“Though God is omnipresent, He has to be discovered and cognised in order to experience the bliss.” (Bhagwan Baba)
Our scriptures hold some amazing stories. This one is very meaningful. There was a king who was intelligent and fun loving. He had a court full of intelligent ministers because he loved discussions and debates on all kinds of topics.
One day, some questions sprang up in his mind and he told his Chief Minister that he wanted the answer to these questions. He also ordered that if the ministers were not able to answer his questions, they should leave the king’s court and not return. The questions were – What does God eat? What does God do? Where does God live? When does God laugh?
No one could answer the questions. The infuriated king stomped out of court, dismissing all the Ministers and ordering the Chief Minister to go and look for someone who could answer these questions. The king further declared, “Who so ever is able to give the answers to my questions, shall be made the king and I shall gladly serve as his attendant.”
The Chief Minister set off in search of such a wise man. He searched from village to village and town to town, but he could not find the right person. One day while he was very tired and distressed, he thought to himself, “If I go back without finding such a man, I would be failing in my duty and shall be the recipient of the king’s wrath. I would be ridiculed and punished. So what should I do? Should I commit suicide? No! No! Why do discredit to all the good karma that I have earned? Why to waste this precious human life that I am blessed with? Oh, God! I have tried my best. Help me! I don’t know what to do!”
Then God sent him a thought, “Since you have done everything to the best of your ability, even if you have not succeeded in completing the job, it is not your fault. Go back to the king …” With this thought to comfort him and with prayers on his lips he started his return journey. On the way he was overcome by the heat of the afternoon sun and sat down under a mango tree to rest.
As he lay down to rest, he started humming a popular tune in praise of the Lord. A farmer, who was tilling his land, came and sat down by him. The farmer said, “You seem to be a Kshatriya. I am a Brahmin. This is my land. Since you are resting here, you are my guest. Come and share my lunch. Then if you like you can tell me your story. I can see that you are troubled by something.” So the two men ate together and the Chief Minister told his tale of woe to the farmer. The farmer said, “I am greatly thankful to God for directing you to me. I am sure I can answer your king’s questions. Please take me to him.”
So, the two of them travelled for three days, to get to the King’s court. The king seated the farmer on a fine chair and paid obeisance to him. The king asked his first question, “What does God eat?” The farmer said, “When man attains money, property, position, strength and power he becomes proud. In that state of mind, he commits many bad deeds. Then, God eats his pride! Since the beginning of creation, has anyone’s name and fame remained forever? Ravana? Hiranyakashyapu? Shishupala? Duryodhana? Oh King! Look at your own Council of Ministers. Haven’t you struck down their pride in a moment? Pride is the food of God. Just as a gardener looks after his garden but does not hesitate to chop off the branches of a tree that grow too much. He does not bat an eyelid, before plucking off the flowers from a bush in full bloom!”
The king was very impressed by the answer. He was about to ask his next question when the farmer said, “Oh king! You are forgetting your promise.” The king gladly seated the wise farmer on the throne and coroneted him King. He seated himself at the feet of the new King and asked, “What does God do?” The farmer-king said, “God turns a ‘mountain into dust’ and ‘dust into a mountain’, in a second; just by His sweet will. He turns ‘a king into a pauper’ and ‘a pauper into a king!’ Look at me, I am a poor farmer who earns his bread by the sweat of his brow and you are a King. But right now, I am a King and you are my servant! This is God’s work! This is what He does!”
A stunned audience watched as the third question was asked, “Where does God live?” The farmer-king said, “God is present everywhere. He has countless names. The purpose of the Narasimha Avtar was to show that God is Omnipresent! To show to all present and to prove Bhakta Prahlada right, Lord Vishnu emerged out of a pillar in the court of King Hiranyakashyapu in the form of Narasimha. God lives everywhere! Show me a place where He is not present!”
The king was indeed in bliss. He asked his last question. “When does God laugh?” The farmer answered, “The soul is born and re-born again and again. Each time while in the womb of the mother, the unborn child prays and begs God for deliverance from the hell of the tiny womb it is caged in. Then God makes him promise, “I will not forget you Lord. I will always remember you. Please give me one more chance.” In this way the unborn child begs God to give him a chance to be born and get out of the womb. He promises to be good in his new life. But as soon as the jiva is born, he forgets all his promises and gets entangled in the worldly and mundane. This is when God laughs!
The answer was so satisfying that the king fell at the feet of the farmer-king. But the farmer said, “Oh King! I am a Brahmin. I cannot rule this Kingdom. It is yours. Remember that God is immanent in everything in the universe. Each person in your Kingdom is an embodiment of God. The food that your people eat is eaten by God. If they are happy, God is happy. Don’t forget that!”