The reclusive Uttang Rishi stayed in the forests for most of his life and had little contact with the rest of the world. It was during one such long stay away from civilization that the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas ripened to enmity and ended in the calamitous war at Kurukshetra which resulted in the decimation of all the Kauravas. Always in penance the Rishi moved places . Pleased with his sincere devotion , LORD appeared and said, “I wish to grant you a boon, O most righteous sage! What would you ask of me?”
Uttang Rishi said, Oh Lord “I need nothing ! The only thing that I, perhaps, may seek is that I may not lack for water wherever I am, since I travel in wild and inaccessible places.”
Lord replied ..“Granted!”
Once , Uttang Rishi was traveling through a desert and was afflicted by severe thirst and could not find any water to drink. He remembered the boon of LORD and besought some water.
Lord summoned Indira and instructs him to take the nectar ( Amrit ) and fullfill the Rishi’s thirst permanently making him immortal . Indira was surprised with Lord’s command as the Nectar was meant for devas and and not humans .However as instructed by LORD , Indira changes his attire and proceeded .
He dresses himself as an ugly looking chandala in dirtiest clothes and arrives before the Rishi along with a stray dog . The Rishi is in disguist looking at the person. He follows the Rishi and pleads him to take the divine water he is carrying from his deerskin container.
Uttang Rishi is aghast. ….How could he, a Brahmin, take water from this low-caste chandala ? Thrice the chandala offers water and thrice the Rishi refused. The Rishi declares that he would die of thirst rather than drink the water given by him . He insults him further and asks him to leave . The chandala disappears in fraction of a second .
Uttang Rishi is surprised by this miraculous disappearance of the chandala . He thought , clearly, he could not really be a chandala but some divinity sent by LORD as a test. Uttang felt dejected about the possibility of having failed the Lord, when Lord Krishna appeared before him.
Uttang Rishi complained, ”Lord! You promised me water whenever I needed it. How could you send it in the hands of a chandala ?”
Lord Krishna smiled and said, “O Sage! I asked Indra to give you divine nectar and make you immortal. Indra was hesitant saying that Amrit was not for normal human beings. I told that you were a realised soul and deserved immortality.
Indra felt that if you were truly a realised soul, you would know that all differentiation between people were only the creation of mortals and that all people were the same in the eyes of a realised soul and, thus, if you accepted the nectar from Indra in the guise of a chandala , you would deserve it. I agreed. You let me down………………
The Rishi accepts that merely having all knowledge does not make one a great devotee but practicing a life in accordance with the knowledge was indeed what one has to follow for following True devotion
Merely knowing that LORD resides in everyone does not fulfill one’s status of being a devotee but practicing it in real life and treating everyone with respect and dignity is what is essential.
In the Purusha Sooktham one verse says padbhyAm Sudro aJayatha means all the sudras originated from the lotus feet of Lord ..And Its Lord’s feet all the devotees surrender and only HIS feet can redeem us . The great Azhwar Vipranarayana calls himself Thondar Adi podi Azhwar ( dust from the feet of devotees ) . A true vaishnava is always in a surrender mood and seeks LORDS company in all animate and inanimate species .For him LORD is everywhere ..
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
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