Whether we admit it or not, we are all deeply attached to ourselves. However much we would like to, the ‘self’ factor is hard to avoid in our speech. But as long as we remain in this state of giving importance to the self, we will never attain moksha. Even when we make a conscious effort to shun the self, it comes back in some way, and asserts itself in our speech and conduct. There are many examples of people, who were devoted to God, who were impeccable in their devotion, and yet even without their knowledge the ‘self factor’ became evident even in their worship of God. In the Mahabharata, we have a classic example of this, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi, in a discourse.
When Lord Krishna visited Hastinapura, the capital city of the Kauravas, there was much speculation about where He would stay. Duryodhana thought He would stay in the royal palace. Krishna did not reveal to anyone where He would stay. Bhishma humbly requested Him to stay with him; so did Drona and Kripacharya. But Krishna was non-committal. Vidura and his wife Sulabha were anxious that the Lord should stay with them. Vidura too invited Krishna to his house. Finally, ending all speculation, Krishna opted to stay with Vidura.
What was it that made Him choose Vidura, over the others? Bhishma was not lacking in devotion. In fact, he was to become famous later as the one who gave the world the Vihnsu Sahasranama, the praise of Lord Narayana through a thousand names. What was lacking in his invitation, but was found in Vidura’s? Krishna Himself gave the answer.
All the others who had invited Krishna had said to Him, “Come to my house.” Vidura was the only one who had said, “Come and stay in Your house.” All the others had seen their houses as theirs. But Vidura saw his abode as the Lord’s, indicating that for him (Vidura) there was no question of anything belonging to him. Everything comes from the Lord and rightfully belongs to Him. Vidura, through the way in which he invited the Lord, showed the importance of shunning the self, if one is to reach Him. The Lord never stays in a heart, which has thoughts of the self.