Creator

Gratitude – towards ?

Gratitude – towards ?

One topic amongst the many enlightening talks that Sehra uncle, he comes every year from the States and spreads these pearls of Wisdom, gave was on Gratitude. All the topics are very thought provoking and introspective in nature, and uncle repeatedly encouraged us to listen, mull over and imbibe.

We used to serve snacks and tea during the little recess session that we used to have during those talks. And though the rendezvous always used be at my place any one of the sisters used to go and make tea and offer the light refreshments.  Invariably someone or the other would ask, ‘who made the tea? thank you so much, it is exactly the way I like it !’

Or ‘who made the cake? It is very delicious, thank you.’ one such question popping up was a sure shot. Uncle always used to smile, very differently, as if, I don’t know how to put it in exact words, but the smile used to convey something like, ‘I am surrounded by such simpletons! Or O’ O’ they have once begun thanking one another!’ And I always used to wonder why he used to put up that particular countenance every time we were exchanging thank you!

For almost three or four sessions uncle never voiced anything, the fourth session happened to be on gratitude. Who should we thank? Uncle asked.

We all had our own answers, ‘We thank God, of course.’ This was the common reply.

Then he asked, ‘When should we thank?’

Some of us replied, ‘when HE answers our prayers.’ Or ‘HE has helped us in some way.’ Or ‘HE has protected us, and kept us out of harm’s way.’  

So the next question was, ‘How should we thank?’

Again a few voices said, ‘mm, we pray to HIM and thank HIM, those who worship offer flowers and Prasad or offering as a thank you to GOD’

I think uncle was expecting something more than what some of us had just answered. He smiled and said, ‘Just now you said that you made tea today, yes? And everybody appreciated its taste and thanked you for offering such a refreshing drink. Just ask yourself once again, did you really make the tea all by yourself?’

We all were silent and knew there was more to this than meets the eye! Uncle continued, ‘What all goes into making this tea; Sugar, milk, tea leaves, water and the gas of course to make the tea, yes?’ We all nodded slowly, it was beginning to dawn on us ever so gently.

Uncle, ‘Now, amongst all these ingredients what did you exactly make? Contribute to in making them?’

We kept mum. We had barely thought of this in this dimension! The simplest task like making a tea also involves the effort of so many others! I never brought the milk, I had no role to play in the making of the tea leaves, nor did I have any say in the sugar that went into the tea! I simply put a few ingredients available to me and cooked it on the burner, (the existence of which is again because of someone else) and served! And here we were, lapping up all the Thank you! And gloating about our achievement in making a nice tea!

I mean, how blind or myopic are we! Why are we thanking so singularly? Should we not thank every single person who has contributed in making this tea? And do we thank them? No, we didn’t even acknowledge them till then. The magnitude of it all is a big eye opener and a blow to ones ego. Forget the human being helping each other; we never realize but every single thing in this universe works for us and helps us; the human beings. It is so over whelming and humbling at the same time. If we really want to say thank you, show our gratitude we will never know where to begin! We very courteously thank the cab driver and pay him too for taking us to our destination. He was doing his job and we are paying him for his services done, a thank you is good but we never thank our maid for doing her work well, do we? Why so? We blithely cut trees where we have been seeking shelter and whose fruit we have gorged during the season. We neither thanked the tree nor did we bat an eye lid when we cut it down. Why again?

If we really have to show our gratitude it should towards God who gave us all this, free of cost. We should thank nature for serving us, working for us incessantly without once complaining about the harm we humans have brought to it. We will fall short by a large measure if wish to show our gratitude and try and repay nature and God.

Repaying is very farfetched as of now, at least let us try keeping intact this beautiful world and stop destroying it with our insensitivity and greed; this will a small step towards repaying the immense debt we have upon us.

So, thank the Tea maker and thank God for providing us the Tea! 

God – Our Creator

God – Our Creator

My Master, spiritual Guru, always writes in his books and quotes in almost every alternate speech; what our Adi Guru Shri Lalaji Maharaj used to say ‘God has hidden Himself inside your hearts and exposed you. Hide yourselves and expose God.’ This one line sums it all up to say that God is within us. If we have to pray to God or seek God we have to imperatively begin to look within and not at the world that he created or at the different life forms in which he seems to appear in the world around us.

