MISCELLANEOUS

God, the sole refuge

CHENNAI DEC.5 . One of the distinguishing features of a true devotee is total disregard for the circumstances of his life because he has implicit faith in the saving grace of God. In his eyes all are equal because he sees the Almighty in every being. Free from worldly desires his engagement in life has meaning only in expressing his devotion to the Lord through every act he performs. For the lay people it is inspiring and instructive to peruse the lives of saints as depicted in biographies and hagiological literature, especially of those who realised God as householders pursuing worldly careers like the majority of people. The Bhaktavijaya of Mahipati depicting the lives of saints who were devoted to Lord Panduranga is an eye-opener for the laity as it is possible to easily identify with these devotees who popularised the tradition of chanting the Divine name as a means to liberation from bondage.

In his discourse, Sri Muralidhara Swamigal said the incident of how King Shivaji was drawn to Tukaram after hearing about his extraordinary devotion revealed how saints spurned power and pelf and depended only on God. Tukaram knew that the king was interested in meeting him but he tried his best to avoid him, as he did not want any favours from him. But the king learnt his whereabouts from the saint's wife and persisted in his quest. When he finally met him Shivaji prostrated at his feet placing a silver plate containing gold coins before him because he had learnt about the saint's dire circumstances and wished to alleviate his precarious condition.

When Tukaram saw the money he started trembling and refused to accept it saying that for pious people devoted to the Lord, He was the only treasure. The king tried reasoning with him but to no avail. The saint asked the king that if he, with whom he had no relation, were so concerned about his welfare, how much God to whom he was eternally related, would be about his well being. Such outright refusal might have slighted anyone else in his position but the king was in search of a Guru and hence he was fortunate to receive spiritual instruction also. Tukaram told him, " If you wish to do something for my satisfaction then I will tell you a secret. Think of the Lord's name, Vitthala. Any other fortune to me is like dust. Put a rosary of Tulsi beads around your neck and chant the name of the Lord. With love and joy in the heart, call yourself a slave of Vithoba. This is my only desire; fulfil it for my satisfaction."

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