Spiritual Blossoms
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Dear Reader,
Sai Ram. Continuing our series Getting Better Spiritually, we offer a break in the general trend by offering you a few stories that illustrate some of the points made earlier. These stories are illustrative, and we do hope that they would encourage you to compile your own collection. By the way, if you come across any that you would like to share with us, do not hesitate to do so. As always, we can be reached at: [email protected] Hope you enjoy the stories below and would find them useful. Jai Sai Ram.

SGH Team.


We present below a few stories that illustrate the importance of duty and work properly performed, i.e., with Atma Bhavam.


The following story is from Indian spiritual folklore and it illustrates the importance God Himself attaches to duty.

The story revolves around one Pundalika, a great devotee of Krishna. Pundalika lived many many centuries ago in a region of India that now forms a part of the state of Maharashtra, where Bombay/Mumbai is located. One day, Pundalika was busy massaging the feet of his elderly parents. While working, he was constantly chanting, as was his habit, the name of Krishna. In those parts, Krishna is worshipped with the name Vittala, and so Pundalika was chanting, “Vittala, Vittala…” [Readers may recall that many Bhajans feature the name of Vittala. A good many of these Bhajans have been composed by Swami Himself!]

Krishna was pleased with Pundalika’s devotion, and decided to manifest Himself before the devotee. For a Divine purpose, Krishna chose the moment when Pundalika was engaged in discharging his duty towards his aged parents. When Krishna manifested, Pundalika’s delight knew no bounds; at the same time, he did not abandon the task he was engaged in. He said to Krishna, “Lord, I am so happy You have come here to give Darshan in answer to my constant prayers. As You can see, I am at present busy serving my parents. Please Lord, would You be so kind as to wait for a few moments till I complete this duty? Lord, I place here two bricks and pray that You kindly stand here while I wind up. I hope You will not mind, will You Lord?”

Imagine that! After a lifetime of prayer, the Lord appears, and Pundalika says ‘Duty first’. Is this not blasphemy? No, for Pundalika considered Duty also as God. To get back to the story, the Lord waited. And when Pundalika was through, Krishna blessed him saying, “Pundalika, I am very pleased with you. You have set a shining example to the world. You saw Me not only in this Form but also in your parents. Seeing Me everywhere is the highest form of devotion. Doing your duty seeing Me everywhere transforms your work into true worship. I wanted to proclaim this message to humanity for all times. That is why I manifested before you at this particular juncture. From this day, the word would go forth that DUTY IS GOD, and this spot where you made Me wait would become a holy shrine!”

PandurangaThe village where Pundalika lived has now become the holy shrine of Pandarpur, and the around the bricks on which Krishna waited has grown up a temple. In this temple, Krishna is worshipped as Vittala. Pandarpur and Vittala feature several times in the story of the Shirdi Avatar. Many years ago, Swami visited Pandarpur in the company of devotees.

The story does not quite end here for there is a modern appendix to it! When in Puttaparthi, Swami sometimes visits the Super Speciality Hospital on what may be called an inspection round. In the early days, wherever He went there, doctors and nurses would crowd around Him and go with Him as He went round. Baba was quite displeased and firmly declared, “I have NOT come here to give Darshan. If you want My Darshan, come to the Mandir. Here, you are supposed to be doing your duty. You therefore have no business to leave your respective stations. Your duty is to your patient. If you really want My Darshan, see Me in your patient!” Aided by firm warnings from the Hospital Director, Swami’s admonition finally worked. These days, Swami’s visits to the Hospital are not disturbed by Darshan seekers.

EVERYTHING IS SPIRITUALEverything is spiritual

Once, Baba materialised a golden pen for a devotee. The recipient very meticulously used the pen for taking notes of Bhagavan’s Divine Discourses. For all other work, he used an ordinary ball pen. One afternoon, Swami called this person into the Interview room for something. After speaking to the devotee for a while, Swami suddenly asked, “Where is the pen I gave you?” The devotee looked at his pocket and noticed that he was carrying a ball pen instead of the pen given by Baba. He then said, “Swami, I use that pen for spiritual work while for ordinary work I use this ball pen.” Baba then gazed steadily at him for a few moments and slowly said, “Everything is spiritual!”


God is perfectionWhatever it is that one is doing, it must be done perfectly, at least to the best of one’s ability. To drive home this point, Swami often narrates to students the story of Antonio Stradivarius, the famous violin-maker of Italy. Swami says that Antonio used to take a long time to make a violin, sometimes even two years or so. When asked why he took so long whereas others did it much faster, Antonio replied, “I try to aim at perfection. God is perfect, and when we try to do things perfectly, it would very much please God. That is why I take so much time.”

One can see that in everything that Swami touches, there is the unmistakable stamp of perfection. Excellence, as someone said, comes by paying the maximum attention to the smallest of details. Incidentally, the violins made by Stradivarius have become collector’s items, with each violin fetching a price of over a million dollars. Over the years, many have tried to attain the high standards set by Antonio but even with the help of modern technology, the violins of Antonio remain unbeatable; they continue to reign supreme.


This is a story about a famous musician named Tansen, who was a member of the Court of the Moghul Emperor, Akbar the Great. [Akbar lived in the seventeenth century.]

Akbar greatly admired Tansen’s music and one day said to him, “Listen, I want to meet the Guru who made you into such a fine singer.” Tansen replied, “Your Majesty, that is not possible.” Akbar wanted to know why and Tansen replied that his master was a recluse who lived alone in a far off village. Akbar then told Tansen, “Make arrangements for him to be brought here. Expense is no problem.” Tansen shook his head and said, “Your Majesty, I have already told you that he is a recluse and does not want to be disturbed.” Akbar then said, “OK, in that case, I will go and see him.” Tansen was alarmed and quickly observed, “But Your Majesty, he does not like to be disturbed!” Akbar replied, “That is no problem; I will take a look at him from a distance.” Tansen was very reluctant to agree to Akbar’s demand and so he posed a condition that, he hoped, would make Akbar drop the idea. He said, “Your Majesty, I will lead you to my master, provided you are prepared to go incognito and not as an Emperor with all the fanfare.” Akbar agreed. Akbar-Tansen-Haridas

Akbar, Tansen, and the royal entourage went into the desert [surrounding Delhi where Akbar held court] and after some days, the party approached the village where Tansen’s Guru [named Haridas] lived. At this stage, Tansen made Akbar to change from royal attire into ordinary clothes worn by villagers, and leaving the entourage behind, the two trekked to the village of the Guru. Thereafter, the two tip-toed to the house and when they reached it, they heard music coming from within – the Guru was singing. The two stopped outside the hut, and Akbar remained frozen, absorbed in enjoying the music. Tears were flowing from his eyes, and it was obvious that he was at the height of ecstasy. After a while, the music stopped. Akbar wanted to go in and meet the great singer, but Tansen would not allow. Holding Akbar firmly by the hand, he led the Emperor away. After they went some distance, Akbar said, “Tansen, don’t take offence. No doubt you sing very well but your master is much better than you.” Tansen laughed and said, “That is no surprise Your Majesty. I merely sing for you whereas my master sings for HIM!”

Doing anything for God brings out the very best and also gives the greatest satisfaction as well as joy.


Volume - 2 Issue - 17 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004