Your devotion for God should be absolute. Devotion means firm love for Him. Devotion means total surrender to His lessons of love, compassion and not hurting others. Devotion should never disappear if sufferings fall on you. If devotion changes then it cannot be called devotion. Devotion fills you with love for Him and His rules that makes life happy and peaceful.
Many worship Him for the fulfilment of their desires. If desires are in the mind, then mind cannot be understood as having devotion. Then you are doing business with God.
A true devotee does not wish for any material thing or fame or power. He wishes for wisdom that will stop him doing any bad Karma.
A devotee believes that God never gives you sufferings. If they befall you, those are the result of your own bad Karma. He never blames God for his sufferings. Instead he takes the sufferings happily and positively.
A lady aged about 50 years used to worship idols of God for about two hours everyday. She also observed fasts and held Katha and Paths often. She was well known to others as a staunch devotee. Once sufferings befell her that paralysed half of her body. From that day, she stopped worshipping God and started blaming Him for her sufferings. She felt it was God’s injustice to her.
Another lady aged about 60 years was also a devotee of God. She fell down twice in two years and broke her hip bone and leg bone separately. She was confined to bed for months. But her devotion to God remained the same. She felt it was the result of her own bad Karmas and thanked God for saving her from more intense sufferings. She used to feel that God must have reduced her sufferings otherwise worse could have happened.
Sufferings are a test. They test the strength of your love and devotion for Him. Only a true devotee can pass the test. God always listens to the prayer of a devotee and He is always there to reduce the intensity and duration of his sufferings.
A devotee’s mind remains focussed on God and not on his sufferings. He remembers God at all times. He does not concentrate on his sufferings. To him sufferings are a part and parcel of life just as pleasure is. He does give importance to it. This is the reason a devotee feels that his sufferings were there for only a short period. Whereas a non-devotee remembers his sufferings all the time and therefore he feels that the duration of his sufferings is very long. The more you remember your sufferings, the longer you feel them. The more you remember God, the shorter you feel your sufferings.
Sufferings should be taken by a devotee as a test for the strength of devotion. Come what may, he should know that God is there watching over him at all times. The bad patches in a person’s life are the result of his own bad karma and that they are there to teach him something.
This article by Pavan Jain was published in his fortnightly column titled “Mind Mantra” in the Hindustan Times, Lucknow edition.