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Are religious practises Bribery to God? – Part 2

Scriptures are a manual given by our loving father, God, and they work on similar principles. For the distracted souls, material well-being is an obsession; the scriptures slowly pull you into a life of healthy discipline by offering these pleasures in exchange for a well-organized life of spiritual regulations. Gradually as the devotee-like Raj in this story- matures in his devotional practices, he is self-motivated. He also realizes there is more to religion and God than merely getting a material bonanza.

Just as Raj’s father used bike and camera to lure his son to become a doctor, God uses these promises to help us become a lover of God. This assurance is not a weakness of God; instead, it’s His compassion to pull us into His loving embrace. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna declares, “As all surrender to me, I reward them accordingly; everyone follows my path.” (4.11)

Once we discover a taste in our spiritual practices, our relationship with God offers a profoundly fulfilling experience. The rewards offered in scriptures then appear as a mere thorn to pull the thorn of desire and lust from our hearts. Young Dhruva wanted an opulent and unrivaled kingdom, but when Supreme Lord Vishnu appeared before him, he regretted his desire. He confessed what he sought was broken pieces of glass while he now got a precious diamond!

The material rewards don’t matter; the ‘tempting’ statements of scriptures don’t motivate you to follow God, but instead, they increase your love for God. You just read them and like Desmond Tutu said they act as fire in winter-the words of scriptures fill you with God’s warmth and affection-no more analysis- period!

For a lover of God, the pleasures of this world are God’s gifts, and he accepts them gratefully, yet these pleasure feelings from things of this world pale in comparison to the rich experience of service to God and fellow beings – the other children of God!

A devotee doesn’t bribe God nor does God tempt him with gross enjoyments of this world. It’s a reciprocation of love; a reality of God’s love felt in this world. India’s renowned poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore said, “Faith is like that bird that feels the light even when the dawn is still dark.” Although life has its share of pain and suffering, it’s this light of loving service and evolved emotions for God that keeps us warm and cozy in this dark material world!

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