There was a man who was a hater of Lord Narayana. He disliked even to hear His name uttered. But in the village in which the man lived, there were many Vaishnavites.
So it was inevitable that he should hear the name of Narayana being uttered in worship. To keep out His name, the man took to wearing huge bells on his ears.
The moment someone said, “Narayana,” he would vigorously shake his head, thereby setting the bells jangling. And this would drown out the sound of the Lord's name being uttered.
One day, a sage came to the village. The sage was a devotee of the Lord, and he repeated His name. The more the anti-Vaishnavite heard the name, the more he shook his head, and set up a clanging noise with his bells.
The villagers then told the sage about the man's anti-Vishnu stance. The sage advised the man that he was wrong to oppose the Supreme One. Taking the sage's advice to heart, the man became a devotee of Vishnu too.
But he did not know how to worship the Lord. He had spent all his years in hating the Lord, and he had lived near a cremation ground all his life. He knew nothing about the finer points of worship.
All he offered to the Lord were some ashes from a burnt body. But since it was offered with love, the Lord did not take offence.
After all the man did not know what to offer, and all he could lay his hands on was ash from a cremated body.
Even if a man had been an atheist and had abused the Lord, the moment he changes over a new leaf, and surrenders to Him, He forgives the man and saves him, said M.V. Anantapadmanabhachariar in a discourse.
We need not worry if we have no flowers to offer the Lord. We may be in the middle of a desert, where there may not even be water for us to offer the Lord. But if we feel sorry that we are unable to offer Him anything, and if that sadness were to result in a few drops of tears, then those tears would be our offering to Him.
The Lord wants our devotion and our love.
These are more important to Him than anything else that we offer Him.