The Wise Joker and the Half-way House
Continued from the last issue
The Wise Joker
Where will this road take us, my boy" asked the traveller, of the small urchin, who was playing on the street; "Sorry sir!" came the prompt reply, "this road cannot take you anywhere, because it is fixed." So saying, the young fellow continued to play.
But the traveller who was a wise man, was astonished at the ready, but perverted wit of the boy and on further enquiry, found that the boy's parents were too poor to afford him formal education and so the street and not the school became his area of activity.
Sad at the prospect, that a born genius was being destroyed in the bud, the kindly traveller decided to help him. "My dear fellow," said he, "I will give you the secret of instant knowledge; will you take it?" - "Not if it costs money sir," said the boy, "as I do not have any."
"You don't need money to buy wisdom. But if only you reach the nearby temple of the Divine at night and pray sincerely, you can have it" said the older of the two and departed.
The boy promptly did as he was told, and in answer to his prayers, the divine Mother appeared in all her splendour and glory, to grant his wishes. But the boy, instead of asking for a boon, looked at her for a while, and began to laugh. The Goddess was mystified by his laughter and asked him why he was laughing, and not asking for a boon.
"Mother" said the boy in the midst of his glee, "You know I have only one nose and two hands and when I catch cold, have enough trouble, constantly wiping my nose with both my hands.
You have many heads and hands - if you happen to catch cold, you may have absolutely no time for anything else, except wiping your several noses - this made me laugh and feel how lucky I am".
The Goddess could not help laughing at his fun filled logic, and she then granted him, the power of humour and disappeared.
This rustic lad, later grew to be one of the greatest jokers of India, and became the court jester of a famous Kingdom. Hundreds of stories are now told about his innate skill to infuse humour in every aspect of life and make people laugh and think. His name is Tenali Rama.
Long long ago and far away, there lived a great sage, named Maharishi Chandilya. He had a large number of disciples. Every one of them was keen on achieving enlightenment and often requested the master of fulfill their desire.
However, the master kept postponing the granting of their wishes in this matter. After some time, some of the disciples became rather impatient and asked him in frustration, why he was doing so.
"My dear devotees", said the master calmly. "I can very well understand your eagerness, but I am also aware, that the time is not yet ripe for you to achieve that goal. You have still a long way to go."
"How can it be so?" retorted one of the disciples. "You have yourself told us, that knowledge leads to enlightenment. You have given us enough of its already. What is it that prevents you from lighting up the path for us?'
"Oh! Have you learnt enough of it already?" said the Master with a sad smile and was silent for a while. Then slowly the words flowed from his mouth, "I could find that ego and impatience blind your vision, and your expressions lack the experience of love.
However, as I love you all, let me grant you that, which you deserve. Please keep your eyes closed and you shall have a glimpse of the same."
The disciples closed their eyes, and by the grace of the master, they found, that they floated through space, which ended in front of a huge and inspiring arch and a closed door. As they approached, the door slowly opened and a voice rang out, "My children! your are welcome in this domain and you may travel further."
Once inside, the devotees glided through a fascinating panorama of an unseen and unknown universe, which culminated before another arch and closed door equally, grand and golden. While they watched, this door also opened, but on entering it, they watched, this door also opened, but on entering it, they saw utter darkness everywhere. They missed their way and began to falter and stumble; their courage and confidence melted away.
At last they could not stand it any more and cried in grief: "Oh, master! Please have pity and help us! We know not, where we are, and how to proceed. This darkness is too much for us!"
At that very moment, their eyes opened, to witness the graceful smile of the master. "What happened to us, dear master?" they cried in fear. "Why could we not proceed further, and why did the scene become suddenly dark and impassable?"
"Because," said the master with kindness, "You had strength enough only to reach the half-way-house, and you did not have enough stamina to proceed beyond it."
"The door, which opened for you initially", continued the master, "was the door of knowledge, and it led you further into another door, the door of love, which ushered you into the inner area which is the domain of love. Your ego and impatience darkened that area and prevented your progress.
You have to remember, that the power of knowledge carries you only half way to bliss. The power of love could transport you through the other half. Knowledge coupled with love culminates in enlightenment."
"Hence", said the master, "you have to retain knowledge, but discard ego and impatience. Seek the Divine with unbounded devotion, and serve the creation with unselfish Love. Supreme knowledge and Supreme Love, which are two sides of the same coin, lead you to Supreme Bliss. Go into the wide world and serve the people with humility and love, and then come back to me to complete the journey."
This story reveals, how essential it is, to posses knowledge without falling into the trap of ego, and how essential it is to serve people with love and humility.
It also indicates, how the power of love has a final say in human relations, on either physical or metaphysical levels, and how the grace of the Master is necessary in both the spheres.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008