Perception of divine being

There are times when many of us are bombarded by a barrage of thoughts: Does the Divine Being really exist?

If so, what does the Lord look like? Sometimes, we are even assailed by certain misgivings. Are our prayers reaching the Lord? In the first place, have we adopted the right method of praying?

Is our praying long enough to please the Lord?
I’m reminded of a story I read some years ago in a children’s magazine, which has left an indelible image in my mind. In a village, Gopi, an indigent cobbler, made a living by mending the rips/rents in the footwear of people visiting the temple near a riverbank.

Squatting and working near the temple steps in his bedraggled robes, Gopi watched the priest enter the temple every day, and do his morning ablution to perform poojas till noon.

Almost immediately, Gopi too was engulfed by a strong desire to enter the temple and come into the presence of God. Even though he was barred entry into the temple as he was from the lower classes, he begged the priest to guide him in the ways of worshipping God, which would make him eligible to meet the Supreme Being.

The priest, with a suppressed snigger, scoffed at Gopi’s request. Pointing at a small boulder near the roadside, he said: “Just worship that inanimate rock daily. As the Lord is everywhere, your prayers will reach him.”

Implicitly trusting the priest’s words, Gopi eagerly took the boulder and placed it in his squalid, thatched-roofed hut.

He then began to worship it with singular and sublime devotion. Soon, months had gone by.

One day, the priest was surprised to find Gopi glowing with palpable happiness.
When the priest demanded to know the secret behind his joy, Gopi revealed that he was indeed blessed to have the Lord visit him every night.

Looking at him with incredulity, the priest decided to prowl around Gopi’s house, to test the claim.

When the priest furtively sneaked near Gopi’s house that night, and looked through a chink in the outer wall of Gopi’s hut, he indeed saw a hazy figure silhouetted against a dazzling spread of blinding light with which Gopi merrily chatted and shared his simple meals. Seeing this, the priest was overcome by remorse for making a mockery of Gopi’s devotion.

He also  felt sad to know while his infinite poojas hadn’t moved the Lord, Gopi’s ingenuous praying ways had captivated Him. He then realised that, be it in any form we perceive and worship the Lord, our prayers reach Him, provided our devotion is pure and sincere.

In Gopi’s case, his devotion was so pure that it was neither contaminated by fears nor expectations.

Apparently that had brought him into the proximity of the Lord.

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