God's protection is foolproofOne day a great Indian spiritual Master was sitting alone in his house, which overlooked the whole of his ashram. He was reading some of the letters that his disciples and admirers had recently written him when one of his oldest disciples knocked at the door. When he opened the door, he saw that she was weeping bitterly and it seemed that she had been crying for some time. She lived on the other side of the ashram and had run all the way.
"Master, O Master," she cried, "today is the worst day of my life! I can't understand how people can be so cruel. O Master!" and she began to weep loudly again.
"Mula, go wash your face and dry your tears and then come back and tell me the whole story," said the Master, with a loving smile.
The disciple went and did as the Master had asked. When she returned she sat at his feet and told the whole story: "Master, all year I have been saving my money so I could give it to you on your birthday. Since your birthday is only three weeks away, I had collected quite a sum — at least according to my standard. But when I returned home after my morning bath today, I found it all gone! Master, who could have done such a thing?"
"My child, don't be upset. It really doesn't matter. I have received inwardly all that you wanted to offer. But tell me, did you keep your house locked and everything in a safe place?"
"Yes, Master. I always make extra sure that my house is well locked. Master, please tell me, how can we prevent such things from happening in the future? Should we be more cautious? In every part of our lives should we be constantly on our guard against hostile forces?"
"My daughter, if we are cautious, there is a kind of tension. It very often can result in a tense mind, a tense vital or physical. Instead of being cautious, what we should do is pray and invoke the constant presence of the Supreme within us. Then we don't have to be cautious at all. When we are cautious, we say, 'I won't allow anyone to come in' or 'I won't allow that to happen to me.' Here we are trying to avoid something; we are trying to keep something from happening. But there is another way which is infinitely better, and that is to think of Someone who is all Protection, all Love. Then it becomes His problem, His headache."
"But, Master, what can the Supreme do when a thief wants to break into my house and I have not taken any precautions?"
"Dearest child, you must know that no matter how carefully we bolt our doors and windows, a real thief can enter in two minutes. No matter how cautious I am, he knows a way to break in. But if I am conscious of the Supreme and cry for His guidance and protection, then what will happen? When the burglar is coming towards my house, the Supreme will immediately enter into him and, in a fleeting second, change his mind. The burglar will think, 'Oh, he is a spiritual man, a wise man. He must keep his money in the bank. And anyway, spiritual men never have much money. I'll go somewhere else.' In a subtle, mysterious way the Supreme gives us protection when we need it. But no matter how cautious we are, there is no guarantee.
"The other day two of my disciples who live just outside the ashram were robbed while they were asleep in their own room. The robbers came into their room and stole their money. Just as the thieves were leaving, the disciples' mother awoke and called the police. The disciples were so surprised when the police came and woke them up. Why did this happen? Because they did not cry for the protection of the Supreme. According to their mental wisdom, bolting the door was enough."
"Master," asked the disciple, "wouldn't it be good if we could do both things — be careful and also invoke the Supreme?"
"Yes, indeed. It is very good when we can do both things — bolt the door and cry for the Supreme's protection. This way we have inner protection and outer protection. Our alertness must go together with God's Compassion. But we have to know that even our alertness comes from God, for who is it who gives us the wisdom to bolt the door if not God? So when it is a matter of real protection, we have to remember that God is the supreme protection. Only God's Compassion is foolproof."