God comes down to us if we cannot reach Him provided we have
Ananya Bhakti in Him. Here is a touching story of a crippled man
who was personally taken care of by God man who was personally
taken care of by God Himself. God had settled Himself in a place
just to please His devotee!
There lived a Brahmin called Kurmadas in a village called Python.
He was by birth handicapped. He was born without feet or hands.
One day a Haridas came to their village and spoke extensively
on the miracles of Panduranga Vittala. Kurmadas was captivated
by the leela of God. He wanted to visit the holy place of Pandharpur
at once, but how would it be possible? He requested a troupe of
devotees on their way to the holy place but they flatly refused.
They feet a person like him with no hands and feet would only
be a nuisance to them. Some even laughed at him. ‘We are
hale and healthy but we are not thinking of going there since
we are old, on such a lapse how can you go being a lame person.’
But Kurmadas was firm in his devotion. He did want to go by hook
or crook. He proceeded all alone hoping God to take care of him.
God took good care of him.
On his way, he came across a Hanuman temple. He was tired and
hungry by then. He went in, prayed to the Lord, 'Oh Lord Vittala!
I have no one to take care of me except you. ‘Then Panduranga
Vittala appeared before him in the guise of a business man and
asked, ‘where are you going? Isn't it difficult for you
to crawl thus without feet?’ When he heard about his mission,
the business man said, ‘Oh! That’s fine. I too am
proceeding to Pandharpur. I am a business man there. My name is
Vitobha. We make good company.’ Kurmadas laughed at it.
How can we make good company? You can walk very fast, while I
cannot even walk. Vitobha assured him, 'Don't you worry. I'll
take care of you. So saying he provided him food, clothing and
shelter for the night. Next morning Vitobha asked Kurmadas to
proceed slowly. He said he would wait for him in the next village
with food and shelter.’ I serve the poor pilgrims on their
way to Pandharpur. That is my duty he added.
Kurmadas with great difficulty reached nearby village by evening.
Vitobha was eagerly waiting for him there with delicious food.
He served him food and made him sleep comfortably for the night
there. This practice continued for nearly four months. His food
and accommodation was taken care of all throughout the journey.
If there was no village enroute by the evening God created one
for him to make his stay comfortable.
He crawled like a lizard on the road continuously for four months?
He reached a village called Bahula. By then, his body was totally
scratched with blood oozing out everywhere. He couldn't move an
inch any more.
He then stayed back at Bahula and sent word to Panduranga Vittala
about his pitiable condition through another group of devotees.
They were touched by his pathetic story and offered to convey
his message. Will God be unmindful of such staunch devotees? When
his devotee could not reach him, God reached him. He went personally
to Bahula accompanied by three more devotees Jnanadev, Namadev
Can words describe the joy of Kurmadas on seeing his Lord Vittala
with his devotees, come down to personally bless him? Oh God my
life purpose is fulfilled. Your Darsan liberates me from the cycle
of life and death. I will attain Moksha, He cried like a child.
Vittala was moved by the Ananya Bhakti of his devotee. He embraced
his devotee. Lo! Kurmadas turned out to be a healthy man. He was
blessed with feet and hands. In addition God wanted to shower
him with one more blessing.
‘Oh God! Why do you divert my attention? Why do you want
to tempt me with desires? You have imbibed in me that desires
lead to sorrow. Desires arise out of Ajnana. Do you want me to
fall a prey to them? Oh God, suppose a millionaire dreams of his
being a beggar, will he ever really beg when he comes out of his
dream! Impossible! What desires do I have except seeking you!
Don't I know the stories of Ravana and others who faced a tragic
end due to their greedy ways?
I guess you want me to seek a favour for the good of others. But
I am sorry my lord. Somehow I cannot think of any such social
good. My mind has become a blank. My Indriyas have come to a stand
still. If one who is fast asleep is forced to get up, he opens
his eyes for a minute, but sinks back into deep sleep the next
minute. My condition at present is no different from that. My
eyes which are blessed with the sight of your celestial beauty
will not be compromised for any lesser beauty. My ears which were
blessed with the nectar like sounds emanated from you are deaf
to any other sound, however interesting it may be.
A honeybee, if it is dropped into a big vessel of honey, enjoys
the honey to its maximum and remains there itself. Presently,
I am like that. I am dead for the rest of the world. I have a
new birth into your Kingdom. I don't have any more desire! My
life’s purpose is completed.
All the same, I can't deny your grant of wish. It is not fair
on my part to refuse a boon offered by you in the presence of
your devotees. Let me seek a favour from you. There may be many
more crippled and handicapped people like me who may not be able
to visit Your holy place. So please You stay back here in this
Bahula village. As per his wish, Panduranga Vittala turned out
to be an idol there and disappeared with his three devotees.
Even today, Bahula is treated on par with Pandharpur. The devotees
who go to Pandharpur in Ashad and Kartik months visit Bahula after
the special Utsavams there.
* * * * *