Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What does God seek from us? A messiah's story

Are we really ready to do anything for God? Ready to be like this sheep that has climbed
on to the
Kjeragbolten in Norway?
This is probably one of my favourite stories. It is so full of intrigue and suspense in the beginning; yet so simple and profound in its ending. I have heard it only once but I have narrated it a hundred times at least. And each time I narrate it, it fills me with new vigour, enthusiasm and direction. It is the a story about a messiah - a messiah who wanted to retire!

The first time I narrated this story was in Swami’s presence on the 29th of July, 2005. I keep narrating this story many times. And that is to keep reminding myself more than anybody else of what Swami wants from me.

Without further ado, here is that story. 

A messiah who wanted to retire

There was this messiah who lived in a village. He was a tremendous source of help and inspiration for the villagers who sought his wise counsel for almost every problem. He sought nothing himself and selflessly gave of himself to the people, whenever they needed him. Everything seemed to be going well when, out of the blue, the Messiah made a startling revelation.

“I am ready to announce my retirement now,” he said much to the shock of all the assembled villagers, “I have been preparing for this moment and ultimately, it has arrived.”

“No! You cannot do this. Please do not leave us...”
“What will we do without you? Whom shall we turn to for succour and solace?”
“How can a messiah retire? What do you mean!”
“Why do you want to retire? Have we failed you or disappointed you in any way?”

The messiah smiled within himself. As usual, men made their own audacious assumptions and theories. The assumptions may vary in nature and scope, but they all are tinged to varying degrees with selfishness. Everyone wanted him to stay for reasons that meant a lot to them - not him directly! 

“Every person in every occupation enjoys a retirement. I am only seeking mine! Is that not fair enough?” asked the messiah with a smile. 

That was an argument that none could refute. But still, how could they live without the services of their messiah? Looking at the whole situation objectively, the people realized that their domestic problems could be solved through discussions with each other. Financial advice could be sought from some money-lender who still had scruples left. Health matters could be taken up with a doctor. But what about matters relating to the spirit? Spirituality, though very ‘important’, is never ‘urgent’ and thus gets neglected till times such as these. Now that the messiah was about to retire, spirituality seemed to gain urgency too along with importance. 

And so, they all pleaded with him,
“How will we remain in touch with God if you retire?”
“Please, if you must retire, then ensure that we will be in touch with God in some way at least.”
“Tell us what we must do so that God is happy with us always...”
“Yes! Tell us the one ‘most important’ thing that God wants us to do...”

“Yes! Yes! Tell us that ‘one thing’ which God wants from us”, everyone chorused.

The messiah comes back with the simple command from God. But are the
people ready to listen?
The messiah smiled to himself again. If only the people had approached him with this feeling and intensity before, each and every thing that he had said could have served as the potential ‘one thing’! However, people seem to realize the value of something only when they are about to lose it or, worse, when they have already lost it. So, this reaction was not at all surprising. With all love he said,

“I shall find out what that ‘one thing’ which God wants from you is. And then, I’ll retire.”

The worries of the people were mollified to a certain extent. The at least had something to look forward to now.

What God wants from us...

As per his promise, the messiah went to get the message of the Lord. In a day’s time, he returned from the adjoining mountains. As he walked the streets of the village, all the villagers gathered around him. They knew for sure that he had got the message from God. That ‘one thing’ which God wanted most from them would now be revealed. 

Even though the whole village had gathered around him, there was perfect silence. Has it not been said that it is only in the depths of silence that the voice of God can be heard? Physical silence was the first step for true silence. Nobody wanted to miss the great secret that was going to be revealed. 

“I am ready to reveal God’s message. But are you ready to listen and follow?”

The first sentence from the messiah broke the silence. There was a lot of murmur and chatter among the gathered people. Small groups began to discuss among themselves. Soon, a few men and women stepped forward to speak. Each of them had something to say.

One might be ready to undergo any travail or suffering for God. But is one
ready to do give what God actually seeks?
“If it is something that God wants us to do, we are ready for anything.”
“Even if it means sacrificing all our comforts and going through great suffering, we are ready to do it for God’s sake.”
“If we are told to hang upside down by our toes, we are ready. If we have to blind ourselves, we are ready. If we have to kill we are ready... We are ready for anything...”
“Yes! We are ready to shed tears all our life. Any pain, we shall bear. Please tell us what is it that God wants us to do.”

“Speaking is easy my dear people”, said the messiah, “but when it comes to practice, I hope your enthusiasm and energy does not fizzle away.”

