From the perspective of Nyoman Benny, 47, a souvenir seller from Kintamani with two children and four grandchildren

What are we here for?
To work and live our lives.

Do you believe in the Big Bang theory that the circa-13.7-billion-year-old universe and all that’s in it was created by a massive explosion of enormously dense matter at what may have been the beginning of time?

No. I believe God made the universe.

If there is a God, where is he?
He’s up there (pointing at the sky).

Is there a mystery to life?
There are lots of things we don’t know until they happen. For example, who we will marry; how many children we’ll have; or when we’ll die; but I think our purpose is not a mystery.

Do you think we’re alone in the universe?
Yes. I don’t believe in UFOs or anything like that.

There’s a theory that there may be parallel universes with exact copies of us – doppelgangers – doing exactly the same thing as us right now. What do you think about that?
I don’t believe that either.

What do you think happens to people when they die?
Because I’m Hindu, I believe that after someone is cremated they wait to be reincarnated.

Where is your soul and what is it?

My soul is in my heart and it’s what makes me think and feel emotions.

Science says that all matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore, will our energy, in the form of our soul, live on for infinity?
Our souls will be reincarnated into a new body over and over again.

Do you know your place in the universe?

It’s simply here, doing what I’m doing to support my family.

Some people believe that because we are made of the same matter as the universe – carbon, and other elements, like nitrogen – anything we ask it will be attracted to us, popularized recently in the movie The Secret. What’s your view?
I don’t know about that. I think we must work for the things we want or need.

Are we being observed?

Yes. By God.

If there is a God, why does he allow such colossal suffering of people on Earth, either through war, disease or natural disasters?
He is balancing the good with the bad. Without the bad there would be no good.

Filed under: The Big Questions

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