Sunday, 3 March 2013

3. The Dynamics of ASKING GOD

Many books can be written on this topic: What must one ask of God ? There are many aspects to asking. We ask God for many things, often thoughtlessly, sometimes desperately, and at rare moments, intently and deliberately.  But if God were to come in front of us and ask sweetly, "What do you want ?", do we have the answer ready; do we know what to answer ? If not, we better start preparing for this life-changing question, and not miss a golden opportunity to redeem our lives, when it knocks at our door.

The Ever-Watchful One

Bhagawan has asked this question to His devotees many a time during darshan or in the Interview room. He has also asked this significant question in the dreams of devotees. God asks a question when the answer is ready within you and of course, to simultaneously test you and measure progress. Living in the proximity of a Divine Master gives us clues on what He expects. Like writing an exam paper with a little bit of help from the invigilator, all legal of course !

Bhagawan was/is very expressive. If you gave Him an incorrect answer, you would know -- either a very disappointed look, or an irritated one, with a comment under the breath. Sometimes, a sarcastic remark, if you were acting smart and just saying something to impress Him and others present there. Being the In-dweller, our motives may be hidden from others and even ourselves, but never from Him.
The incident below has many lessons embedded within it, but for now, let us focus on the aspect of what to ask God. 

It was in the year 2000 : morning darshan. Bhagawan came near a devotee who wanted to give Him a letter. This lady and her family were in the SAI fold for many decades; she told me that her letter to Swami was very urgent, but then you know how 'moody' He is ! She told me in Hindi, "bahut nakhra karta hai." (He fusses a lot). I just smiled to myself. Old devotees have the license to talk of the Lord in this manner -- the license of love ! You can pray to Him and scold Him at the same time, but the last word is always His  and that's what happened.
Swami came near her, and looked at her letter. He stood for a moment looking at both of us, while she knelt and tried to push the envelope into His hand, all the while explaining something. Swami avoided the letter, but not the devotee. He then remarked, in Hindi/Sanskrit, " Matti paatra, matti paatra." He was looking intently at both of us while He said this and then walked on. We looked at each other, she incomprehensibly, me waking up to a stunned awareness. Matti paatra when translated into everyday language means, mud pot. So what was Swami referring to? For this, I need to go back to the previous evening. Let me explain.

Someone had given me a few loose sheets of roughly typed pages that contained conversations of Bhagawan with the students (boys) during darshan. (These were later collated into a book called "Heart-to-Heart", containing precious words of wisdom spoken by Swami to the students from the year 1991 onwards, in apparent casual conversation.) The previous evening as I was reading through, I started to type some of these dialogues into my computer, instead of merely reading through. And the portion I had typed out was this:

Swami spoke these words to the students: What is that which is most important in life? Why has God given you eyes? I know what all you see with your eyes. The Pandavas gave first priority to God, next to the world and last of all to themselves. The Kauravas’ ranking of priority was exactly the reverse. It was themselves first, the world next and God last. You are like the Kauravas if you do not want to follow Swami’s words. When you take your degrees and leave, we must feel, ‘Oh! Such good boys of our Institute are leaving’, and not, ‘good riddance! The faster they leave, the better for all concerned.’ How many times have you all promised to follow Swami’s words? You ask me for ‘mud pots’ when I am ready to give you pots of gold and diamonds.  You do not understand this.

So, herein lay the meaning of what Swami had remarked! "Mud Pot " meant some trifling materialistic prayer, some mundane matter, when He was waiting with the spiritual treasures of "pots of gold and diamonds".
I explained this to the devotee, internally feeling very thrilled that me and my activities were being observed all the time, by the Omniscient, Omnipresent One! 

Coming back to what to ask of God, we must be very careful. The human birth is very precious and more precious if we have obtained a spiritual Master who is ready to guide us and guard us and lead us out of this tangle of birth and death. (So said Adi Sankaracharya in Viveka Chudamani.) Bhagawan has often lamented, "You ask from Me a thousand things, but rarely do you ask for ME!" 
As I said in the beginning, this topic deserves a book, not a small post. So WHAT is the right thing to ask. We must ask from the Guru, spiritual blessings like His Grace, spiritual gifts like His Love and gradually that -- let us not be born again into a material existence.
But honesty is equally important on the spiritual path. These prayers must come from the bottom of the heart, after due reflection and introspection. Do not ask for these parrot-like. There are other dangers then. (Discussion for another day !)  

The Blank Cheque Method:
What then of troubles and sorrows in our daily lives, one might wonder. Where do we go then? We are all the time asking God for different things, without fully realising what they mean or imply. The best way then is to STATE what the trouble is and after that LET GO. Stating the problem by writing it out or framing it as a request, brings CLARITY to us. Believe me, God does not need clarity, we do.   

A blank cheque

To conclude here is a tip I learnt : When in need, SURRENDER. And this is not a one-time affair, but an on-going process. Then, you are giving God the freedom to grant you whatever you most require at any point in your life. Often, we do not know what we really need, and we endlessly worry. We also do not know what is good for us. When we surrender (Swami's definition: SURRENDER: Sure + under = sure under God's care), God issues us a BLANK CHEQUE; we can encash it whenever we need to ! The amount reads 'money' when we are low on finances, 'food' when we are hungry, 'sleep' when we are tense, 'friend' when we are lonely and so on. And if it remains blank, then WAIT. Wait in peace, with trust. Nothing can really harm a person who has surrendered, no matter what it may look like. At the right time, things do fall into place !!

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