This is a story about me, Guptananda, when I was a youth, questioning everything that my parents held dear. I did not necessarily want to do what they indicated would be a suitable career for me. I had my doubts about all the activities centered on the temple. I saw people attending ceremonies and then the same people would lie and cheat each other when it came to buying and selling goods. I began to wonder if they were all hypocrites and if they only attended at temple to show the rest of the world that they were God-fearing souls and could be trusted in business and in their other dealings with people.
One day, when I was feeling particularly antagonistic to the idea of attending a ceremony to Lord Rama, I told my mother that my clothes were dirty and that I could not go.
“Well, you must borrow something from your father’s wardrobe then,” said she.
I found another excuse. “I have to exercise Raja this afternoon. I couldn’t take him out yesterday and he needs a run.”
“You could do that this morning, “ said mother.
Finally I told her how I was really feeling about the ceremonies and about my doubts as to the Gods’ existence, or at least as to the nature of God. I felt that if the Gods or God did exist, he surely would not want hypocrites, liars and thieves amongst his congregation.
‘Ramu,” said mother, with a sad look in her eye. “It is true that we are all weak human beings, some of us are weaker than others. You for example….”
I looked at her intently. What was she going to accuse me of now?
“You know the difference between right and wrong, There is no possibility of you stealing your neighbour’s horse, or hay from his stable. But others less well informed than you would do this. Then they would be discovered if not by their victims, by Him who knows. They would be diminished by their crime. It is not right to turn away from God just because some of his subjects are not as well brought up as you were. That does not make sense. Is your faith so weak that you feel that you can neglect the Almighty just because of a few rough types? You need to pray to God. He answers prayers. If you do not pray he may leave you to get on with your life all by yourself. How would that feel? You know that God has answered our prayers on many occasions. So, my son, stiffen your sinews, work on your resolve which you made two years ago to serve the Lord in every way that you can. He is not asking much of you at the moment, just to go to the ceremony this afternoon. He is not asking you to give up your life in his service is he? Off you go. Take Raja out now and wear your father’s clothes this afternoon.”
I went out. It was a beautiful day and the perfume of the flowers was intoxicating. The reflection of the sun sparkled on the Holy River. I realised that I could not possibly exist without thanking the Lord at the very least, each time I enjoyed His beauty and His bounty.
I went to the ceremony that afternoon and in my meditations I was shown a great light which seemed to start in the distance and get closer and closer until it finally enveloped me and filled me with a sense of love and peace. My faith came back to me without a shadow of a doubt. God was all around us, inside us and outside us. I was part of God and God was part of me. And I knew.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How does it feel to have faith in someone – to know that they are always to be trusted and will always treat you fairly?
- Can people have faith in you in the same way?
- Ramesh’s family had faith in their Hindu gods. Faith comes by way of family tradition, or through the study of spiritual matters. It comes very easily to some people, and others struggle with it or reject it. What do you think about faith in God at this time in your life?