During the last couple of weeks, the BBC has been airing many
programs on religion. I managed to listen to quite a few of
them and found them most absorbing as well as interesting,
especially as the BBC has done an extensive global survey
on what people round the world think of God, religion etc.
Many interesting conclusions have emerged and those interested
may visit the BBC web site. Let me mention just a couple of
interesting observations that I heard. One was that even atheists
pray! The second is the observation of one person who when
interviewed said that Spirituality looks Inward while Religion
looks outward. I found this observation extremely interesting
as well as thought provoking. My purpose in bringing up the
BBC features is not to comment upon them – perhaps I
shall do it later – but to draw attention to an interesting
story narrated by one of the panellists, a Professor of I
forget what. Anyway, the story narrated by the Professor is
more interesting that the subject that he/she professes. The
story is about a Sufi saint and goes as follows:
One day, the Sufi saint prayed to God.
“Oh God, You are so wonderful. You have created marvellous
things in this world. Yet, in this beautiful world created
by You, there is so much misery, suffering, pain, violence
and what not. Why don’t You do something about it?”
“I have done something,” replied God.
“You have done something? Where is that? What is that?
I don’t see it,” said the Sufi saint in reply.
God then slowly whispered, “Son, I created you!”
Wonderful story is it not? I think there
is a deep message and if we reflect carefully, we would realise
that Swami is telling us precisely the same thing over and
over again. Yes, all we have to do is to serve mankind, remembering
that service to man is service to God. If we wipe one tear
in one eye, we would be not only making God happy but also
By the way, this reminds me of an incident recorded by late
Mr. J.R.D Tata, a towering figure in modern India. He was
half Parsi and half French, and India was his home. He was
an enlightened citizen who incidentally was also a great business
manager. He won the highest honour in India, the Bharata Ratna.
Once he invited Mother Teresa to Jamshedpur, where the Tata
company has a huge steel plant. Mother came there to participate
in a function. After the function was over, Tata took Mother
back to Calcutta [about 200 km away] in his private executive
jet. The Sun was setting and Mother took out her rosary to
pray. Just then, the plane was flying over big slums near
Jamshedpur. Tata then said to Mother, “While you are
praying to God, why don’t you ask Him to do something
about poverty and misery?” Mother turned to Tata and
said in a stern tone, “Mr. Tata, God does not require
our advice. You might instead concentrate on doing your bit
by trying to create more jobs!” This has been recorded
by Tata himself.
Yes the world is packed with misery by way
of providing opportunities for us to experience Ananda.
Pure and true joy comes not from expensive vacations, but
from service to the Lord. Think about it!