By Caitanya Caran Das
Once a person prayed to God, “Please give me a flower and a butterfly for my garden”. When he opened his eyes, he found a cactus and a caterpillar instead. He was dismayed and wondered why God had misunderstood his request. “Maybe God has too many people to care for,” he rationalized and decided not to complain. After some time, when he went back to the garden, he found, to his surprise, that the unsightly caterpillar had transformed into a charming butterfly and the thorny, ugly cactus had a beautiful, fragrant flower on it.
Moral: God always answers our prayers, but often His answers manifest as per His supremely wise time and plan, not ours. God always gives the best to those who leave the choices to Him. But leaving the choices to God is almost impossible unless we tap the power of faith within us. Faith is innate to us; one of our first life-sustaining activities in life is based on faith. After birth, when our mother lovingly offers us her breast-milk, we drink it promptly without doubt. A research conducted to simulate the conversion of ‘one piece of bread into blood’ found that the industry for it extended to three kilometers! The conclusion: the work that we do in our entire lifetime for our survival is less than the work required to convert a handful of food into blood inside our body. The Bhagavad-gita ( 15.14) confirms that God sustains our life through the mechanism of digestion. But as we grow up, that faith of the heart is often obscured by the undesirable emotions – especially by sorrow, illusion and fear, which misdirect our consciousness, as stated in the Shrimad Bhagavatam ( 1.7.7). Sorrow makes us look behind – at all that has gone wrong in our life, illusion makes us look around – for some instant gratification to forget everything that has gone wrong and worry makes us look ahead – to everything that may go wrong in the future. Faith alone empowers us to look up – to see the benevolent hand of God guiding us out of our problems, to understand that everything is actually alright even if it appears wrong,
When we are faced with adversities, as is inevitable in this world, our peace and happiness will depend not on our wealth, but our faith.
However, if our perceptions are dominated by a materialistic conception of religion, “God is meant to provide me material enjoyment”, we often blind ourselves to God’s benevolence. We are intrinsically spiritual beings and without spiritual devotion for God, nothing can make us happy, just as a fish cannot live without water. Of course we need material things in life and God wants to provide those too; but not if they distract us from our eternal spiritual legacy in the kingdom of God . God is thus like a father, whose entire estate is ultimately meant for his son, but who may stop or decrease even his son’s pocket money, if he sees his son squandering it in addictive indulgences. How can we increase our faith in God? The Vedic scriptures explain that hearing the message of the Lord as revealed in the sacred scriptures from His dedicated devotees and chanting His Holy Names strengthens our faith. Hence this divinely uplifting association of spiritual scientists constitutes a “faith-lift”.
So when things apparently go wrong and our hearts become wrinkled by anxiety, let’s go in, not for a face-lift comprising of artificial smiles, but for a “faith-lift”. Then instead of jumping to short-sighted conclusions and falling into the ditch of ignorant distress, we will find ourselves taking a leap of faith into the protective arms of God.