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Shri Nathji was very fond of this parable, which he told in his sermons several times.
A child fell. His mother was in the kitchen. The child tried to get up with his own efforts. He leaned against a table, but it slid away. He caught the back of a chair, but it toppled. He clutched at the curtains which tore and fell to the ground. When all his efforts had failed, he cried out loudly to his mother in a tearful voice: Mother! Maa!
The mother was boiling milk in the kitchen. The moment she heard the cry of her child, she left the milk to boil over and came running to her child. She lifted him from the ground and clasped him to herself.
The child said amidst tears: “A fine mother you are! I fell a long time ago but you came only just now.
The mother looked at the things in the room:
The table – what happened to it?
I had held on to it.
And the chair, how did it fall?
I had grabbed it to raise myself.
And the curtain?
I had grasped at it.
The mother said to the child:
Son, when you were making your own efforts to get up, I was doing my own work. But when all your efforts failed and you called out to me, how long did I take? I came running immediately!
The next day the child thought of playing games with his mother. He deliberately called out to her in a loud voice. But the mother did not respond. He called out again and again, but the mother did not come. Vexed, he went to the kitchen and found his mother cooking daal-lentils!
Mother, said the child, you don’t love me anymore! Yesterday, when I called out to you, you left the milk to boil over and came running. Today I called you several times but you wouldn’t leave this daal to come to me.
The mother said: Son, did you fall today? –Betaa aaj gire thhe?”
Yes, the child lied.
Did you fall yesterday as well? –Kal bhee gire thhe?
Yes, said the child.
Then how is it that you came over to the kitchen today, and couldn’t do so yesterday?–To aaj kaise utth ke aa gaye ho aur kal kyon naheen utth ke aa gaye?”
The child was caught, and felt ashamed of himself.
The mother said:
When you genuinely need me and cry out to me, I leave everything and come running. But when you only pretend, then I, too, busy myself making ‘daal’ in the kitchen!
“Tum jab sachhe dil se pukaarte ho main sab kuchh chhorr kar chali aati hoon, magar jab tum jhutlaate ho to main bhee daal banaayaa karti hoon!”
So it is with man and God. When man falls and cries to God, God comes running to help him. The delay in Divine help occurs only because man makes His own efforts before calling out to God. There are also occasions when man calls out to God just for the sake of calling, and has no sincerity of purpose. In such situations, God, too, does not respond, for He knows of the sincerity–or lack of it–of the man who is calling out to Him.