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05 December, 2010


If only we can be as good to man, as we are to god, no prophet or messiah would ever be required to visit this plant.

It seems… A Master and a disciple had gone deep inside a forest to perform penance. For six months they stayed withdrawn from the village life. Then they returned back to the village. As they were approaching their hut, the disciple noticed that half the roof had been blown away by the winds. He was disturbed. He thought, “What is the use of doing all this penance? There is no spiritual justice. After six months we return to the village to take rest and here we find half the roof missing. Now we won’t even have proper shelter.” As he was going through his mental cribbing, he noticed that his Master’s response to the same situation was very different. His Master went down on his knees with hands raised in gratitude, and he was praying aloud. “Lord, your ways are your ways, my Lord! After enjoying nature for six months we have returned. You want our transition to be smooth. So you have already opened half the roof for us. Like what modern day architects try to achieve in their building, ‘Even when we are inside, we should feel we are still outside’. Thank you lord. Thank you so much. Your ways are your ways, my lord.” The disciple didn’t know how to react to the Master’s response.

They settled in the hut and by the end of the day they spread their mat to sleep. Like it happens to any complaining mind the disciple was feeling too restless. He kept twisting and turning. Like it happens to any grateful mind, the Master effortlessly slipped into sleep. His face blossomed with peace even in sleep. The winds had built the clouds and the clouds had turned into a down-pour. All drenched, the furious disciple stormed out of the hut, screaming, “Inside or outside- how does it make a difference?” Wet, cold and shivering, the disciple observed the Master was also coming out of the hut. The Master raised his hands above his shoulders gesturing gratitude and started dancing in the rains. He prayed aloud again. “Lord, your ways are your ways, my lord! For six months, during our penance, we haven’t taken bath. And here, you are, cleansing us with your divine showers. Thank you lord. Thank you so much. Your ways are your ways, my lord.” The disciple now knew how to react to the Master’s response.

The disciple approached the Master and said, “There is a limit to every thing and this is the limit. You are going on thanking god for everything that’s a going wrong, as if were the right thing to happen. Why are you doing this?”

The Master paused his dance and told the disciple, “Do you know something? I don’t even know if god exists! I don’t even know to whom I am praying! All I know is only one thing: My approach is keeping me happy and hence it is the right approach. Your approach is making you miserable and hence it is the wrong approach. The proof of right approach is in the happiness it delivers. Gratitude, to the known or the unknown factor, sustains happiness. Complaining, to someone or in your own thoughts, create misery.”

The Master resumed his dance, praying aloud, “Lord, your ways are your ways, my lord. It is in giving me such disciples you help me to understand life better. Thank you my lord. Thank you so much. Your ways are your ways, my lord.”

The disciple stared at the Master for sometime. Nodded in affirmation. He then joined the Master in his dance. Now the disciple prayed aloud, “Lord, your ways are your ways, my lord. It is by giving me such a Master you help me to understand life better. Thank you my lord. Thank you so much. Your ways are your ways, my lord.”

This whole story is a classic exposition of man’s view towards god. How man feels for god and how man relates with god is truly unconditional. The benefit of doubt is always to god. If there is anything that’s good, then it is because of god. If there is anything that’s bad, then it is because of man.

If her love culminated in marriage, then it is, God always gives her the choicest of blessings.” If it didn’t, then it is, “The rogue betrayed her.” If he got his promotion, then it is, “I had returned from Tirupati after offering my prayers. So I knew it would happen.” If he didn’t, then it is, “My boss is very biased towards North Indians.” The basic outlook is, “Either Jesus saved my mother or the doctor’s mistake killed her.” The conviction is, “My son got through his engineering because of Allah’s mercy, or he didn’t because he took his studies too lightly.” Strange isn’t it, when people say, “Because of her infertility we couldn’t have a child for five years. Then, God opened his eyes and blessed us with an angel.”

Why is that all the praises are to the lord, and all the blame is to man?

