points in a race – the rat race? I’m afraid many of us do the latter but there is also a wide number who do the former. It is they who will do well in the life in the Hereafter.”

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“Then us animals should go to Heaven straightaway,” said Maverick mockingly. “Darwin says you are evolved from us. I seriously doubt it, for we are not destructive at all. I think you have destructiveness in your programming; spreading evil and unhappiness is in your genes. I think the ‘alien astronomers’ theorists may be right, that you were genetically re-engineered and modified by some advanced alien civilization for their purposes or whatever. That is your famous ‘missing link’, else you cannot account for the sudden leap from ape to Homo sapiens in such a short time in evolutionary terms..”  Looking smug and satisfied with himself, Maverick sat back with a smirk.

“I didn’t know you knew about the alien astronomer theories. Do you watch the History Channel?”

“It doesn’t matter what I watch,” retorted Maverick, miffed. “The point is, I know.”

“No one knows for sure, Maverick,” I said. “It is all conjecture.”

“Conjecture? Conjecture? Then how do you account for Area 51? How do you account for how the pyramids of Egypt and Latin America were built? How do you account for Stonehenge? For the sudden full stop in the existence of Moenjodaro and Harappa.”

“Area 51 is a mystery,” I said. “But just because they won’t tell us what’s in it or what they are doing there one shouldn’t jump to such bizarre conclusions like it may house aliens or their bodies or that alien visitors constantly visit the area from outer space in our galaxy or even other galaxies. I know about UFO sighting as well. Nothing is known by us or been proved for sure.”

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“Proved? Proved? You with such puny brains go on about proof. Do you understand how limited your brains still are. Can’t you see for yourselves? What proof do you have that you actually exist and are not part of the imagination of some higher power? You cannot understand everything. It would be like teaching a raga to an ant.”

“Of course we cannot understand everything,” I said. “Who said we could? But the more we try the better it is. Of course there is a higher power, the highest, the Creator. And if we were genetically engineered by aliens, who created them? The Highest Power, also known as God in English, to do His work.”

“You say that Dr. Eben Alexander says that there is not one universe but many, the ‘multiverse’.”

“So does God in the Quran, Maverick,” I said. “The countless universes – the multiverse – may exist in different dimensions.” I read out to him what Dr. Eben Alexander says in his book, ‘Proof of Heaven’.

“I saw the abundance of life throughout the countless universes, including some whose intelligence was advanced far beyond that of humanity. I saw that there are countless higher dimensions but that the only way to know these dimensions is to enter and experience them directly. They cannot be known, or understood, from lower dimensional space. From those higher worlds one could access any time or place in our world.”

“There you have it, Maverick,” I said. “Remember, Dr. Alexander is not some whacko but a scientist and neurosurgeon who understands the brain.”

“There you have too then,” said Maverick. “You humans are not as superior as you think. But suddenly, I am interested in the subject, however mind-bending. I want to hear more. Odd.”

“One day soon, my dear friend Maverick, “another day. I may need to give the rest of my readers a break lest they go round the bend. But remember: unless you bend your mind you learn little.”