Never ask God questions, because He always knows what’s best for us, says MANAS DAS, narrating a real life story to explain why we should always trust our Creator
Life is kind and judicious to each one in this universe and gifts everyone with situations and opportunities one deserves. In the course of living, we experience that “we are the baker of the bread that we eat.”
As we implicitly understand this principle, we will find ways to face bad and good times with equanimity. For any difficult phase in life, if instead of blaming another person, or in any success, instead of exhilarating with pride, if we accept that as the gift of life, then the impact of that hard time or good time would neither bring us sorrow nor joy.
Paramhansa Yogananda teaches this truth so compassionately, when he says: “The effects of your actions have much less power to hurt you when you do not allow the mind to give in to them. Remember that. You can also resist by counteracting the bad effects of past wrong actions with good effects set in motion by present right actions, thus preventing the creation of an environment favourable to the fruition of your bad karma.” But many of us are so stubborn with our perceptions that it becomes difficult for us to treat pain as a gift of life.
Many years ago, I was visiting my ailing uncle with one of his old friends. My uncle was an honest man; he was hardworking, sincere, and very meticulous. Always busy with his job, he had little time for friends. So he was happy with a small group of relatives and a few chosen friends. He reached office on time and his boss depended on him for financial decisions, as he was known to be an honest officer.
I was a bit surprised finding him crying inconsolably when we visited him. When I tried to console him, he retorted, “Why has God given me this punishment? I have never hurt anyone or accumulated ill-gotten money by living life as piously as possible.”
His friend, who had accompanied me, had suffered much more than him. After a heart blockage, he had two stents in his heart, followed by an open heart surgery. He then faced another challenge of oral cancer, got operated, and lost his voice after radiation. Gradually, a feeble voice returned, but he withstood steadily, all the play of life. He silently conveyed to my uncle, his story of pain and suffering.
How my uncle collapsed one night in an alien town 100 km away, and was brought down to our city’s renowned Medical College Hospital, where he remained unconscious with high blood pressure, for an extended period of time. Through scanning and MRI, doctors found three blocks in his brain. While surgery was imminent, doctors decided to treat him conservatively for 10 days till he regained partial consciousness.
His left limbs were paralysed and he was unable to recognize his near and dear ones. After prolonged treatment, he improved remarkably. Every month he showed improvement, and his memory returned gradually. His obedient son and loving wife, nursed him and brought him back to near normalcy. But as his memory returned, sorrow and depression started. I found a new anger rising in him. He began finding fault with the very people who cared for him and it appeared that nothing could help keep the balance of his mind.
Unable to walk freely, he was confined to bed and systematically gravitated to a devastating mental state. Through intermittent sobbing, my uncle repeatedly bemoaned his predicament. He wailed, “God is cruel. If he is punishing me, I deserve to know my mistakes.”
His friend, who was watching him with great love, sternly responded: “No, you do not need to know. Take a moment and reflect why God should tell you where you have failed. You must find that yourself And not by blaming those who support, care for and love you. You must silently contemplate and find your answers.”
My uncle was surprised by his strong words and stared at him, melancholically. But he again argued, though this time softly. “Why not? I can improve myself, if I could know where I have erred and thereby ensure for me a time without punishment. But God did not listen to my prayers.” Now his friend caressed his head and narrated a story. The story goes like this.
In God’s creation, evil and goodness both prevail. It is for us to choose one. We live as per our choices. Both evil and goodness occasionally visit God, offer their respect and answer questions posed by God. Usually goodness visits God with gratitude, reverence and love. Goodness speaks less and the Lord smiles at him whenever he appears.
Evil on the other hand agitatedly conveys the fallen state of creation and its inhabitants. How man has polluted the environment. How man has misused its senses. How hatred, lust and cruelty have expanded their wings to keep the world vitiated with anger, terror and fear. God listens but remains silent.
One day God asked Evil about a man, Rahim, who has immense devotion and love for God. Rahim treats the whole creation as God’s manifestation. He remains absorbed in God all the time.
