What Type Of A Devotee Are You?

By: Vijay Kumar Verma, Editor-ICN Group

In Shri Bhagwat Puran, there is a beautiful conversation between mother Devhooti and her son Kapil Muni.  After the departure of her husband Kardam Rishi for tapasya,  Ma Devhooti addresses her five year old son as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and wants him to cut the tree of her ignorance with the axe of his divine knowledge. She wants  to know the properties of a true devotee. To this, Kapil Muni replies that there is only one key that can turn us towards Jagat or Jagdeeshwar in very simplistic terms.

Ma, there are five types of devotees in this world. The first kind are those who look towards idols of gods and godesses in temples as images of God. They are Prakrit Bhaktas, the first category of devotees. Such devotees bow their heads only before these deities day in and day out and consider themselves as true bhaktas. To them other humans are mere menials.  On way to the temple they show off themselves by chanting mantras and avoid the sight or touch of a low cast human.

And the second category of devotees are those who look for the image of God in Sadhu Sants,  monks and sages. To them these saints are the messengers of God and try to avoid other humans by posing themselves as superior beings. To them the preachings of these saints are sacrosanct however dubious they may be.

The third category of devotees are those who look towards all humans as images of God and respect everyone. Now if we try to distinguish between the first and third category of devotees we find an extreme difference.  The first category of devotees show respect to the idols of gods and goddesses who have been sculpted by other humans. And installed in the temples by pandits, only humans.  The ‘pranpratishtha’ of these idols too has been done by some or the other humans.

On the other hand which sculptor created these moving humans, God himself.  Which pandit performed ‘pranpratishtha’ of these living idols, God himself. Kapil Muni says, if we bow before the man sculpted idols and show disrespect towards the living idols created by God himself, I feel it is as good as performing havan in ashes. It is showing disrespect to the creations of God.

We come across numerous instances where we humans tend to disrespect our own parents and take pride in visiting temples of Ma Vaishnodevi, or undertake Amaranth,  Badrinath and Kedarnath yatras.  They forget the gesture of their most revered Ganpati who showed off to the world that the parikrama of his own parents, Ma Parvati and Shivaji was far superior to the parikrama of the entire world. In Ganesh Chaleesa we recite “Charan Matri Pitri ke Dhar Leenhe, Tinke Sat Pradakshin Keenhe ” But fail to understand or imbibe it in our lives.

Kapil Muni further describes that when a person starts seeing the image of God,  not only in humans but all living beings, he is the fourth category of devotee. He further describes that all living beings have been created by God with similar ingredients viz the panchbhutas. To God there is no difference between his own creations may be it is a human or a bird or an animal. Because he sees his own created soul living in all these creatures. To a potter, all his creations, may be it is a pitcher or a mug or a flower pot are the same, formed by mud with his own hand. He sees only mud in all his creations. Similarly God too sees only the soul in all his creations, which is but an extended part of himself and not the outer cover or the body of a human or insect it assumes for brief periods.

Kapil Muni further explains that the fifth and top level of devotee is the one who sees the image of God not only in humans, or in other creatures but also in trees, plants, rivers, hills, and the entire Nature around. The devotee who bows to all the living and non living creations of God is the supreme bhakta.

Aayshmaan bhavah. …

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