There was once a cobbler whose name was Dipan. Dipan was extremely poor. He was a great devotee of the Lord Vishnu and he had the deepest adoration for all the cosmic gods and goddesses also.
Dipan had a tiny shop where he sold shoes. During the day if there were no customers, he didn’t feel sorry. He used to just go on praying, meditating and chanting. In the evening he would take his most beautiful and most expensive shoes and leave them at the doors of religious people. “The religious people deserve these shoes, although they don’t come to buy,” he said. “Perhaps they don’t have enough money.” Dipan went on for a long time like this and, with the greatest difficulty, used to make his livelihood.
One day, a sadhu came to Dipan’s store. Dipan was so moved to see the sadhu that he fell down at his feet. But he did not dare to touch his feet because the sadhu was of a high class. Just because he was a cobbler, Dipan was not allowed to mix with the so-called aristocratic members of the society. Only lowclass people could he mix with.
The sadhu said, “What are you doing? Why are you not touching my feet?”
Dipan said, “You know that I am an untouchable. How can I touch your feet?”
The sadhu said, “In God’s Eye nobody is untouchable. You are God’s child. You pray to God all the time. You are dearest to Him. Please touch my feet. I will not be bloated with pride. As a matter of fact, you can even touch my head, if you want to, but do touch me.”
Dipan said, “I will dare only to touch your feet, if you allow me.” He touched the feet of the sadhu and the sadhu blessed him.
The sadhu said, “I am giving you all the spiritual merits and virtues that I have acquired over the years. One day you will become a great, great saint. Then all those who have neglected you and shown contempt for your profession will see light around you. They will come and touch your feet and worship you. It is only a matter of time.”
The cobbler fell at the feet of the sadhu once again and offered his tearful gratitude. Then the sadhu left.
The following day, with tremendous joy the cobbler was working in his store, when all of a sudden he saw a halo of light behind his head. The halo of light was also circling around all the shoes. When the customers came, even with their ordinary human eyes they saw light: not lantern light or Indian village light, but real light, spiritual light. Then they came to realise that Dipan was not an ordinary man. They had known all along that he prayed and meditated day and night, but previously they had regarded him as a crazy fellow. Now they were so moved, and they all started appreciating, admiring and adoring him.
“We do not want you to have to continue working in your shop,” they said. “Nothing will give us greater joy than to offer you the opportunity to spend the rest of your life in prayer and meditation.” So they gave him a big house where he could pray and meditate, and said, “Please take care of your spiritual life. We shall come and pray with you whenever we can.”