There was once a man who was a great devotee of God. He always believed that God would take care of him, regardless of the circumstances. One day a great flood came to the town in which he lived. All the neighbors began evacuating their homes. However, this man was not worried. "God will take care of me," he assured himself.
Soon, the flood waters began to rise and water filled the first floor of the man's home. "No problem," he thought and moved to the second floor. At this time a boat came by, and the men in the boat shouted to him through the window, "Climb in, we'll save you."
"No," the man replied calmly. "That's all right. God will save me." The men in the boat urged him to evacuate his home. "The waters are rising and rising," they cried. But, the man was undisturbed and sent them away, firm in his conviction that God would come through for him.
However, the rain continued and the waters rose and rose. The second and then third floor of his house filled with water. "No problem," he thought as he moved onto his rooftop. Sitting on the rooftop, wrapped in a rainjacket, the man saw a helicopter fly overhead. From the helicopter, a life preserver dropped down into the man's lap. "Grab on," the pilot yelled. "I'll save you."
But, the man would not grab on. "God will save me," he yelled back. "I don't need your life preserver." So, eventually, the helicopter flew away. The flood rose and soon the man drowned. When he entered Heaven, he said to God, "What happened? How could you let me drown? I thought you said you'd always save me. I had such faith in you."
God looked at the man sadly and said, "I sent you a boat; I sent you a helicopter. What else could I do?" How many times in life do we avoid taking advantage of the situations which present themselves, instead holding tenaciously to our belief in karma, or fate, or divine will/intervention? God will not always come to you draped in a saffron dhoti, flute in hand and whisk you away from unfortunate situations in His chariot. He is more subtle, less obvious. He sends us the life preserver, but it is our choice whether to recognize it as "God sent" and grab on, or to cling to the belief that something better and easier will come along shortly.
Karma does not mean that we have no choice or no free will. It means we are handed a certain set of circumstances due to past lives, sanskaras, and so many other factors.
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