Even when the bad, the ugly and the worse happens to man, he has enough philosophies to shield his god. “He has something better for me.” He must be having a larger picture for me.” He knows when to give, whom to give, what to give and how to give.” “God up[sets your plans to execute His plans for you.” And, of course, “Your ways are your ways, my lord.”

The more and more I observe man, the more and more I am convinced, “Not only man is a creation of an extraordinary god, but also, god is a creation of man’s extraordinary faith.”

Not one bit this Awakening is directed at the faith of man. So many of my Awakenings have already been on the power of faith and the role of that Existential Force in the script of man. This Awakening is just a plea, asking man to love men, as he loves his god. What is this thing called love that can love the father, but not his children? What is this naivety of being unconditional to god, who doesn’t need it; but not willing to be unconditional to man, who needs it? You can be imperfect with a perfect god, and yet, you always try to be perfect in your faith in Him. You need to be perfect with the imperfect man, and yet, you resolutely remain imperfect in relating to the imperfections of man.

We consider God to be a zero-defect creator and yet there is so much allowance for God in the scheme of your life. We know man can never be zero-defect and yet we seem to be so unpardonable towards every mistake of man. When we can be so good to a God that you are yet to experience, then why not be good to the man you experience on a daily basis.

The love, the gratitude, the acceptance, the forgiveness, the non-egoistic approach, the trust, the faith, the patience, etc., etc., you have for God, if only you can also have for man… Your God will celebrate you a lot more when you love his children as much as you love him.

It seems… There lived a man by name Samuel in a small village. Samuel was a man of love, affection, integrity and innocence, who helped people at all times and by all means. He preferred to serve the masses instead of attending the Sunday Mass. One day an angel appeared before Samuel with a book in her hand. Opening the book, the angel read the names of Paul, Peter and Mary and asked Samuel, “Could you please show me the house of these people.” Samuel asked the Angel, “What book is this?” The angel replied, “This is the book which contains the names of those people who love God.”

Out of curiosity, Samuel asked the angel, “Could you please check for my name too.” The angel said, “sorry, your name does not figure in it.” Hearing this Samuel got depressed. Seeing him, the angel said, “There is another book in the Heaven which I shall bring tomorrow, may be your name figures in that.” The next day the angel came with the other book and as she opened it, the name Samuel topped the list. Again out of curiosity Samuel asked the angel, “Now what is this book?” The angel replied, “The book which I brought yesterday contained the names of those people who love God. This book, which I have brought today, contains the names of those people whom God loves.” The hands that help are holier than the lips that pray.


Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lilly in bloom,
An Angel writing in a Book of Gold:

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The Vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord
Answered. “The names of those who love the

“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”

The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had
And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest!

----- James Henry Leigh Hunt.

In the above magnificent Poem, Leigh Hunt depicts the true aspect of devotion to God. Abou Ben Adhem, a simple soul, professes no love for God. He only claims that he loves his fellow-men.

Abou dreamt of an angel writing the names of those who loved God. He asked the angel if his name was one of them. The angel replied that it was not so. Abou then requested that his name be written as one who loves his fellow-men. The angel wrote and vanished. The next night it returned with the list of names whom God loved. In that list Abou Ben Adhem’s name was foremost.

Devotion to God, is therefore, directly related to one’s love for fellow-beings. God resides in the core of every being. He is the homogeneous Conscious-principle manifesting in the heterogenous variety of beings. To recognise and worhip Him in His Universal expression is true devotion.

It is always easy to love that unknown child in a war-torn zone the no more embodied mystic, and the sacred saint. But the true merit of your love will be when you can love your own children, the difficult-to-bear spouse, and can’t stand-her mother-in-law… unconditionally. If I can be the voice of your near and dear ones, then I would say, “Even without your love, your God is complete. But I am complete only with your love. Even if I am not perfect, can you still complete me with your love? And please remember, I need your love much more when I am wrong than when I am right.”

Did I begin by saying, “If only we can be as good to man, as we are to god, no prophet or messiah would ever be required to visit this planet.” Let me correct myself. In fact, prophets and messiahs became so because they were as good to man, as they were to god.

Source: Frozen Thought magazine Aug 2010.

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