Volume 8 - Issue 07
JULY 2010
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Multi-faith Quiz on

Servitude to the Lord

Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

 

“Gurur Devo Bhava” means “The Guru is verily God”. This is one of the main Vedic injunctions which highlights the exalted status that is accorded to the Guru in Indian culture and spirituality. Baba says it is the mother that shows the child its father, who in turn takes the little one to his/her Guru. And it is the Guru who introduces God to the child. That is the reason why the Guru is so vital in the spiritual development of the child. “Only he is a true Guru who is competent and capable enough to raise the pupil to his own level,” said Baba during a Guru Poornima discourse in 1984. Instances of such Gurus and their devoted disciples in the history of mankind are many; however some stand out like the moon in an ocean of stars. There is plenty to imbibe from the lives of these exalted souls (as you will find out from this quiz) and practice in our daily lives so that we too can learn to serve the Lord and be dear to Him.

1. Servanthood is at the very heart of the Christian faith. A servant of Christ is someone who has been called first to intimately know Christ and His salvation, then to daily pick up his cross and follow Him by placing his devotion to Christ above any other human, material possession, and philosophy.  Following his Master, the disciple becomes more and more like Him, emulating Christ’s thinking, feeling, and living.

Among the twelve Apostles of Jesus, John was the youngest. It is believed that he lived the longest after Christ, and hence spent the maximum years spreading the Master’s message. John alone among the Apostles remained near Jesus at the foot of the cross when he was crucified. Church tradition holds that John is the author of the Gospel of John and four other books of the New Testament.

As a humble, dear and devoted disciple, near the end of his life, which teaching of Jesus did John constantly impart to all Christians?

Serve one another
Love one another
Always be happy
Never hurt anybody

 

2. “Buddhadasa” means one who offers ones life in service of the Lord Buddha by feeling indebted to the Buddha’s Great Compassion. Out of gratitude, the servant chants "Buddhassahasmi daso va, Buddho me samikissaro" (I am the Lord Buddha's servant, the Lord Buddha is my master).

Ānanda, the first cousin of the Buddha, was one such servant who devoted himself to Buddha with a special childlike fervor and served as his personal attendant for twenty-five years. Descriptions of him indicated he had no intellectual attainments, but that he was a man of great sincerity and had a loving nature.

Buddha repeatedly heaped praise upon him for both his understanding of the Dhamma and for his tireless efforts in its service and sometimes even asked him to substitute for Him as a teacher, and then later stated that He Himself would not have presented the teachings in any other way.

Because he attended the Buddha personally and often traveled with him, Ānanda overheard and memorized many of the discourses the Buddha delivered to various audiences. Therefore, he is often called the disciple of the Buddha, "_________".

One who was “The Perfect Disciple”
One who was “Most Patient”
One who “Heard Much”
One who was “The Chosen Servant”

 

3. Whenever one thinks of Guru Nanak, a typical image springs to mind: the Guru and his disciple/server/companion Mardana, are sitting quietly under the cool leaf-canopy of a tree – a typical setting of Guru Nanak - in natural places and outside towns and villages. The Guru is ever-radiant and energetic, always thinking of the many more places and people with whom He must share the Word of God.

Mardana was himself a Muslim. As he attended prayers in a mosque, Nanak also accompanied him, and some times joined in prayers and recited verses in praise of Allah. Like Guru Nanak’s other Muslim disciples, Mardana remained a Muslim throughout his life; he dedicated himself for the heavenly and sacred mission of Guru Nanak and helped his Master serve and save a world beset with spiritual darkness and social injustice.

Mardana was well aware that the person he accompanied wasn't any ordinary human being. He always lived in submission to Guru Nanak’s orders and had a deep faith in the Guru. It was because of such steadfast devotion that the Guru always kept him close by and never parted his company. Guru Nanak blessed Mardana saying; "Mardania, if you are exalted and delighted, so too is this world."

As a result of Guru Nanak’s blessing, Mardana had acquired the ultimate understanding. He understood the mysterious and incomprehensible secrets of the universe from his Guru. Both lived together and became inseparable.

How exactly did Mardana serve His Master Guru Nanak, while accompanying Him everywhere?

