I know you are a great devotee of God..I know you offer many prayers to God to please Him..I know you take active part in many spiritual activities to create awareness about God in your society..I know you visit many famous holy places in India often to prove to God and to the world how big a devotee you are..
I also know you take pride in telling your friends and relatives how immense your faith in God is..But tell me honestly..You say you have faith in God but do you have belief in God..???.. Confused..?? ..
Don’t know the difference..???..Well..There’s a chalk and cheese difference between these two aspects of devotion towards God and to know that in detail,you must read what this innocent devotee of Lord Sri Venkateswara had gone through,one full night,after refusing to obey His beloved holy Lord’s orders..
Please go through..
Govind Rao was living in a small but beautiful village near the holy temple town of Tirumala Tirupati.. For many generations,Govind Rao’s family members have been ardent devotees of Lord Venkateswara.. His entire family is engaged in designing of the holy Lord’s paintings and portraits and supply them on order to the merchants on the Tirumala hills..
All the members of that large joint family gather in the pooja room every morning and recite together the sacred 108 names of Lord Venkateswara..It is only after performing this holy ritual everyday,they begin their daily work..
Every Saturday,the entire family,visits the Tirumala Temple and have His darsan..It would be an under statement if I just say the family members of Govind Rao are great devotees of Lord Venkateswara..
Additionally,the 55 – year old Govind Rao,performs bhajans at his residence on every Friday and offers food to poor people..He also has a cattle shed that shelters five cows..
Govind Rao reverentially feeds those Cows and on his own collects milk from them everyday and uses it for preparing sweets to be served free of cost to the devotees of Sri Venkateswara on Tirumala hills..That is how he shows his devotion to the holy Lord…
In a way,Govind Rao’s entire family of men and women are engaged in some activity or the other that is directly or indirectly associated with Lord Sri Venkateswara..
There is a boy,engaged by Govind Rao,to take the Cows every morning to the nearby hills for feeding.. The duty of that boy is to come and take the Cows to the hills and watch them while they are preying on the green grass there..
On one evening
That boy returned home with only four Cows and hurriedly went to Govind Rao and said,”Sir..One of our Cows went missing..I think it went up the hills and vanished from there..”
“What were you doing idiot..Were you sleeping..??..”Govind Rao shouted..The boy replied in a fear filled tone,
“No sir..I swear on my mother..I wasn’t sleeping..While returning home that one cow suddenly ran away from the group and went up the hills..I didn’t know what to do..If I go running behind that Cow I know these remaining four Cows too may go missing..So I came home running to inform you..”..
Govind Rao was worried..He knows he cannot sleep that night peacefully without that Cow..He decided to go on his own,in search of that missing cow..His wife warned him saying,”it’s already dark now and how can you go all alone this night on to that hill..It is dangerous to do that..”
Govind Rao convinced her saying,”I cannot sleep to night without our beloved daughter,Lakshmi (Cow) ..We are devotees of Lord Venkateswara and He will always be there to protect us..I have immense faith in Him..So,don’t worry..I will return home safely to night with Lakshmi..”
Without knowing ,
What is that his beloved Lord Sri Venkateswara had kept in store for him that night,the poor Govind Rao left his home,all alone in that darkness,and went in search of his favorite Cow,Lakshmi..Unfortunately, there’s no other male member of family at home that time to accompany Govind Rao..
Holding a torch light in his hand,Govind Rao started walking and reached the near by hill in about half an hour time..It was completely dark all around the hill that time and that small torch light in Govind Rao’s hand was hardly providing light for an area of a meter in and around him..
There was also a great silence all around that place..Chanting the sacred Govinda nama,Govind Rao slowly started climbing the hill..After walking for about an hour,he reached almost half the distance of the hill..
There he paused there and looked around to find his Cow..To his fate,he didn’t find his Cow but found pitch darkness all around him..For the first time,a great fear entered his mind..A sort of dangerous fear that grips the mind..
It was then that he noticed that deafening silence all around him..That intensified his fear furthermore.. Govind Rao’s heart stopped for a minute..He didn’t know whether to go forward or backward..Although his fear filled mind was telling him to go back,his love for his Cow,Lakshmi was telling him to go ahead up the hill..
His inner conscience was constantly telling Govind Rao,that his beloved innocent Lakshmi was waiting for him all alone on the hill..So mustering bravery,Govind Rao finally decided to climb up the hill..He then slowly started walking in the upward direction towards the top of the hill..
