Chapter 3: Solving the Riddle
And as your attention to the flower increases, you will realize that the same sap flows in the thorns as in the flowers. Therefore how could there be conflict between the two? The mind tends to concentrate on the thorns; it turns its attention to what is not, to where the fault is, the complaint, the failing. It has an eye for dissatisfaction, nonfulfillment. What is left but to make demands? So a man filled with the mind goes to a temple to ask; he is a beggar.
If you set the mind aside a little, you begin to see more and more flowers; you attain to the power and the joy of life. So much have you received from the very beginning what source is there for complaint? And if he who has given so much has kept something back, there must be a reason for it. Perhaps you are not yet prepared to receive it, or lack the worthiness.
Anything that comes before its time brings suffering rather than joy. Everything has its own time to ripen. When you have ripened God will give. Infinite are his ways of giving; thousands are his hands, spread in all directions - raining bounty on one and all!
The Hindu concept of God is a thousand-armed being. This concept is full of love. They say: “He gives with a thousand hands, not just two! You will not be able to hold his gifts because you have only two. He gives with a thousand hands - but at the right time, so wait for the moment without complaint - and his grace begins to rain in torrents.”
Nanak says even when they sing the Lord’s praise they do not fail to ask, and the Lord keeps on giving. But these blind people see not, and still clamor for more. While his grace pours down on them, they wail endlessly that they are thirsty, as if they have fallen in love with their suffering!
Then what offering can we make to gain a glimpse of His court?
This is very significant. Nanak says God has given so much, there is nothing left to be asked for. When complaints fall away and you are filled with gratitude, you wonder what you should take as a love-offering to his feet.
What shall we offer at his court? What shall we place before his feet when we express our thanksgiving? How shall we worship, how shall we adore him? You take flowers, pluck them from bushes - his bushes. They were better off on the plant, still living. You plucked them and killed them. You kill his flowers and offer them at his feet - and you are not ashamed? What can you give him - everything is his!
When you spend your money to build a church or mosque, what are you doing? You are returning to him his own things, and yet you are filled with pride. You say, “I built the temple. I fed so many poor. I distributed so many clothes.” You give so little, yet you become arrogant.
What does this show but that you have not understood? Returning a little bit of the infinite gifts you receive from above is not a matter of pride. Yet you go to offer the gift and you are not even ashamed!