Without this attitude of surrender, worship becomes empty and vain. It is no use deciding just now, when you are listening to Me, that you will cultivate faith and fortitude and then not put that resolution into action after you leave this place. Devotion is not measured by the outward signs of tears and exhilaration. It is an inner revolution, a transformation of all values and outlook.
You may have heard the story of the woman who was shedding profuse tears, apparently of exultation, during a Puranic recital. The recitalist was overjoyed that day, for he had succeeded by his touching exposition in evoking a response from at least one contrite soul. At the close of the day’s session, he congratulated the old lady on her devotion and offered her the coveted first spoonful of consecrated water (holy theertha) as a tribute for her faith and spiritual effort. But the lady denied all claims to devotion and said, “I do not know what that thing called devotion is, nor the other things named faith and spiritual effort. I shall tell you why tears fell from my eyes. That thick black string with which you have tied that palm-leaf book put me in mind of the string around the waist of my departed husband; he wore a black string long ago.” Mere external signs mislead the observer, but they cannot mislead the Lord who is the ever-present, ever-vigilant Witness.