“No! Just give us a try! We will do anything.”
“Not only are we ready to sacrifice, we shall make others sacrifice as well. We will give up our own parents, husbands, wives, children, friends and relatives is need be.”
“Anything! We are ready to do just anything. Please let us know what God wants us to do.”

The messiah took a deep breath. And that breath could be heard through the gathering for everyone was silent, waiting with a bated breath. He then smiled because the answer was so simple and straight. He had in fact revealed the same all through his messiah ‘career’ days and nobody had paid such attention. His retirement seemed to have focused everyone to the crux of all spirituality.

“Listen oh people to the request from God. This is the one thing that God wants you to do so that you remain in touch with the Divine always.”

The silence was deafening now. All the ears were trained completely on what the messiah was about to say. 

“God wants you to be HAPPY for him.”

Allowing a few moments for that statement to sink in, the messiah continued,
“God does not want your tears and pains for Him. He does not want your sacrifices and suffering for Him. Nor does he want you to be hung upside down or struggle to please Him. He just wants you to be Happy for Him.”

The only thing that Swami wants us to be is - HAPPY! It would help us to remember
 that true happiness comes only in union with God.

Concluding thoughts
We are all prepared to pine for the lost, cry for the Lord, suffer for the Lord and endure pain for the Lord. But are we ready to be happy for the Lord? Our objective in life is to be happy and that is our constant endeavour. God wants us to be happy always. Then, where is the problem. That is a point to ponder; some food for thought. 
Is that not how Swami mostly concluded His discourses? One sample is presented below:

“Always be happy, smiling, and loving. When you are smiling, love will automatically develop in you. There are, of course, some people who will put up a "castor oil" face. You must always be smiling and cheerful. God is always blissful. He does not at all worry for anything. Sorrow and worry are nowhere near God. Always be happy and peaceful. Live like members of the same family with love and affection. Do not be weighed down by petty difficulties and suffering. Do not give scope to any worry. Even if your wife or children suffer from a disease, do not get perturbed.
Go back to your places with firm faith that everything will turn out to be good. Lead a happy and peaceful life.”
- Discourse on 28th July, 2007 (Valedictory function of Youth Conference)
What God seeks is something very simple. Or is it? That is the subject of my thoughts as I sip my freshly brewed cuppa...
The ABC of life is "Always Be Cheerful". Can we start learning the alphabet for God's sake?

If you enjoyed this story, you might enjoy these other short stories:

For all readers:

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Visalakshy Swamy30 June 2015 at 17:53

    Sairam. In our pursuit of happiness,we often fail to feel the joy that surrounds us in the form of God's creations.Like the man who forgot to laugh because he was so absorbed in his search for happiness. The difference between joy and sorrow is just a curve!! Also we all tend to think that spirituality is a serious business so much that one has to look serious all the while!
    By the way, the picture of the heifer( was it a heifer or cow?)caught on the rock between the cliffs was poignant.That wiped out the smile on my face!!
    Thanks a lot for the story. visalakshy swamy.

    1. The description below the picture clearly tells that it is a "sheep" and not a "heifer". It is nothing to feel sad about because many sheep get on to the Kjeragbolten in Norway. It's, in fact, a famous tourist spot where several people try to take pics. :)

      As you yourself said, we should not 'find' reasons to be unhappy especially when they don't exist! :)


  3. We all should be happy! Not criticising ,slandering or finding fault with others. Let's be happy and at peace.............

  4. Madhusudanvithal Nori1 July 2015 at 15:40

    Sairam Aravind. SWAMI says Happiness is with in us at all times, by nature we should be happy, still Doubting Thomases that we are - our nature is clouded, we are servants of our senses look at the world through coloured glasses - doubts, sadness etc take over. Solution seems to be accepting ourselves and everything around us as we / things are, seeing divinity within us and all around us which will result in our being in bliss or everlasting happiness. Thanks a lot for this article.

  5. Thks brother for sharing d wonderful stiry

  6. Sairam Aravind, Loved this story... It was very timely reminder indeed for me at this juncture in my life, when I seem to be losing the smiles..... ABC, thats how simple it is....Thank you Swami.

  7. Sairam brother!!! This was absolutely inspiring. A food for thought too ,as u said. The time i read dis s also perfect. This was d msg i wanted now.

  8. Sairam brother Aravind!! very inspiring and something to reflect upon... Swami always says... Happy, Happy, Happy... Always be happy and all will be happy... (got this as a ringtone from Radio Sai Website and this is my ringtone in Swami's divine voice...)


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