LET NOT THE BELL OF BIGOTRY DEADEN YOUR HEARING

BE not a bigot like Ghantakarna.

There was a man who worshipped Siva but hated all the other deities. One day Siva appeared to him and said, "I shall never be pleased with you so long as you hate other gods." But the man was inexorable. After a few days Siva again appeared to him. This time He appeared as Hari-Hara—a form, of which one half was Siva and the other Vishnu. At this the man was half-pleased and halfdispleased. He laid offerings on the side representing Siva, but nothing on that representing Vishnu. When he offered the burning incense to Siva, his beloved form of the Deity, he was audacious enough to press the nostrils of Vishnu lest he should inhale the fragrance. Then Siva said: "Your bigotry is ineradicable. By assuming this dual aspect I tried to convince you that all gods and goddesses are but the various aspects of the One Being. You have not taken the lesson in good part, and you will have to suffer for your bigotry. Long must you suffer for this." The man went away and retired to a village. He soon developed into a great hater of Vishnu. On coming to know this peculiarity of his, the children of the village began to tease him by uttering the name of Vishnu within his hearing. Vexed by this, the man hung two bells on his ears, and when the boys cried out, "Vishnu, Vishnu", he would ring the bells violently and make those names inaudible to his ears. And thus he came to be known by the name of Ghantakarna or the Bell-eared, (176)