The stick of a devotee’s mercy can save from the greatest dangers! – Story
(This is the true story from the book The journey Home – Autobiography of an American Swami. Richard is H.H Radhanath Swami).
Richard was a teenager from Chicago and was on a spiritual longing because of an urge from within the heart. He hitchhiked through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and finally reached India.
This was during 1970 / 71.
He spent many months in many places in India in search of absolute truth.
On his journey northeast toward Nepal, he arrived in Patna.
There he met a great Bhakti yogi by name Rama Sevaka Swami.
Richard knew Bhakti meant devotion, but he has no idea yet of the depth or true meaning of this tradition.
He stayed with Swamiji in his temple who looked after him like a father feeding him with his own hands. Having stayed for couple of weeks with Swamiji, he decided to take journey to Nepal.
The day he was leaving, Richard bowed down to seek Swamiji’s blessings.
Swamiji out of affection wanted to give a gift, looked around, noticed his own walking stick, and with a tearful smile presented it to him.
Richard was overcome with gratitude. Although it was nothing but a crude branch broken from tree, it was a gift of love that meant more than all the fortune in the world.
The eagerness displayed by Richard to accept the gift gave lot of joy to swamiji.
Swamiji then said the scriptures tell that the stick of a devotee’s mercy can save from one of the greatest dangers.
The stick became a constant companion of Richard.
Richard reached Kathmandu in the middle of a night.
As he was walking through the damp black night, from a distance heard mad howling of dogs.
Then he remembered the warnings of wandering sadus that the wild dogs by night roamed in crazed packs; how the pack would ensnare their prey in an ever tightening circle, ferociously attack and rip their victim limb from limb; how they would then devour the corpse on the spot.
Almost as this thought occurred, an outcast dog, foaming at the mouth, spotted him alone on the deserted street. The dog flung his head back and pierced the sky with a howl.
Seconds later, a pack of snarling dogs charged towards Richard. Richard realised the foamy white venom dripping from their mouths that the beasts were infested with rabies.
Eyes bulging with rage, they closed on him, howling madly all the while intending to tear him apart.
To prevent an attack from behind, he pressed his back against a house and in the darkness prayed – What shall I do?
Then, as if shaken from a trance, Richard remembered the walking stick that Rama Sevaka Swami had given him.
Wildly, he began to swing it back and forth. The horde fell back into a semi-circle around him, only a few feet away.
As each frenzied dog lunged forward, he whacked its snout with the Swami’s stick.
Growling ferociously, yet another predator leapt at him. Richard whacked him as hard as he could. Each of the attackers, when beaten back by the stick, would fall back only momentarily, and then unfazed, leap to the attack again. Howls filled the night.
Again and again, the pack of 6 or 8 dogs surged toward Richard and again and again he managed to smack them down.
But the more he fought, the more they escalated the siege. They could smell his flesh and blood. They could sense his exhaustion as well.
There was no time. Every second he had to swing that stick with all his might. If even one dog were to get through, the horde would descend and instantly devour him.
Richard thought is this to be the fate, to end as dog food?
Richard’s strength was waning. Sensing imminent victory, their snarling became more fierce and deafening. They closed in for the kill, so tightly now he nearly blacked out from the stench of their breath. Feverish, despairing, Richard prayed for mercy.
He felt utterly alone and on the verge of being killed.
Just then glancing over his shoulder he noticed a closed door behind him. Quickly swung his shoulders around, twisted the knob and pushed. The door gave way. He dove inside and slammed it shut behind him.
Outside, the dogs vented their indignation by hurling their bodies against the door.
The family inside the house though were up with the arms, softened when he sunk to his knees and with joined palms begged for mercy?
After the incident was over, Richard lay there in relief; thoughts flowed gratefully to Rama Sevaka Swami. If he had not given him that stick, he would surely have died that night. Then he recalled his words, prophetic and true: “The stick of a devotee’s mercy can save from the greatest dangers”.
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