God Heard You
Sheba sat down to have dinner with her family. Her father, as was the custom, led the prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord, while her mother, brother and Sheba, closed their eyes and folded their hands in unison. They reiterated a SHALOKA in Sanskrit and they never forgot to do it, before every meal. It read as:
Harir Daata, Harir Bhokta,
Harir Annam Prajapatih,
Harir Vipra Sharir Astu,
Bhookte Bhojayte Hari.
Meaning: Hari, the Lord of all beings, is the giver, the enjoyer and the food itself. The body of the ‘Vipra’ is Hari, Hari is the one who eats and also the one who feeds.
Soon, mother served dal, vegetables, and chappatis to everyone. As father put the first portion into his mouth, he made an unpleasant face and said rudely, “What rotten dal, it is stinking of garlic. Just look at this chappati, its burnt here and uncooked on one corner, I wonder when you will learn to make proper food. I miss my mother’s food, she was an excellent cook”. He had a few bites, muttered something under his breath, pushed the plate away and started to get up.
This was also a familiar happening at the dining table. Sheba said cautiously, “Daddy, you always say that God listens to us and watches us all the time, don’t you?”
“Yes, my child. But what is bothering you?”
“Daddy, you said a prayer before dinner, thanking God for this wonderful food. Do you think He heard it?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Now, you cursed the food and said that it was rotten. Do you think, God would have heard that too?”
“Daddy, if God heard both, which one would He believe!”
Father was rendered speechless. The little girl was able to feel God’s presence at their dinning table. Prayer, for her was not mere words; it was conversation with God.
In our homes too, many a time we or our children crib over the food, saying it’ss lousy or that it tastes horrible. Baba says, ‘Food is God. Don’t waste food.’
Most of us serve ourselves more than we can eat, especially at parties or weddings. The amount of food that is left over in used plates at weddings is perhaps equal to the amount that is actually consumed. If we do not waste food; if we respect food as God, we can become more prosperous. It is aptly said, ‘Waste not, Want not.’ Like ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’, I think that ‘food conserved is food reserved’.