We pray to god almost everyday. We ask him for so many things. Throughout our life, we desire so much for our self. We desire cars, money, luxurious life and everything that makes our life simple. We pray for the physical, mental and financial well being of our relatives and loved ones and even our own self. Let’s analyze our life and compare it with the poem written by Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu missionary, who devoted his life to understand and implement the true values of this human life.
When I Asked God for Strength
He Gave Me Difficult Situations to Face
When I Asked God for Brain & Brown
He Gave Me Puzzles in Life to Solve
When I Asked God for Happiness
He Showed Me Some Unhappy People
When I Asked God for Wealth
He Showed Me How to Work Hard
When I Asked God for Favors
He Showed Me Opportunities to Work Hard
When I Asked God for Peace
He Showed Me How to Help Others
God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted
He Gave Me Everything I Needed
– Swami Vivekananda
Wants and needs are words that appear similar but possess a deep meaning in itself. Our wants are our desires, our wishes. Most of these wishes and desires are for achieving products that complete our materialistic or delusive life. We feel the importance of such products in our life, but we do not really need it. If we try to think broadly, we will understand whether we actually need it or not.
Needs are our basic requirements for survival. These needs are the basic values that shape our lives. These are an essential part of our living, whether it is related to our inner self or for our external survival.
Swami Vivekananda’s poem explains us two different ideas that we need to assimilate in our lives. Let’s understand those points by taking two lines from this poem.
When I asked God for happiness, He showed me some unhappy people
When he asked God for happiness, god showed him some unhappy people. Firstly, we all need happiness in our lives and there is nothing wrong in it. But what we must understand is that happiness does not come through the materialistic thoughts and achievements in life. Such products and achievements are temporary and they would make us happy only for a certain period of time. The true happiness lies within us. It is not dependent on situations or things in our environment. We must choose to be happy, to stay happy, rather than asking for happiness.
The happiness that is within us can be achieved when we know ourselves and when we live out our true nature. The true nature of a human being as well as every living being is that of love, compassion for other as well as own self, and service to humanity. God showed me unhappy people so that I can work for them, try and understand their problems and sufferings. He showed me unhappy people so that I develop the quality of compassion towards them. By showing compassion towards them, we are in a way showing compassion to our own self. It is because we all are one as a self. The only difference is based on our external living and environment.
Secondly, by thinking about those unhappy people in the world, who do not even have the basic necessities of life, who struggle each day to earn a living for their families and their own self, we will understand and will be able to answer the question that are we really unhappy. Whatever basic requirements we have, aren’t those sufficient enough for our living. They are, and this is the truth! We might not accept it if achieving worldly possessions is the true definition of happiness and success in our life. We really need to think over it then. Thinking in this correct way, we will achieve control on our never ending desires.
The true happiness of life lies in development of our own inner values and serving those who really need our help and support. The day we realize this, will be the day we’d have achieved success in its true sense.
One more point to be considered here is that it is not that what we ask from God is always wrong. Sometimes it is actually our need and has to be fulfilled. But then, the way God gives it to us is worth understanding. We may not be thinking about certain things from every point of view. Our mindset could be a narrow one and hence we ask for very little than what we deserve. But God knows us very well. He knows exactly what we need and in which form we must achieve it. It is very easy for God to give us the happiness that we crave for, but he knows that for an all-round development of self, we need to earn happiness by going through different stages in life. Showing unhappy people is also an example that illustrates the way we can earn our happiness. Serving them will not only make us happy but also develop our perception of life in many ways.
Thus we can infer that if we dedicate every action of ours to God, then we might earn much more than what we have asked for. It will develop the qualities of love, faith, compassion and also make us free from all our fears. It is because we know that God is looking after us and we need not worry about the results of our hard work. With such attitude, even if we face hard times, our faith in God will keep telling us that God wants me to learn something from this and that he wants me to look for happiness in every moment and every situation in life.
These are the points that appear really small and we might not even be thinking on these lines. Once we implement them in our day-to-day life, we will start understanding the value of this life and respecting & loving every other living being on this earth.