Shri Nathji would tell this parable about a man who had spent a large part of his life under a tree waiting for God to appear before him – to give him His darshan.
He was now 80 years old, but the Lord had not come to him. He was in acute distress. It appeared as if the devotion of his lifetime had not borne any fruit. Just as he was getting desperate, Naarad, the great sage passed before him. The man ran and touched the feet of Naarad and said to him:
“Naaradji! It has been said of you that you have access to the Lord and see Him many times. Can you take my message to him? Tell him that I have been waiting under this tree for over 50 years, for Him to come and give me his darshan, but He has not favoured me thus far! Ask him when He will fulfil my desire for his darshan?”
Naarad went and saw the Lord and told him the plight of the man beneath the tree and asked God when He would deign to meet Him.
And the Good Lord said to Naarad:
“So, he wishes to know when I shall meet him? All right, then, go and tell him to count the number of leaves on the tree beneath which he has been praying, and then to multiply that number with 10,000 years. I will meet him after that period of time!”
Naarad gasped in disbelief and said to God:
“But Lord there are hundreds of leaves on that tree. The time would add up to lakhs of years! If I give him your message, he will die of shock!”
“Go and tell him!” said God.
Naarad went to the man and then returned to God after a while.
God said to him: “Did you give him my message?”
Naarad: “Yes, Lord!”
God: “He must have died of the shock!”
Naarad: “No, Lord! On the contrary! He was dancing with joy!”
God: “Dancing with joy! What could have made him do that? Did you tell him that I would meet him after a time that would add up to several lakhs of years?”
Naarad: “Yes, Lord! I told him that he would have to count the number of leaves on the tree and multiply each leaf by 10,000. And that would be the number of years after which you would meet him!”
God: “Then why was he dancing with joy?”
Naarad: “O Lord, he was saying: ‘At least I have the promise of God!
‘Mere saathh vaayedaa to ho chukaa hai!’
God was pleased with the man’s devotion and went down to him just then, and said:
“O devotee! You have pleased me with your devotion! I have come to grant you your wishes. Here I am before you, as I had promised!”
Naarad: “O Lord, forgive me for saying this, but you had said you would meet him after lakhs of years! But you have come down at once! Have you circumvented your intention?”
God: “Naarad! You have no right to question me, but if you must know, then listen! The time spent by a man is relative to his state of sorrow or joy. One hour spent in sorrow appears to become unending! But millenniums spent in bliss pass as if not a moment has elapsed! His state of happiness reduced the lakhs of years of his waiting to a moment, and I had to appear before him!
“Remember that when one is absorbed in God, time ceases to exist for him. Lakhs of years may pass as if not a moment has elapsed!”