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True Devotion

Once upon a time, the residents of a small village were affected by a famine. The villagers were already poor and had a tough and hard life. Thanks to the famine, they now had to battle with starvation and various diseases.

The village priest was a 70-year-old man who was a great devotee of God. He was moved by the condition of the villagers. As each day passed by, their condition worsened. Since the famine started, the villagers would visit his temple thrice a day and pray to God to fulfill their wishes or at least, reduce the problems caused by the famine. They would hold a massive prayer service every Sunday in the hope that God would listen to their prayers. As their condition grew worse, they turned even more towards God.

One day, the priest could no longer bear to see the pain of the villagers. The priest wondered why God was not answering their prayers even when they were so devoted to Him. So, he intensely prayed to God, saying, “Dear God, why are you not answering the prayers of these poor villagers who are so devoted to You? Until now I have never asked You for anything, but today, I ask that You help them. Please make all the villagers happy. Fulfill all their desires.” That night, he had a dream where God spoke to him and said, “These villagers are not my true devotees and therefore, I did not answer their prayers. They can fool you through their show of devotion, but they cannot fool Me. However, you are a true devotee and I will fulfill your wish by making them all happy.” The next day itself the whole village changed into a happy village. Although the priest did not understand why God was not happy with the devotion of the villagers, he was extremely happy to see his wish fulfilled and thanked God for it.

Soon after, the priest noticed that the number of villagers visiting the temple slowly started reducing. Finally, no one wanted to visit the temple. The priest implored the people to come and visit the temple that they had frequented in their troubled times, but everybody had some excuse or another for not visiting. The priest was very sad to see this. He then understood what God meant by true devotion. He realised that most people come to God only to have their wishes fulfilled and forget Him once their wishes are fulfilled.

Moral: Most people stop doing spiritual practice when their desires are fulfilled, but the real seeker is the one who continues his spiritual practice through good as well as bad times.

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