Dry Leaf and Mud Pie were very good friends. As they approached old age together, they decided to make a religious pilgrimage to Banaras, the Hindu holy city on the banks of the Ganges River. They believed that if they washed in that sacred river, all the sins of their lifetime would be erased. They understood the distance and the dangers of such a trip. They knew that heavy rains and strong winds were the two greatest hazards they would face.
So, they decided on a clever strategy. When the rains poured down, Dry Leaf would shield Mud Pie until the storm passed. When the heavy winds blew, Mud Pie would sit on Dry Leaf until the sandstorm was over. One bright, sunny morning, Dry Leaf and Mud Pie set out on the long, difficult pilgrimage to the holy city of Banaras. They traveled just a short distance when the sky grew dark and rain began to fall. Dry Leaf shielded Mud Pie until the rain stopped. Their strategy worked, and they laughed as they continued on their way.
As they got further down the road, the sky clouded again, but this time, the wind blew in with a terrible force. Mud Pie sat on Dry Leaf until the wind died down. Their strategy still worked, and as they traveled on, they started to sing. They had gotten almost to the holy city before the sky clouded over again.
Then something terrible happened. The rain poured down, and the wind blew — at the same time. Although the two friends tried their best to help each other, it was of no use. Dry Leaf blew away and was never seen again. And Mud Pie was washed away.
Source: Jim Sichko, Stories from the Journey
(Open Road Media, 2014) pages 99-100
There comes a time in life when no matter how much we are loved and helped by another, it’s not enough. Even the love and support of our best friends can’t help us. A time will come when a help from elsewhere, larger than the mere human, will be your only refuge.
Once there were two ants sitting on the rim of a cup that contained amrta, the nectar of immortality. As they were talking, one of the ants lost his balance and was about to fall into the cup. He somehow managed to get back on the rim. The other ant asked him, ‘Why don’t you want to fall into the cup? Even if you drown in this, you will become only immortal.’
The first ant replied, ‘But I don’t want to drown!’
Source: Nithyananda Paramahamsa, Bhagavad Gita Demystified, Volume 3 (Life Bliss Foundation, 2009) page 260
We don’t realize that merging with the collective consciousness will liberate us in totality. We resist and hold on to ourselves. As long as we do not disappear into the collective consciousness, we continuously create hell for ourselves and for others.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (John 12:24-45, The Message)
There was a millionaire once who was bothered by two aches, one in his stomach and the other in his head! He was diagnosed and treated by a galaxy of medical experts. He consumed heavy loads of drugs, and underwent centuries of injections. But the aches persisted with greater vigour than ever before!
At last, a monk arrived at the scene of his agony. He spoke very kindly to him, and pronounced the fault to be in his eye! Set right the eye, and the head on top and the stomach below would both behave very sweetly! To improve the eye, concentrate on only one colour. Concentrate on green, he suggested. Do not let your eyes fall on red or yellow, or any other colour.
The rich man got together a group of painters and purchased barrels of green colour and directed that every object on which his eye was likely to fall be painted thick green.
When the monk came to visit him after few days, the wealthy man’s servants ran with buckets of green paint and poured it on him since he was in red dress, lest their master see any other colour and the pain in his eye would come back.
Hearing this, the monk laughed and said “If only you had purchased a pair of green glasses, worth just a few dollars, you could have saved these walls and trees and pots and pans, and chairs and sofas and also a pretty large share of your fortune! You cannot paint the world green.”
Source: Loosely based on a story found in
Chinna Katha (Sai Bhavan; Revised edition,1978)
How often do we try to change other people, and get frustrated when they refuse to change? But how often do we take a look at ourselves? If we would just change our own outlook, change our own way of thinking, change our own actions, our change might motivate others to change as well. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
Let us change our vision and the world will appear accordingly. It is foolish to shape the world, let us shape ourselves first.
As I went begging today from door to door they cried, “He is coming! He draws near!” And seeing the dust of your gorgeous chariot, I thought, “Who can this be but a king among kings?”
My hopes soared, and I stood waiting for alms to be given and wealth scattered in the dust. Your chariot stopped right before me, you looked down with a smile, and I knew that the luck of my days had come. Until suddenly you held out your palm and said, “What will you give?”
Begging from a beggar! What a kingly jest – I was confused and dismayed, but I groped in my sack until I brought out one grain of wheat, the tiniest thing I could afford.
I got home that night and emptied my sack on the floor, only to spy a grain of gold gleaming there in the heap. Then how bitterly I wept. If you did this for a tiny grain of wheat, what would you return if I had given you everything?
Source | Deepak Chopra, The Soul in Love: Classic Poems of Ecstasy and Exaltation
(Harmony, 2001) pages 102-103
How often are you the beggar in the story, reaching in for one kernel of corn, holding back, and giving much less than your all?
An aging master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter” spit the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” “Fresh,” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. “No,” said the young man.
At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same. But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things …. stop being a glass. Become a lake.”
Source | A Hindu parable as told by
Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening
(Conari Press, 2011) pages 17-18
“The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.” | Wayne Muller