Bhakta Deepakudu

Suppose both God and Guru appear before you at the same time, whom do you offer pranams ? God may be the answer, but it seems we should offer our pranams to the Guru first, because he enlightens us about the greatness of God.

Here is the story of such a bhakta, who being lost in the service to his Guru, refused to seek any boon from the Almighty ! In fact he was surprised as to how God appeared before him when he hadn’t offered any prayer to Him.

Once upon a time there was a rishi called Vedadharmudu. He had many disciples. He wanted to know how serious they were in serving him. So one day, he assembled them before him and said, ‘Listen carefully ! I would like to nullify the sins of my previous janma so that I can free myself from the cycles of birth and death and can attain moksha. I have washed away a major part of my sins through my penance. I am still left with some more sins bear punishment for them. I will be born again to reap the consequences of those sins.
So I will go to Kasi and turn myself into a leprosy patient, a lame and blind man. I will suffer thus for 21 years to get rid of my sins. Now tell me, who is willing to serve me and look after me for all these years?

Nobody ever dared to open his mouth. Each one was worried, he might not discharge his duties well in looking after him in such a miserable condition. If he failed to do so, he might invoke the guru’s bitterness. Better keep numb than serve and be criticized.But then, one disciple by name Deepakudu was more than willing to take over the fruits of the sins of the Guru. He said ‘Dear Guru, if you allow me to do so, I will bear your sins and reap their consequences. I’ll also serve you. Please bless me ‘The Guru was pleased at the faith in him, but said, ‘I am helpless that way! I should face the suffering, I cannot transfer it to any one. In fact serving a patient is more difficult than being a patient. So you think twice before you join me on my venture.’ Deepakudu had no second thoughts. He proceeded with the guru happily.

Vedadharmudu had his bath in the Manikarnika ghat, offered his prayers to Manikarnika and had the darshan of Kasi Viswanath. Devakudu built an ashram to the guru. There the guru was affected by leprosy, blindness and lameness as desired by him. Leprosy was in its worst stage. His body was totally decayed, infected with insects and was letting out a foul smell. All these physical ailments disturbed his mental balance. A normally lovable soul-the guru, became very rude and cruel.

Deepakudu, as promised by him, served him very dutifully. He cleaned his body meticulously. In one word he served his guru as one would serve God. He found God in him and did not even bother to visit the holy temple of Kasi Viswanath.

Whenever Deepakudu brought food, the guru only tortured him. He threw the food down on one pretext or the other. He either said it was too less or that it was insipid and tasteless. He pestered him to get better food always. Once in a while, he would feel sorry for Deepakudu ‘Oh boy!’ I’m awfully sorry for you! You are such a great, sishya! You are suffering a lot for my sake!’ But that affection was short lived. The very next minute the guru with a thundering voice would attack him to clean his body properly. He would say that since he was not cleaning properly the body was emitting a foul smell, being a playground to the insects. When he began to clean him, he would curse him again for not offering him food when he was badly hungry.

Deepakudu bore all this stoically. He had the generous heart to understand that great sinners were also greatly cruel since their suffering turned them to cruelty. So he did not take it to heart. He served him so much that he had no time for his personal duties. He never spoke to anyone.

Though he had lost no time in visiting the presiding deity, Kasi Viswanath, Kasi Viswanath had no rues against him. He was moved by his guru bhakti and appeared before him and asked him to seek a boon.

Anybody would have jumped at the offer of the Almighty and would have given out a long list of boons they required. Deepakudu said that he would not seek any boon without the permission of his Guru. He went and asked his guru if he would allow him to ask God to mitigate his pain. That irritated the guru beyond expectation. ‘Why, what’s wrong! Are you too sick of serving a sick man like me ? No, for heaven’s sake, don’t ever seek such a boon ! If I ask for any mitigation of my pain, I have to be reborn again as a human being to bear the suffering. That is what is written in Shastras ! So go away ! Don’t ask for it.’
Deepakudu repeated what the Guru opined to Kasi Viswanath. Being surprised by such a behaviour, Kasi Viswanath narrated the whole thing to Lord Vishnu, before all other devathas. Lord Vishnu was delighted to hear such a thing and came down personally to see the guru and sishya.

Same old story again! Instead of being thrilled at the darshan of the Gods one after the other, he questioned Lord Vishnu in return. ‘Oh my Lord! There are hundreds of people who do penance to have your darshan! Why then did you take the trouble of manifesting yourself before me!

Lord Vishnu answered with a smile, ‘Look here! You don’t have to serve me directly ! If you serve your Guru with your heart and soul, it is as good as serving me ! I am bound to such a sishya. Not only a guru, whomever you serve-parents, pandits, brahmins, rushis, munis, I will be pleased. A wife who server’s her husband as God, is not serving him, she is serving me. So, come on, seek a boon of your choice.

Deepakudu said, ‘Our Sastras proclaim that Guru is the incarnation of God and all the holy places. In such a case why can’t I seek my boon from the Guru him self ?

Lord Vishnu insisted, ‘Yes we are one! So to please us both, you ask for a wish and I’ll sanction it and will remain with you forever.’ Deepakudu who knew only the guru and nothing else asked in similar lines. He said, ‘Oh God ! see that my gurubhakti increases day by day.’ The lord was pleased by his desire and fulfilled it at once. He said, ‘you are a blessed soul. You continue to serve your Guru thus.’

‘Whoever understands the essence of the teachings of vedas and vedantas, whoever serves his guru as the paramathma is blessed by all the devatas put together Whatever boon he seeks will be sanctioned by the devatas. One who prays to a guru as God is respected by the world around. When the opportune moment comes, we the Trimurthis provide you with a sadguru So saying Lord Vishnu disappeared.

Deepakudu ran to his guru to narrate the whole thing, but the guru had known everything, before Deepakudu opened his mouth. The Guru spoke in soft, caressing tone in Deepakudu. ‘Dear Sishya you continue to remain in kasi. You will be served by Asta siddis and nava nidhis. Those who pray to you will be relieved of their pain. so saying the guru became a perfectly healthy man. The Guru took over suffering on him to test his disciple, to teach him his swadharma and to prove the greatness of the holy place Kasi. Why will ever a guru be a sinner. This is only a message to the sadhakas to lead their life in the righteous path.

This is a story narrated by Siddhudu to Kali Purushudu in Sri Guru Charithra.
A word from the writer’s desk.

I happened to hear this story from my sister, Mrs Meena Ramarao and I planned to write it for my next Bhakta story, but on second thoughts, I felt it spoke more about the dedication to the Guru than about the miraculous powers of the bhakta himself since all along, the stories I picked up spoke about the greatness of the Bhakta. So I declared I would not write it.

The very next morning there was a little havoc in our Kitchen but nothing happened. Then I felt that it is God’s message that I should write this story.

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