Real Devotion

Value- Love

Sub value- Devotion

krishna arjuna 02

In a village, one scholar was giving a great exposition on the Bhagvad Gita. A rustic man also came to listen to the talk.

All people were listening with rapt attention at the commentary, but this rustic was weeping.

When enquired about this, the rustic replied that he wept at the predicament of the Lord who had to sit on the chariot and half turn his head behind to talk to Arjuna and how much pain this would have caused to the Lord? . The rustic had identified himself with the characters in the episode.

The rustic had real devotion for the lord and could experience what the Lord would have gone through during the entire conversation with Arjuna

Learning

It is one thing to expound and listen to the great scriptures; but if one is not able to absorb the right message and practise it; it is of not of much use. The scriptures are only guides and maps. We have to understand that and put into practice the teachings.

Adapted from Chinna Katha- Sri Sathya Sai Baba

A dear devotee

kashi

Value- Love

Sub value- Yearning for the Lord

One day in the sacred shrine of lord Viswanath at Kasi, all the devotees and temple priests were immersed in singing hymns and reciting chants. All of a sudden, they heard a metallic sound. When they turned their heads in that direction they saw a shining gold plate on the floor of the shrine. It must have fallen through an open space in the center of the hall from the sky leading to the sanctum sanctorum. All of them gathered around in wonder, as the chief temple priest went close to examine it. He found the following words inscribed on it,”This belongs to my dear devotee” and read the inscription loudly. Soon   the temple priests vied with one another to snatch the plate with the feeling, “Who could be a greater devotee than myself. I spend my time, talent and strength only to offer worship to the Lord Viswanath of Kasi.” But the plate changed into an earthen one the moment they touched it one after another.

News spread like wild fire about the golden plate. Several scholars, singers, poets and preachers came and tried their luck but in vain. Days, weeks and months rolled on but the plate remained there without a claimant.

One day, a stranger came to the temple. As he  stood at the entrance,  tears gathered in his eyes when he saw beggars, blind, dumb and lame piteously pleading for alms. He felt ashamed of his inability to relieve them of their hunger and agony. He wanted to pray to the Lord and so stepped into the temple. He saw people gathered round and discussing something. He tried to squeeze himself into the crowd to find out why they were standing there.

He saw a golden plate in the center of that enclosure. He inquired and was told about the episode of the golden plate. He was rather surprised and sad at the attitude of the people and the priests. Instead of praying to the Lord of the Universe and trying to earn His grace, they were eager to possess the golden plate. Observing his nonchalant attitude, the high priest requested him to try his hand. The stranger replied: “Oh Revered one! I do not care for either gold or silver, what I long for is God’s Grace.” The priest’s esteem for that man increased. So he once again requested him, “At least to satisfy us, please try your hand.” The stranger touched the plate without a trace of attachment. Lo! It shone forth with redoubled effulgence.

All the priests gathered round and queried: “Sir, where do you come from? What are your qualifications? What are the branches of learning you have mastered? How many years did you do penance?” The stranger replied calmly: “I don’t belong to any place. I just manage to earn my bread by hard labor. The only sadhana I do is Namasmaran [repeating the name of the Lord]. This has perhaps rendered my heart pure and filled it with love and compassion. It has enabled me to control my mind and the senses. I have not read any book or mastered any science. The only art I know of is chanting the Name Divine. The only act I do is to be kind to the poor.”

Learning

The only qualification to become dear to the Lord is to acquire a compassionate heart and sense control. These two can be acquired through Namasmaran (chanting the name of the Lord) with full faith, love and devotion.

Adapted from Chinnakatha by Sri Sathya Sai baba

Story of a great devotee- Nandanar

 

nandanar 1

Value- Love

Sub value- Faith, Devotion

In a small village of Aathanoor, in Tamil Nadu, India , Nandanar  was born in a  dalit (lower caste) family . Nandanar, a great devotee of Lord Shiva,  worked  as a laborer  for Brahmin land lord. Once along with some of his friends, he visited a temple called Thiruppunkoor, which was near his village.  As Dalits or people of lower castes, in those days,  were not allowed  to enter the temple , Nandanar could not enter the temple. He however yearned to have a glimpse of his favorite Lord. The idol of big bull Nandi, in front of Lord Shiva,  was blocking the Nandanar’s view of the Lord. Nandanar  poured his heart out pleading the Lord to let him a glimpse of Him. Lord Shiva was pleased with his devotion and heard his prayers. Lo and behold,  Nandi moved aside for the devotee  to have the glance of his beloved Lord. Nandanar was in bliss seeing his Lord.

