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
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
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
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
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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