A Devotee’s Offering
Sri Mahasannidhanam Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji, the 35th Jagadguru Shankaracharya in the unbroken lineage of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, had an innate ability to explain even complex topics lucidly through apt parables from the Puranas, Itihasas and other scriptures. On the eve of the Aradhana of Sri Mahasannidhanam, published below is one among the many parables elucidated by the Mahaswamiji expounding an aspect devotion of a devotee towards the Omniscient Lord.
A devotee decided to offer something to the Lord. ‘What should I give?’, was the query that perturbed him. He cogitated ‘God is known by the name Pashupati, the Lord of creatures. Hence it would be proper to gift Him an animal. What is the animal that I should submit unto Him?’ After due thought, he told Shiva, ‘I have with me a cow which is none other than my devotion towards You.’ He assumed that Shiva would ask, ‘What is the characteristic of your cow?’ So, he clarified, ‘it gives unlimited joy as its milk.’
‘How ofter does it give milk?’ Shiva might wonder. Hence, the man said ‘It gives milk again and again’. Taking, ‘Where will it dwell?’ to be the Lord’s next query, he stated ‘It will dwell in the cow-shed that is Your feet’. He felt that the Lord would desire the answer to the question. ‘Does it have a calf?’ Therefore, he pointed out, ‘It has a calf, Virtue’. ‘O Lord! You are Pashupati. This is the sole cow that I possess. Please take it and protect it’. Concluded the devotee.
In reality God needs nothing whatsoever from a devotee. However, whatever the devotee offers with love, He accepts and bestows grace. Lord Krishna has said —
पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति।
तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मनः॥
‘When anyone offers Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, I accept that devotionally presented gift of the pure-hearted person’.