When I came back to India, I had no job to begin with and because I was at home, I started listening to the various prayers that my parents used to listen to including the Kanakadhara stotram, composed by Guru Adi Shankaracharya. The story behind the composition moved me. 

For those who are unaware of the story, briefly, the story goes that Guru Adi Shankara in his early life (as a student ascetic), went for alms to a poor woman’s house and all she had in her house were picked or pickled gooseberries (amla fruit). So she gave Shankara those gooseberries in alms. At that moment, Guru Adi Shankaracharya composed the Kanakadhara stotram suo motu and extempore in praise of Lord Mahalakshmi and it bestowed great fortune to the lady.

The emotion it evoked in me was that what a majestic heart would drive the generous action of giving the only thing that you probably have for your own survival to another.

Then on each time I chanted or heard this stotram, I used to remember the story and it evoked the same emotion in me. I became a believer that chanting this prayer would actually yield results. I started filling up a job application while listening to the stotram, believing that the stotram would land me the job.  However as I was affixing my certificates and documents to the application, I came across an old envelope which I opened just to check if anything was there and I found 500$ tucked in. Eventually, I also landed the job. 

Despite this with time I started to think, could an application (a piece of paper) carry an emotion?  I am since then trying to get back that magical moment where there was nothing but belief in complete generosity.

When I look back, co-incidentally those moments were also when I was certainly very confident,  but it seems that I have lost it. Hence the title. 

Pay Anything You Like

Usha Padmanabhan

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