Devotion to the Lord dawns in the heart of a man who has done virtuous actions in his previous births without expectation of fruits and egoism or the idea of agency. Devotion leads to knowledge of the Self (Jnana) and through Jnana, he attains Moksha or the final emancipation.
In days of yore, Virasindhu was the king of Kalinga country. He did severe Tapas, meditation and Yoga in his previous birth, but did not attain Moksha. He became a Yoga-Bhrashta as he had to enjoy the fruits of some residual Karmas in this last birth of a King. He took his birth as the son of a king. When he attained the proper age, he was crowned as the king of Kalinga. He ruled the kingdom for a period of ten years.
Owing to the force of previous spiritual Samskaras, and the grace of the Lord, discrimination and dispassion dawned in his heart. He reflected within himself: “I am doing the same acts of eating, drinking and sleeping. My several forefathers who ruled the country, had been reduced to dust. I have no peace of mind despite my wealth and dominion. I should get a Guru and obtain initiation from him to get knowledge of the Atman and reach the abode of immortality and eternal bliss.
King Virasindhu sent invitation to all Pandits, Sannyasins, Sadhus and Mahatmas. He wrote in the letter thus: “I will give half of my dominion to that supreme Guru who will give me the right initiation and make me realise the Self. If he fails to do so he will be put in the prison.”
Many Pandits and Sadhus saw the king. One gave him Taraka Mantra, another gave Panchakshara, a third gave him Ashtakshara, but no one was able to satisfy the king. He put them all in the prison. He had initiation into these Mantras in his previous births.
King Virasindhu became very restless as he did not obtain his Guru. Lord Siva assumed the form of an ordinary coolie. He had a very black complexion. He wore some rags and appeared before the king. The king went in advance to receive him. Through the grace of the Lord, he came to know that this coolie was none other than the Lord. The coolie raised his hand towards the king and said “stop”, and vanished immediately. The king understood that the Guru has commanded him to stop the mind and control its movements. The king closed his eyes, while he was standing, and did not allow the mind to think of the sensual objects. He controlled all the modifications of the mind. It was easy for him as he had practised Yoga and meditation in his previous birth. He entered into Nirvikalpa Samadhi and became like a statue. He did not open his eyes.
The ministers were waiting in the Durbar Hall for hours together. King Virasindhu did not open his eyes for days together. Then the ministers reflected: The king is in Samadhi now. We do not know when he will return from the Samadhi. We will have to manage the affairs of the State.” They removed the ring from his finger and used it for putting the seal in the papers of the State.
The king opened his eyes after six years, and asked the ministers: “Where is my Guru?” The ministers replied: “O venerable king! The Guru said a word to your majesty and vanished at once. You are standing here like a statue for the last six years. We are conducting the affairs of the state with the aid of your ring. Here is the seal of your ring in all the registers and papers.”
The king was struck with awe and wonder. He thought within himself: “Six years have passed like a second. I enjoyed supreme bliss. I have no desire to rule the State after tasting the supreme bliss.” He left the palace and entered the forest and sat in Samadhi.
The force of Yogic Samskaras of the king that was generated by the practice of Yoga in his previous birth, helped him in the attainment of the beatitude in this birth. Those who have not much piety and religious inclination in this birth should do Japa, Kirtan, meditation, and study of religious books. They should live in the company of sages. They will develop good religious Samskaras. This will be a valuable asset for them in the next birth. They will start the practice of Yoga in the next birth in the early age.
It is difficult to say in what form the Guru or the Lord will appear before you to initiate you. He may come in the form of a leper as Sri Hanuman did, or in the form of an untouchable as Lord Krishna did, or in the form of a groom as Lord Siva did. The aspirants must be very careful and vigilant to detect the Lord in the various forms which He assumes.