September 2017

If we can allow an uninterrupted and faithful flow of His will, He shall ever keep us in His hands and never leave us even for a moment. – Chinmaya

The above quote is the experience of all devotees of all religions across the world. He takes care of the ones who surrender unto Him.

This incident is from the life of Swami Ramdas who was a well-known saint from Kanhangad (Northern Kerala). He laid great emphasis on chanting the name of the Lord. His Ishta devata was Shree Ram and he saw Ram everywhere and in everyone.

While he was leading a life of a wandering monk, he happened to stay in a room in Mangalore for some time provided by the devotees. An interesting incident happened here.

At around ten o’clock in the night on a rainy day, a strange-looking individual entered his room. Clothed in rags and his hair dishevelled, he had with him a small bundle suspended on a rough palm stick. He looked like a mentally derailed person. He came in and sat near Ramdas.

“May I rest here tonight?” he asked. Ramdas said he was most welcome. For Ramdas, all were none other than Lord Ram Himself. The stranger sat on the mat and opened his bundle which contained a bizarre assortment of small bits of cloth in varied colours. Taking out the rags he scattered them on the ground. Then looking at Ramdas he gave a merry laugh.

 Ramdas thought to himself, “O Lord! You come in wonderful disguises!”

After a while, the stranger gathering up the scraps remade the bundle. Next, approaching Ramdas, he started loudly singing some devotional songs in Kannada. Then looking at the cloth worn by Ramdas, he abruptly stopped his music and asked, “You see, my clothes are old and worn out. Would you not part with one you are using, for me?”

Ramdas at once divested himself of the cloth and handed it over to him. The visitor carefully folded it and laid it beside him.

In an imperious voice, he spoke next, “Now let us sleep. Reduce the light. Mind you, don’t put it out.” Obediently Ramdas carried out his bidding. He laid down himself pretending to sleep, and Ramdas followed suit. Five minutes had not elapsed when he sprang into a sitting posture calling on Ramdas to do the same. Ramdas yielded. The light was made brighter.
“I have yet to demand something more,” he said.
“Everything in this room,” Ramdas replied, “is Lord Ram’s property, and since you are He, you have a right to it. You may freely ask and take.”
Meanwhile, Ramdas had covered himself with the other spare cloth.
“I need also the cloth you have just put on,” and he stretched forth his hand. Without a word, Ramdas surrendered up the second cloth.

Some minutes passed and he said, “I have a need for a water pot. If you have no objection, you may give the one over there,” pointing to the vessel in the corner of the room. Emptying the pot of its water, Ramdas passed it on to him. Then he asked for the mat, the deerskin, the lantern, the umbrella, the spare langoti (loin-cloth), one after the other, at almost regular intervals. Everything was given to hi

Whenever Ramdas gave away things to this stranger, he did so in a spirit of delightful spontaneity. With a rising emotion, he addressed the visitor, “O Lord! Thy tests are wonderful. Everything is Thine and Thine alone.”

At this, the visitor broke out into his usual offhand laughter. He demanded also a few religious books which were in the room. All articles were tied up in a cloth and formed a pretty big bundle.

Later he said with a note of warning in his voice, “Look here. You have given me many valuable articles. It is possible that when I am gone with them, you might regret your folly. What say you?”

“No, not at all,” quickly responded Ramdas. “Since you are taking away your own things, Ramdas has no cause for regret.”

The room was now almost empty. Being monsoon, it began to rain heavily. The night had advanced and it was about 3 a.m. Ramdas had nothing on except the loincloth.

“Yet one thing more,” the stranger said.

“You may demand anything,” replied Ramdas. “Ramdas has dedicated his entire life to thee.”

“Pass me the kaupeen (loincloth) you are wearing,” he asked calmly.

It was beyond any doubt for Ramdas that God Himself was here to test him. Ramdas with perfect nonchalance born of complete surrender loosened the kaupeen from his otherwise naked body to offer it to him. But before Ramdas had removed it outright, the stranger stopped him with his hand saying, “No, no, you may retain it. I need it not.” He then eagerly asked, “Can you follow me?”

Ramdas lost no time in replying, “By all means.”

“Not now. Some other time,” he said and prepared to start.

It was now raining in torrents. In one hand he held the lantern and in the other the umbrella, and the palm pole flung across his shoulder with the bundle suspended on it, at his back.

Standing on the landing steps he flashed a parting shot. “What do you think of me? I am not mad. I am not,” he said with great emphasis.

“You are He, you are He…” gasped out Ramdas, his throat fully choked with emotion.

The stranger descended the steps and walked away.

Ramdas returned to the room and the moment he sat down on the floor, he was lost in a deep trance.

It was broad daylight when he recovered from the trance. He beheld quite a crowd swarming at his door. The news had been conveyed to them by the servant who was bringing for Ramdas his morning milk and fruit. They assumed that a thief must have absconded with all the missing articles from the room. They inquired of him how it all happened.

Ramdas only replied, “Lord Ram provides through one form and takes away through another.”

 This brief and enigmatic explanation did not, of course, satisfy them. So he had to give out a detailed account of the incident of the previous night. All listened to the story with breathless interest. One of them suggested that the rogue should be hunted down and captured.

“For what fault of his?” asked Ramdas. “He has taken only his own things. “There is no law on earth,” added he, “that can punish him for it. He is not a rogue. He is Lord Himself.”

An irrepressible smile lit up the faces of all who heard him. They seemed to have understood him and quietly dispersed. Before noon the same day, the devotees with all kindness and love furnished the room afresh, so that it looked again as if nothing had been removed from it.

It is the Lord’s promise:   न मे भक्त: प्रणश्यति | (My devotees shall never perish.)

If we have not experienced the loving care of the Lord, if, during trials and tribulations, our faiths crumble and we grumble “Why Me?”, then let us take an honest look at ourselves – the depth of our devotion, the sincerity of our surrender, and the intensity of our faith. With a half-hearted approach to spirituality, we have only ourselves to blame.

Millions throng the temples, the mosques, the churches and the gurudwaras all over the world. This itself is the proof that generation after generation, people have experienced His grace, His guidance, His protection, His consolation and His peace.

Why not make Him the first priority, than seek Him as the last resort?  

O   M         T   A   T         S   A   T

Posted in: Chintana

Leave a Comment (0) ↓