By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
An interesting story: A bird, very sick, no feathers, nothing to eat or drink, no shelter too to live, was cursing his life day in and day out. One day an angel was crossing that desert. The bird stopped the angel and inquired, “Where are you going?”
Angel replied, “I am going to meet the God.” So the bird asked the angel, “Can you ask the God when my suffering will come to an end?” The angel said, sure, I will.
The angel reached the God’s abode and shared the bird’s message with Him. God replied, “For the next seven lives the bird has to suffer like this, no happiness.” “Any solution?” the angel asked. The God replied, “Ask the bird to recite the mantra ‘Thank God for Everything’.”
The angel delivered the message to the bird and went her way.
After seven days, the angel was passing the same route when she saw the bird again. The bird had fully recovered, chirping away happily. Angel was astonished at this transformation and was also curious to know how this happened. She went to God and asked Him about this miracle. He replied, “Yes, it was true that the bird was destined to suffer for seven life times but when the bird started to recite the mantra of ‘Thank God for Everything’ every time it fell down or was suffering, the bird’s karma got dissolved in seven days and it became normal.”
What is the moral of this simple story? God is within us and the moment one starts thanking Him for all happiness or adverse situations in our lives, the whole perception changes.
I had gone for darshan to Vaishnodevi temple in Jammu. Most people trek up to the temple, a journey of 14 kms. While going up to the temple, I opted to go by pony but wanted to come down walking. It is not easy and I was constantly complaining about my pain in the foot. But as I was coming down I saw several disabled men and women, climbing up. Looking at them I felt ashamed. I had no disability and was still whining and complaining about my task of climbing down the trek? Believe me, thereafter the climb down became easy. It is all in the mind.
What is required is a change of mindset to concentrate on “What you have and not crib about what you do not have.” You fall down, break your hand and thank God that the injury could have been worse, you feel better. The moment this realisation comes, one starts becoming positive. And when that happens, contentment flows in.
Twelve years back, when both my kidneys failed, I was desolate for some time. But then I saw the bright side of the problem. At least I could afford the treatment or a transplant ? My daughter gifted me with a book, written by Lance Armstrong on his fight against cancer. When the doctors had given him a 3 percent chance of survival, he did not give up, and not only survived but won the cycling championship for the seventh time ! When I had my transplant, I had a host of problems but when faced with positiveness, all the problems vanished.
There is a false notion that if one is rich materially, one can achieve happiness. Everybody wants and dreams to be an Ambani but is it possible ? One who is genuinely happy is the one who looks for small bits of happiness in his or her daily routine. Every one, rich or poor, have their own problems. Mallya has everything — mansions, planes, huge bank balances, etc., but is he happy? Constantly hounded by both the media and the government agencies, he must be one mental wreck.
If one starts to use this mantra in all the aspects of life and relationship, business and workplace, the world would be a better place to live in. It is a well- known fact that a certain element of luck is important in one’s life to come up in the ladder of success. To be in the right place at the right time. I am happily retired Senior Vice-President of a company, and could not become the Managing Director of itdc due to lack of service. But with a changed mindset, I thanked God that I became a Sr. Vice-President at least, in spite of my limited educational qualification. Lo presto, happiness and peace of mind flowed in.
At the end of the day, I am thankful because my loved one’s are safe. I have a roof over my head and have food on the table. I am grateful. Everyday on the net when I see an extraordinary performance by a disabled, like painting or playing piano, I feel humbled and blessed. A question comes to my mind. Have I wasted this gift of God? My present life?
To conclude, I recollect a Kabir couplet:
Dukh me sumiran sab kare, sukh me kare na koi
Jo sukh me sumiran kare, tho dukh kahe hoi?
Change your mindset, thank God for everything, good or bad, and live happily.