The Reward of Faith

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

A little prince, bedecked with jewels, stood near a pond.

An old robber came along. Pretending to collapse on the ground, he fell, uttering a piteous cry. The prince rushed to the old man and enquired of his health.

“I am dying of thirst, child. Please get me some water to drink.” The prince at once went towards the pond. But the robber said, “Not thus, sweet child. The water you give me might be the last sip I have in this life. You have not had initiation and so you have not felt the presence of God. If only you can be initiated into the holy word which would compel God Himself to appear before you, the water you give will be sanctified, fit to be drunk by me, a holy man, at the time of departing from this world.”

The prince asked to be initiated into the mantra, and the old man said, “Go and immerse yourself in that pond, but before you go, take off those costly jewels and leave them on the shore. Hold your breath and keep your head under water till I call you.” The innocent boy did as he was told. The robber took the jewels and fled.

The boy waited for the guru’s call. He did not want to raise his head from the water before his guru called out. The young devotee’s steadfastness and utter self-surrender moved the heart of Lord Narayana, who left his divine abode and rushed to the pond. He called out, “My child, I am Lord Narayana, the Lord of the universe. I am highly pleased with your devotion. Come out of the water now.” But the boy wouldn’t come out until his guru called him!

Disguising himself as a police officer and the boy’s father, Lord Narayana caught hold of the robber and commanded him to call the boy out of the water at once. The robber called out, “O child! Come out of the water now.” As the boy raised his head, the robber dropped dead. The boy had the supreme reward for his intense faith, devotion and spirit of self-surrender. He had the vision of Lord Narayana.