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Swami Sivananda on the Importance of Meditation and Devotion

Once a devotee was distributing prasad outside a Hindu temple. Hundreds had gathered around him. They created much noise and confusion. No Prasad could be distributed.

A small boy saw this crowd and ran into his house. He brought a big stick to the end of which he had attached a small basket. Standing away from the crowd with the help of the long stick, he took the basket very near the devotee.

The devotee admired the boy's intelligence and immediately gave him a lot of Prasad. The crowd that had gathered was still fighting to get near the devotee to receive the Prasad!

The Lord has with Him infinite Grace to be showered over all mankind. But people rush here and there, and want to get to the forefront. Even Sadhakas and devotees who crowd round temples and Ashrams aspire for position and rank!

In the meantime, a simple child-like man, with a high degree of Viveka, approaches the Lord with the help of the long stick of meditation and basket of Bhakti. Living away from the maddening crowds, this Bhakta reaches the lotus-feet of the Lord first, because of his meditation and his devotion.

The Lord is well pleased with his Viveka, his eagerness to avoid the crowd and reach a first place amongst them; and He is pleased with his meditation and devotion and grants him Divine Grace quickly.