Exactly at that moment
Of stepping on the flat surface on the hill,Govind Rao’s right foot fumbled a bit and he fell forward doing a somersault feat…While he was falling,the torch light in his hand went for a toss in the air and landed directly on a near by hard rock and as he was helplessly watching busted into millions of pieces..
It was then,during those moments,Govind Rao’s eyes explained him the definition of pitch darkness; and his mind made him realize what deadly fear is known as..During those darkest moments of life,the poor Govind Rao forgot about everything in his life and forgot about His Lakshmi too..
All that he wanted that moment was to somehow land in his house and see all his family members at the earliest ..Silently offering his prayers to Lord Venkateswara,Govind Rao slowly got up from the ground; turned back; and started walking..
His idea was to turn back and walk down the hill and reach his home the same way he reached the top of the hill..But unfortunately,Govind Rao wasn’t aware that moment that he had inadvertently changed his direction,while doing that somersault feat,and as a result his body had turned completely to his left side..
That means without his knowledge,Govind Rao was actually walking towards the complete edge of the hill although he was thinking he was heading down the hill..But he realized it very late but that was too late too..
Before he could know what was happening, Govind Rao reached the edge of the hill and landed his next step in the empty space under him..And what a fall he had..Just like Jill came tumbling after Jack,the poor Govind Rao too went down tumbling,but to his good fortune his hands could somehow manage to hold the edge of the second lower hill,thus preventing a complete fall..
Suddenly,Govind Rao found himself hanging at the cliff of the hill..With great fear in his mind and sweat all over his body,he took a deep breath first and then looked all around..His eyes couldn’t see anything.. For a moment,he thought he had gone blind but then realized that it was darkness all around him..
Then he slowly bent his head and cautiously looked down..He was terrified..He was shocked..Nothing was visible to him there..His heart stopped again..After about two minutes of silent thinking,He realized that he cannot hold on to the cliff for a longer time and may in fact fall down any moment and die..
Then..And then..And then..And then..
Govind Rao wept..For the first time in his life,wept..Not at his condition but at the way God had betrayed him despite his having so much of faith in Him..Then,he started cursing God..Blaming God..Screamed loudly at Him..Called Him by whatever name he wanted to..
Then he gradually came to a conclusion that “..God doesn’t exist and we humans are fools to think so..All of us are just wasting our time and money offering our prayers to Him..”..Then he shouted loudly,”Hey stupid people of this mad world..God doesn’t exist..Don’t waste your time chanting His names..”
Later,for about ten minutes,Govind Rao went on shouting,”God doesn’t exist…God doesn’t exist..God doesn’t exist..God doesn’t exist..God doesn’t exist..God doesn’t exist..God doesn’t exist…God doesn’t exist..”
He was going mad..He was losing his senses..He was just breaking down..He was collapsing..But still he could remain hanging there with some hope some where deep inside him..
After about an hour,
Govind Rao exhausted all his energies; lost all his hopes and finally hanged his head down in complete surrender to that pathetic state of utter helplessness..
With a great difficulty,he had accepted the reality of life and had come to a sad conclusion that “it’s only matter of time before I die..”..He wanted to weep loudly..But unfortunately by that time,all the tear shells in his eyes have exhausted their content..
There was an unbearable silence all around Govind Rao that moment..A great silence..A threatening silence..A deafening silence..A heart breaking silence..And a mind shattering silence..
And from that silence filled silence emerged a small sound,first..Govind Rao’s ears heard that sound in DTS effect..He quickly opened his eyes and raised his hanged head and concentrated fully on that sound ..
Then he heard it again..
This time he heard it with a little more clarity..He then noticed that it was the sound of a foot step..Who was that..???..He thought..Then,he told himself..”O..There’s someone here who can save me now..I can survive..I can survive..”..
Gathering all his bodily strength into his voice,Govind Rao shouted.”Hello..Who is there..Please come here and help me..Please come here and help me…Please come here and help me…Please come here and help me…”
He went on shouting so for about a minute and paused to just notice the reaction..This time,he heard the sound of the foot steps much more clearly and also much closer to him..He then realized that “someone is there; he heard my voice and is coming to rescue me now..”
With great happiness in his mind,Govind Rao kept staring in the direction from where that foot steps sound was coming..After about a minute,he could see some hazy form coming towards him..With hair all over his body rising,he kept looking at that form..
As he was observing,that form started appearing more and more clearly to Govind Rao..Then he noticed that it was a human form and was certainly coming to help him..After some more observation,Govind Rao noticed a great radiance in that dark human form..
Slowly walking towards Govind Rao,that human form finally reached him; stood before him and said, “What a situation you have landed in Govind Rao..I really pity you..”