While in Thirupunkoor,  Nandanar heard about the great Nataraja temple at Chidambaram. He yearned to visit Chidambaram to see his Lord. He would tell his people every day, that he would visit Chidambaram the next day; but was  unable to do so.  The people around him teasingly called him as Thiru Nalai povaar,( The divine one who will go tomorrow) .Nandanar had to get his master’s permission to take a day off to visit the temple. After several pleas one day the Master gave him an arduous task of cultivating his agricultural land in a short span of time. Nandanar had full faith in his Lord; who did this difficult task for His devotee , so that he  could see the Lord in Chidambaram. Nandanar was filled with joy at the prospect of seeing his Lord at Chidambaram.

Nandanar reached Chidambaram, but being a dalit or person of lower caste, he was afraid to go near the temple. He saw the smoke coming from the fire sacrifices and heard the chants of the Vedic scriptures. Desperately wanting to see his Lord Nataraja, he circumambulated the temple town number of times. Soon he was exhausted and dozed off. Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and told Nandanar to enter the temple through a holy fire. Simultaneously the Lord also informed the Brahmin priests of Chidambaram to prepare a pyre.

Next day when Nandanar approached  the fire; the brahmins realised that the Lord had indicated to prepare the pyre for Nandanar. Nandanar entered the holy fire chanting the name of Shiva and reappeared in a new purified form. He shone like gold. He now looked like a Brahmin sage wearing the sacred thread, matted hair and body smeared with sacred ash. The gods showered flowers on him from heaven and the Brahmins rejoiced. Accompanying the brahmins; Nandanar entered the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Nataraja. He was ecstatic on seeing his Lord and soon merged as a light form into his beloved Lord.

nandanar 2

Story based on Periya Puranam

Learning

Devotion and love is more important to the Lord than mere knowledge or external paraphernalia of worship. Lord cares for the devotion of any devotee irrespective of caste, creed or gender. When the creator who has created the entire universe doesn’t differentiate among His children who are we to do so? Let us also develop love, faith and devotion to the Lord and treat everyone equally.

 

 

The story of Krishna, Arjuna and the Dove

Value- Faith

Sub value- Devotion

The “famous” episode between Lord Krishna and Arjuna goes like this.

“Krishna, for me, your words are more
trustworthy than evidence of my eyes”

The two are on a stroll in the garden when they see the bird hovering in the skies. Pointing to it, Krishna says,

“See that bird Arjuna… Is it a dove?”
“Yes my Lord! It is indeed a dove”, replies Arjuna.
“But wait… I think that it is is an eagle. Isn’t it an eagle?” asks Krishna
“Yes! That is definitely an eagle”, is the answer.
“No! It does not look like an eagle”, says Krishna, “it is definitely a crow.”
“Without a doubt Krishna, it is a crow”, replies Arjuna.
At this point, Krishna laughs and chides Arjuna,
“Are you blind my friend? You do not seem to have eyes of your own! You are simply agreeing to whatever I say.”
Arjuna says, “Krishna, for me, your words are far more trustworthy than the evidence of my eyes. When you say something, you have the power to make it so – be it a crow, dove or eagle. Hence, if you said it is a crow, it must be so!”
Learning
This story is oft quoted to exemplify how faith must be. This is the kind of faith one must develop on the guru and God. This is the faith on Krishna that Arjuna could win the war between good and evil.
http://aravindb1982.blogspot.sg/2013/07/platform-heroes-and-practical-zeroes-sathya-sai-baba-sai-student.html

Priest and the Fool

Value- Love

Sub value- Devotion

Once there was a priest who was very well learned, very smart. He knew all the scriptures very well. He was a very spiritual and inspiring man and he would travel around to the different communities and teach people.

