Here is something I read recently; it reminds us about our ‘duty’. Before I blabber on what I understood from it, how I interpreted it, let me share the same, so that you can make your own interpretations and opinions:
Your duty is to keep calm, to pray for the happiness and prosperity of all. Do not pray for your own exclusive happiness, and say, ‘Let the rest of the world go to pieces’. You cannot be happy when the rest of the mankind is unhappy. You are an organic part of the human community. Share your prosperity with others; strive to alleviate the suffering of other. That is your duty!
Now here’s what I think:
This small excerpt states something which we need to realize, something which all of us would agree to on the first read, but something which most of us do not feel or implement in our lives. Take for instance the prayer sessions that we have; me staying in India, I often visit temples, churches and gurudwaras (when my parents drag me along), we bow to the idol, pictures, or books (gurudrawas) and pray.
If I ponder on what that ‘pray’-er constitutes of, I for one, know only one thing, close your eyes and from the bottom of your heart, ask Lord for stuff. I mean when I was a kid, I used to ask for good marks, being slimmer, a new pen on the market and what not. When I grew up a little further maybe middle-school, the marks and slim figure remained with the pen being replaced by getting with ‘that’ girl. (I know it’s stupid and juvenile- but I was stupid and juvenile :)). A few years later, when I was in college, it was good health, clearing a specific subject exam, good health of my family and my sister clearing her exams, etc. The temples and places changed, prayers changed, but the underlying current remained the same, prayers were a list of things, I wanted.
I don’t know how ‘you’ pray, or what ‘your’ prayers consist of, but one thing which I find common around me is that ‘this’ is how people pray. The list of ‘our wants and needs’ are limited to us and our nearest family. This paragraph made me re-think prayer, and we may never end up not asking the Lord for ‘stuff’, but while we are at it, let’s ask for ‘stuff’ for everyone. It reminded me that humanity is on a scale (very big scale indeed) like a single organism. Think of this like how we can imagine a country to be an organism, one sector suffers, one state suffers and the whole nation is affected. Similarly, all of humanity can be considered as an organism, if you look at it from very-very high above; when someone is in pain somewhere, the people around cannot be happy. Imagine, living in a bungalow on a street which is filled with the homeless. Even though you would have every comfort you desire, would it make you happy? Or rather, would you be comfortable?
This small excerpt also made me realize, once the world is happy as a whole, all the individual humans would be happy too. It’s like a big system, one cancerous cell here has the potential to kill the whole of it. So, pray, ask God for stuff, but pray for mankind, pray for humanity and not just yourself. 🙂