Thursday, 14 March 2013

Between Your God and Theirs and Doing a Job Well

No one understands God as much as the little boy begging for food outside a place of worship. He sees God in every person who offers him alms.

God is in goodness and kindness. There are no different Gods. Therefore, my God cannot be better or worse  than their God. God is a philosophy, a way of life. God is loving life and nurturing nature.

I see God in my parents who have given me life and in everyone else after, who have made my life a little easier at every step. I think of them everyday with gratitude and keep them in my prayers. They are a part of my 'God world'.

I refuse to think of God in any color or ethnicity and in my mind I'm sure that God, does NOT help in winning elections - that is religious propaganda and human greed that triumphs based on our own fear in the 'supernatural'.

If God's a vigilante, then I'd have chosen Superman in a blink, he's an alien do-good-er who does not seek power. If God was a religious teacher, I'd be spoiled for choices, I take a little from each one of them (irrespective of religion) to understand God. If God was a war hero, I'd be pushing for the innumerable soldiers who risk their own lives to save others'. But personally, I think God is a bit of all those and more. Much more.

So, what is God?

According to Mahatma Gandhi, God is in doing your Karma or your job (the Hindu meaning) where you continue performing your best and that is the best form of worship. Be true to your profession. If I were a cobbler, it would be my pride to be the best. It is the philosophy and core of The Gita. It clearly asks you to do your duty and not worry about the result at the onset. In its own way, it actually asks you to not even worry about God when there is a task at hand. Just perform your duty. The same teaching is there in almost all religious scriptures but, coated in different tales.

This idea of treating work as worship makes good business sense and keeps you focused. It keeps you together. It keeps you sane.

The idea that pleasing God is doing your job well also ensures that you deal with everyone around you with compassion. Job itself is also not confined to just shifting papers on your desk or whatever it is that you do to make ends meet.

Job also includes nurturing lives, your children, pets, plants in your garden. It also includes making life easier for others, doing mundane chores like, dusting, cooking and cleaning at home, in ensuring proper education for your children. It includes, taking care of your neighbors and feeding the hungry and leaving water for birds during summers.

My mother was telling me today how her mother used to do the "eye roll" if she saw a kitchen where the cook would be cooking with the condiments lying around in shopping bags. She'd say, "this will make Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth and prosperity) go away."

I can imagine how that worked. A sloppy kitchen shows that the cook's not clued-in or happy doing the job. There's no love and pride for what's happening in there and thus, it would be a situation of 'Godlessness'.

The best way to get near God is perhaps by following your heart. If you do not like cooking then hire a cook and channel your efforts into doing what you want to do - it could be anything. Only you know best. Maybe you'll find your God if you stop cooking and being miserable doing it everyday. It could hurt your relationships and dull your lust for life.

It should be our earnest endeavor to be happy because your happiness ignites happiness in those around you. It is far better to move on leaving behind a bad career choice or relationship and pursuing something that perhaps, everyone but you feel is important. Get in touch with yourself and let your decisions be guided by passion. Trust your instincts. Follow your dreams and make them come true. Add value to what is already there around you.

God, according to most of the world's leading religions, is there inside you and in everything around you, living or non-living. It is very easy to seek out God but equally easy to get lost in the way. The trick is in staying tuned and to put in an honest day's work.

Seek God in your heart that cries whenever someone else is hurt. Seek God in the tree that gives shelter to you in the Summer even after you meticulously pruned it in Autumn. There are innumerable Gods and each is tailor-made to fit your expectation. They are all unique just like you are and there is a God in everything around you. Just open your eyes and look beyond the propaganda, beyond the chaos. Strive for peace, inside and out, and God will come to you bearing prosperity.

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