Wednesday, July 30, 2014

IX: 23

Chapter 9, Verse 23

"Those devotees, endowed with faith,
Who worship other gods,
Using methods not prescribed in the scriptures,
Nevertheless will come to me, Arjuna.

Swami Satchidananda:

One day a young boy named Tinnapur went hunting with two friends.  They chased a wild boar up and over a hill.  Then they came upon a small shed.  The animal seemed to have led them there.  Tinnapur opened the shed, and the first thing that he saw was a Shivalingam [sacred stone].  His friends continued on with the hunt, but Tinnapur felt such an overpowering connection to the Shivalingam that he bowed low, saying...

My Lord, you are all alone.  Who takes care of you?  Nobody has bathed you.  I'll give you a bath and some nice food.

He ran all the way to the bottom of the hill, killed a pig, and barbecued it.  He put the choicest parts on a banana leaf and started back up the hill.  He had no vessel for carrying water.  Then an idea occurred to him.  He ran to a stream, carefully rinsed his mouth, and then took a great mouthful of water.  He held it inside his mouth as he ran back up the hill with pork in hand.

He poured the water from his mouth over the deity.  In that way, he gave a nice bath and then placed the pork on the altar.  He was very, very happy.  He had fed God.  He danced in ecstasy, promising...

You won't be alone in the future.  I'll be back tomorrow.

Tinnapur did not know that on the other side of the hill there was a village.  In the village lived a devoted Brahmin priest who worshiped at this hidden altar daily.  The next morning when he arrived, the priest saw the pork there and was stunned and then outraged.  He wondered...

What devil is coming here and desecrating the temple like this.

Disgusted and repulsed, he carefully wiped everything down.  He then did a purifying Puja [ritual] as prescribed in the scriptures.

That night he could not sleep.  Finally, he dozed, and God appeared to him in a dream, saying...

Do not worry, Shivagocharya.  You are a great devotee, but there is an even greater devotee worshiping me.  He's a hunter.  He doesn't know about fresh fruits and vegetables.  All he knows is to give pork.  He knows no rituals, either, but I love his worship.  I admire his faith and devotion.  Today, after your own worship, conceal yourself, and you will see true devotion.

Later that day after his own worship, Shivagocharya hid and kept watch.  He saw the hunter arrive, pour water from his mouth, and put the roast pork down before the altar.  Then Tinnapur began to dance in ecstasy.  As he danced, Tinnapur noticed something.  His devotion was so strong that he no longer was seeing the Shivalingam as a stone.  Instead, he perceived God in human form, and as he looked, he suddenly could see that one of God's eyes was bleeding.  Tinnapur stopped dancing and exclaimed...

God, what has happened?  You're bleeding!  Wait, please!  I'll gather some herbs and be right back.

He ran down the hill, plucked some healing herbs, ran back, squeezed them, and applied them to the bleeding eye, but the bleeding would not stop.  He was completely beside himself by now.  He didn't know what to do.  Then, suddenly, he knew.  From his quiver, he took a sharp arrow.  He stuck the point of the arrow in the outside corner of one of his own eyes and popped it out of the socket.  It plopped into his hand.

Immediately, he put it on the Lord's bleeding eye.  The moment that he took his hand away the bleeding stopped.  He was so happy that he didn't think for a moment about the loss of his own eye, nor all of the spouting blood.  He cried happily...

Oh, Lord, oh my Lord!  I'm so pleased that this eye has helped you to heal.

All the while, Shivagocharya had been watching.  When Tinnapur plucked out his eye, the priest began to shake, saying to himself...

My God, what devotion!

He fainted.  At the same moment, God appeared to the hunter in more grandeur than ever before and called him Kannappar, which means eye-fixer.  The Lord said...

Kannappar, your devotion is supreme.  I wouldn't have allowed you to go through this if not for this poor man here who is also a devotee.  You come daily and worship me with true devotion.  Certainly you will reach me.

With that, Kannapar's eye was given back to him, and his sight was restored, clearer than ever.

This is not just a story.  Kannappar was a living person.  He didn't know the correct procedures prescribed in the scriptures, but with such pure devotion, there's no such thing as a wrong method.

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