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Story of Poet Vidyapati and Lord Shiva as Servant Ugna

In the 14th century, in the eastern region of India, there lived a poet-saint named Vidyapati. He was a devotee of Lord Shiv and his works resulted in the creation of many East Indian languages such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, Odia, and Bengali. He was known as "Maithili Kavi Kokil," the cuckoo poet-saint of Mithila.

One day, Lord Shiv disguised himself and came as a servant named Ugna to serve Vidyapati. Vidyapati was unaware of his identity and engaged him in his personal service. Ugna accompanied Vidyapati on many travels around the country, and they became good friends.

One day, while on a journey, they were on arid land, and Vidyapati became exhausted as he had not drunk water for a long time. Feeling pity on him, Lord Shiv, who always had the Ganga in the locks of his hair, took out a glass of water and offered it to Vidyapati. On drinking it, Vidyapati felt that the water was different; it was the sacred Ganga Jal. He inquired from Ugna where he had got it from.

Now being forced to reveal his identity, Ugna showed his form as Gangeshwar. Vidyapati was filled with regret and exclaimed, "I engaged my worshipable Lord in my personal service." But Lord Shiv assured him that it was his own wish to do so, and he said, "I will stay with you on the condition that you will not reveal my identity to anyone."

Vidyapati agreed but then realized that he didn't know how to engage Bhagavan in his service, so he went to great pains to ensure Ugna's personal comfort. This disturbed Vidyapati's wife, who started getting irritated with Ugna. One day, for no reason, she started scolding him and took a stick, and beat him.

Vidyapathi was shocked and blurted out, "What are you doing? He's Bhagwan Shiv." He now realized his mistake and that he had broken the promise of not revealing the identity of his Ishtdev and Lord Shiv disappeared from there.

The disturbed poet saint then searched for Ugna in villages and cities, in caves and temples, and in forests. Lord Shiv, in the form of Ugna, finally gave him darshan again in a place that is today known as Ugnasthan and instructed him to carry on with his life mission of revealing the glories of Bhagavan.

Vidyapati was filled with joy and gratitude and asked, "Why did you come as my servant?" Lord Shiv replied, "I wanted to experience the love and devotion of my devotee. Your devotion and love for me were so great that they enslaved me."

This touching story teaches us that devotion and selfless love can capture the heart of even the all-powerful Lord. Bhakti or devotional selfless love is the key to connecting with the Divine and finding meaning and purpose in life.

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