In one village he went to, he was given a tour of the lake. In the middle of the lake, there was an island. On that island there lived one man. The man was very simple minded and many considered him to be a fool. As the priest came to the water of the lake, he heard the man singing bhajans, scriptures, “Bajh ghovindhan, bhuj govhindim moodaamate, lalalaaa…. lala…” But the fools pronunciation was TERRIBLE! He obviously didn’t know much.

The priest listened for a minute and thought to himself, “Oh my God, my ears, they are hurting! He is making so many mistakes!! I HAVE to help this man!” So the priest in his compassion got in a boat and went over to that small island to teach the man. He told the man, “Namaste ji (hello), I have come to extend my service to teach you.” The man said, “It is my honor sir! Please, please let me serve you food and water!”

The priest spent three whole days teaching the man. He taught him how to say the scriptures, he taught him how to pronounce the prayers properly, he told him many stories of truth and spirituality.

After three days the foolish man on the island was happy to have learned so much, “Thank you, thank you, thank you good sir! Uncle ji, God bless you, I love you!” The priest got in his boat and left that island. As he was rowing the boat……

…. THE FOOL RAN ON TOP OF THE WATER!

priest-fool-2

He ran over to the priest in the boat and said to the priest, “Uncle, sir, pandit ji! I forgot one thing! How do I pronounce that one line again???” The priest was still shocked that the man had walked on water but he managed to reply, “Umm… it…it is pronounced….” After the priest corrected him the fool said, “OH THAT’S RIGHT!!! Hahaha yay!” And he ran back to the island on top of the water.

The priest was very humbled. He had so much knowledge, but this beautiful man on the island…. had more than that. Not only did he have spiritual powers, the man on the island had such sweet devotion. The priest thought, “He is not a fool at all. I am a fool compared to such a sincere devotee as that man…”

The Guru says,

By recognizing reality, one becomes a true priest.”

Learning

God sees the love, sincerity and humility of the devotee rather than his knowledge and proficiency in scriptures and prayers. The ultimate aim of understanding and practising the prayers is to transform oneself and develop a pure and compassionate heart.

https://www.sikhnet.com/stories/audio/priest-and-fool

Sweeter than Tansen

tansen

Value-Love

Sub Value: Devotion

Akbar the Great, was one of the greatest Mughal rulers of India during the period 1542-1605. He strived hard to unify far flung lands through his good administrative policies and loyalty. He was a patron of arts and culture, religion and during his administration peace and harmony prevailed despite religious and cultural diversities. His Royal court was full of scholars and men of wisdom.   Among them were a chosen few called the “Navratna” or “Nine Gems” who adorned his court with knowledge, wit, music and other arts. Tansen, the court musician, was one of the Nine Gems and was the greatest Sufi musician of his days.

Being a lover of music, Akbar was pleased and delighted, whenever Tansen sang. Legends tell us that when Mian Tansen sang the Raag ‘Megh Malhar’, dark clouds gathered in the sky bringing down the rain. When he sang the Raag ‘Deepak’, the candles would light up automatically; he had the ability to make animals listen to his music. Akbar was immensely proud that he had in his durbar (court), a musician of such great caliber and repute.

One day, while Akbar was engaged in prayer, he heard the distant music of a Haridâs, a wandering minstrel; a beggar singing to the tune of a single-stringed instrument, held in his hand. Akbar was thrilled, enchanted and deeply moved. The sweet soulful music touched him more than Tansen’s music; so much so, that he began to wonder if the Haridas was a better singer than his “Navratna” Tansen.

Akbar summoned for Tansen and questioned, “Mian Tansen, why did the music, sung by the Haridas, appeal more to me than your music? What is the difference in your music and his?” Tansen replied unhesitatingly, “Badshah Salamat (Your Royal Highness)! There is only one difference. I sing for the Badshah of Delhi and his happiness; in return I receive tokens of appreciation from him.  But the Haridas, sings in joy, for the Badhshah of this Universe, the Almighty Lord, with no greed for material wealth or ambition for earthly goods.”

