There is an Oriental story of a monk and his young disciple. After a long journey to distant places which had kept them away from their home for weeks, one night, they were coming back to their old thatched roof cottage at the end of the village.
As they approached the cottage, the young disciple who was already walking ahead, rushed towards the cottage. To his utter shock, the winds had blown away half the roof of their cottage. As he entered, he could see that the devastation caused by the winds and the rain that would have followed was extensive and nothing remained inside.
He was dismayed and like a volcano full of lava, his anger erupted and he started shouting-‘Moments like this make me feel that in reality, there is no God in this world and I am just wasting my time. How can God be so treacherous to take away the only possession that the poorest of the poor have, to his own people who sing his glory while giving the best of the palaces to the people who cheat others, to the non believers, to the scum of the world. And when he sends his forces of destruction, he breaks the thatched roof into half of his own disciples while nothing happens to the palaces of others. ‘
Angry, disenchanted, cursing God for making them homeless besides hungry and tired, he turned to the old monk. To his surprise, the old monk was standing, his hands clasped together in prayer, uncontrollable tears of joy flowing out of his wet eyes, while singing a song. As he came closer to the monk, he could hear the song which meant, ‘ Oh God, Oh Father, it is times like this that make my belief in you go stronger. So much love! So much worry for me! I cannot thank you enough! When the winds came you took care of us and saw to it that we were not here and saved our lives. Then you ensured they do not take away the entire roof and withstood their force to keep half the roof for us. You worried for us even in our absence without bothering us in our journey. And now when I see the beauty of your skies, the aura of your vast universe, I thank you for making not only our days but even our nights beautiful.’
It is in our attitude to life that we can find despair or true happiness for ourselves. We can look up and see the top ten percent of the society having the best of everything that the world can offer and curse our poor lives. We can curse our parents, our children, our employers, our friends, the government, the country, for the pain that we go through every day in our lives.
We can curse the damp, cold days that winter brings and our cold, money less, debt ridden existences on such days.
Or we can thank God for the warmth of our houses, the warmth of the love that our families and friends bring, even on such cold, damp days. We can thank God for allowing us to see the beauty that exists in this world for another day and for taking care of us, standing with us and giving us support to carry us through such a hard day.
As for the worldly pleasures that are beyond our reach, do we really need them to bring happiness? I have traveled many countries of the world and lived with many people for long periods, who would earn less than twenty dollars a month, living hard, tough lives and still being at complete peace with themselves and their surrounding, leading happy, cheerful lives. It is perhaps astonishing for some but true that the biggest of the smiles can come on a face, not by the costliest of the things, but even by a little genuine joke or by a tickle from a loved one.
As the saying goes, ‘The richest are not the ones who have the most but ones who need the least”.
Light the lamp of love and thankfulness to God for standing beside you and the darkest of dark nights will turn bright.
Posted in Times of India on 29th October 2016. Link below-