Couldn’t avoid reacting (though my Master Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar of Art of Living says it is a bad habit in the spiritual path) to a few characters for no rhyme and reasons keep harping on some stupid problem of theirs on another of my favourite discussion forum and a spiritual community. It is said some people have simply decided to revel and enjoy being miserable and here is one person who fits this example to the “T”. As a timely reconfirmation and the reasons why I should recover and move on I received a nice story which I am posting here for the sake of retaining it for posterity. A story with loads of hidden and obvious messages equally applicable to both proponents and skeptics. Here we go…
Once there was a king who was very fond of flowers. He had bought a lot of expensive pots with beautiful & fragrant flowers. He had them arranged in the courtyard just next to his bedroom & hired a person to take proper care of them.
Once that fellow broke one pot by mistake while arranging them. The king became furious to hear about this. He was a cruel & senseless king. He sentenced his servant to death for this pity mistake. He was ordered to be hanged after two months. The king’s minister pleaded mercy for the poor fellow but he did not listen. To find death inevitable, the poor servant started praying to God.
Meawhile the king declared a reward for anyone who could repair the broken pot & make it exactly same as it used to be. Many people came & tried their luck but in vain.
How could a broken pot be repaired exactly like before? How could any doctor bring back life to a dead person? This mortal human body also is irrepairable. Even if a surgeon tries his best to put back the broken parts, it can never be the same; there is always some imperfection remaining. Similarly a kite when torn apart can never be made to look like before even if one applies all kind of glues. How could anyone ever do this?
The servant on the other hand was counting his days. He would every now & then pray to God to somehow make king’s mind change so that his life is spared.
A month passed by like this. Then a saint visited that city. He heard about this reward which the king had declared for anyone who could repair the broken flower pot. He also learnt about the death sentence given to the poor servant who broke it.
That saintly person went to the king’s court & said “I take the responsibilty of joining back your broken pot. Show it to me” The king took the saint to his palace where all the flower pots were kept. The saint looked deeply at the broken pot. He also looked at all the other two dozen unbroken pots. He passed a divine smile towards the king. Then he asked for a stick. The servant brought him one. As soon as he got it, he started breaking all other flower pots. For sometime, the king totally confused at this scene kept wondering what is this way of repairing. May be this saintly person knows some new method. Then he looked at the saint who was standing fearlessly after having broken all the pots. He yelled “O saint! what have you done?”
The saint replied “I saved the life of two dozen poor people who at some point in time would have broken these pots.”
The king became furious & ordered that the saint be trampled under the feet of an elephant. The saint was a spiritually enlightened person. He had deeply experienced the teachings of the Vedas. He believed firmly in the universality of the soul & its oneness with GOD. He knew that the physical body is bound to be destroyed someday while the inner soul can never ever die. He’d never get frightened by even the worst of the worst situations since he was beyound death & birth.
An elephant was brought in front of him. The saint peacefully lied down on the ground & meditating on “So..hum.. Shivo..hum” (I am That.. I am Shiva ..The supreme lord) “Supreme Lord is prevalent all around. The elephant is also the supreme lord & so is its master. The king who ordered this execution is also the supreme lord & the one lying down on the ground is also the same supreme lord.” “The lord itself is playing with its own various forms. So..hum” “The minister standing in the corner is also the dear lord & the soldier holding a sword in the hand is also the same lord. The whole public watching this is also the supreme lord having taken various forms from tiny kids to veiled women.”
The blissful saint continued meditating like this visualizing the presence of supreme lord in every body around him. The master of the elephant whipped it hard but the elephant simply refused to go near the saint. Another elephant was brought in. But he also stopped within two feet of the meditating saint. His master also tried hard but in vain. The king finally gave up & asked the saint “Do you know any kind of mantra which brings every elephant under your control?” The saint smiled & said ” I do not know any mantra to control an elephant but I do know the mantra to control the self. I know the mantra of love”
No matter how bad one may think of you or make plans to hurt you, but if you do not think bad about him, then nothing in the world has the power to do bad to you. He may keep cursing you in his heart but he will never be able to do bad to you.
The saint said: “Oh King! When I lay straight then thinking about the Dear God in the elephant, you & me, I started loving Him & thought of good things to happen to the elephant. I thought of welfare of the elephant & you.
If I would have thought bad for you, then your bad qualities could have become powerful. If I would have felt jealous of you, then jealousy could have become powerful inside you. If I would have felt hatred for you, then hatred could have become powerful inside you. But friend! why should I pollute my heart by having hatred & jealousy for you?
I have got over ignorance by the grace of my Guruji. That is why the elephant could not hurt me even when it was pecked to do so again & again. If the destiny of the body would have been to die in this way, then nobody could have stopped the death. In that case even if you were protecting this body, it would not have lived longer. If destiny did not have this kind of death, then how does it matter if ten kings like you get annoyed! What harm can anybody do? Even if you get pleased how does it matter! I’ve done the work that I intended to do.
This body can die any second. It cannot become immortal. When this body is mortal then how can the pots become immortal. These will get destroyed & will vanish one day. The plant shall also die. You are taking the life of a servant for a plant which will anyway die soon. Therefore using the stick I broke all pots to give you a lesson that these are mortal objects. Do not ruin the kindness of your heart by having attraction for these immortal things.”
The king was highly influenced by the words of the saint. He came down his throne & begged for forgiveness. He cancelled the death sentence on the servant. Then he took “Guru Mantra” from the saint & set his journey on the road to God.
PS: The picture above is of His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji in one of those playful moments with Maheshwara, the Ashram Elephant