Both of them would sing songs together in praise of God
He interpreted His discourses
He made all travel arrangements for His tours
He cooked all His meals and attended to all His personal needs everywhere He went

 

4. After Zarathustra received a vision from God, who appointed Him to preach the truth, He began preaching His message of cosmic strife between Ahura Mazda, the God of Light and the principle of evil.

Once, when Zarathustra was asked: “Who art thou, O honorable one?” Thereupon Zarathustra gave the answer: “I am the servant of Ahura Mazda…” Thereafter, Zarathushtra was only looking forward to the days when blessed with wisdom through good mind beneficent persons will teach people how to promote and maintain the world, praying often with a keen yearning:

“When, Wise One, shall those days dawn which will,
for the maintenance of the righteous world,
motivate the wisdom of the benefactors with advanced teachings.
To whom shall this wisdom come with good mind to help?
For myself, Lord, I choose Your teachings. (Gathas: 11-3)

And when He humbly asked Almighty: “Who is my (Zarathushtra’s) righteous companion? Who wishes fame for the Great Fellowship?”  Which of the former Kings of Persia’s name was revealed to serve Zarathustra?

King Vishtaspa
King Cyrus
King Darius
Xerxes the Great

 

5. All Muslims know that Prophet Muhammad would often go to the Mountain of Hira for meditation. One humble and pious soul, named Imam Ali, often went with Him. Sometimes they stayed on the mountain for 3 or 4 days and often Ali took his food there. Once Ali said: “I used to go with the Holy Prophet like the baby camel goes with his mother.”

The Holy Prophet named him Ali, meaning "the exalted one" and regarded him as His Muslim brother saying, “O’ Ali, you are my brother in this world as well as in the next!” Ali promised to help Muhammad in His mission and kept this promise all his life.

Muslims know that when Allah made Mohammad aware of the intrigue of his enemies and commanded him to leave Mecca by night, upon receiving this revelation, He decided to leave his homeland and migrate to Yathrib [now called, Medina].

In the Noble Qur'an, Allah says: "And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners." (8:30)

How was the Prophet able to migrate from Mecca to Medina with His loyal Imam Ali’s help?

Ali helped the Prophet to disguise as a woman and escape
Ali slept on His bed to fool the enemies
Ali set traps for the enemies on the road to deter them from entering into Medina
Ali convinced the enemies that the Prophet had already left

 

6.When the Bahá’í leader, Bahá'u'lláh, was in exile, his eldest son, nine-year-old 'Abbás, who later assumed the title of 'Abdu'l-Bahá (Servant of Bahá), accompanied Him. As a child, `Abdu'l-Bahá suffered along with his Father Bahá'u'lláh, during the persecutions against the Bábis. He had such spiritual insight that, as a young boy, he intuitively recognized the station of his Father. As he grew older, `Abdu'l-Bahá became his Father's closest companion and emerged as his deputy, his shield.

In the words of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, “Abdu'l-Bahá was the ‘Trust of God,’ ‘a shelter for all mankind,’ ‘the most great Favor,’ and God's ‘ancient and immutable mystery.’

Despite the receptivity and acclaim given to him, `Abdu'l-Bahá made clear the Source of his thought and his true station. In a letter to his followers in America, he wrote: “My name is `Abdu'l-Bahá [literally, Servant of Baha]. My qualification is `Abdu'l-Bahá. My reality is `Abdu'l-Bahá. My praise is `Abdu'l-Bahá. Thraldom to the Blessed Perfection [Bahá'u'lláh] is my glorious and refulgent diadem, and servitude to the human race my perpetual religion... No name, no title, no mention, no commendation have I, nor will ever have, except `Abdu'l-Bahá. This is my longing. This is my greatest yearning. This is my eternal life. This is my everlasting glory.” 

What was Abdu'l-Bahá’s greatest legacy left behind in honour of his father Bahá'u'lláh's teachings?

He built several temples in his father’s name
He gave sermons on each and every single day of the rest of his life
He was the authorized interpreter of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings
He taught many other Bahá’í’s how to be a true servant of the Lord

 

7. Jains firmly believe that their Lord Mahävira attained absolute perception, absolute knowledge and absolute truth. He had many pupils who were divided into 11 groups and each of them was placed under one Ganadhar [a group leader]. As such, there were 11 Ganadhars in all. The first and foremost was Gautam Swami, whose idol can be seen in several Jain temples.

