Let Us Thank God For Not Granting All Our Prayers

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Let Us Thank God For Not Granting All Our Prayers
Learning To Rely On God’s Choices

It is said that about fifty years ago, some men from a village adjacent to Puttaparthi visited Sathya Sai Baba. With them was a young boy. They told Baba that the boy had suddenly become an orphan due to the unexpected demise of his parents. They had heard of the extraordinarily philanthropic nature of Baba and sought his help for the boy’s education and livelihood.

Baba immediately agreed to bear all his expenses right upto the end of his school education. After a few years, the boy visited Baba and happily announced that he had passed his final school examinations.

Bhagawan reciprocated his happiness and was about to move on to the next person in the gathering. But the boy plaintively sought his audience for some more time and prayed that he might be helped to pursue higher education in a college. Baba hesitated for a moment and agreed to his prayer with a smile. After four years the boy returned and announcing his successful graduation, prayed earnestly for help in securing a job of his choice. This prayer was also granted.

Soon he was back and prayed for divine help in marrying a girl who worked as his college and who was not evidently interested in linking her fortunes with his. Bhagawan advised him to seek the hand of some other girl. But the boy was adamant and begged for help in marrying the girl of his own choice. That prayer was also granted.

In the succeeding years, his visits became more frequent and his prayers more insistent for a promotion, for the birth of a boy and then of a girl, for the prevention of a transfer, for the cure of the illnesses of the children, for a better residence and so on. The Lord granted all his prayers. But the man now seemed to be less and less happy and peaceful.

At last, obviously in great tension due to problems in office and at home he came to the ashram and when Sathya Sai Baba came near him, he fell at His feet like a log and cried out “Oh! Swami! The python of samsara (worldly life) has caught me in its suffocating coils! Please liberate me from its grip.” Baba laughed and looking at him keenly, slowly asked, “My dear boy! Did the python catch you first or did you catch it by its tail first?” How the man must have wished that he had not piled up prayers after prayers in spite of Bhagawan’s hesitations and resistances most of the time!

We allow the ophthalmologist, the dentist, the barber, the physician, the college counselor and a host of others to decide what is best for us but not God! The physician or the psychologist is supposed to know about our bodies and minds better than us, but not God! Restrictions, sacrifices and expenses are okay when advised by doctors. But when God advises similar things, we agree to abide by them to ‘the extent possible’ and seek alibis to make them appear impossible. When the consequences trouble or terrify us, we grumble and blame the cruel hand of fate or of the creator. We will be pleased to teach Him a thing or two about framing the laws governing Life.

However, there are a number of occasions when we do wish that some of our prayers had not been granted! We might have prayed for success in getting a particular jobs and got it. But later we wish that our prayer could have been ignored because we realise a better job would have been tried for and obtained, had the first one been denied. Similarly we may feel about the wife or husband or the house we have now. Slowly in the course of our life, we realise that God’s own choices for us are more beneficial and satisfying in the end than our own.

Having said that I am reminded of a clever little girl who used to go with her father to the general stores for getting the provisions for the month. The shopkeeper was a kind man and used to give a handful of cashew nuts or chocolates to the children accompanying his customers. One day he was busy talking to some one on the phone and when the girl’s father was about to leave with the things purchased and paid for, he just placed a tray containing the chocolates in front of the girl and asked her to help herself and resumed his talk on the phone. The girl refused and insisted that “Uncle” himself should give her the chocolates; otherwise, she was not interested in taking them. This surprised and pleased the shopkeeper who took a handful of the chocolates as usual and gave them to her. While returning home the father rebuked her for her insistence and for troubling the shopkeeper and forcing him to interrupt his talk. The girl said, “Daddy, if I had myself taken a handful I would have obtained much less because my hand is small! But uncle’s hand is much bigger and I get more than double the number when he gives his handful!” So, it is with God. What He chooses to give us is more beneficial and useful than what we may choose for ourselves.

So let us thank God for not granting all our prayers! For, what appears like a curse may prove to be a blessing and sorrows may turn out to be sources of great joy. What is required are Sraddha and Saburi to use the words of Shirdi Sai Avatar i.e., faith and patience. Any number of examples to prove this may be given from Sai literature in particular and from spiritual and religious literature in general – but one’s own experience alone can be the best evidence. Let us therefore follow the teachings, do our duties and wait and watch God’s plans for us unfold as we live on. He is eager to satisfy all our good desires but waits for the best time and place and manner in which they can be satisfied, taking into account our deeds in the past and our needs in the future as the ninety-first and ninety-second names in the one hundred and eight names of Sri Sathya Sai proclaim.

O. P. Vidyakar

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