March 03, 2005

A story that my mom often recites to me, with tears in her eyes...

Krishna Chaitanya, a great devotee of Lord Krishna, lived in Bengal. He prided himself on his devotion to Lord Krishna and considered himself one of the greatest devotees of all times. Around the same time, lived a simple man called Govind Bhatta. He spent most of his time praying and talking to Lord Krishna in the temple. Everyday he would loudly read a chapter of the MahaBharatha by the temple pond. This became a source of great ridicule because he often misread what was written in the great epic. People who came to the temple were amused and some annoyed seeing him read the MahaBharatha loudly and incorrectly.

One day, Krishna Chaitanya decided to visit the temple where Govind Bhatta worshipped. When the great man entered the temple, Govind Bhatta was going about his morning ritual of loudly reading the MahaBharatha missing keywords and sentences as he read it aloud. The people in the temple, scared that this would annoy Krishna Chaitanya, one of the greatest devotee of Lord Krishna, ordered Govind Bhatta to move to a corner of the temple. Krishna Chaitanya prayed to his heart’s content. When he was about to leave, he heard Govind Bhatta read the MahaBharatha. Krishna Chaitanya having read the epic many times, could immediately sense that there were many phrases and words missing in Govind Bhatta’s recitation. He moved towards the voice and found Govind Bhatta in a corner, immersed in the epic. Krishna Chaitanya patiently waited for Govind Bhatta to finish the chapter he was reading and then asked the latter, “Oh, devotee of Lord Krishna, do you not realize that you are not reading the epic incorrectly? “. Govind Bhatta was filled with remorse; he said “Oh, great Sir, I do realize that I am blinded when I read the MahaBharatha and do not read it correctly, but I do not have a solution, for, my eyes are blinded with tears of pain. I cannot share Lord Krishna’s bruises as he led the Pandavas to victory in the great battle, for I am but a simple man. However, I cannot bear the pain that the Lord must have undergone to save his friends and lead them to victory, I cannot stop my eyes from seeing the arrows wound Lord Krishna as he protected his friends. I cannot stop the tears that flow for the great Lord and since my eyes are blinded with tears, I miss out words and phrases as I read along.” Krishna Chaitanya stood humbled at having tried to correct a man who was a much greater devotee than he.
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.