Two Gifts Of Devotion
Posted by Trupti Pandya on Apr 18, 2021
While reflecting on these questions in our Devotion Pod orientation yesterday, two stories came to my mind.
In my primary school years, our science teacher would start her class with a prayer. It felt unusual as none of the other teachers would do that. And as children, some of us resisted and use to make fun of her but she would continue doing it day after day. Like everyone around me, I would also stand up, fold my hands, and would listen to her singing. As a child, I did not realize what was happening but I distinctly remember tears flowing while listening to some of the words from the prayer. As I was growing up, I realized that I was finding strength from those prayers as the meaning started unfolding. What got seeded as a child by my teacher something that was intangible yet omnipresent like the goodness around us. To this day, whenever I hear someone offering a prayer, it tenders my heart and helps me reroute my inner compass.
Two years back, during our walking pilgrimage, as we were approaching a nearby village we saw a man dancing as soon as he saw two of us. It felt weird and bizarre and I could see my mind totally judging him. When we reached his shop, he warmly greeted and welcomed us as if we were long-lost friends. He offered us freshly made tea and insisted us to leave after having breakfast that he was preparing for his daily customers. While we were sitting with him, he started sharing the struggles that he faced in a metropolitan city where he had migrated with his family for work. After going through severe episodes of stress, he decided to come back to his village and do something that would serve him and others as well. He decided to open a small food joint as he was good with cooking.
Interestingly, along with a few local customers, he would get thousands of pilgrims walking by his shop each year. He did not earn much money from the daily customers but his intention to serve made him kingly. We requested to take some money but he refused with his folded hands saying, people consider me mad and I accept that I am mad. Who isn’t? He added, when I saw two of you coming, I was dancing out of joy for the opportunity given to me to serve you and all the other pilgrims who would walk after you.
As I was reflecting more on what devotion really means to me, I realized that all those moments when my heart felt tender through the goodness of others, that was devotion to me.
Originally posted in Devotion and Purpose Pod.