Concentration

At Vizagapatam lived two friends, one of whom used to perform with care the morning ablutions at dawn, and proceeding to the temple remained there for a long time circumambulating the deity. The other was a frequenter of brothels, and passed his time in frivolous conversation with prostitutes. The former though a frequenter of the temple, always had his heart with his friend who led so evil a life and was overwhelmed with grief that he did not follow in his friend’s footsteps. The latter was, however, ashamed of his depraved character and was extremely sorry that he did not follow the virtuous ways of his friend.

This went on for a time, and then they both breathed their last. But the former went to Hell, and the latter to Heaven. The sage Narada, seeing the fate of these two, approached the Almighty and said,”O God! Hell has fallen to the lot of the man who spent his days in your temple, while you have given Heaven and final beatitude to the fellow who never for a moment thought of you, and delighted always in the conversation of women of ill-fame. If you, who are all-powerful, perpetrate such barefaced injustice, who in the world will adore you”?

The Almighty smiled on hearing these words and said that he gave the latter man redemption, for, though a frequenter of houses of ill-fame, he centred his mind on the deity; while the other who frequented the temple diverted his attention to other matters and totally forgot the deity. Hell, therefore, had become his lot. Thus we see that upon the purity of the mind depends the good or evil state we attain after death.

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows the Hindu sage Narada (c. 19th century CE).

References:

  • Folk-lore of the Telugus by GR Subramiah Pantulu (1919)