Archive for November, 2017

Celebrating Rev. Ishwari Devi Gupta’s 102nd Birthday!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

IDGIntimate, Dependable God– Yes, that is how God is: our own, and absolutely dependable and trustworthy. The day we put complete faith in Him alone, we realize this. I have experienced this through my mentor for so many years. Ishwar Devi Gupta wrote her initials as IDG, and truly her life was nothing, but IDG: Intimately Depending on God. A follower of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa she had a godly core in her heart and never had an iota of even the spiritual ego about her being so privileged to receive God’s grace and command. All things, she said, are drafted and driven by God: make your plans but surrender them to God for only His plan works out.

She told me that you would find many people good at preaching or singing in the temples, but when you go to their homes, you find their lives in a mess. You cannot know a person’s walk with God from a person’s actions in a temple. You should closely see a person, in his daily life to know if s/he has a real character of God. I did not understand it fully at that time. But since I had developed a lot of love and respect for her, I started going to her home and started helping her in God’s work on a daily basis. The first day I went to her, she gave me a small emblem having Ma Sarada’s (the Holy Mother’s) saying on it: Many are known to do great works under the stress of some strong emotion. But a man’s true nature is known from the manner in which he does his insignificant daily tasks. (Insignificant daily tasks are like cleaning your house, cleaning your bathroom, making your bed, keeping your children clean, treating your neighbor, treating your maid, treating your elders and many more). I now realize what it meant.

One day a middle-aged male devotee came and said to her that he wanted to learn spirituality. She asked him: do you know how to knead the dough? And when he said no, she asked him to learn and practice it first before he even thinks of knowing spirituality. This, she said, was necessary for a person to become self-dependent. If you cannot sustain yourself and are dependent on someone else to fulfill your smallest and so basic need of yours (i.e. to be able to feed yourself), you can never attain God. Also, it helps to smother the ego. For being dependent on God, you need to learn to be dependent on yourself alone first.

About trust: She told me one day, ‘you cannot give what you do not have.’ ‘Your trust in others is not your trust in their person, but in God, and He will return your trust manifold.’

She also emphasized on always remembering your weaknesses. The point she emphasized was, by remembering your weaknesses and submitting them to God, you ask for forgiveness, and grace from Him.  She would tell me: ‘Put your best in your work and do not rest till it is finished completely. After that pray to God and surrender your work to Him not expecting a reward, but only blessings and love from Him. Praise God because it is He who got it done from you. And thus, you will always be at peace.’

Work according to her, was not a means to live, but a worship of God who rewards you with a living and His company. One thing that struck me deep inside the heart is her saying: ‘You should stretch and try to climb up to God, rather than bring Him down for your convenience.’ We desperately seek God, when we are in need, but at other times, we do not even remember Him. But if we make Him our own and put Him first, we will find Him with us at all times.

And this was the best thing she told me: God is the most important person in your life. Always keep Him first and He will never fail you. There are many more things to write. But the key to all her wisdom is: how to love God, make Him your own and put Him first in your life, and thus enjoy daily living! -Vinay Mehta

Only reading or following the Scripture!

Sunday, November 12th, 2017

Some of us, very often, rather daily, read the scripture to make us aware of God’s prescription for our lives as a routine. Many of us are content with just reading it, and believe that just reading would be much beneficial to us, and that “we” are far better than others who do not even glance at the Word. God, however, sees us differently. I would like to quote two scriptures that are close to my heart in this regard:

The Bible says in James (1:22) “Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

In the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Thakur makes us understand this with an interesting story: “A man received a letter from home informing him that certain presents were to be sent to his relatives. The names of the articles were given in the letter. As he was about to go shopping for them, he found that the letter was missing. He began anxiously to search for it, several others joining in the search. For a long time, they continued to search. When at last the letter was discovered, his joy knew no bounds. With great eagerness, he opened the letter and read it. It said that he was to buy five seers of sweets, a piece of cloth, and a few other things. Then he did not need the letter anymore, for it had served its purpose. Putting it aside, he went out to buy the things. How long is such a letter necessary? As long as its contents are not known. When the contents are known one proceeds to carry out the directions.

“In the scriptures, you will find the way to realize God. But after getting all the information about the path, you must begin to work. Only then can you attain your goal.

“What will it avail a man to have a mere scholarship? A pundit may have studied many scriptures, he may recite many sacred texts, but if he is still attached to the world and if inwardly he loves ‘woman and gold’, then he has not assimilated the contents of the scriptures. For such a man the study of scriptures is futile.

“The almanac forecasts the rainfall tor the year. You may squeeze the book, but you won’t get a drop of water — not even a single drop.”

Therefore, my friends, the key to a happy life is to practice the scripture in our life. Without it, we remain where we are and do not progress to the next level. Moving forward means that we are learning our lessons from the scripture and then practicing them in our daily lives.

God bless you with the practice of the Word!- Vinay Mehta