Practical Belief in God
Once there was a yogi. He was very devoted to God and every thought, every action was in His name.
One day, he was traveling by boat along with some other passengers over a large expanse of water. Unfortunately, in the middle of the journey, the boat had the misfortune of colliding with some rocks aggravating the already old hull of the ship, which gave way and began to take on water. There were only a few crew members aboard and they informed the twenty or so passengers, of which the yogi was one, about the problem and announced that were going to have to evacuate the ship immediately.
People were in a panic. Even before the crew could arrange the life boat a small group of people had gotten themselves together and were preparing to swim for it. They approached the yogi, who despite the chaos around him, was seated in a comfortable meditative posture, chanting mantras. “Come on! Hurry!” they shouted. “We’re all good swimmers, we’ll be able to help you too. You’ve got to save yourself!” They yogi refused to budge. “No, no,” he answered. “ You go ahead. My God will save me.”
The swimmers shrugged their shoulders and jumped over board.
By this time about half the occupants were left and the two crew members began loading everyone into the life boat. It quickly became evident that there was not enough room for everyone to fit and seeing that the man was a yogi, they encouraged him to take one of the remaining spots. “Hurry!” they cried, “the ship is going to sink! You’ll surely die if you stay. Let’s go!!” Relentlessly they tried to convince him but again the yogi refused. “No, no,” he assured them. “I have complete faith. God will save me.” The life boat pulled away as the ship began to sink deeper and deeper into the water with only the yogi, one other passenger and the last crew member aboard. The water was really rising towards their position and the crew member was busy trying to keep the remaining passenger calm.
Luckily, not too much time passed before they saw the rescue helicopter arriving in the distance. The crewman and other passenger leapt for joy, knowing that they were going to be saved, but still the yogi remained still and silent. When the helicopter reached their position and the ladder dropped, everyone was astounded that the yogi was still refusing to go. “Come on!” they yelled. “Are you crazy!? You’re going to die if you stay here.” Still the yogi remained saying, “I’m not worried. I know God will come to my rescue.”
Knowing that there was nothing they could do, the remaining two people took hold of the ladder and were taken away by the helicopter to safety.
Not more than a few minutes later, the boat completely capsized and the yogi died as he was pulled down with the ship.
Now, the yogi was indeed a very dedicated and pure person who had done much good in his life, and so upon the occasion of his death, he found himself at the gates of heaven. Glad that he was in heaven but confused as to why he had actually died, he argued with the guards at the gate and demanded to speak with God directly. Such lofty demands are not usually entertained but looking at his record, the guards saw the humble and sincere life that the yogi had led and so the request was forwarded along.
After a few moments God appeared and the yogi, desperate began to plead his case. “My Lord,” he cried, “Do you believe that I was always faithful to you?” God answered, “Yes, of course my child. I know that my name was always in your heart.” “And wasn’t I always truthful and sincere?” the yogi continued. “Yes, my child. You’re life was one of truth and sincerity,” God answered. “Isn’t it you, my God, who safe guards all those who sincerely hold you in their hearts?” “Yes, my child,” God replied again. Exasperated the yogi asked, “then why? Why didn’t you save me when I was waiting for you?”
God looked at the yogi who stood before him and asked him, “What exactly do you think I DO all day? Why do you think there were so many good swimmers present on the boat that day? Where do you think the lifeboat and the helpful crew members came from? I even sent a helicopter for goodness’ sake! All of these things I sent to save you, but you were blind to understand.”
The lesson of this story is that God isn’t like a guard that stands at a gate. He gives us inspiration to act for ourselves and an intellect to make guided decisions. Don’t sit around waiting for the answers to drop into your lap when you’ve already been giving all the tools you need to follow God’s plan.
Remember the three H’s of Swami Sivananda! Put your heart, head and hands together for success.
Gandhar Mandlik (Rishi