Samartha Ramdas Swami was a great Saint who lived a few centuries ago in a village called Jambgaon in Maharashtra, India. In His honour, the people of Jambgaon, till today celebrate His birth anniversary during the nine-day festival of Shriram (Ramanavami) every year.
At that time, there lived an old couple called Balkrushna and Putanabai, who were great devotees of Shriram and Samartha Ramdas Swami. They would spend their days with chanting (repeating God's Name) and prayer. Every year, they would chant and walk all the way from their village to Jambgaon, to take part in this festival and to pay respects to Ramdas Swami.They had been doing this for the last 60 years. However, one year, while returning from the festival, they found it very difficult to walk further, due to old age. So they prayed to Ramdas Swami, "Swamiji, from now on we will not be able to take part in the festival. Due to old age, we will not be able to walk for such a long distance. However, we are very grateful that we could travel every year for the last sixty years only by Your grace."
Next morning, Swamiji appeared in Balkrushna's dream. He said to Balkrushna, "Dear Balkrushna, do not worry. Celebrate the festival in your city. I will visit you there." Balkrushna was very happy by this dream. A year passed. According to the guidance given, the couple started preparations to celebrate the festival in their home. Eight days of the festival passed. Balkrushna and Putanabai eagerly waited for Swamiji's visit. However, when the rituals for the ninth day started, unexpectedly, another great Saint, Sri Gajanan Maharaj visited their celebrations. Balkrushna and Putanabai were surprised to see Him, but were very happy to have the Holy company of a Saint and welcomed Him wholeheartedly.
As Balkrushna was paying respects to Sri Gajanan Maharaj, he suddenly saw Samartha Ramdas Swami in His place. After a few moments, he could not see Ramdas Swami, and saw Sri Gajanan Maharaj again. Balkrushna was very confused, because he kept seeing Ramdas Swami and Sri Gajanan Maharaj one after another. Finally, Ramdas Swami appeared to him and said, "Dear Balkrushna, I have come to visit you today, as promised."
From this episode, Balkrushna realised that though Saints look different from outside, they are all one and the same.
Moral: We too may feel that the various Saints or Deities are different from each other due to the way they look, guide, behave, etc. However, if we develop faith like Balkrushna and Putanabai, we too will experience that all Saints are One, being the forms of the same God. Daily chanting (repeating) of God's Name is a sure way to develop such faith.