Gautam Swami was a very learned intellectual. But when he met Lord Mahävira and found that the Lord was far more learned than him, he let go of his ego and became His disciple. He is credited for the first compilation of all of Lord Mahävira’s preachings, collectively known as Ägam. As the Lord’s chief interpreter, he explained His teachings to all.

And yet, in spite of his humble attitude of servitude, he did not become omniscient until Bhagavan Mahavira's Nirvana. Why?

Because he was too attached to the Lord
Because he was assigned to many other spiritual services yet
Because he did not wish so until his next birth
Because he had too many societal bondages

 

8. Jews know that not only did Moses regard himself as a servant of the Lord by saying humbly: “…O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." [Exodus 4:10-12]

But the Jews also believe that God Himself called Moses His "servant" many times too, and on many occasions, even in the very Last Book of His Word, the Book of Revelation:

"And they sing the Song of Moses, the servant of God,
and the Song of the Lamb, saying,
Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty;
Just and True are Thy ways, Thou King of Saints" (Revelation 15:3).

When Moses was asked to lead the Israelites to safety under God’s instructions, and when He pleaded humbly: "O my Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send?” Whom did the Lord send?

His father-in-law Jethro
His brother Aaron
He didn’t trust anyone else but God Himself
His sister Miriam

 

9. During a Divine Discourse given in1996, Swami explains how servitude should be the hallmark of the true meaning of spiritual love: “There is love of sorts today. It is related to the body consciousness and not to the Self, which is the basis. Spiritual love begins with the concept of Dhaasoham (I am your servant) and culminates in the concept of Soham (He and I are one). Without the feeling of Dhaasoham, you cannot experience the feeling of Soham; Soham is the expression of divine oneness. "The Aathma and I are one."

During another Divine Discourse delivered in 1999, while explaining the 9 types of devotion, Swami also reveals how the Lord can become a servant too! “Nidhanavathi represents the nine paths of devotion, namely sravanam (listening), kirtanam (singing), vishnusmaranam (contemplating on the Lord), padasevanam (service to the Lotus Feet), vandanam (salutation), archanam (worship), dasyam (to be a servant of the Lord), sneham (friendship), and Atmanivedanam (Self surrender). The ancient sages and seers attained supreme bliss by following these nine paths of devotion.”

By narrating a story and revealing how God, who is greater than the earth, the sky, the ocean, etc…Swami sweetly declared that there is someone who can be even greater than God, and whose servant God is willing to become! According to Swami, who can that be?

A Mother
A father
A true devotee
An innocent child

 

10. During a Divine Discourse delivered in 2005, Swami revealed to us how He held one of His truest, most humble servant/devotee, Subbamma’s undying love and service to Him, close to heart: “Subbamma was held in high esteem by the entire village. She was the head of the village, being the wife of the Karanam. The entire property of the village was in her name. However, since she came into the fold of Swami, she had no other interest in life, except Swami. Right from early morning till she went to bed, she was constantly engaged only in Swami’s work. On certain occasions I used to retire into the caves of the nearby hills without informing her. Poor lady! She used to go round the hills in search of Me.

“She used to pack upma, dosa, vada, idli, etc., in a tiffin carrier and come in search of Me. At last, when she could find Me, I used to enquire teasingly, ‘Subbamma! What did you bring for Me?’ She used to reply, ‘Swami! I brought the items of Your taste.’ Then I used to tell her, ‘Give Me dosa.” She then served dosa in a plate and handed it over to Me. I used to tease her further saying, ‘Subbamma! I don’t like this dosa. Give Me idli, upma, vada, etc.’ Poor lady! She used to serve Me all those items. From morning till evening, she used to prepare a number of items and wait for Me. Yet, she was anxious to know what more did I need.”

We know that our Beloved Bhagavan does not need anything! Then what reason did our Lord give to Subbamma, for asking all these questions about various food servings? 

To tease her
To confuse her
To test her
To make her devotion known to the world

Dear Reader, did you like this quiz? Is it too difficult? Is it interactive enough? Would you like more such quizzes? Please help us in serving you better by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

- Heart2Heart Team

 

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