Sri Ramakrishna would explain to his devotees that God is truly merciful and would come to the rescue of his true devotees whenever they are in danger. But he would lay emphasis on the word “true”. He would explain that a true devotee is one who relies on God totally. To illustrate the idea he used to narrate a story.
Once, Lakshmi and Narayana were seated in Vaikuntha, talking leisurely. But suddenly, Narayana stood up and was about to go somewhere. Lakshmi, who was stroking his feet, asked the Lord where he was going. Narayana answered that one of his devotees was in great danger and that he should rush immediately to protect him. With these words, he rushed out.
But he came back immediately within a few seconds. Lakshmi asked him, why he came back so soon. Narayana smiled and said, “The devotee was going along a road overwhelmed with love and devotion for me. Suddenly, a dog appeared from a bush nearby and started rushing towards the devotee barking wildly. I felt that it might bite him and so I felt that I must protect my devotee who depends solely on me.
As I was approaching the devotee, I saw him pick up a brick to throw at the dog. I felt that my presence was no longer needed there since the devotee was endeavoring to protect himself on his own. So I came back.”
Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that it requires enormous courage to depend on God in times of crisis. But time and again it has been proved and the history of mankind is replete with numerous instances of God coming to the rescue of his devotee under extremely trying circumstances.
In fact, true devotees are really put to test by God to find out whether they really depend on Him and only the sincere devotees pass this test.
-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian, 29th Mar 2014