By Sri Swami Sivananda
Puran Chand's Guru had initiated him into the Narayana Mantra and
given him a small Murti (idol) of Lord Narayana for worship. Puran
was regular in his worship and did not omit repetition of the sacred
Mantra, but there was no sign of the idol blessing him; so he went to
his Guru and asked him the reason. The Guru smiled at Puran and
said, "Well son, take this idol of Lord Siva. I shall initiate
you into the Siva Mantra. Worship Lord Siva with faith and devotion.
He is considered as Bhole Nath and is easily propitiable; He will
bless you soon."
The next six months saw Puran Chand immersed in Japa and worship of
Lord Siva. The idol of Lord Narayana was placed on a dusty shelf in
the puja room. After many months, Puran Chand once more went to his
Guru and complained that his worship of Siva had brought him no
result. He begged him to give him the Murti (idol of god) and Mantra of a Devata
(idol of goddess) that would bless him.
The Guru smiled again; the time for enlightenment had come, yet he
felt the disciple would learn from experience. So he said, "Good
son, in this Yuga, Mother Kali is Pratyaksha Devata. Worship this
image of Her and repeat the Navarna Mantra and you will obtain Her
Grace." This time, Puran Chand had no misgivings whatsoever; he
had full faith.
Kali worship commenced; Siva joined company with Narayana on the
shelf. With devotion, Puran was waving incense before the image of
Mother Kali when the fumes rose up and reached the shelf where the
other two idols were kept. Puran was enraged. What right had Siva to
inhale the incense intended for Mother Kali? He had refused to be
propitiated when he had tirelessly worshipped Him; it was Mother Kali
whom he now worshipped. In great anger he took down the image of Siva
in his hands and began to insert cotton wool in His nose to stop Him
from inhaling the incense. Before he could accomplish his task,
however, the idol disappeared and before him stood the Lord, smiling
in all His mercy and compassion. Speechless with wonder and
amazement, Puran prostrated himself before the Lord who told him to
ask for any boon as He was immensely pleased with his devotion.
Puran answered, "My Lord, I am much perplexed. You did not deign
to bless me when I devoutly worshipped You and repeated the
Panchakshara Mantra for six months. But You suddenly chose to reveal
yourself to me when I had discarded Your image and given up Your
worship. What is this mystery, O Lord?"
The Lord answered, "My child, there is no mystery to be
explained; how could I reveal Myself when you treated Me as a mere
image, as a mere piece of metal worshipped or thrown away according
to your whim? Today you treated My image as a living presence when
you wanted to plug the nostrils with cotton wool; thus you revealed
that you recognized My living presence in the idol and I could no
longer withhold Myself from you."
Speechless and enlightened, Puran bowed once more and was immersed in
His Love. He could ask for no greater boon, for in His love he found fulfillment.