True Devotion Is Not Just Saying Prayers

Among the treasure of stories in The Mahabharata, an interesting episode on Bheema embodies a striking message, “True Devotion Can’t Be Judged By External Actions”. Those were the days when the Pandavas were experiencing a mixture of experiences during their exile. At a time when their morale was so low and they needed the divine assistance from Lord Krishna, they had voiced out their calls to Sri Krishna both individually and together. The group however did not consist of Bheema as he was into slumber enjoying the early morning post sleep nap. When their calls could not bring Sri Krishna, each of them said confidently they would go alone into the thick woods, pray from the bottom of their hearts and get the Lord with them on return. Each of them had their turns in line starting from Dharmaja and followed by Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva, but in vain. Once every one finished trying their luck, they sat together lamenting on their fate and discussing what was to be done next.

Their discussion saw Bheema entering the scene having got up from sleep and wading his way to the place where the other brothers were engaged in a serious discussion. Bheema looked at their miserable faces and enquired what the matter was. The four other brothers were not keen to answer him and one of them in fact said, “Brother, this is a topic where you can’t be of much help. We are feeling miserable and would like to invite Sri Krishna to boost up our morale. We tried our best independently, but the Lord does not seem to listen to our prayers.” To this Bheema said, “Oh, the matter is so simple. Give me a chance and I shall get the Lord here in no time.” This response from Bheema only provoked the laughter in the other four. In fact, one of them responded, “Brother Bheema, we offer regular worship and prayers to Lord Krishna every day. Therefore, naturally He should be very fond of us. On the other hand, most part of your life is given away to eating, ravaging the forest and sleeping till late in the morning. When the Lord does not seem to listen to our prayers and come here, will He ever accept your invitation? Therefore, this venture would be a vain effort on your part.” They all laughed in derision.

Bheema smilingly walked out of the scene on to the jungle paths. He stood at a point throwing his mace high in the air and standing right below the point where it would fall down. He said, “Oh Lord, I want you here miserably. I know you will pity this humble soul and would save me from the impending death resulting from the smash of my head by the falling mace.” In no time, the Lord was there gracefully catching the mace in the air and smiling at Bheema having saved him. Bheema bowed at the divine lotus feet and both of them made their way to the abode of the Pandavas. Upon seeing them, the four others were surprised and felt ashamed of their poor judgment. Yes, true devotion is not measured by the Lord in terms of the external rituals, He is the resident of our heart and He rejoices in the warmth of our selfless love, unwavering faith and sense of total surrender.

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