Once upon a time

I heard this story from my mother when I was small. I think this was a popular story in East Bengal, currently Bangladesh.
Once upon a time there lived a devotee in some village in the foothill of the Himalayas. The devotee used to sing the name of God every morning and evening. Before taking bath, before every meal even before drinking a glass of water he uttered the name of God. He was respected by every villager and was considered to be the greatest devotee of God by everyone in the village.
The devotee became too keen to know if God Himself considered him to be His greatest devotee. He started thinking about it day and night, praying to God to let him know what God thinks about him.
One night while he was in deep sleep he saw God appeared before him. His bedroom was filled with some divine light. He could clearly see God smiling at him. He felt as if God asked him if he had any question for Him. Therefore without much hesitation he asked God who was His greatest devotee.
“My greatest devotee is the blacksmith who works in the shop near the village market”, God replied promptly.
“But Lord does the blacksmith utter your name day and night like I do?” The devotee asked.
“He utters my name once in the morning as soon as he gets up and once at night just before going to bed” God replied.
“Only two times a day. But Lord I utter your holy name all day long. Even while lying in my bed at night till I fall asleep I utter only your name. But the blacksmith only utter it only once in the night” the devotee said.
“But as soon as his cheek touches his bed he falls asleep. How could he repeat my name?” God replied promptly.
God could sense that the devotee looked unhappy.
“Can you do a work for me” God asked the devotee.
“Lord anything you say I will do it uttering your holy name” the devotee replied immediately.
“Tomorrow morning you fill a copper bowl with oil and take it to the blacksmith in his shop. But remember the bowl should be filled with oil up to the brim and not a drop of oil should spill while you carry it to the blacksmith.” God said and disappeared.
As soon as the devotee woke up from sleep he remembered the instruction he had received from the God. Without wasting any time he filled a copper bowl with oil and started carrying it to the blacksmith. He was very careful not to spill even a drop of oil on the street. He was holding the bowl with his both hands and his vision was glued on the oil filled copper bowl. He almost stopped breathing while he was walking. His entire body started sweating profusely. Everyone who saw him in that condition was surprised and asked him why he was sweating and what he was carrying in his both hands. He could not utter a single word. He could not even look at the faces of the persons who asked him questions.
But he successfully handed over the bowl of oil to the blacksmith without spilling a drop and returned home. He also realized that he felt some kind of jealously toward the blacksmith and was not able to make eye contact with him.
He remained restless throughout the day waiting for God to reappear at night during his sleep. He was sure that God will pronounce that it was he and not the blacksmith who was His greatest devotee.
In the middle of the night God appeared again during his sleep. God thanked him for giving a bowl of oil to the blacksmith who did not have enough money to buy oil on that day.
“Have I passed your test Lord? Have I spilled a drop of oil?” The devotee asked.
“No you did not spill even a drop of oil. You were very careful.” God replied.
“So do you still think it is not me but the blacksmith who should be your greatest devotee?”
“We will see that. But let me ask you a question.” God replied.
“What is your question my Lord?” The devotee asked.
“And how many times did you utter my name while you were carrying the bowl of oil?” He asked and disappeared.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s