Here is an excerpt from (--- Shri Ramana Maha Rishi’s Ashram )
regarding an interesting subject prone to controversy “gambling”
and that “God can do whatever God wants to” because this is His Lila, after all.
The Shiva Bhaktavilasam
as narrated by Sage Upanmayu in Skanda Upapuranam
translated by Lineshwara Rao
published by Shri Ramanashram
64 MURKHA, page 303-304
Shri Agastya said and states,
“It is said that –
“Those who serve Shivabhaktas by whatever means attain Salvation”.
The Means, even if forbidden, are overlooked, provided that –
“The Ends are utilized for The Welfare of Devotees”.
Hearken to The Account of One such Devotee, Murkha,
Who won Lord Shiva’s Grace by serving His Votaries.”
Shri Agastya narrates,
“There was a River by the name Kshirini which resembled The Milk Ocean in all respects.
The Waters were ever sanctified by the Yajna-Performing Priests Who took Holy Dips there.
Its banks were neatly dotted with Fruit and Shade-giving Trees of all kinds.
And Birds built nests on Them and flourished.
A Town named Aranyam
was situated by the River,
where All classes of People lived in harmony,
performing Their ordained duties.
The High Towers echoed the Vedic Chants rendered by the Noble Brahmanas.
Now, in Aranyam,
There lived a Well-to-do Devotee belonging to The Working Class,
Who cherished the Service of Shivabhaktas and spent His earnings to this One cause, which he held high.
The All-Seer Lord Shiva once desired to test His Devotee and soon put His Plan into action.
In a Raging Fire,
the Devotee’s House was turned into a Heap of Ashes.
His Crops failed and the Cattle was lost.
Soon He turned poor.
Now, at this time,
Lord Shiva donned the garb of a Saint and approached Him as a Guest.
After He was invited hospitably in and given a seat,
He sought from the Devotee a Lifetime Supply of food and Clothing.
The Perplexed Devotee sought the advice of His Wife. His Wife who supported Him fully, encouraged Him to promise The Guest and not to disappoint Him on any account.
In the meantime,
The Phony Guest feigning impatience, shouted,
“What! You leave me here unattended and go inside for a leisurely chat with Your Lady?
Do you think I am after You and Your Charity?
I have countless Devotees in Kumbhakonam eager to surrender Their lives for My sake.
Enough of Your Hospitality.”
Uttering these Words, He, the Phony Guest disappeared.
The Devotee ran to stop Him but could not see Him.
It occurred to His Noble Mind that the Visitor could be Lord Shiva Himself.
Remembering the Lord’s Words that he would be leaving for Kumbhakonam,
The Devotee hastily proceeded there.
Arriving at The Shrine of Kumbhakonam, He then fasted for 7 days.
Then, Lord Shiva appeared to Him in a Dream
and graciously told Him,
“Be here ever and revel in the service of My Devotees Who are Supreme.”
The Devotee woke up and went in search of a job, but it was all in vain.
Walking around still searching,
He entered a Forbidden Area where Gambling was ubiquitious.
He entered a Gambling Hall and started with a small stake.
Encouraged by a win, He increased His stakes and won every time. He became rich overnight.
The next day,
He arranged a grand feast for the Shivabhaktas with the wealth He amassed from gambling
Now, It became a joyful routine for Him to gamble, win, and earn to serve the Devotees.
He would serve His Own Family after serving Everyone else.
The means of His Livelihood earned Him the title “Murkha (impudent) Devotee”.
His Heart remained ever pure despite His Unworthy Profession and earned Him The Merger with The Lord after He shook off His Mortal Coil...”
so states and narrates Shri Agastya.