In the northern state of India, there is a great and hugely popular temple of God Krishna. Hundreds of priests are employed for the prayer and taking care of the God. One night the chief priest of temple dreamed that the God will visit the temple next day. The chief priest awake from his sleep and started wondering in disbelief. He knows it very well that there is no god. So, how is it possible that the god himself will come to the temple next day? He could not sleep and spend rest of the night thinking about his dream and what to do.
The chief priest never believed in such thing called the existence of god. He knew that there does not exist God. Each day the food he offered to God but he knew that in reality he had offered it to himself. He knew that his everyday prayer never reached the god and his invocations were lost in the empty sky. “It was just a dream and a dream rarely turns into reality.” – he murmured to himself.
However, he was a bit scared too. The priest thought that sometime dreams become true too. If his dream becomes true, the god arrives at his temple, he is unprepared and not able to serve the God, he will loose a golden opportunity to serve the real God and obtain his grace. After lots of deliberation, he decided to share his dream with his close colleagues and priests. He called them into the central hall of the temple and said, “It may seem to you as a joke, yet I should tell you about it. Last night I dreamed of God appearance in my dream and God said that he would visit us today.”
His colleagues started laughing and making joke of him, “Are you mad that you believe in dreams? Please stop here. Please don’t tell others about it. People will think you are gone crazy. You are such a learned man who knows it very well that God does not exist.”
The head priest insisted, “Sometime dreams come true as well. We should prepare in the anticipation of God arrival. There is no harm if he does not turn up. But, if he comes, we will not be found wanting and this will not make god feel good about us.” He ordered the priests to start preparing for the God arrival and offer their best to appease the God if he arrives at the temple.
All the priests started the preparation for God arrival. They decorated the temple with flowers, flags and festoons. Lamps were lit and incense burned. Perfumes were sprayed everywhere in the surrounding. The priests begin chanting the sacred mantras and performing ritual invocations.
The priests tired themselves out in the course of the entire day, but God did not turn up. Every now and then they looked up the road and they were disappointed not seeing any glimpse of god arrival. The evening was fast approaching but the God did not turn up.
Finally, they consoled themselves, ”Dream is a dream after all; God is not going to come. We were fools to believe in the dream of chief priest and get carried away by the order. It was good that we did not inform the people of the town; otherwise they would have simply laughed at us. We would have lead people to the great disappointment.”
By evening the priests gave up all hope and they ate the sumptuous food cooked for the God. They were chatting among themselves - “It has ever been so: what we offer to God is consumed by us in the end. No one is going to turn up. The irony is that we knowingly made fools of ourselves.”
“If others go mad, they can be excused, because they don’t know. But we know God never comes. Where is God? There is this idol in the temple; it is all there is to it. And it is our business, our profession to worship him.”
They had early dinner and went to bed early, as they were tired. When it was midnight, a chariot pulled up at the gate of the temple. One of the sleeping priests heard the sound of the chariot and thought that it was God’s chariot. He shouted to others, ” Friends, hope you listen the sound of chariot pulled up at the gate of the temple. It seems God, for whom we waited the whole day has arrived at our temple. I heard the noise of the chariot.”
The colleague priests sleeping nearby snubbed him saying, ”Shut up, you crazy one. We have had enough of madness all through the day; now that it is night let us sleep well. It is not the sound of a chariot, but the rumblings of the clouds in the skies.”
The chariot halted at the gate, and the God climbed the steps of the temple and knocked at its door. And again one of the priests woke up from sleep and shouted to his associates, ”It seems our guest the God has arrived whom we awaited the whole day long. He is knocking at the door.”
The other priests berated him as they had done with the first. They said, ”Are you not crazy? Won’t you allow us to sleep? We are so tired because of the whole day madness. It is just the dash of winds against the door and not a knock of a caller.” So they again rationalized and remained at their beds.
The next morning when they walked to the gate, they were astounded to see the footprints on the steps of the temple. “Someone in the night has climbed the steps of our temple in the night.” One of the priests affirmed.
“Oh! Here is the mark of chariot’s wheels on the road adjacent to our temple gate.” Shouted another priest.
Finally they concluded that the God arrived at the temple as he notified us in advance by appearance in the dream of the chief priest. The chariot came at the temple and the marks of footprint were not of any common man. The priests were for a great grief and burst into tears.
Gradually the people of the village started gathering at the temple premise. They were surprised and had no clue about the happenings in the temple premise.
Everybody in the crowd asked with bewilderment, ”What is the matter?” The chief priests said, ”Don’t ask what the matter is. God knocked at the door of our temple last night, but we did not come up to welcome him. We rationalized everything. We are now damned. He knocked at the door and we thought that it was the flapping sound of the winds. His chariot came, and we thought that it was the rumble of thunder in the sky. The truth is that we did not understand anything. We only explained them away, because we wanted to enjoy our sleep.”
God knocks at every door. His grace visits every home. But our doors are shut. And even when we hear a knock we immediately rationalize it and explain it away.