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Swami narrates episodes and short stories: "Hanuman" & "Lord Vittal"

   Hanuman

   Swami narrated a beautiful story about Lord Hanuman. The concept of Rama nama japa was first instilled by Anjana Devi (Hanuman's mother) in the mind of Hanuman. Hence, Hanuman knew the Ramanama first and only then the person Rama.

   When Rama avathar was about to be over, Rama wanted Hanuman to come with Him to Vaikuntam. Since anyone other than Devas (gods) cannot enter Vaikuntam, Rama embraced Hanuman thus giving Him the status of a Deva. All of them followed Rama upto the entrance of Vaikuntam. As Rama approached Vaikuntam, his roopam changed from Rama to Vishnu with shanku, chakra, etc. All along, Hanuman was chanting Ramanama and all of a sudden, he could sense the change in Rama. He opened his eyes and asked Rama as to what happened to Him. Rama replied that His avatar was over and hence He had come back to Vaikuntam. Hanuman asked Rama, "by what name are you called here? Would you still respond when I call you Rama?". Rama who by then had become Vishnu replied, "Here, I go by the name of Maha Vishnu. My Rama avathar is over on earth and hence that name does not apply here". To this, Hanuman replied, "Then I am sorry that I cannot come to Vaikuntam because I do not want to be in a place where I cannot call you Rama".

   When everyone considered that going to Vaikuntam was the ultimate, Hanuman declined even after he was offered the status of Deva by the Lord Himself. Hence, Hanuman was blessed to be chiranjeevi, one who dies not and he is the foremost of all gurus in kali yugam. Since Hanuman swears by the nama japam, in the kali yuga, nama japam is the most important one and all powerful.

   Swami adds that Hanuman was a mere monkey and he only performed service to Rama. But this itself is not sufficient to grant entry into Vaikuntam. That is why Rama embraced (aalinganam) Hanuman. It was direct contact, heart to heart, from the Lord and this immediately elevated Hanuman to the status of a Deva. But inspite of this recognition, Hanuman gave more importance to the sacred name of Rama them His form. This is why Hanuman came to be regarded as the Guru of all gurus.

   Lord Vittal

   Vithoba was an ardent devotee of Lord Vittal. His mother was paralyzed due to a stroke. One day she had an intense desire to take bath in the river Chandrabhaga at Pandharpur. The son carried his mother and took her to the banks of the river. There he was giving her bath. At that time, Lord Vittal came and called him. The boy acknowledged his call but continued bathing his mother. Actually, the Lord had come to test the boy's love for god vis-a-vis his mother. In those days, there were no soaps. Herbs or turmeric were used and rubbed against a baked brick and applied for cleansing the body while having bath.

   Now the Lord called again, saying "I am Vittal. I have come to meet you. Come here". The boy still continued his service to his mother. Again the Lord repeated His call. "Look back, your Vittal has come". The boy did not turn back but just threw a brick as if to give Vittal a seat and asking Him to wait. Vittal waited for his devotee standing on the brick with his hands on his hips. It is in this pose that we see Lord Vittal even today in Pandharpur temple.

   Thus we find Lord Vittal and His consort waiting for their beloved devotee who gave paramount importance to the service of his mother. Service to the old and sick is service to God.

   Now the boy's mother chided him and says — "why do you ignore the Lord? He has come all the way to meet you. Your mother is always there for you". The boy replies, "dear mother, it's my Vittal. Did you not listen to what He said? He is my Vittal. He is resident in my heart. It is from my heart that He has come out and thus spoken. So He will definitely wait for me.

   Swami says whenever we are doing service to someone, we are in effect doing service to the Lord who is resident in our heart. That should be our approach while performing our duties and serving mankind. Vithoba tells his mother, "the Lord has come to give you darshanam. He is there always with me in my heart. I don't need to see Him. He has indeed come to give you darshanam and bless you".

   Drawing a parallel to himself, Swami says that similarly Ambal is resident within Him. Hence whenever he visits Chothanikkarai, the visit is meant for devotees accompanying him. The devotees accompanying him need the blessings from Ambal. He is but a mere witness.

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