August 14, 2007

The Greatest Devotee

(Here is a short story based on an story in Hindu mythology. I hope you enjoy it!)

Narad is a man in Hindu mythology who is constantly travelling through space and time, and all the while, the name of God is on his lips. It so happened that on one of his journeys, he chanced to meet God Himself. After he had payed his respects to God, and had been, in turn, blessed by God, he asked God.

"Lord, who is your greatest devotee?"

Narad, proud of his devotion had grown to be vain, and wanted to hear his own name on God's lips. God, understanding the intention, smiled and said,"Don't you know already?"

Narad taking it to mean that God was referring to him, persisted, "But, Lord, I want to hear it from you."

"So be it," God said, and named a blacksmith in a small village on Earth as his greatest devotee. Disappointed and shocked, Narad said , "This is so unfair. All my life I have done nothing but praise your name and remember you in all my waking hours, and yet you say that the man yonder is your greatest devotee, and not me."

God,smiled, and said," So, you think you should be my greatest devotee?"

Narad just looked on, like a child who has not got the gift that he had been wanting for a long time.

"Ok, then, you will have to prove your devotion to me. Here is a pot full of water to the brim. You have to go around the earth, carrying this pot on your head. The only condition is that you can not spill even a single drop."

Narad, eager to prove himself, readily agreed.

He accomplished the task, and came to God.

"Lord, I did as you bid me and not a single drop was spilled."

God smiled and said, "That's very good! Now tell me how many times did you take my name while you were going around the earth?"

Narad, with a shock, realized that he had been so focused on the pot, and the water, that he had completely forgotten to take remember God. He was too ashamed to say anything.

God, smiling, said,"That man I named before, is not a rich man, and his life has been fraught with many problems. He earns his meals every day, and yet every morning and every evening he takes my name, and has done so all his life, without fail. Now, do you still call me unfair, if I say that he is my greatest devotee."

Narad had learned his lesson and quietly bowed to God. He had learnt an important lesson that day.

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