I was in class 5 when my mother decided that I needed to learn my prayers by heart. A really tough thing to do. I was studying in a convent where speaking in any other language than English was frowned upon. The prayers were in Punjabi. As the prayers had 38 stanzas mom decided that every week I could learn 5 stanzas. Lot of crying and begging got it to 5 stanzas every 15 days. When I didn’t learn them as promised she refused to comb my hair before going to school. And I had long unmanageable braids. Never knew my mom could be so tough.
I remember one Saturday- no school- but my mother insisted on the 5 stanzas. While reciting after her, I heard a hawker selling dosas – a novelty in north India 40 years ago. I was dying to run out and stop him but the prayers hadn’t finished. I kept wailing in my mind – “God because of you I am going to miss my dosas, you are not being fair”. By the time I finished the hawker had gone. I was standing outside morosely when suddenly I heard the hawker again. I ran and called him. I asked him how had he come back in the same lane. He said that he had got confused and instead of turning into the right lane had turned into the left one coming back to the same area. A coincidence?? I wonder. And with that small Dosa incident started my faith that there is a higher being who listens to you.
A small sakhi – as some of the readers had requested- Baba Farid’s mother wanted him to meditate on the name of the Lord. He loved sweets, so to encourage him, she told him that whoever meditates, God gives him sweets. So every day the small child would sit with his eyes closed – chanting- and his mother would keep a bowl of sweets in front of him when his eyes were closed. Farid was so happy getting the sweets and he continued chanting. Till one day when he got up from chanting but did not eat the sweets. On being asked why ,he said – “ mother I have tasted the sweetness of the Lord’s name. I don’t need these sweets now”.
Unfortunately I couldn’t teach my son Punjabi but thanks to improvements in technology he listens to the prayers on his phone. Doing sewa was another thing which my mother taught me and that is something he has imbibed too. Today when we are facing mental, emotional and many other issues due to COVID, Our faith has been a life saver. I really wish young parents today could teach their children prayers and importance of good deeds. Giving them a little incentive never hurts. You are laying the foundation of their spiritual life. And it’s never too early to start.
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