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What Would You Ask For?

I recently saw a movie, called Shortcut to Happiness, starring Alec Baldwin. The movie tells the story of a failed writer, Jabez Stone, who agrees to sell his soul to the devil in return for success.

The Devil transforms his life. He becomes successful beyond his wildest dreams. Rich, famous, and irresistible to women.

However, he soon realizes that success isn’t all that it’s made out to be, and regrets the contract he has made with the Devil. When he gets the chance, he leaves no stone unturned to try to break the contract even if it means he will have to sacrifice his success.

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There is a story in Greek mythology about a king named Midas who had the ability to turn anything he touched into gold.

The story goes thus that the satyr Silenus,who was the foster-father of Dionysus, the God of the Grape-harvest, enjoyed the hospitality of Midas for ten days. In return for this,  Dionysus offered the King anything he wished for.  Midas asked for the power to turn anything he touched into gold.

At first he was overjoyed with his new ability. But he soon found that he could not eat or drink because any food or liquid he touched turned into gold.

And to his horror, even his beloved daughter turned into a gold statue when he touched her. Overcome with grief, he begged  Dionysus to take back his gift.

Dionysus took pity on him and told him to go to the banks of the Pactolus river, and wash his hands in its waters. Midas did as he was instructed, and became free of the ability which had become a curse for him.

He returned home and was relieved to find that everything , including his daughter, had returned to normal again.

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Four hundred years ago,  Samarth Ramdas Swami  wondered “What should we ask for, from Sri Ram?”

And he himself answered the question in the following manner-

कोमल वाचा दे रे राम | विमळ करणी दे रे राम ||

[Oh Ram, let me be gentle in speech, let me work for the good of others.]

He went on to ask for प्रसंग ओळखी [ the ability to recognise the importance of any situation] ,  धुर्तकळा [ good judgement], हितकारक [ that which is for the good of all], जनसुखकारक [ that which gives joy to all], and other similar things.

And, exceptional personality that he was, finally, Samarth Ramdas Swami appealed to Shri Ram to-

मजविण तू मज दे रे राम | दास म्हणे मज दे रे राम ||
[Give me myself without any curtain of ego hiding my true self.  Give me Yourself, revealed to me in your true form.]
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What would I ask for, I wonder, if I could have anything I wanted?
 
What would you?
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18 responses to “What Would You Ask For?

  1. Wonderful post, and interlinking of stories across the ages, manju ! So much to learn here, and we still continue to be greedy beyond limits, in money, power, almost anything. Good question , posed in the end ….

    • Yes, we continue to be greedy. And the irony is that even if we get what we want, it does not make us happy! Possibly we do not even know what we really want/ need. :)

  2. Lovely post Manju. No one can deny that money does play an important role in our lives. But when that becomes your sole aim, taking precedence over other things, it causes all problems. Adhering to certain values and working with sincerity can bring best results. No resorting to quick gains. But what would I ask for? At this stage in life, good health and happiness..

  3. That’s an interesting point, Radha, that at this stage in life, you would ask for good health and happiness. I suppose that our desires are different at different stages in life.

    Perhaps it’s natural that a person just starting out in his/her career would try to get fame and fortune. And such ambition is necessary, too. Only it should not become- as you mention- one’s sole aim.

  4. the ability to travel and learn as long as i live

  5. I also saw that movie and loved it…I would ask god to give me the ability to surrender myself to him completely and live happily with whatevr he gives me

    • I loved the movie, too, Renu. Really made me think about this subject.

      “Live happily with whatever he gives”- That would enable one to have great peace of mind, wouldn’t it?

      • whatevr:)..I dont want to ask anything in special, as he knows better than me about what is good for me,And I have seen many times in life that we demand certain things but when we get them, they prove to be bad..so i want to have that faith and trust in god.and give him completely…

  6. You always inter-weave different types of stories very beautifully, Manju!

    I ask god to give me patience, health and happiness…in that order! Even at this age, I get upset for small small things, which is wrong!

    I am happy that god has given me the ability to appreciate good music, to appreciate good books etc.

    Shall I pour out more?!

  7. You have woven three different stories of three different times and culture to drive home the point. I have learnt that when we ask for specific things, we sometimes get things we didn’t bargain for. God knows what we need and it is best to leave the decision to Him. And believe me, it is always, but always the best thing that can happen. Only, the lesson is forgotten the next time I am confronted by a problem :(

    • Oh, yes, I agree with you, Zephyr!

      Sort of Karmanye vadhikarste ma phaleshu kadachan attitude?

      Perhaps we should ask God to give the abilities we need to carry out our various duties in life?

  8. Loved your post….

    Even I do not ask God for something specific since I am not sure if it is good for me.. life has taught me that :)
    I pray that I shall always have faith to approach Him in prayer. I also pray that there would be enough joy and pains so that I shall go to him with my thanks or troubles.

  9. Only if some of could learn a thing or two from here.

  10. nice movie
    thoughtful question
    Happy new year

  11. Very recently a colleague of mine told me in order to create another mountains and hills and oceans, we need to have the mind of the highest energy in oneself….it was a pretty thought I thought ..

    This person is very gentle, always happy and I asked her the secret of her being.She said many things and one of which sounded like what ramdas asked

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