The parable I have been using in classes this week has many different versions—I have heard Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist retellings. My particular retelling is inspired by the version in Swami Muktibodhananda’s (a disciple of Swami Sivananda) translation of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:
Once upon a time, in India, a hermit lived alone on an island, spending his days practicing his yoga and worship as instructed by his guru. One day, a pious and learned Brahmin rowed to the island to visit the hermit. Although the hermit obviously had immense faith and love for the Lord, the Brahmin was horrified at the way in which the hermit was worshiping. His asanas were incorrect, his rituals were filled with errors, and his chanting was off key. The Brahmin instructed the hermit how to correctly perform worship, and the Hermit was truly grateful for the guidance, for his only desire was to worship the Lord.
As the Brahmin rowed away from the island, several hundred yards out to sea, he heard the hermit crying “Sir Wait!” The Brahmin turned to see the hermit running on top of the water towards the boat. Reaching the boat, the worried hermit said “Kind sir, I have forgotten what you taught me. Do I do it this way or that?” The astounded Brahmin looked at the hermit, who was standing on top of the water next to the boat, and said “I assure you that what ever way you are practicing, you are doing it correctly.” The hermit, greatly relieved, thanked the Brahmin and walked back over the water to his hermitage and continued his worship.
When we practice with faith, we are doing it correctly.
“Whatsoever form any devotee desires to worship with faith—that same faith of his I make firm and unflinching.” ~Bhagavad Gita, VII.21 (Sivananda tr.)
“F___ the naysayers ‘cause they don’t mean a thing / This is the style we bring.”
~ 311 “All Mixed Up”