An ardent devotee of Lord Shiva undertook a vow that whenever and wherever he came across a temple of Shiva, he would offer puja. He also decided that he would not worship Lord Vishnu under any circumstance. For a long time he took great care to follow this principle of worship.
Once, the devotee happened to visit a Shankaranarayana temple where Shiva and Vishnu are represented in the same idol. One half of the idol was Shiva and the other half was worshipped as Vishnu. The devotee was in a dilemma. If he worshipped that idol, he would have offered puja to Vishnu also, if he did not worship the idol he would have failed to keep his vow.
Finally, he decided to offer puja to that part of the idol which represented Shiva.
The devotee performed all rituals, offered flowers and food and waved the holy light to the Shiva part of the idol and sought the blessings of God. While performing the puja , he shielded the Vishnu part of the idol with his hand so that no incense or flowers reached that side of the idol.
At the end of the puja, the devotee fell at the feet of the idol and sought Shiva’s blessings.
To his surprise, Lord Vishnu appeared before him and said-
“When you offered puja to Shiva, you mind was entirely focussed on me as you did not want your offerings to reach me. Shiva was not in your mind. It was I who was uppermost in your thoughts and action. Hence I had to come and bless you. Your puja reached me.”
Where the mind is, there goes the salutation.
Translated by : Dr. Sharada Jayagovind