All knowledge does not make one a great devotee


The reclusive Uttang Rishi stayed  in the forests for most of his life  and  had  little contact with the rest of the world.

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It was during one such long stay away from civilization that the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas ripened to enmity and ended in the calamitous war at Kurukshetra  which  resulted in the decimation of all the Kauravas.

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Always in penance the Rishi moved places .

Pleased with his sincere devotion , LORD appeared and  said,

My  dear    ….

“I wish to grant you a boon,

O most righteous sage!

What would you ask of me?”

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Uttang  Rishi  replied , Oh Lord

  “I need nothing !

The only thing that I, perhaps, may seek is that I may not lack for water wherever I am, since I travel in wild and inaccessible places.”…

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Lord replied ..“Granted!”

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Later , once , Uttang Rishi was traveling  through a desert and was afflicted by  severe thirst and could not find any water to drink.

He remembered the boon   LORD  bestowed to him . He humbly  besought  some water.

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Lord  instantly summoned  Indira and instructed  him to take the nectar ( Amrit ) and fullfill the sages  thirst permanently making him immortal .

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Indira was surprised with Lord’s command as the Nectar was meant for devas only  . .However as instructed by LORD , Indira out of curiosity    changes his attire and proceeds to meet the sage personally  .

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He dresses himself as an ugly looking chandala in dirtiest clothes. He arrives before the Sage  along with a stray dog  .

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The Sage  is in disgust looking at the him .  Indira who is in disguise  follows the  Sage pleading  him to take the  water he is carrying from the  deerskin container.

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Uttang  Rishi is  aghast…

Though being thirsty , he avoids the ugly looking  man…….

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….How could he, a Brahmin, take water from this low-caste chandala ?

 It  so happens , thrice the  chandala  offers water and thrice the sage ignores him and refuses his advances .  Irritated with his advances ,the sage  declares that he would die of  thirst rather than drink the water given by him .  Thus he  insults him further and asks him to leave . The  chandala disappears in fraction of a second .

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Uttang Rishi  is  surprised by this miraculous disappearance of the chandala .  He  recollects the entire episode and  confirms  he could not really be a  chandala  but some divinity sent by  LORD  as a test.

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Uttang felt dejected about the possibility of having failed the Lord.

  Lord Krishna appears before him .

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Uttang  Rishi complains ,

Oh  ”Lord! You promised me water whenever I needed it.

How could you send it in the hands of a  chandala ?”

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Lord Krishna  smiles   and replies ,

“O Sage! I asked Indra to give you the  divine nectar and make you immortal. Indra  was hesitant  saying that Amrit was not for normal human beings.  But I insisted that were a realised soul and deserved  immortality.

Indra  was apprehensive and pleaded me to put you to test , whether  you  were truly  a realised soul, that  would know that all differentiation between people were only the creation of mortals and  that all people were the same in the eyes of a realised soul and, thus, if you accepted the nectar from Indra in the guise of  a chandala , you would deserve it.

I agreed. But sad that

You let me down………………

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The Rishi accepts that merely having all knowledge does not make one a great devotee but practicing a life in accordance with the knowledge was indeed what one has to follow for following true devotion…..

Merely knowing that LORD resides in everyone does not fulfill one’s status of being a devotee but practicing it in real life and treating everyone with respect and dignity is what is essential.

In the Purusha Sooktham one verse says padbhyAm Sudro aJayatha means all the sudras originated from the lotus feet of Lord ..

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And Its Lord’s feet all the devotees surrender and only HIS feet can redeem us .

The great Azhwar Vipranarayana calls himself Thondar Adi podi Azhwar  ( dust from the feet of devotees ) .

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A true vaishnava  is always in a surrender mood and seeks LORDS company in all animate and inanimate species .

For him LORD is everywhere ..

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Credits : Google Images