If a Guru loves a particular disciple, it is because he is worth of it!
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a very faithful devotee of his Guru, Samarth Ramdas Swami. So, he was his Guru’s favorite disciple. Samarth used to love him more than the other of his disciples. Seeing this, the other disciples of Samarth started to feel that since Shivaji Maharaj is a king, he is the Guru’s favorite. Samarth decided to remove this misunderstanding of his disciples. So, he once took all his disciples to the forest. In the forest, they lost their way. Samarth went into a cave and pretended that he was having severe pain in the abdomen. The disciples entered the cave and saw that Samarth was groaning with pain. They asked Samarth how they could help. On hearing Samarth’s reply, all the disciples were dumbfounded.
Here, Shivaji Maharaj left his fort to visit Samarth. He got the news that Samarth had gone to the forest with his disciples. So, searching for Samarth, he started wandering in the forest. All of a sudden, he heard someone groaning. He went closer and found out that the noise was coming from a cave. He went inside and saw that Samarth was tossing on the floor in pain. He folded his hands and politely asked Samarth the reason for his restlessness.
Samarth : I am having severe abdominal pain.
Shivaji Maharaj : Is there any medicine for this Gurudev ?
Samarth : No Shiva. There is no medicine for this. It is a very rare illness. There is only one remedy, but let it be.
Shivaji Maharaj : Gurudev, please tell me the remedy. Do not hesitate. I cannot sit quietly without relieving your discomfort.
Samarth : Milk of tigress, that too freshly milked; but it is impossible to get it.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Shivaji Maharaj picked up a kamandalu (ascetic’s pot), bowed down to Samarth and left in search of a tigress. After wandering for some time, his eyes fell on two tiger cubs. He took one of the cubs in his hand and waited for its mother. Shivaji thought, ‘Surely their mother must be around.’ Within seconds the tigress appeared.
On seeing Shivaji with her young one in his hand, she started growling. Shiavaji was capable enough to fight the tigress; but here fighting was not the motive. She became furious and at once sprang on him, and scratched him all over. But Shivaji was courageous.
He restrained the tigress, gathered courage and folded his hands in front of the tigress and said, ‘O Mother, I have not come here to harm either you or your cubs. I need your milk to cure my Guru’s illness. Please let me take it. I shall give it to my Guru and come back to you. Then if you want, you can eat me.’ Saying so, he lovingly moved his hands on her back.
Even mute animals can be won by love. The tigress stopped growling and like a cat, started to lick Shivaji. On getting the opportunity, Shivaji milked her and filled the pot. He bowed down to her with gratitude and left the place. Shivaji went back to the cave where Samarth was and keeping the pot in front of him and bowed down to him.
Samarth said, “So finally you brought the milk of a tigress!
God bless you Shiva! When there is such a faithful and devoted disciple like you, how can the Guru be in pain for long?” Samarth put his palm on Shivaji’s head and looked at the other disciples.
Now they realized that if a Guru loves a particular disciple, it is because he is worthy of it. He is worthy of that special grace. The Guru drank part of it, and was cured. He gave the rest to Shivaji, and when he drank it, all scratches disappeared.
Jealousy increases one’s weakness and defects. So, instead of being jealous of such a worthy disciple, he told other disciples to make themselves worthy.
Guru Ramdas taught Shivaji to greet all human beings with the salutation “Ram Ram”. This is how in Maharashtra they greet one another till this day.