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Lord Shiva's Divine Play: The Lila of Begging

Lila of Begging

Story of Lord Shiva as a Beggar

The "Lila of Begging" is an intriguing and symbolic episode from Hindu mythology that showcases Lord Shiva's divine playfulness and his profound teachings to his devotees, and how He chooses the city of Kashi or beneras to be his permanent home.

In this enchanting tale, Lord Shiva, the Supreme Deity, once decided to engage in a playful and transformative act. He disguised himself as a humble beggar and roamed the streets of Kashi (Varanasi), one of the holiest cities in India, seeking alms from his devotees.

As Lord Shiva, dressed as a wandering mendicant, moved through the bustling city, he approached various households and devotees. When devotees saw him in this form, they were puzzled by the familiar presence radiating from the beggar but failed to recognize the divine essence hidden behind the disguise.

Each devotee, eager to receive blessings from the great Lord, offered him various forms of alms - some gave food, some gave money, and others gave clothes. However, no matter how much they gave, the beggar continuously requested more. This play continued with different devotees throughout the day.

One of the devotees, a poor and elderly woman, was deeply devoted to Lord Shiva. She welcomed the beggar into her humble home and offered him her only possession - a single ripe fruit. With great devotion and love, she placed the fruit before the beggar and sought his blessings.

To her surprise, the beggar smiled and blessed her with his divine touch. In that moment, the disguise disappeared, and the beggar revealed his true form as Lord Shiva himself. The woman was overjoyed to recognize the Lord in her presence and fell at his feet.

Lord Shiva, pleased with her selfless devotion and her willingness to give her all, granted her a boon. The woman humbly expressed that she desired nothing more than to be in Lord Shiva's divine presence forever.

Moved by her pure devotion, Lord Shiva granted her wish, assuring her that he would remain in Kashi, residing as the "Kashi Vishwanath" (the Lord of Kashi), and would eternally bless his devotees.

The "Lila of Begging" signifies that Lord Shiva, in his divine play, tests his devotees' devotion and selflessness. He teaches the lesson that it is not the value of the offering that matters, but the purity and sincerity of the devotee's heart. The tale emphasizes the importance of surrendering to the Divine with pure devotion and love, regardless of one's material possessions.

The Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi stands as a sacred reminder of this divine play, where Lord Shiva, the eternal beggar, grants blessings and showers his grace upon his devotees, bestowing them with spiritual upliftment and liberation.

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