In paying tribute to the great saint Shri Kanaka Dasa, the Government of Karnataka in India has declared his birth day as a State holiday. All the government offices, schools and colleges around the state celebrate the birth anniversary of Shri Kanaka Dasa who made even the Lord turn around and made Him listen to his prayers. At the request of Pravrajika Ishtaprana, I gave the following article, written for children. She published in Deepika, an annual children’s magazine brought out by Sri Sarada Devi Ashram at Asherville, Durban.
Magnet attracts Metal
The other day I was talking to a group of children. They were Sonal, Sashiv, Sundar, Mishka, Kareena and Payal. It is always refreshing to talk to children. One little girl, Sonal, enquired why she is attracted to visit the ashram regularly while some of her friends are not inclined to come. I told her that the Lord, who is the Supreme Controller of this universe, is indeed like a magnet. We are all like iron metal pieces attracted to this grand magnet and therefore visit the ashram. Those who do not like to visit holy places are also like metal but are covered with so much dust that the magnet cannot attract them.
I asked the children what they do at the ashram. Sashiv, a young boy, said that he neatly arranges all the prayer books that were used in the morning. Another child, Mishka, said that she loves to clean the shrine carpet so that they can sit and study comfortably. Kareena teaches the little kids on how to behave in the ashram. Payal takes care of all the musical instruments.
One boy, Sundar, said that he enjoys ‘meditation’. I was surprised and asked him what he does during meditation. He told me that his mother tells him captivating stories about Lord Krishna and he sits quietly in the shrine and mentally recounts the whole story.
So I said, “Come Sundar, today you will tell us the story that your mother told you!” Sundar gladly agreed and began relating the story.
The Singing Saint
The story is an interesting one and concerns a lovely incident that happened in the life of one great devotee. This devotee was born in the present Karnataka State in India, about 500 years ago. He became very popular by the name of Kanaka Dasa.
Kanaka Dasa was devoted to the worship of the Lord in the form of Sri Krishna. Whatever he did – whether working in the fields or going to the market to purchase any item, cleaning the courtyard of his home or even taking care of his parents – he used to think of Lord Krishna and would always express his gratefulness to the Lord Sri Krishna. He became expert in singing the glory of God.
Once on his pilgrimage, he came to a small town called Udupi. In this town there was a beautiful temple dedicated to Sri Krishna. Kanaka Dasa was very eager to visit this temple and have darshan of the Lord.
Denied but Determined
But in those days, people born of lower castes were not allowed entry into the temple. Only the people of higher castes could enter and perform the worship. Coming to know of his social status, the men at the gate forbade Kanaka Dasa from entering the temple. Greatly disappointed, he went behind the temple and sat outside the fence just opposite a small window. This window was behind the Lord’s beautiful stone image. Though denied he was fully determined to see the Lord.
Kanaka Dasa could not see the Lord because the image was facing the entrance on the other side. Sitting there, he felt so unhappy that he began shedding tears profusely. He pleaded with God that was he not like the piece of metal drawn by the magnet in the form of Sri Krishna? He came to see the Lord but was not successful in having His darshan. He began to sing the glory of the Lord throughout the night, with copious tears flowing from his eyes.
Metal attracts Magnet
Just before daybreak, the people of the town who were passing by that temple noticed an amazing and surprising phenomenon. When they went into the temple as usual to offer their morning worship, they found that the image of Sri Krishna had turned 180° (half circle) and was now facing Kanaka Dasa! Behold! It was a miracle that the Lord had performed to make others understand the glory of His devotee!
We listened to Sundar’s story with keen attention. The boy said that his mother also told him what she learnt from the Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna. Sometimes the devotee becomes the magnet, and the Lord a metal, who is attracted by the devotee. He told us that even today, in that Sri Krishna temple of Udupi, the Lord is facing the window and not the entrance to the sanctum!
The Lord always fulfils the earnest prayer of a sincere devotee.
|| Aum Shri Raamakrishnaarpanamastu ||