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The Cowherd Boy
There was a poor cowherd boy, who had a great deal of faith and an intense yearning to see God. One day, in the village where this boy lived, a preacher came to deliver some spiritual discourses. The preacher would gather together an audience and sing the glories and exploits of the Lord. It was not possible for this cowherd boy to give up his work and come to all the meetings, because all day long he had to attend to his cows. But in the evenings he would bring the animals into a sheltered place and then go to hear the preacher give his talk. The cowherd boy would listen with great earnestness and care to all that was being said.
The preacher was a follower of Lord Vishnu, and so he related the characteristic features of God in the form of Vishnu, or Narayana, as he is also called. In the course of the discourse the preacher repeatedly described the traditional image of the Lord as one who was dark complexioned, who wore a white mark on his forehead and rode on a white eagle. The preacher also explained that Lord Vishnu was always prepared to go to the rescue of those who sought shelter in him, and that he would accept as an offering anything that was given to him with full faith and love.
As the preacher repeatedly described these characteristics of the Lord, they made an indelible impression on the heart of that boy. The preacher also said that God is a great lover of music, and that he could be won by directing one's prayers to him in song, sung most reverently from the heart.
Well, this cowherd boy used to carry some food with him for his noontime lunch. Daily he would offer this food to God with all sincerity and devotion, praying to the Lord to partake of it. He began his prayers by singing this song, "O loving Lord, You ride on a white eagle, so I have been told. Come. Please come to me and accept this food." The boy went on praying like this to the Lord for one whole week continuously. He never touched his food because it was not shared by the Lord. By the end of the week he became extremely weak.