The 'P-N Cycle' In Our Lives
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. Almost everyone on
earth is proud of his or her achievements. The achievement may in the field
of art, literature, adventure, business, profession, science, sport, and so
on. But whatever it is, the successful person, while no doubt thanking a few
here and there, does at the end of it all feel unabashedly, "I did it!" In
sports, in tennis for example, one sees this self-glorification loudly in
the body language. Do we for a moment ever stop to think where exactly this
so called success came from?
Every human being on earth gets several gifts from God, starting with life
itself. Some might object to this by saying, "Listen, what about those who
are born severely handicapped?" This is no doubt an important question and
we shall certainly not sweep it under the rug. We shall consider that issue
on a later occasion. But meanwhile, let us not forget that God does give us
many gifts, apart from the supreme gift of life in human form.
Just take a look at the fingers of the human body. Do we ever spend even a
minute to reflect on how many wonderful things these fingers can do? The
list is long and amazing. Without fingers, one would not be able to play the
flute or the piano or the violin or the drum, etc. One would not be able to
sculpt and paint, one would not be able to write and type, and so on. Just
think of sports, cricket say. Can one bowl without fingers? And what
variations of spin are possible thanks to the fingers! Or take surgery;
would surgery at all be possible if it were not for the fingers? You know
something? The great Isaac Newton once exclaimed, "The thumb alone is enough
to prove that God exists!" Yes, try opening a bottle without using your
thumb and you would know what Newton meant.
There is no creature on earth that can do what humans can do with their
fingers. It is not the fingers alone that have remarkable Divine powers in
them. In conjunction with the dexterity of the fingers, the hands and the
arms can do wonders. In his book on the Gita, Swami Chidbhavananda says that
when one describes Lord Subramania as having twelve hands what it really
means is that God has given man the power that is the equal of twelve hands.
Yes, we may have only two hands but supplementing them with machines, we can
do wonders, like driving and aero stunts, for example.
It is really not necessary to go on and on in this vein. In simple terms,
God blesses all, each in some measure, in accordance with the role that
person is supposed to play in the Cosmic Drama of His. Some may have the
gift of health, some may have the gift of wealth, some may have the gift of
speech and oratory, and some might have the gift of intellect. In the Gita,
the Lord makes it abundantly clear that whatever excellence humans might
exhibit using these various gifts, they all are manifestations of His Glory
and Power. So our first point really is that we all receive some extra gifts
from God, apart from the gift of life and the gift of the human form. The
question now is what do we do with these?
For most people, this question simply does not arise. They all believe that
whatever it is they have by way of talent, ability and so on is self-created
and self-acquired and that therefore they are not obliged to anybody else,
except perhaps in a marginal way. This simply is not true. However, deluded
as people usually are, they often start from this wrong premise and then
step by step systematically misuse the gifts they have.
Misuse means using these precious gifts of God for pandering to the desires
of the body and the mind. For example, a wealthy person may spend a lot of
money in gambling. A person with great computer skills might be busy
generating computer viruses, just for kicks as they say. You might ask,
"Then what is one supposed to do with what you call the gifts of God"? That
precisely is what we are coming to.
In the Indian tradition, there are two words that are used in the rituals
one performs as adoration of God. These words are: Prasaadam, and Naivedyam.
The former word we all have heard, since Prasaadam is often distributed
during functions here; the word essentially means a blessing from God. The
other word Naivedyam means an offering to God. In the ritual, food and other
items are offered to God by way of consecrating them but in our context, any
loving offering we make becomes a Naivedyam.
OK, all this is fine, but what exactly is the point we are trying to make?
That point is this. We all, each in our own way, receive some gifts from
God. Some of these have been mentioned earlier. These gifts are the
Prasaadam of God. Life must be so lived that one makes use of these
Prasaadams and gives it back to God as Naivedyam. For a moment, let us go
back to the offerings made to God. People offer flowers to God. They pluck
the flowers and make a garland before offering. In worldly parlance, "some
value addition" is made before offering to God - that is the key point. We
must offer the talents we have in a suitable manner before offering to God.
In this context, it is useful to remember that Society is God. Swami reminds
us of this often but we tend to forget. Thus, when we use our gifts for the
benefit of Society in a reverential manner, we are actually offering
Naivedyam to God. Let us say there is a scientist and he makes a great
discovery of an anti-cancer drug. These days, the scientist is most likely
to patent the drug and make tons of money on it. On the other hand, if the
scientist waives his patent and allows one and all to freely use his
discovery in the service of Society, then he is offering his knowledge, a
Prasaadam of God, back to God as Naivedyam in the shape of his discovery.
If you think about it, there are any number of such examples one can offer.
The point is that in each case, there is a cycle - God gives Prasaadam, and
it is offered back to God as Naivedyam; that is to say, life becomes a P-N
cycle. You might wonder whether at all people do feel this way. Sure there
are such people, and here are two examples. In December 1996, an unusual
event took place here in Prashanti Nilayam - that was the staging of a
one day international cricket match between an India XI and an International
XI, the Unity Cup Match as it was known. Speaking during the concluding
function, the famous West Indian cricketer Clive Lloyd said, "Talent is a
gift of God and it must be offered back to God." Similarly, a Pakistani
singer of Ghazals (Islamic devotional music popular in Pakistan and India)
when asked why she was not adopting modern methods of singing replied, "I
can't do that. Ghazals are a gift of Allah and I must offer it back to Allah
in a pure form and not with modern distortions."
The P-N cycle is not our invention; Krishna commends it in the Gita though
He does not quite put it the way we do. And people who have not even heard
of the Gita (like Clive Lloyd, for example) have felt it in their bones for the
simple reason that God has spoken to them from Inside.
Life, as Swami says, must be lived for God because that is the easiest way
of going back to God - from God we have come and to God we must return. The
P-N cycle guarantees a safe return journey - that is what we think. What
about you? Please write and tell us what you feel. We would love to hear
Jai Sai Ram
With Love and Regards,
RadioSai's e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service.