Thank you GOD!
A lonely prisoner of war was seated in his prison cell all alone one day. The others were out working in the courtyard. For some reason, the boy had stayed back quietly. His absence had luckily gone unnoticed… but not for long.
A Jailer popped in and snarled, “What are you doing here alone?” The prisoner looked up and said softly, “Sir, I just wanted to be alone with the Lord for sometime, so I stayed back.” The Jailer gave him a mocking look and said, “Time with the Lord, or time to play cards?” The prisoner said, “Sir, we are not allowed to visit a temple nor do we have anytime for prayer. So I thought I would thank the Lord through this pack of cards.”
The Jailer looked at him incredulously and said, “And how would you do that?”
“Sir, when I look at the Ace, I bow to the Om which is the single sound from which the entire creation was made. It is the form of the formless God. Looking at the two, I pay obeisance to the two Holy books of the Hindus: the Ramayana and the Bhagwad Gita. The three reminds me, of the time God gifted to each one of us i.e. the past, the present and the future and I thank God for them all. The four reminds me, of the four Dhaams i.e. four holy places of the Hindus namely Badrinath, Rameshwaram, Dwarika and Jagannathpuri. I bow my head in reverence for them all.
When I see the five, I am reminded of the five mothers we worship i.e. Mother Earth, Mother Cow, Vedamaata i.e. the four vedas, Mother India and our physical mother. The six, is reminiscent of the three aspects of the trinity along with their consorts, i.e. Brahma the creator, with his consort Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning; Vishnu the protector, along with his consort Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth; Mahesha the Destroyer of evil, along with his consort Shakti the Goddess of Power. I bow my head at their divine feet. The seven represents, the Sapt Rishis, who got the honour of becoming stars in the sky namely Vaishtha, Atri, Jamdagani, Bharadwaja, Kashyap, Gautama and Vishwamitra. I bow to them for having gained this exalted position in the sky. The eight represents the Ashta Gurus that guide us-
1 Bodha Guru- One who teaches shastras,
2 Veda guru- One who teaches the Vedas,
3 Nishiddha Guru- One who teaches about rights and duties,
4 Kaamya Guru- One who engages us in meritorious deeds,
5 Vaachaka Guru- One who imparts the knowledge of Yoga,
6 Soochaka Guru- One who teaches sense control,
7 Kaarma Guru- One who reveals the unity of Jiva and Atma,
8 Vihita Guru- One who reveals the process of selfdiscovery and selfrealization.
The nine, represents the nine forms of Durga i.e. Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandmaata, Kaatyayini, Kaalraatri, Mahagauri and Siddharaatri. And I ask for blessings from them all.
The ten, stands for the ten Avatars or forms of God’s incarnation on earth to redeem mankind from evil. I bow to the forms of Matasya, Koorma, Varaaha, Narasimha, Vaamana, Parashurama, Shri Rama, Krishna, Buddha and the Kalgi Avataras. And I thank the Lord, for having descended on the Earth whenever mankind pleaded for Him to come to their aid.
My father taught me that the number eleven teaches us that 1 and 1 standing together make 11 and not two. In that sense, 11 teaches us that ‘Unity is strength.’ I thank the Lord for all the people who stand by me and give me strength.
The twelve reminds me of the Aadityas or luminaries that reveal the objective world and who are the manifestation of the formless God and I love God for making them.
The so called unlucky thirteen, or the king reminds me of the all pervading Lord, who says that nothing is unlucky if you can feel that God is by your side. For he who can experience the presence of God, is a king in the kingdom of the king of kings.
There are 4 symbols in this pack; they represent the four seasons i.e. summer, winter, autumn and spring. Each of these has 13 cards and there are 13 weeks in each quarter of the year. Together they make 52 cards – one each for each week of the year. The extra joker card is for the 366th day of the leap year, which comes only once in four years. All these remind me of all that God created and planned for us and I take the opportunity to thank Him for all that He has bestowed upon us.”
The jailer stood, hearing each word intently. All that escaped his dried lips was “Young man, could I borrow your pack of cards?”