Time and again we came across stories in our scriptures telling us about who a good devotee is. This is one we just loved.
Krishna was asked by a man, “What kind of devotee is the best kind?” Sitting by a riverside, Krishna asked the man to fetch a pebble from the riverbed. The pebble was brought. Krishna said, “It’s wet on the outside, break it and check how it is inside.” So the pebble was struck by a large stone and broken into two. The inside was dry as a bore. Krishna said, “This kind of devotee is coated with devotion only on the outside, that too only till he is in the spiritual atmosphere or in ideal conditions. The moment it is removed from those ideal conditions it dries up even on the outside. And the inside is dry and unaffected all the while.” Krishna shook His head in disapproval of such people who profess to be devotees.
A minute later, Krishna Himself walked to the edge of the river and soaked the hem of his silken angavastram (shawl). He said, “Look the threads of the cloth are soaked inside out. They are dripping too. This kind of devotee is totally suffused with devotion, to the point of dripping. But as soon as I come out of the water, the wind shall dry the cloth and it shall be completely devoid of all the traces of water (devotion). Most devotees are of this kind. They remain devoted only till they are surrounded by Godly activities, while they are visiting a place of worship or praying etc. The moment they move out into the world, the devotion simply evaporates.”
The man was listening with rapt attention. So, who was the best devotee? He waited with bated breath for Krishna to reveal more wisdom. Krishna smiled bewitchingly and said, “Here is some sugar candy. Go and throw it in the river.” After a minute Krishna said, “Now bring back the candy.” The man looked for the candy, but in vain. He couldn’t find it. Krishna smiled and said, “you can’t find it, because it is not there anymore. It has dissolved into nothingness. This is the best kind of devotee. He loses himself into the Lord. He becomes nothing by merging into the Lord. He loses his identity to become one with the Lord. This is the kind of devotee I love most.”
Truly, devotion is a way of life. One who is truly devoted, is always immersed in the thoughts of the Lord. For him everything is the Lord; Everyone is a manifestation of the Lord; All work is God’s work; Nothing is yours and nothing is mine; Everything belongs to Him and Him alone.