The world today is a strange place. Believers seem like non-believers sometimes. Non-believers act like believers sometimes. Where do we draw the line? How do we know what is there in one’s heart?
It is definitely difficult. Also, to judge others is a risky business.
There are times however, when the Lord makes it easier for you.
Recently, the ancient Shri Ananta Padmanabha Swamy temple, Kerala, India had different visitors. These had come not to gaze at the beautiful form of the Lord in the form of a Deity. They had come to fix their gaze on the vast treasures that originally belong to the Deity. A seven member panel instituted by the Supreme Court of India tried to make an inventory of the different treasures that lay hidden in the temple’s vaults. After lot of hard work, the estimated value has reached a whopping US $22 billion. Speculation has it that there is more inside that belongs to the Lord.
How did all this wealth get here?
Well, a devout king Marthanda Varma would rule in the region and after all the victories and conquests, he decided to dedicate all that he had to the glory of the Supreme Lord. He gave all his wealth in the service of the main Deity here viz. Lord Vishnu. He called himself Padmanabha-das (the servant of Lord Padmanabha). Quite interesting that a glorious king who stands vindicated in front of his foes surrenders himself in front of his worshippable Lord. But it did not stop here. He dedicated his entire kingdom to the Deity and pledged that his entire dynasty for all time to come would serve in the capacity of Padmanabha-das; all his descendants to the present date consider themselves as the servants of the Lord. As he was departing, his last instructions to his successor were concerning the service to the Deity in the temple and maintenance of the set standards for worship.
Today, in a situation where we do not have anyone coming even remotely near such an ideal, it is difficult to think of a ruler like Marthanda Varma.
Who do we have today as our leaders? We have corrupt, money-hungry politicians who not only try to usurp power but also the money of those who elect them to these posts.
It is not surprising then that when the treasure-trove of a temple is opened, many eyes open wide. After all, who would not want a share of such a fortune?
Someone recently asked me – why do you think that humanity at large is envious of God? I am not envious of God. I have never blasphemed God. I have never passed indecent remarks about Him. I have just carried on with my life, trying to achieve success, trying to get wealthy etc. How does it reflect anything to do with envy?
Some of us might consider ourselves as devout believers. Most of us will be smug in this conception of our assumed glory. The test is when we read about the glories of the Supreme Lord. What emotions do we undergo? Do we feel happy that the Lord is omniscient, omnipotent and omni-benevolent? Or we feel threatened to hear about the opulence of such a powerful person?
In today’s context, what do we feel when we hear of such huge treasures being unearthed from temples of the Lord? Do we feel threatened that such wealth reserved for the Lord’s service by His devotee king is now being eyed upon by unscrupulous individuals? Or do we feel happy that all this wealth has been discovered and now can be put to good use by funding some state-run schemes for public benefit?
The critical answers to these questions will let us understand the grade of disease that we have. Our envy towards the Lord will not be reflected by some device etc. It will be reflected in our response to such incidents that are bound to only increase in today’s godless times.
Why does the media again and again present only the figures of estimated value of the uncovered treasure as their headlines? Why does it not also speak about the glories of the person to whom this whole wealth is pledged? If i just speak about the wealth of a rich person on and on, what do you expect? It will only increase envy in the hearts of many. But if I also speak about the glories of the person to whom this wealth belongs and who he is in actuality, then understanding the person’s greatness people will feel less threatened with someone else’s riches. When you eye someone else’s wealth, you are seen as a thief with mal-intentions. Today, the entirety of the human population could come under this definition. We have an eye on the Lord’s wealth.
But, what about the wealth that we already have? Are we using it properly? Are we putting it to judicious use? Are we sure that we are not squandering it in any way? Are we sure that there is nothing frivolous about the use of our wealth? If the answers to all these questions are positive then we can think of asking for more wealth for doing something good with it. If not, it only exposes our heart to ourselves. We are envious of the Lord.
In today’s times when we are exposed to increasing news of corrupt practices to the very core of political dealings, we understand that we are exploiting the resources already available, becoming bankrupt and then eyeing the wealth of the supreme Lord for our own devious means.
How mean! How lowly! How shameless!
Human society has a long way to go before it calls itself civilized.