I am reading a very enlightening book titled ‘Inner Growth through Devotion’ By Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati. Everything is explained so simply and with such lucidity that it is very overwhelming and the truth kind of hits you. He talks about God, our creator, the paths to realizing our creator and the ways and means to achieve enlightenment. This is so like our philosophy in SRCM that I am compelled to share it with all of you. This is what is being reiterated by every true realized soul and yet we refuse to see the truth. Many of us still wage an inner war when we have to stand up to our philosophy and follow what our heart knows to be true. We fear opposition from our dearest ones and succumb to what they are following; leaving our creator within us, hidden in the dark corner of our heart. The longer we continue on this path, he further away we are from the truth.

Hinduism, today, thrives on idol worship and terms it as the ideal form of devotion to almighty. Every day we see a temple getting constructed or a ritual being performed in Hinduism. In doing so we tend to fall into the gradual habit of treating God as someone outside of self; a different person sitting somewhere else who may have to be kept happy or pleased at all points of time. If it is true devotion and we really feel immense love for the Idol , want to feed, bathe and tend to the Idol as one of the family , even then we are treating God as someone apart from oneself. But the key question is, is the creator someone else? Is the creator he or she? The Swami writes in his book, ‘According to the French philosopher Descartes, since the universe is structured so well, it must have a creator. It is said that he once visited the king in his newly constructed park. As the king showed him around, it occurred to Descartes that the entire universe was as beautifully structured as the park, and hence, should also have an architect.  We call this architect God. Thus, in this model God is external to the universe; He is in heaven.’  This is the theory which Hinduism also seems to follow, adapt and believe these days. The moment we say God, it immediately suggests a powerful gentleman sitting somewhere in heaven, who seems to be benevolent only towards some members of his flock.

Swamiji goes on to write, ‘The external God is entirely based on a belief system, which cannot become part of philosophy. That is why these religions are called faiths. Sri Krishna says in the Geeta, “This entire universe is pervaded by me (Like ornaments by gold) of unknown (and unknowable) nature.”’

This universe is the only place where life exists and life forms sustain. If God created this world then who created God? And like we humans reside on earth where does God reside? If we are worshipping outside of us; someone external, living elsewhere then how is it that, till date, no scientist has found the residential address of the Almighty?  The researchers seem to have come up with all kinds of theories and logistics but have come to a dead end when they have to answer this one question. So, is God intrinsic to the human being or extrinsic? The thought that has prevailed so far is the later assumption, which we can ascertain with certainty from the different faiths being followed world over. What surprises me though is how come we accept anything in the name of religion and faith? We rarely question this one particular field, whereas we question everything else and have a very firm stoic opinion too. How come our thinking faculties go dim in this particular aspect alone? 

This pertains to understanding about us, the God who created us and who we really are, yet we wish to believe in what has been passed on to us as part of mythology and refuse to remove the colored glasses or seek the truth. The fact that God is intrinsic has been explained by Swamiji thus, ‘Suppose, for instance, God were external to the world in the same way as the pot –maker is external to the pot. A question would then arise about the nature of the material used in this creation. Like the material needed to create a pot is given to the pot-maker. Where did Isvara / God get his material? We may have to say the material was available in heaven. One might then ask who created that heaven and that material. That would seem to require another creator. If he created heaven then where did God live before he created heaven? Therefore, the concept of an external God ‘creating’ this world is a mere belief contradicting reason.’ So, God has to be intrinsic to the universe; He must have created this universe out of Himself. Actually himself/ herself, gender is irrelevant here. God exists everywhere, in everything because this is all from him, through him, a part of him and his! It is clearly visible that this universe is an expression of God. It is like a spider that spins its web from its own self. The spider borrows no material from anywhere outside; it weaves the web from its own self. The web appears to be outside the spider but it is not so, in reality it is a part of the spider, never separate from the spider. Similarly God created his own self in the form of this universe and created this universe for us. He is in each and every one of us; we have kept him elsewhere and treat him to be outside of us. If we can see him as us, a part of us we are on our road to true inner growth and self realization. Till then the journey of self discovery would not have begun for us.

For us abhyasis our beloved Master has explained the same thing in so many simple ways with simpler illustrations. The 12 Maxims tell us how to conduct our lives ; they give us the path to walk on for self realization, for us to become one with Him, our creator.