God asked, “How is Rahim?” Evil replied, “Rahim is leading a happy life, and he has enormous wealth. As he is protected by you, I am unable to touch him or his possessions.”
God answered, “I have not provided any protection to Rahim. In whatever state he is, he has earned it.”
Evil reluctantly agreed but brooded: “Man has lost his senses. Rahim keeps himself away from my influence as he is enveloped with your Grace. Allow me to touch him, and you shall see how Rahim will lose his calmness and joy.”
God allowed Evil, with a condition that he must touch Rahim physically when he fails in ruffling his calmness. Evil agreed. He first damaged his crops and then burned his store house. Rahim joined his palms and looked up towards God and said, “It all belongs to Him. And He shall take care of all that is happening.”
Finding Rahim calm, Evil started destroying Rahim’s properties. Rahim accepted the happenings as God’s will. He remained composed, meditated more and continued to stay happy and grateful to God.
But Rahim’s friends were worried and wondered why such calamities were striking this noble man. They advised him to consult some astrologer and offer some rituals. Rahim heard them with a smile and continued to remain calm. He knew that nothing happens without a purpose behind it.
Now Evil finding Rahim unperturbed, planned his final move. He attacked Rahim’s body. The next morning, Rahim’s body was filled with eruptions, emitting blood and pus.
He consulted physicians and used the medicines prescribed by them. But the wounds did not heal. His room smelled foul and now his friends believed that definitely Rahim had committed some sin, for which he was suffering. They abandoned him. Lying in bed, Rahim gradually started believing that maybe he had committed some sin somewhere in some life. Evil thought that his strategy had worked.
Rahim started losing his calmness, and gradually became fearful and worried. He remembered God and sought answers from Him. But the more he questioned, the more pain he experienced.
During those lonely nights, he cried and prayed to God to know his mistakes. One night there was a devastating storm, which seemed like a prelude to a heavy shower. There was lightening and amidst the flashes of light, a voice was heard.
“Rahim, why are you so sad? What is troubling you? Tell me my son. I am here, your Lord.” Rahim was so filled with gratitude that he forgot his pain and sorrow. In a soft voice, he asked, “What are the reasons for my current state, dear Lord?”
The Lord said, “You answer my questions, then I shall answer yours.” God asked, “Who has created these stars in the sky?” Rahim replied, “You, my Lord.”
God asked, “Why are there so many stars in the sky?” Rahim replied, “I do not know, Lord.”
God asked, “Who has created the sun and the moon?” Rahim replied, “You my dear Lord.”
God asked, “Why were they created?” Rahim replied, “I do not know, Lord.”
God asked, “Why were these forests and mountains created?” Rahim replied, “I do not know, Lord.”
God asked many questions to which Rahim responded, “I do not know Lord.”
Then God very lovingly asked Rahim, “When you do not have answers to so many questions, dear Rahim, why are you searching for an answer for what has happened to you?”
Rahim realised his folly in questioning God and soon his earlier calm state returned and his heart was filled with gratitude for the Lord. He now knew the answers to his questions. Looking up, he smiled at the Lord and bowed his head in reverence.
The next day, early in the morning when he woke up, he found that all his ailments had disappeared. He was happy as before. Evil left his body, defeated in his sinister game. Soon Rahim rebuilt his material fortunes.
My uncle’s friend had concluded his story. Lovingly, he touched my uncle’s head and said softly, “Understand Rahim’s life story and believe in the Lord without questioning Him.”
There was silence. My uncle looked serene. A smile lit up his face. He didn’t look sad anymore, because he had learnt the most valuable lesson of his life: Never ask God questions, because He always knows what’s best for us.
Manas Das, is a graduate in Law, with a Science & Cost Accounting background from Cuttack, Odisha. He is a well-known poet and writer and writes both in Odiya and in the English language. Hailing from a cultured, humble family and pushed into entrepreneurship, he set up and managed a pharmaceutical manufacturing company for 44 years. He lives with his wife Lipipuspa in Odisha, and is blessed with a son and a daughter.