BENGALURU: With the arrival of holiday season, we find ourselves opening our heart with gratitude for the gifts we have. People find that no matter what situation they are in whether wealthy or destitute, there is always something to thank God for, whatever they have received.
There is a story of a devoted man who lived in the desert. He meditated and prayed to God every day. Each day, he kneeled on the hard ground in prayer to the Lord and his knees started hurting. Because he lived in the desert, the only source of food was a pomegranate tree. Each day, the tree would bear one fruit, which the man would use to drink the juice and eat the fruit for his meal. When the man’s life ended, he was taken before God to decide what should become of him in the afterlife.
When his turn came, God said, “I forgive you as a sign of grace.” The devoted man was shocked. He thought to himself, “How is it that god is forgiving me when I spent my whole life in prayer to God? God must be mistaken. I have not sinned. I am a devoted person who prayed to God for help.”
Finally, the man got up enough courage to say, “God, I do not understand. How can you be forgiving me, when I have not done anything wrong? I have spent every day kneeling on the rock in the prayer to you. I prayed so much that my knee prints have cut into the rock. I remembered you every day.” God said, “Do you really want to see what you have done in this lifetime? I will show you.”
God then gave the man a life review, and lovingly pointed out all the failures that man made for which he should be forgiven. He showed the man how while walking in the desert, he trampled many small creatures. He showed the man that when he drank water, small microscopic creatures were losing their lives.
The man realised how much karma he had created even without intending to. God said, “With all that, I created for you a pomegranate tree in the middle of the desert where there were none. I gave you shade under the tree. I gave you fruit to eat. I gave you the juice of pomegranate to quench your thirst. For those gifts you should be grateful.”
The man realised that he had reaped his fruit by having food and shelter given to him by God in the middle of the desert. He also realised how much new karma he had created. In the acts of living daily life he had caused the destruction of many creatures. He feared that his punishment would be worse, so the man prayed to God, “Oh, Lord, yes, please forgive me as a sign of grace.”
We can best celebrate this holiday season by being thankful to the lord for the gifts we receive. We can reflect on how we can show our gratitude by developing noble qualities. We can reflect on where we fall short and resolve to improve ourselves to become better human beings. We can also spend time connecting with divine within through prayers and meditation and in performing selfless service to others. In this way, we can express our gratitude to God, not only in words but also through our deeds.