Baba's Storytime - Abou Ben Adhem
Students, you might have heard the story of Abou Ben Adhem, who always offered sarva bhuta daya pushpam (compassion on all beings) to the Lord.
Every day he would go round the streets to serve the destitute and the handicapped and return home late at night. Once, when he returned home, he found in his bedroom an angel writing something. When he asked her as to what she was writing, she replied that she was making a list of those who love God. He wanted to know if his name is in the list but the reply was negative.
The following night, when he returned home, he again found the angel writing something. He queried, “Mother, what is it that you are writing now?” She said, “Son, I am writing the names of those who are loved by God.” He again wanted to know if his name figured in the list. She replied that his name was on the top of this list.
The essence of the story is that God is pleased when you serve your fellow human beings. The scriptures have prescribed nine paths of devotion, namely, sravanam (listening to the Lord’s stories), kirthanam (singing His glories),vishnusmaranam (remembrance of the Lord’s name), pada sevanam (service to the Lord’s Lotus Feet), archanam(worship),vandanam (salutation), dasyam (servitude), sneham (friendship), atmanivedanam (offering oneself to the Lord) i.e., complete self-surrender. But the path of service is the greatest of all.
Penance, pilgrimages, reading scriptures alone will not help cross the ocean of worldly life; One can redeem one’s life only through service.
Abou Ben Adhem became the recipient of God’s love because he spent all his time in the service of his fellowmen. God loves all, for He is the embodiment of love. But He will give Himself to those who show compassion to all beings.” (From the Divine Discourses of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba)
– [Adapted from : radiosai]