Monday, July 28, 2008

God helps… But how???

There is this very common saying- God helps those who help themselves (1). But I can’t help wonder a few hitches in this.
Well, in the famous dice-game follow-up in Mahabharata, where Draupadi is stripped off her clothes in public, seeing her husbands unable or unwilling to help her, the first thing that she does is try and resist herself. When absolutely powerless, D stops resisting and prays to Lord Krishna to protect her, which, he does. But I wasn't able to follow one point in this. D was first 'helping herself', in vain. Why didn’t K help her knowing that she was in trouble at that time? Why was he waiting for a prayer even though she was his great friend, almost a sister? Doesn’t this contradict (1)? Does the above incident mean that God helps only those who ask and pray for help (2)?
Another popular philosophical saying is 'Everything happens for the Good. (3)' but we find a lot of things in our daily life, that doesn’t really seem so to our 'naked' eyes. There are loads of bitter feelings and complaints in everybody's lives. So much so that one could ask-“For whose good?!?”
I have seen my mother pray everyday, pray with all her heart, pray with unwavered devotion. I somehow find it a little funny, when she usually says, "In case of any distress or pain, approach God. For anything that you think you deserve or wish dearly, approach God. Anything happy or anything sad, approach God! He always helps..." but I have never seen her blame him if she doesn’t get anything of what she asks God for; or even if the exact opposite of whatever she prays for happens. Then she says, “It was to have happened that way. Every thing that happens in our life is the fruit of our own paap n punya. (4)" Then I ask,” But what was the point of all our prayers?!? If it was to have happened that way all along, then why even ask God knowing that he is not going to go out of his way to help?!?" Now the (2) is contradicted too, and so is (3). Bcoz, if they are all based on paap/punya account, then all the things that happen to us obviously aren’t 'for the good'!
But again, this doesn't seem entirely right. During my PS-I in sankara nethralaya, I saw many patients with various eye-disouders. Amongst them was a 30-day infant, who was apparently born with congenital cataract in both its eyes. Now - in its short lifespan of about 10 months in its mother's womb, what possible paap could that child have done to deserve this? My grandmother says now "Most of the things in our lives depend not only on our own paap/punya (this life or our previous lives) but also on out ancestors'(5). " She also told me a number of real-life stories as proof for this. Now there you go!! This has contradicted (4) in many ways! We can’t expect things that we deserve for our own hard work or punya or even blame ourselves for our own fate!! Wow!!
Now I am totally confused (as usual :))!! Should I just give up a much-required task after a hard try and just pray to God for help? Am I even supposed to ask God for what I want and what I don’t want, for what I need badly and what I desire dearly?? Is it right to work hard towards some goal, and incase of a failure, blame the 'fate' or 'previous lives' or 'ancestors' or the God himself for having been deaf to my prayers???
Well... as I told you, I really don’t know. I am neither an Atheist nor critical about anything related to religions or its beliefs. I am just confused with no straight convincing answers. But I still pray God; not for anything in particular these days (not that I don’t need anything- coz I could write a 100-page wish-list even right now!). I just say those slokas I know, and pray though I feel that life is already sketched out and my prayers aren't going to change anything of my pre-planned life, or fetch me anything of what I need/want/deserve unless it was already meant to be there.But Yes, I still pray.


  1. It just gives you a reassurance to know there is some superior being at times, don't you think? If you are an athiest, its science that prevails over the myth- god. If you are agnoist you doubt the existance of god at the same time mutter a prayer once in a while to the almighty knowing it just might work out. I am as confused as you are in this regard. Nice post. Really liked it! :)

  2. an agnoist*
    damn the errors!

  3. Tis a Grt thought flow.. de topic is an ideal candidate for debatin in hostels late in the nite... !!! good wrk

  4. well.. i late night debates r going to be there no more. tats y strtd blogging at all! :) thnx neways... :)

  5. Oh! yu took the thoughts right out of my lil' brain...lovely post! lovely, lovely post!

    the answers to some (or all?) of your Qs are here :
    ;) ;)
    hehe...a lil nonsensical thing...but hope it clears a few doubts :P

  6. sorry for d late rply..
    ya.. read tat post of urs.. nice.:)
    well.. there can never be any conclusions in some issues n this i believe is one if them.

  7. Hi...

    Yes, even I had similar thoughts as my teacher. I won't say I am Agnostic. I am very much a 'devout' person, but there are times when the Agnostic within surfaces. There are things which I tend to question...

    For instance...

    Many a time, my mom and I have this expostulation. She'll say, "Go to the Vinayak temple and break a coconut." I retort with a "Why? You prayed, you made the 'deal'; so... You complete it!"

    The rest of the scene won't be so pretty... :) Well, I am not making fun of my mom. I may have sounded rude, but trust me- that's not the case either. I do believe in a Supreme Being, but I tend be Agnostic at some point...

    We had a debate in College... Where I made this point- "You say you believe in Genesis, you say you believe in Evolution... Then why take a side? Are you afraid that one of them will be disproved in the near future? Trust me... None of them will be disproved in this life... It is quite rational to have this dilemma... We follow both for a contentment. A personal satisfaction... Whether you feel God is man's manifestation- only to create this figment of your imagination to rely on/pray to/strike a deal with/or even curse!- it is quite rational... You are human... And when you are alone, you may even talk to yourself, hoping God will hear you..."

    Regarding (2)- See... Good/Bad is relative. What may seem good to me, may not be the same with you...

    Regarding (3)- May be... We reap what we sow... We are responsible for our actions. What does the Gita say? Do your work without expecting a result.

    If you ask me, it is best not to expect (I do not mean to preach here; but this is what I follow). We pray cos prayer/meditation brings peace to the mind. I do not wish to delve into the art of praying... You are correct when you say you are 'confused' There are many people who are groping for answers on the subject of 'God'.

    Now I ask you... How/What will you answer if I am to ask you- who is God..? As in... If I ask- Who is Vidya? You are likely to say, She is my friend. Or, She is a person. On similar lines, what will you say if I ask you- Who is God? (This may seem too long. I think I will stop here. If you would like to continue on this, feel free to let me know... I will get back pronto)

    In fact, you may want to read this one too-

    Peace. Thanks for dropping by. I hope you will not mind my blogrolling you. Have a nice day.

    And yes, give it a thought and try to answer that question.

    And remember... You may refer to God with a capital 'G'. But just recollect how you refer to yourself... A capital 'I'

    Blessed be. (Yes, I am ending my homily here *snicker* For now... ) :-)

  8. wow! tat was a comment probably longerthan my post! lol!
    thnx dude!

    n yeah.. as to ans ur Q,
    if u ask me who God is, i can only say "my own creation(this is probably after reading ur teacher's words which was brilliant!), an imaginary being walking with me all thru my life, sometimes whose presence i very clearly feel n sometimes i dont, a fantasized supreme power claimed responsible for the good n the bad n so on".

    i wrote this blog when i was on the heights of emotional stress. :)

  9. Heh heh heh... Glad you liked it.

    Emotion acts as your 'soul-stone'. And when you write with that emotion, you have a sense of satisfaction.

    And yes, I relate to what you say... God... He is the embodiment of attributes like faith, indomitable spirit, determination, mind control, strength and every such attribute that makes one survive and hones him as a fighter... After all, that is how we visualised Him, right?

    There is another dilemma- God and Science... That won't be appropriate here. But it will probably answer why you believe in God... We can discuss that when you feel like.