With his eye balls popping out of his eyes,Govind Rao hurriedly asked,”Sir..Who are you..How do you know my name..Why did you come here..To help me..??..Please pull me up sir..Am dying..”
With a gentle smile,that human form replied,”..Govind Rao..I know everything that takes place in your life and also in this world..I also know that your family is surviving by designing my portraits..Am also enjoying the sweets you are serving to my devotees on Tirumala hills..Now tell me how do I not know you,Govind Rao..I have now come only to rescue you..How can I leave you like this..”
With tears flowing down from his eyes,Govind Rao said in a choked voice,”Swamy Sri Venkateswara.. Please forgive me..I have cursed you..I have blamed you..I have also shouted you don’t exist..But still you came to rescue me..Please accept my apologies and save my life..”
Smiling again,the holy Lord said,”Govind Rao..Will any Mother in this world punish her beloved son if he curses her in a fit of anger or when upset..Instead she embraces her child with love and blesses him.. Am also like your mother,Govind Rao,so the question of forgiving you doesn’t arise at all..”…
“Thank you Sarnagatha Vatsala Saaranidhe..Thank you very much..Please pull me up and save my life..I cannot even offer you my pranams although I wanted to..”,Govind Rao hurriedly replied..
With the same gentle smile,the holy Lord said,”..Certainly Govind Rao..I have come to save you..But will you do what I ask you to do now..”
“Certainly Swamy..I always had a great faith in you..Order me Swamy..I shall do whatever you ask me to do now..”Govind Rao replied..
“..Okay then Govind Rao..Free your hands and leave the cliff..”,the Lord ordered..A fully shocked Govind Rao asked,”What Swamy..What are you saying..Leave the cliff..??..I will fall down and die Swamy..This is not the time for jokes..Please pull me up.. ”
“..Govind Rao..You say you have faith in me but if you also have belief in me do what I say and leave the cliff..I will take care of you..”..
For the firsts time Govind Rao had a doubt in his mind about Lord Venkateswara..He thought,”..Why is He saying so..He came to save me or kill me..No I can’t trust Him..Let me hang like this as long as I can then I shall see what is going to happen to me..However,I should not trust Him..Who knows if He he had actually come to kill me..”
Observing Govind Rao’s silly thoughts,the holy Lord finally said,”Govind Rao..Am telling you for one last time..If you have belief in me leave the cliff or else am going to leave you to your fate and go back to my Tirumala hills ..”
Govind Rao didn’t reply..He knows there’s no point in talking to Lord Venkateswara any more..He just remained silent..Understanding Govind Rao’s silence,Lord Venkateswara quickly disappeared..
Mouth fully cursing the holy Lord,Govind Rao remained hanging to the edge of that steep hill,with great difficulty,all that night..
And the first shade of the early morning light appeared..Govind Rao could clearly see everything around him..After seeing that light he was happy that someone nearby would certainly see him any moment and save him..
Then,he had slowly bent his head and looked down..He was so shocked that he just kept looking down madly and madly indeed..
Just at two feet distance under his feet,there was a flat ground full of Green grass..Govind Rao quickly left the cliff and landed on the grassland..He was surprised..He was joyous..He danced in happiness..
He then bent down on his knees and offered his sincere thanks to Lord Sri Venkateswara for saving his life..He also tendered Him his sincere apologies..
While getting up,Govind Rao turned to his right and was further more surprised as he found his beloved Cow,Lakshmi happily enjoying chewing the tender green grass there..
Govind Rao had immense faith in Lord Venkateswara but he didn’t believe in Him when he should have believed Him the most..If only he had obeyed His orders,he would have returned home the same night along with his beloved Lakshmi instead of hanging to the cliff all the night..
That is the difference between faith and belief in God..B T W,my beloved reader,if you were in Govind Rao’s situation that night what would you have done when Lord Venkateswara appeared before you..Just asking..
“Puttutayu nijamu, povutayu nijamu…Natta nadi mee pani natakamu..Yetta neduta galadi prapanchamu.. Katta kadapatidhi kaivalyamu.. Naanaati batuku naatakamu.. Naatakamu.. Naatakamu..” – Saint Annamacharya
DISCLAIMER : Not sure whether this is a true story or not but heard it when a great spiritual teacher whom I reverentially admire was narrating this in a meeting..I liked it so presented it here in my own way,style and narration for the benefit of my readers..Since there’s a great deal of good in it for everyone of us to learn,didn’t bother much to verify it’s authenticity..
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