A friend of ours in India told us a very interesting and instructive story. Indu is a lawyer, and at the time these events took place, ran a large legal firm that represented some international companies.
One of his clients ran into entanglements, including being unable to transfer funds overseas. As a result, they couldn’t pay their suppliers or manufacture the goods that their customers had already paid for and needed. No matter what Indu did, he couldn’t untangle the knot, and the situation went from bad to worse. After three years, the government authorities stepped in and threatened to close Indu’s firm down.
Indu and his family are deeply devotional, and their lives were blessed by a great saint, Narayan Swami. Looking at the possibility of losing everything, Indu went in desperation to his guru to explain the situation and seek his help.
After listening to the problem, Narayan Swami asked him, “Do you surrender your life to me?”
Not knowing where else to turn, Indu replied, “What choice do I have?”
The Guru asked him again, but more strongly, “Do you surrender your life to me?”
Our friend repeated in desperation, “Sir, what choice do I have?”
Regarding Indu closely and with great power, Narayan Swami asked a third time, “Indu, do you surrender your life to me?
This time he replied with a resounding, “YES!”
The Guru smiled and said, “Good. Now I can help you.”
The next day at a gathering of friends, Indu met an executive secretary for a law firm based in America. She began telling him of the problems her boss was having, and Indu realized that he and the American lawyer could provide each other with the solutions that each of them needed. Within a few weeks, everything was resolved to the satisfaction of everyone concerned.
What can we learn from Indu’s story? When his reply to his guru was defeatist and passive, his guru couldn’t help him. But with his affirmative and energetic “YES,” Indu opened the door for Narayan Swami to begin working with the subtle laws that govern this universe.
In Paramhansa Yogananda’s book, Whispers from Eternity, he gives a wonderful explanation of the difference between beggarly prayers and prayer demands. When we passively plead for God’s help, we don’t generate enough focused energy to draw His response. But when, with positive faith, expectation, and inner power, we demand His answer, then we will receive it.
Our part in drawing God’s help is to be active, not passive; affirmative, not negative; and certain, not hesitant. Yoganandaji writes in his Whispers, “To know how and when to pray correctly, according to the nature of your demands, is what will, and cannot fail to, bring desired results. When the demand is made rightly—not selfishly, but in a self-giving way—it will set in motion in your favor the very laws of God.”