Why Didn’t God Listen to Mary’s Prayer?

Mary Barnett (61) is a freelance editor in Australia. I have met her during seminars in Asian countries. While I took my family to Singapore, we all had lunch together.

Once she told me her life story – she has a 38 year mentally retarded son. Her daughter had cerebral palsy. Her husband died. Life has been really hard for her, though she is financially sound.

“It appears that god is not listening to my prayers. God has not performed any miracles in my life…I don’t know why. Do you pray Uday?”

“Sometimes…whenever I feel like…”I said.

“I know you don’t have to pray. God has given you a good background and beautiful family…so you are happy, unlike me…”

“Mary, I have my own set of problems…I may be appearing better positioned than you – it is just your perception based comparison. But every person in the world has problems and situations that mostly appear unsolvable for him/her…And who told you that we have to pray only to change the mind of God?”

“Change the mind of God?” she asked.

“Yes- Most of our prayers are to change God’s mind (if any). We sometimes instruct god how to change the situation. We give guidelines to god. We want to change the situation that’s provided by God – that’s the sum total of all prayers, isn’t it? Does your God run customer service department? How can god be responsible for the results of our own actions?”

“Hmmm. So you don’t pray in your religion?”

“We do. But it is not mandatory. My religion doesn’t say that god has created everything out of nothing. So there is little scope for prayer for such miracles. In our dharma, prayer is one among many paths to reach God…”

“I don’t understand. Then how should a devotee relate to the God?” she asked.

“According to my ancestors there are two major pathways for the relation between Bhakta (Devotee) and Bhagavanta (The Lord or God, whatever) – Marjaara Nyaya and Markata Nyaya.”

“What’s that?”

“That’s in Sanskrit language, the most beautiful language that Homo sapiens ever spoke. Maarjaara=Cat. Markata=Monkey. Nyaya=argument or logic. My ancestors noticed the difference between Cats handling kittens and Monkeys handling baby monkeys. The kittens don’t move by themselves. The mother cat with gentle love and affection lifts the kitten by holding its neck with its teeth (not hurting it at all) and goes from place to place and deposits the kitten wherever it wants. The monkey presents an interesting contrast. The baby monkey holds firm to the underside of the belly of its mother and the mother moves from place to place sometimes even jumping from branch to branch of trees at great height. Even if the baby is bruised in the process, it doesn’t let go since instinct tells it that death is certain if it relaxes its grip…”

“How is it related to God?”

Continue reading at
The GOD ILLUSION
by Udaylal Pai (Author)

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