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Whom to worship

Long ago, there lived an arrogant king who loved praise and would give gifts to anyone whose praise pleased him. So, the moment he walked into the royal court, the courtiers would start over praising him. Soon the king started believing the false praises and became very proud.

Once, he asked his courtiers, "Do you think that I am the greatest?"

They replied, "O king, there never has been anyone as great as you! Everything here happens because of you." The king asked them again, "Do you mean to say that I am God?"

Most courtiers said yes. He then told his officers to declare that everyone in the kingdom should worship him instead of God. There was a wise old courtier who was watching silently. He decided to teach the king a lesson. He said, "Before making a decision we should ask the people their view."

The king agreed and announced a contest in which he would question anyone who claimed to think that God was the greatest. If the person could answer all his questions then the king would give him all his wealth and if not, he would be beheaded. If no one could win the contest, everyone in the kingdom would have to worship the king instead of God.

Next day, a young boy who had great faith in God sought permission from his parents to take part in the contest. After much thought, the parents who knew the boy's intense faith, gave permission and took him to the royal court. The king asked him, "Dear child, do you know the punishment for the loser?"

The young boy prayed and replied, "Yes, I do and have my parents permission to take part. Please ask your questions."

The king asked the first question, "What was there before God?" The young boy said, "O king, do you know how to count?" The king was displeased and said, "Of course, I do."

The young boy said, "Then count down from ten."

So the king counted, "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one."

The boy asked, "But what comes before one?" The king said, "There is nothing before one."

The boy replied, "If there is nothing before 'one', then how can there be anything or anyone before the 'One' who is the Almighty?" The king was surprised by this answer, which he could not argue, and kept silent.

Then the king asked the second question, "Which direction is God facing?" The boy prayed again and said, "Bring a candle and light it. Tell me which direction its light faces."

A candle was lit. Watching it burn, the king exclaimed, "Its light spreads in all directions!"

The boy said, "If a little thing like a candle spreads its light in all directions and one cannot tell which way it faces, then how can one tell what direction God, the Almighty is facing."

The king was shocked. He realized his mistake and said to the boy, "You have won this contest. I will donate all my wealth to you. "

The boy said, "O king, I do not want any wealth, as God has given my family enough. But please allow the people to carry on their worship of God."

The king readily agreed and thanked the boy, "I have realized how ordinary I am in front of God. I had started thinking of myself as God because of the undeserved praise from my greedy ministers."

The young boy said, "I could answer these questions only by the grace of God, who gave the wisdom needed to answer." He then left the royal court happily and continued with his worship of God.

Moral: Intense faith in God gave courage to a young boy to face a foolish king's contest and win. We, too, can develop such faith by doing the regular spiritual practice of constantly remembering The Lord through chanting (repeating) His Name and praying for His guidance in everything we do.

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