It is the day of worship at the holy place. A man arrives, and very carefully takes off  his expensive shoes, and then arranges them side-by-side, leaving them at a prominent place on the steps. Another man arrives, and he also takes off his shoes. He carefully places them sole next to each other, and then tucks them under his arm, and goes in.

These actions start a debate in the others present in the holy place. Why did they do this with their shoes? And since their way was different, who was a better devotee? After some time, they go to both the devotees, who have completed their prayer, and ask them to explain their actions.

The first devotee explained, “My shoes are expensive. So I purposely set them in a prominent place, for incoming devotes to see. Even as their desire would like to take the shoes, the devotees will summon righteous action by denying their desire. Doing so would make them virtuous. My action therefore would help devotees in performing a good deed by fighting their desire.”

The second devotee said, “I know that other devotes would desire my shoes too, and that might begin the path to sin. Therefore, I carefully tucked them under my arm. As a result, other devotees have avoided falling prey to sin.” The congregation nods and praises both of them. Just then, a devotee comes in. He is unconcerned about his shoes, and is lost in prayer and bliss at the altar. When asked, he says, “All of you are better than me, I need your good wishes. I only come to pray, not to judge anybody by thinking of their sins.”

And the congregation understood that this person was the finest devotee, dear to Him, while the others merely talked about Him. Guru Granth Sahib has this advice:

By mere words, He is not attained.

One who looks upon all with equality, and knows them to be one and the same—he is the Adept.

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