The view below is the answer to a question from the Educational Board of Ansted University. It appeared in A Selection of Stephen Gill’s Interviews, edited by Dr. Anuradha Sharma and released by Orientalia in 2011, and appeared partly in Cyber Literature (India) Vol.9, June 2002. The question has been selected for Stephen Gill’s forthcoming book My Conversations.
QUESTION: Do you have a personal motto? What is it?
ANSWER: Yes, I do. It is to give and it shall be given to you-- it is a law of nature. This includes, times, advice, love, caring, hate, jealousy, violence-- in short everything.
My motto today is the same that was in 2002 and is based on a divine law. God is the supreme creator who created every being with His word and in His own image and that image is love. He gives and gives. His gifts, including rains, sunshine, air, water, are for everyone. Everything that He has created has the same nature. Take the example of the sun. It gives warmth and other necessities which are needed to grow crops, and crop is needed to feed the hungry, and hungry beings need nourishment from crops to live and also give. This cycle continues in every aspect of life. The same applies to other gifts and areas. If someone expects respect then he or she must give respect to others.
Nature is the open book of Divinity. Christ gave most of the examples listed in the four gospels from nature. He follows God in the matter of giving, and I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Nature is also my book. Most of the examples in my poetry, particularly in my sonnets, are from nature, and nature is a divine blueprint of giving. Literary critics have written on this aspect of my poetry. I would like to present the view of Professor Dr. Alka Agrawal who notes in her research paper “Nature in Stephen Gill’s The Flame” appeared in Professor Sudhir K. Arora’s book The Flame Unmasked:
To sum up, it is nature that has gone deep into the psyche of Stephen Gill so much that he cannot separate himself from her. His love for nature results in the use of the vocabulary of nature. Whenever he talks or whatever he writes, he cannot live without using the words taken from the world of nature. In his magnum opus, the Flame, he has captivated all the shades of nature as he himself wished to assemble flowers of all hues into a single bouquet. (164)
Like the motto of nature, my motto is give and it shall be given to you. These words appear in the Gospel of Luke 6:38, and this law applies to every known process related to sowing and reaping. These words make more sense when the words surrounding the above verses are taken into account. These verses relate to mercy, judgement, forgiveness, criticism, backbiting, love, appreciation and so on. This is what God is. He is giving God. In John 3: 16 it is written “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here Son refers to Jesus who is also for giving, and I am a follower of Jesus.
Giving is based on the unbreakable laws relating to sowing and harvesting. A human cannot expect abundance of crop without taking the first step of sowing.
According to Christianity every believer should give ten percent of the income to God. This can be in the form of helping the helpless. If one is not in a position to give, he or she can give in the form of volunteer work in his or her own area. Every citizen owes something to society. Some denominations of Christianity believe in giving more above the ten percent of the income.
Volunteerism is beneficial also for mental and physical health of those who donate their time to enrich society. This motto increases the circle of friends which is recommended highly for health and longevity. Volunteers can reap also several other benefits. People living in the blue zone where the life expectancy is the highest in the world have close fellow feelings. This factor is common among the people who have longer life like the Seventh-day Adventists, a denomination of Christianity. They like to have a circle of friends to talk and share, in addition to their vegetarian diet.
My motto “give and it shall be given to you” is based on the philosophy of live and let live also which is the message of my novel The Coexistence and other works. In 1989, I received Volunteer Service Award from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship & the Ministry of Culture and Communications.
NEXT FEATURE 90 IS A QUESTION BY DR. SANTIAGO FROM THE USA ABOUT DIETS FOR POETS
About Stephen Gill:
Stephen Gill, a multiple award-winning Indo/Canadian self-exiled poet, fiction-writer and essayist, has authored more than thirty books. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations, and research papers. Thirteen books of critical studies have been released by book publishers on his works and more are on the way. His poetry and prose have appeared in nearly one thousand publications. The focus of his writing is love and peace.