What an enormous difference!

Learning

Any work done without expectation and for the love of God derives everlasting joy.

Courtesy: chinnakatha by Sri Sathya sai Baba

Read this story now in diff Indian languages

http://saibalsanskaartamil.wordpress.com

http://saibalsanskaartelugu.wordpress.com

http://saibalsanskaarhindi.wordpress.com

Shaluk’s Victory

Value- Love

Sub Value-Devotion

On the rich fertile banks of the river Meshwo in Mahudia, Gujarat, lived a poor farmer named Jivanbhai, who grew a species of melons known as chibhada. His wife, Kesarbai, and son, Shaluk, also helped him.
Once Shaluk said to his mother, Kesarbai, “Ma, I wish that Shriji Maharaj ( a saint) tastes one of our juicy chibhadas. Can I take one to him?” “It would be our great merit if Maharaj eats our chibhadas.”
So the next day, Shaluk plucked the most beautiful and ripe chibhadu from the river bed. He walked with the fruit in hand to give it to the Maharaj. Soon he began to have thoughts about eating the chibhadu; his mouth started salivating and he wondered, “Will Maharaj really accept such a cheap fruit, compared to the rich foods offered by wealthy devotees?  I might as well eat it myself.”
Soon his thoughts became so strong, that he sat down under a tree and took out a knife from his bag. Just as he was about to slice the fruit, he had another thought.
This thought seemed to come from his heart. “Shaluk, you are such a weakling! How can you eat something that you wished Maharaj to have? What happened to your great devotion for Maharaj?”
Shaluk’s intense devotion for Maharaj rattled him. It hit his mind. So he said to his mind, “Now listen, this chibhadu is for Maharaj.”Relieved that he had convinced his mind, he started walking again.
A little later, the walking made him thirsty and hungry and his mind started spinning again, “Fool, just eat up the chibhadu. Maharaj will not be interested in such a cheap little thing. The rich devotees will offer better foods. Gobble up and return home.”
Little Shaluk was now really overcome by temptation. No sooner had he put his hand in the bag for the knife, than he stopped dead in his track, when he again heard a voice from his heart  “No Shaluk! You are a true child devotee of Maharaj. Don’t listen to your mind.”
“That’s final now,” said Shaluk firmly to himself. “I am not going to eat the chibhadu. It’s for Maharaj. Swaminarayan! Swaminarayan!” As he chanted the divine mantra, he thought of Maharaj’s divine persona. He started running fast and continued chanting, “Swaminarayan, Swaminarayan.”

Soon he reached the place where Maharaj was seated in an assembly. The paramhansas were singing kirtans. Shaluk was attracted by Maharaj’s divine presence. The all-knowing Maharaj picked up Shaluk’s thoughts. With a wave of His hand, Maharaj gestured to Shaluk to come to Him. Shaluk’s heart pounded with excitement, he rushed to the Maharaj and fell at His feet.  Standing up he placed the chibhabu on Maharaj’s lap, with great reverence and humility.

Maharaj then said, “Shaluk, give me that knife from your bag. I wish to have this chibhadu now.”
One slice after another, Maharaj started eating the chibhadu and then finished it all. Everyone present was astonished by this and wondered about Shaluk’s sentiments. Before Maharaj revealed this to the assembly He gifted a small pot of barfi to Shaluk and then embraced him!

The whole assembly erupted in applauding this sight! Now they all eagerly and anxiously wanted to know why Maharaj was showering such grace and joy on this little boy.
Finally, Maharaj spoke, “This little boy fought with his mind to bring the chibhadu here. He battled bravely the temptations and was’wounded’ a few times. But he did not accept defeat and achieved victory. Bhagvan and His Sadhu disciples always help those who fight with their minds.”

Everybody present realised that Maharaj ate the whole chibhadu not because of its taste, but only to fulfill Shaluk’s intense and heart felt devotion.

They all then praised him, “Well done Shaluk! By conquering your mind, you have achieved victory over the whole world.”

Learning

When one has pure intention and devotion; his/her prayers will be heard.

 

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