Our personal relationship with God begins with the belief that there is God, like a father or mother. When we start depending on this belief like we depend on our father or mother, a respect develops. Growing up, we know the love of father and mother, and we know that out of love, they would do only 'right' for us. Living with this belief, the respect grows. In case of God, this respect at its high level is Shraddha. This Shraddha has its incremental levels, and as we spend more time with God, or our spiritual teacher, the level of Shraddha rises and an affinity develops, like a bond. We start enjoying our time with God or the teacher in our quiet moments.
I am using the word Shraddha because I find no equivalent word in English to convey its depth.
The events, the outcomes, may please us or displease us in the moment, but if we begin looking for some positive in the 'not so good', it transforms our perspective of that 'not so good'. The higher the Shraddha, the easier it is to see the positive in the so called negative, initially with some effort, culminating in 'no effort. It then becomes our natural response to be grateful, for everything. To bring this seemingly difficult point home, I give some example of finding some plus even in minus.. e.g. back in 1980, my beloved father passed away few hours after a stroke. Without effort, though I was naturally in grief, my immediate reaction was .. "Thank you, God. If he had to go, this was the best, for him to go without prolonged suffering". We can, thus, observe grief and gratitude side by side.
If we know that our certain action is wrong, and if we still keep repeating it, the outcome would then be negative. 'Looking for positive' would not apply here, for knowingly we are embracing the negative in this case.
With Shraddha, and with practice, this natural quick positive response becomes our second nature, so much so that we start feeling Gratitude, for things/events small or big, anywhere, any time... e.g. going up the steps, walking on the road, driving, coming home and feeling grateful that our house is still safe, that we can still walk, talk, eat, think, remember, and 'feel' the Gratitude.
Gratitude builds more Shraddha, which in turn facilitates more Gratitude. To help develop Shraddha and Gratitude, it helps to first visualize the whole form, and then to concentrate on the 'feet' of one's teacher, or of any deity we believe in. Visualizing the feet keeps us more humble, and in 'surrender' mode.
Over time, we begin seeing that God is guiding everything, God is doing everything, that we really do not have the control, except for actions that we do knowing that they are wrong. There again, our control is limited, for often we are swayed into wrong action by our uncontrolled temptations.
All of what is said above is preparation for (a) Surrender, and (b) Peace
SURRENDER: Observing God as the 'doer' makes us 'surrender'. The more we see God as the doer, the more we feel the need for God, and the more we surrender, as we invoke Him/Her at the time of any difficulty. When we completely surrender, feeling our inability to handle some problem, God gives us the answers, the clarity, the relief. By now, Surrender and Gratitude and Shraddha go together, like One.
PEACE: Seeing God as the doer does not absolve us of our responsibility to 'Act'. Seeing God as the doer, does make us feel lighter, more at peace, within and outside. This 'peace' then feels natural, and builds upon itself, layer by layer, as if we have a cachet of peace. This cachet of peace is what we draw on at time of turmoil, this peace mitigating the turmoil, with our effort, of course.
I now, with humility, thank God for giving me these thoughts to share.
-- Vijay Nikore
(original and unpublished)
Respected Vijay Nikore Sir,
I have just gone through the whole of your , a very precious ,article pertaining to our concept
relating to God, the Almighty. I cent percent subscribe your intellectual views , admit each part of it with full respect and dedication, I,myself, have strong faith in this conviction that instead of demanding something everyday from God, I must , rather, thank Him for what He has given me with all my hearty gratitude towards Him.
May I refer H G Wells, even he believed that most of the people who worship God by going to temple or any other way , do so just to demand something from God . I personally do not accept this thought in my case , because , I always thank God with full of my heart and head .I believe in Him and know that what ever He does for me is the best for me and most suitable for my life . I simply believe , it is not me , but the God ,Himself , who controls each of my act and actions.He is the Doer.
I personally thank you for this valuable thoughtful article and always adore you for your vision and views .
With all my respect and good wishes , Congratulations .
Dear and respected Dr Vijai Shanker ji:
I am delighted and honored to read your views.
Yes, asking God for favours is in vogue. At peace is the heart that accepts what comes.
As example of humility in prayer, we can remember and imbibe Sri Ramakrishna ji's
words to Mother Kali, "Grant me love for Thee".
Thank you for your precious comments, Vijai ji.
Regards and brotherly thoughts.