Jai Shri Hari!
I recently read the book “The Power of Thoughts“ by Swami Mukundananda and thought of sharing with you a beautiful story of devotion:
Vidyapati (1352–1448 AD) was an elevated poet-saint. He is often called ‘Maithil Kavi Kokil’, (the Poet Cuckoo Saint of Mithila). He influenced the development of many east Indian languages, such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, Bengali and Odia. He was a fervent devotee of Lord Shiv.
Enthralled by Vidyapati’s devotion, Lord Shiv disguised himself as a servant and went to him. He introduced Himself as ‘Ugna’ and requested the saint to employ Him. Vidyapati employed Lord Shiv, in the form of Ugna, who became an affectionate servant to the poet-saint.
One day, Vidyapati received an invitation from the king of Mithila. He undertook the journey with Ugna. On the way, Vidyapati felt very thirsty but there was no water around. Concerned for him, Lord Shiv took the water of the Ganga, which always resides in the locks of His hair, and gave it to Vidyapati to drink.
On sipping the water, Vidyapati realized that this was no ordinary water, rather, it was the sacred Ganga jal. He insisted on knowing how Ugna had procured the holy water in that arid place. Left with no option, Ugna revealed His original form as Gangeshwar, Lord Shiv.
Vidyapati felt deeply sorry that he had unknowingly engaged his Ishta Dev (worshipped Lord) in his service. But Lord Shiv pacified him by saying that it was His own desire. He continued living with Vidyapati on the condition that poet-saint would not divulge His original identity to anyone.
But how could Vidyapati now avail services from Ugna after discovering His identity? Instead, Vidyapati would keep planning for his Ishta Dev’s comfort. On seeing this, Vidyapati’s wife would get incensed. She would wonder what was wrong with her husband. One day, she got annoyed with Ugna for a trivial reason and began beating Him with a broom. Her husband, knowing Ugna’s true identity, could not tolerate this and blurted out, ‘What are you doing! He is Lord Shiv Himself.’
Vidyapati realized his mistake but it was too late. The condition for Lord Shiv’s to live there had been broken and He immediately vanished. The poet-saint then searched for his Ugna in forests, in the countryside and in temples. Finally, in a place known today as Ugnasthan, Lord Shiv gave him darshan and then asked him to continue with his life’s mission of propagating the glories of pure devotion.
In Shreemad Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna states:
My pure devotees are free from personal desire and deeply absorbed in loving devotion to Me. They are devoid of enmity and equally disposed to all. I walk behind the devotees who have reached such an exalted state so that I may get the dust of their lotus feet and be purified.
I have nothing much more to say, the above speaks the truth.
Bhakti is so powerful that it can make the master of this universe become your servant and follow your footsteps.
What do you want more than that?
Har Har Mahadev!