Long ago, during the time of Shrīrām , there lived a devotee called Shabari. Let us see how Shabari served Shrīrām when He visited her.
Shabari used to live in the Ashram of Sage Matang, serving the Sage. She would wake up early in the morning and complete the daily satsēvā of Ashram chores while chanting (repeating) God's Name. Rest of the time she spent in singing Holy songs.
Before Sage Matang left this Earth He blessed Shabari and said, "Have faith in Shrīrām . He will definitely visit you." Thereafter, Shabari looked after the Ashram, eagerly waiting for Shrīrām to visit her as the Sage had said. Everyday, she would clean the Ashram early in the morning, collect fruits, and wait for Shrīrām to come. Every day she thought, "Shrīrām will definitely come today!"
While eagerly waiting and expecting Shrīrām's visit, Shabari forgot all else! She did not notice the passing years, or the seasons. Many years passed in waiting and Shabari grew old. She could barely hear or see. Still she continued to clean the Ashram daily and wait with fruit for Shrīrām’s visit.
One day, while she was busy with her daily rituals, suddenly two guests came to visit the Ashram. Shabari knew instantly that it was her beloved Shrīrām and His brother Lakshman! Her lifelong desire was fulfilled. Overjoyed, she welcomed Shrīrām and paid obeisance. She offered them hot water for a wash and hot almond milk to drink.
It was time to offer the berries that she had collected so eagerly. But before doing so, Shabari tasted every berry to check if it was sweet enough for Shrīrām. After tasting them all, she set aside the sweet berries and offered only those to Shrīrām. Shrīrām happily accepted Shabari's half-eaten berries! As He blessed her, Shabari was grateful that the aim of her life was fulfilled.
Moral: Shabari's story shows how God lovingly accepts anything we offer to Him with love, even if it is half-eaten fruit! So, whatever we do to experience God, be it prayer, chanting His Name or satsēvā, let us do it with love and sincerity. Like Shabari, we too, can learn to wait patiently for God's blessings.
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