Tag Archives: Devotion

Vidura’s wife : Her Devotional Offering!

The Pandavas along with their wife Draupadi returned back to Hastinapur after their twelve years of exile and one year incognito. They claimed Indraprastha back, but Duryodhana was very adamant and was unwilling to let go of Indraprastha even if it meant a war with his own cousins. Yudhisthira, who was an embodiment of Dharma was not in favour of a war. He requested Lord Krishna to go to Hastinapur on their behalf as an ambassador of peace and the Lord agreed.

Many leaders extended an invitation to Krishna to accept their hospitality. Even Duryodhana sent his royal invitation and arranged a lavish feast for Krishna. The Lord knew that Duryodhana’s intention was to win His favours and have the Lord on his side. Vidura, the great devotee of the Lord also waited for the Lord’s auspicious arrival. He humbly and silently placed himself, his life and all his possessions at the Lord’s disposal. The Lord alone is the Sole Giver and Protector of everything, and therefore, everything ultimately belongs to the Lord.

After reaching Hastinapur, Krishna went straight to Vidura’s house and announced His arrival loudly. Vidura was not at home. Vidura’s wife heard the Lord. She ran to receive the Lord, the divine guest! She saw the Lord smiling sweetly at the door and overwhelmed with joy, prostrated at His feet. All these years she had heard of the divine glories and pastimes of the Lord. Like a Gopi, she silently adored Him in her heart, all the time longing to have His darshan. And now the Lord was at her doorstep! One who comes without prior appointment (thithi) is known as “Athithi”. And “Athithi” who comes to one’s house is the Lord Himself. Here Lord Krishna Himself had come as the Divine Athithi!” 

Vidura’s wife was totally lost in her intense devotion for the Lord. Krishna walked into the house and she followed Him – revelling in His wonderful lilas which she had heard of. Krishna seated Himself comfortably on an asana and told Vidura’s wife that He was hungry. She immediately ran into the kitchen. She had not cooked anything. When she looked around she saw a bunch of bananas lying there. She brought them and sat down below His asana. She picked up a banana, peeled the skin and instead of giving the fruit to Krishna, she gave the banana peel to Krishna to eat and threw away the fruit. She was totally beyond her body consciousness and the surroundings. Krishna who relishes bhakti, and bhakti only, very happily accepted the peel and ate it relishing it all the time. She continued to give the Lord peel after peel and the Lord continued partaking it. 

By this time, Vidura got the information that Lord Krishna had reached his house. Taking leave of the royal assembly, he rushed to his house. He walked in and was shocked and stunned to see his wife sitting and feeding Krishna with the peels of the bananas and Krishna was happily relishing them all! She was absolutely oblivion of what she was doing in her devotion to Krishna. 

Vidura raised his voice and reprimanded his wife. When she heard her husband’s voice, she came to her senses. She saw all the fruit lying there and the peels had all been consumed by the Lord. She felt very embarassed and ashamed. This time with all her attention on the fruit, she peeled one more fruit, threw away the peel and offered the fruit to the Lord. The Lord accepted it, but He nodded his head in dissatisfaction. He asked Vidura why he had interfered in this “divine offering of devotion” which was going on. The Lord said that the banana peel which was offered with total and absolute devotion was extremely sweet whereas the fruit offered with diverted mental attention was tasteless!

Vidura understood what the Lord implied. The Lord who is an embodiment of LOVE seeks love, and nothing but love from His devotees. 
“Whatever is offered to Me, whether it is a leaf, flower, fruit or a drop of water, if it is offered with devotion, I accept it totally” ~ Verse 26, Chapter 9 – Bhagavad Geeta. 

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Narada’s test of Devotion!

Sage Narada was a great devotee of Lord Narayana. He was constantly playing on his divine veena and singing the Lord’s name. He once went to Vaikunta and asked Lord Hari who was His greatest devotee. Narada was sure that the Lord would take his name as the greatest devotee. The Lord pointed out to a farmer in one of the remotest villages and said that he was His greatest devotee. The Sage was shocked. How could he who was constantly taking the Lord’s name day in and day out not be the greatest devotee of the Lord?

Narada looked at the Lord questioningly. The Lord told Narada that he can go down and see for himself. Narada went down and quietly, unnoticed by anyone stayed very close to the farmer’s humble and simple hut. Early in the morning the farmer woke up with the Lord’s name NARAYANA on his lips. Then he went about his daily usual routine, went to his field and worked under the scorching sun along with the others. He worked till late in the evening. At dusk, he returned back, had a wash, sat and spent some time with his wife and children and had his simple meal. Tired and exhausted, he fell off to sleep with NARAYANA on his lips. In a day, the farmer remembered the Lord only twice! Narada was puzzled. Anyway, he decided to spend another two days there and watch over the farmer. The routine was the same on all the days. Narada was quite annoyed with the Lord as to how He even considered this farmer who took the Lord’s name only TWICE a day as His greatest devotee. He went straight to Vaikunta and narrated all that had happened down below. 

The Lord smiled and told Narada that He will explain, but before that He wanted Narada to accomplish a piece of job for Him. Lord gave Narada a pot filled with oil up to the brim, asked him to balance it on his head, and told him to go around Vaikunta and come back without spilling even a drop. Narada wondered what this had to do with his question, but anyway since the Lord had told him, he agreed. Narada put down his veena, nervously picked up the pot of oil filled up to the brim, placed it on his head and started walking slowly. Carefully balancing the pot of oil on his head, Narada put his steps forward cautiously, and went round Vaikunta and came back. He was beaming with happiness for he had not spilt even a drop of oil during his travel. He had been able to carry out the Lord’s instructions…..!

The Lord then asked Narada how many times he remembered NARAYANA during his journey round Vaikunta. Narada was surprised and told the Lord that he had NOT remembered the Lord even ONCE. How could he remember the Lord when all his attention was in balancing the pot of oil on his head?

 
The Lord smiled and told Narada that all that was given to him was a small piece of job of going round Vaikunta with a pot full of oil on his head, and yet he had forgotten the Lord even during that short interval of time. And here was this farmer working day in and day out, shouldering all the responsibilities and problems of his family and work, and yet he never forgot to take the Lord’s name NARAYANA, ONCE in the morning and ONCE in the evening. Hence according to the Lord, the farmer’s devotion was superior to that of Narada’s. 

Narada immediately understood that this was Lord’s unique way of destroying his ego. Completely humbled, Narada prostrated to the Lord, sought His forgiveness, prayed to the Lord to grant him total and unconditional devotion, picked up his veena and with “NARAYANA” on his lips left Vaikunta with a sense of total happiness and inexplicable bliss.

[PS : I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]