Happy Janmashtami 2019!!
Here is an interesting anecdote in the life of Sri. Narsinh Mehta!
Does God reside in an idol?
Great devotee Narsinh Mehta of Junagadh was poor in his worldly ways but was very rich in doing the devotion of Shree Krishna. On one occasion, Narsinh Mehta was in need of sixty rupees. He borrowed the money by depositing ‘Raga Kedara’ as security. He was not to sing that Raga until he repaid the amount. Raga Kedara was such a majestic tune of Sri Narsinh Mehta, that whenever he sung in that tune, God appeared from the idol to give darshan to his devotee. That raga was rich in faith, feelings and in oneness with God. King Mandalika was ruling the state of Junagadh. He was blind with the intoxication of power and ego. He summoned Narsinh Mehta and threatened him with dire consequences for doing the devotion of statues. He asked him rudely,
“Why are you doing pooja to a statue?
Why do you offer meals to it?
Do you think it is God?”
Narsinh Mehta politely replied, “O My Master! It is not a stone. God himself resides there.” The ego of power blocks the path of reasoning and wisdom. The King barked at him, “If God resides in that stone then he would garland you by morning. I will behead you if God has not garlanded you with a flower garland before sunrise!” With these words, he shut the doors. Devotee Narsinh sang for the whole night the praises of God, and the night was about to be over. It was the last quarter of night- time. Time was passing swiftly, but God was not pleased enough to give darshan to his devotee! God had not come, as the great Raga Kedara was not available for singing. It was kept as a security deposit to the moneylender.
Narsinh was singing from the core of his heart to call his Lord – Shree Krishna, “O Krishna! O Madhava! The king will kill me if you do not come to me. It is not the question of my prestige, but of your majesty. Therefore, be kind to me and come here.” The night was almost over in such hearty prayers but God did not give Darshan. Narsinh Mehta was almost inwardly shattered by God’s indifference to him. He prayed again with tear-filled eyes, “O Bhagwan! Because of my poverty and weakness, you have not come to me. I have remembered you and have prayed constantly for the whole night without a wink of my eyes. I am your slave. I am your devout servant. How can you sleep, when your devotee spends a sleepless night in tormenting troubles?” He asked him to awake quickly to save his devotee’s soul: “O Krishna! Look at the pains of your devotee.
Goddess Radhikaji serves at your lotus feet at the cool grove of Brindavan near the bank of the tranquil river Yamuna. O Krishna! How can you sleep like this? O Keshava! Just think – if you do not come to me, then the king here will kill me. O Lord! Transform this atheist king to make him a theist. O Lord! How great is your majesty.” “You have gifted to Satyabhama the heavenly tree of Parijata flowers. Then what stops you from bringing one flower garland for me?”
“O Krishna! You are not short of flowers. Hundreds of your devotees have been garlanding you with thousands of flowers and flower garlands. Therefore, O Krishna! Please come to me and give me a flower garland. O Lord! You are an ocean of mercy and compassion.
Why have you become so harsh, cruel and stone-hearted? Why are you not coming? Come to me, O Lord!” Despite such hearty prayer and repeated begging, God did not come to Narsinh. This provoked anger for his dearest one: (“O Lord Krishna! Your father and mother passed away through natural death s. (There was no fault on my side in their deaths).
Then why are you angry with me? O Jadava! Please, awake from sleep. It is nearly daybreak.”) How can God sleep when his devotee is awake and in trouble? God rushed to the earth in the guise of Narsinh Mehta and came to Dharnidhar Nagar – the moneylender. He asked Dharnidhar Nagar to give back his Raga Kedara and paid rupees sixty to clear the debt.
Dharnidhar Nagar gave the receipt with the Raga Kedar. God in his invisible form came to Narsinh Mehta and dropped that receipt and note in the lap of Narsinh. Mehtaji found that the Raga Kedara was no longer with the moneylender, as the debt was now cleared. Immediately, bhakta Narsinh sang a devotion filled song in Raga Kedara: (“O Lord Krishna! O Murari! Please give me darshan of your divine image. My eyes are thirsty for such darshan.”) The temple doors opened and Lord Shree Krishna manifested himself from the idols.
King Mandalik witnessed Lord Shree Krishna walk straight to Narsinh and garland him lovingly. King Mandlik rose from his throne and saluted at the feet of Narsinh Mehta. He then prayed at the feet of Narsinh Mehta for his pardon, “O Mehtaji! O Great Devotee! This was my mountain like a blunder. I have realized my mistake and wisdom has prevailed upon me. I have learnt that God, with his omniscience and majesty, dwells within any idol, whether it is be made of metal or stone.”
Thus the atheist attitude of King Mandalik was uprooted, and faith and religion prevailed forever in his heart.