Many years ago, in a village in Maharashtra (a state in India) there lived a woman called Sakhu. Sakhu was an ardent devotee of Shrī Vitthal. She led a hard life. She was ill-treated by her in-laws and her husband. She had to do all the household tasks and would hardly get two square meals a day. She toiled from daybreak till late at night. Sakhu spent her days without any affection or love, either from her husband or from his parents. However, Sakhu sincerely believed what her father had told her years ago, "Shri Vitthal will never let you down." So she bore all the sufferings silently. Her devotion to God continued to grow stronger and she constantly remembered The God by chanting (repeating) His Name continuously during all her activities. She fulfilled all her duties at home perfectly and without any complaint.
One day, she heard that many devotees from her village were going on a pilgrimage to Pandharpur. She too, wished to go, but was forbidden by her in-laws. Instead, they tied her to a pole, so that she would not be able to go on the pilgrimage. She cried out in desperation, "Vitthal! Vitthal! Please fulfill my desire to see You." The God heard His devotee's cry for help. Around midnight, he took the form of a woman and went to Sakhu, and untied her. He said to her, "You are keen on seeing Shri Vitthal, so go ahead and join the others. I will perform all your household duties till you come back."
Sakhu was overjoyed and joined the other villagers on the pilgrimage. Meanwhile, Shri Vitthal took on Sakhu's form and remained in her place. Later the in-laws untied Sakhu. God, in Sakhu's guise, did not utter a word in reply and continued to chant Shri Vitthal's name. He attended to all of Sakhu's household duties. As the days passed, the members of the household automatically began to look upon this 'Sakhu' with respect. The mother-in-law could no longer admonish 'Sakhu' as before. Nor could the husband raise his hand to beat Her. Due to the Divine presence, the whole atmosphere in the house was transformed. When the real Sakhu came back from the pilgrimage, she found a new life awaiting her.
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