Hey family! It’s been such a long time 🙂 I hope you all are safe and at bliss under Swamiji’s loving wings. A few days back, I happened to listen an Islamic scholar. I am not mentioning his name for it might take the focus away from the story that I wanted to share with you all. So, this respected scholar narrated this anecdote. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. I never tried to search about it. But the message it gave was something that remained embedded in my heart. Hence, I would just leave the credibility part up to you and start with the anecdote as this scholar shared. 

It was the time of the holy pilgrimage of Haj. It was the land of the holiest, Mecca. But the nature was not in the favour of the pilgrims (or may be it was. May be the omnipresent Lord just wanted to check their faith!) There had been no rain. The weather was dry and the earth was parched. Almost every pilgrim was busy uttering the ritualistic prayers for rain as dictated by their religion. They didn’t miss a single step in the ritual and completed several rounds of it religiously. It was told by their master that the ritual prayers will tear the clouds apart and bring the abundance of rain on earth. But even after performing countless rounds and that too collectively together on the sacred land of Mecca, not a single drop of rain had come down to their rescue. Did that mean that the master misled them? Was there anything wrong with their ritual? Did they miss any step? But there was not one but several pilgrims gathered on that land. How could everyone of them miss the steps of the ritualistic prayer! Having completed the ritual, everyone was standing upright except one. There was a pilgrim who was still on his knees. He had no jayenamaaz (the sacred prayer rug of Muslims) under him which they were instructed to use during prayers. He was on the bare ground with his cheeks in contact with the burning bosom of the dry earth. And he was crying out loud, “My beloved, do you want this servant of yours to suffer in this scorching heat? So be it. I have loved you and if this is your wish that I should burn with the earth, I will most happily do so. For did I actually surrender to you if I can’t accept whatever you wish to shower upon me! Anything you choose for me is my most precious gift; Rain and Heat alike. But your Banda (servant) won’t lift up his cheeks from the ground. If you choose burning for me, I will accept it and let my cheeks burn with the ground. Your wish is my command. Burn my cheeks, my beloved!”

And with those layman words, the clouds started pouring down incessantly quenching the thirst of all the pilgrims. The earth was alive again.

One of the pilgrims was amazed. Who was this man who did nothing as per the ritual; didn’t even use a prayer rug; didn’t recite any of the holy lines and yet on his one call, the heaven burst forth into tears! Was he a seer or a queer? Was he a prophet himself? So, this curious man followed him and found that this man was an extremely ordinary horse-keeper of their master.

He asked him, “All our prayers went unheard and He showered His grace just at one call of yours! Tell me, what makes you different from the rest of us?”

He smiled and replied, “We are same in all respect, brother. We serve the same master. There is just one difference, however. You learnt rituals from the master. I learnt Faith”.

The scholar said, “The aim of all rituals is to establish a strong connection…a childlike bond with the Divinity. ‘How’ doesn’t really matter to Him. It is the ‘what’ that matters.”

What are we learning from our Master? Mere dry rituals or unwavering Faith? Or even the best, a balanced combination of both! 🙂 Be safe, my fam! Jai Shri Hari-Ma! 🙂 🙂

PS. I have used the poetic license and restructured the story a bit. The plot, however, remains the same.