Recently I happen to listen to a very interesting story. A Guru and his disciple were in exile for about 6 months. After their meditation in the forest for 6 months, they returned back to their Ashram. When they came back, the roof of the Ashram were destroyed by wind, the whole Ashram was ransacked leaving nothing. The disciple was agitated. He started moaning and started to accuse the God. After all we are sanyasis and have no money to re-thatch or buy food. Moreover we were in the forest to offer prayers to you. Why did this happen to us? He asked the same question to his Guru. The Guru did not answer him directly. He put both his palms together, raised his hands above his head and said “God, Your ways are your ways. May be you did not want us to enjoy the comfort so soon after we are back from exile. I thank you for everything you have given me”. The disciple did not understand the Guru’s behaviour.
The disciple told the Guru that there is no food to eat. The Guru as he did earlier told God “Your ways are your ways. May be you did not want us eat unpreserved food and hence you made the poor take all the food. May be we should have given the food to them before we went on exile. I thank you for everything you have given me”. As usual, the poor disciple did not understand anything.
The Guru and the disciple were taking rest in the shade of the wall. After a few hours of rest in the shade, it turned dark and cold. The disciple could not bear the cold. He started complaining to the God and Guru. We were very sincere in our prayers in the forest. We just came back. There is no ashram, no food, it is unbearably cold and we have no shelter. Why is this happening to us? The Guru in his standard style, with his hands up, said to God “Your ways are your ways. May be you are testing us if we are still in the same sincerity and belief as we were in the forest. I thank you for everything you have given me” and he removed the single piece of cloth that he had around him. The disciple started thinking that the Guru has gone mad.
After a few hours, dark clouds surrounded above in the sky and it started raining heavily. The disciple got really wild and started shouting looking at the sky, the same question “Why should this happen to us”. This time, he decided not to ask the Guru. But to his surprise, he saw the Guru dancing and jumping up and down with his hands up and palms together “Your ways are your ways. May be you are cleansing us. You know that we did not take bath after we came back from exile. So you want us to take a good shower and hence you sent water from heaven. I thank you for everything you have given me”. This time the disciple was sure that his Guru had gone mad. He stopped the dancing Guru and asked him if he is gone mad and why is he thanking God for all these.
The Guru stopped and answered now to the disciple. “I don’t even know if God existed or not. I have not seen him. But taking things like this on things that I have no control, keeps me light and I am always happy. If I get irritated and agitated like how you are, I lose piece and happiness and that is not the objective of Sanyasi / life”. The disciple fell at the Guru’s feet and said that is why you are Guru and I am still a disciple.
There are loads of things happening to us, around us that are completely out of our control. Only one question echoes to all of us like the one that echoes to the disciple “Why me?”. Train running late, Interest rate raising, project failing, redundancy at work, accident and it’s consequences, planned holiday cancelled due to ash cloud or anything, losing close ones and the list goes on and on. All of the above will echo only one question “Why should this happen to me”? None of the above is under our control. Only if we had control on any of the above, we probably may have done it differently (may be good or bad). So there is absolutely no point in being irritated, disturbed, agitated and spoiling ones precious moment.
We can’t change or even influence so many things but by getting upset about that, we only spoil our health, relationship and lose our happiness. Instead if we take it like how the Guru did, “God, your ways are your ways. I am sure there is a meaning to what you are doing. I thank you for everything you have given me”. None of the above will disturb us and our quality of life will improve multi-fold.
Let me finish this with the famous quote from The Gita. “Everything that happened, happening and will happen, happens with the wish of God”