Have faith in Vishnu!4

Once a great devotee of Vishnu went horseback riding. He was enjoying the ride, when he happened to come near the house of a washerman. The washerman had just washed some clothes and put them out to dry. Unfortunately, the devotee’s horse ran over the newly washed clothes, leaving its footprints on them. The washerman got furious and ran after the devotee, pulling him down from the horse.

The devotee started screaming, “O Vishnu, Vishnu, save me, save me!”

At the time, Vishnu was having his feet massaged by his consort in Heaven. All of a sudden he ran away. His consort cried, “What are you doing? Where are you going? Did I do anything wrong?”

Vishnu replied, “Don’t worry, I am coming back soon.” He opened the door, walked only a few steps outside his house and then returned.

His consort said, “Well, what happened? You ran outside, but there was nobody there. What were you doing?”

Vishnu said, “You don’t know what happened? On earth my greatest devotee was being chased by a washerman. First he ran away, afraid for his life, and prayed to me to save him. But as soon as I ran to save him, suddenly he decided that he had strength enough to fight the man himself, so he didn’t pray to me anymore. He just threatened the washerman and frightened him. The washerman felt that my devotee was much stronger than he, so he stopped chasing him. My devotee got back on his horse and continued his morning ride to enjoy the beauty of nature.”

The consort said, “Since he had invoked you, he should not have changed his mind. He could have got hurt!”

Vishnu said, “Either one has to have faith in me or faith in oneself. If one has faith in me, then he is always safe. But if one has faith in oneself, sometimes ego enters into the picture. If the seeker has very intense aspiration and if he can establish his oneness with me, then faith in me and faith in himself are the same thing. But if he has not established oneness with my Will and my Consciousness, then his faith in himself is only a parade of ego. That kind of seeker is one day bound to fall in his spiritual life, without fail.”

GIM 44. 14 January 1979