From time immemorial, man has been writing and telling stories. They are great for fun, humour or laughter, to pass the time; to lighten one’s burden but perhaps most of all, they tend to be filled with morals; to create a search for meaning to life. Aesop fables, Grim and Anderson Fairy tales, have been excellent at this. But India has used parables, aphorisms, sutras and psalms to name a few, to illustrate the Highest Truths.
I will now tell you three stories and hope to hear from you what you thought of them.
The Priest And The Prostitute
As ill luck would have it, a priest and a prostitute lived next door to each other. Every day the priest would look out of his window and see the many men entering the woman’s house. He soon began to make a habit of telling the woman off, saying that she was condemned and that she would go to hell. Didn’t she know that he was a priest of high standing? Couldn’t she go somewhere else? He was sure that come the Judgement, she would go to a very large lake of fire in hell.
Every single day, the woman would get down on her knees and pray to God. She would ask forgiveness for herself, for the priest also and send out good wishes to the world. She told God that she had two daughters, were illiterate and that this was her only means of livelihood. She begged forgiveness from the Lord, treated the men very well, so well in fact that many left generous gifts. She was extremely kind to them.
Meanwhile, the priest was so upset that he started collecting stones for every man that went into her house and of course, very soon there was a large pile which he placed in her front door, with a warning for her to change her life or face eternal damnation.
Unfathomable are the ways of Divine mystery. One day the woman died and the priest passed away very soon after. He got a brilliant funeral, as many important people came and a few hundred followers. As for the woman, only her children and her customers, as well as a few friends came.
In Heaven, the angels gave a great celebration to the woman and St. Peter added a beautiful Palace for her in Heaven. The priest, being a little behind, could see what was happening and challenged St. Peter. How could she get such a nice Palace, he said. He knew her on Earth and she led a filthy life. There must be some mistake.
“No mistake.” Said St. Peter. “Let us have a look at the earthly records.” They did and he was proud when he saw so many hundreds coming to his funeral and so few to the woman’s. “Now let us have a look at the inner records, the records of the Heart.” Said St. Peter. The woman had spent all her spare time praying to God, asking for forgiveness and saying really nice things about this ‘noble’ priest, and her Heart was not only pure but as white as snow.
They then had a look at the priest inner records. All his time was spent thinking of and criticizing the woman, he had placed the stones in front of her house, and even his nights were spent thinking of her wicked ways. Consequently, his heart was very black and horrible. Poor chap. “Hades for you.” Said St Peter, and sent him straight to hell.
Moral: It is not helpful to judge, as we do not know the other persons Heart or rationale as to why they are doing what they have to do. One of the Christ’s greatest disciple, was a woman prostitute. It may not be useful to play God either, for we would all be called to the Judgement throne to answer for own Hearts; own purity and not that of others such as the prostitute or the priest.
Dangers of misunderstood philosophy.
The devotee had just returned from hearing a talk given by his Master, and his Heart was full of fire. “You are immortal!” The Master had said and ‘You are in God and God in you!”
Very soon, he heard a loud noise and saw a mahout on a raging elephant shouting to get out of the way. “Didn’t the Master say I’m God?” He thought. So he stood where he was. He was mauled by the elephant and barely escaped with his life. Returning to the Master very angry, he said: “Didn’t you say that I was God! “Yes.” Said the Master, but God was also in the Mahout asking you to get out of the way.
Morals: Misunderstood philosophy can be quite dangerous, and if we just take them without meaning, without the spirit of what is being said, we can harm ourselves and harm others also.
The Devotee and The Master
A young devotee was very sceptical of Guru’s. “They are all fake.” He said to his friend. Even though the friend said a few were genuine, he still did not believe and wanted to see for himself. So he set out for the Ganges where they would normally pray in the early hours of the morning.
Very soon he came upon a man dressed in ochre-coloured/saffron robes and sitting in meditation. He observed for a while and saw a scorpion moving towards the holy man. Soon it fell into the water. The holy man came out of his trance, picked it up and put it back on dry land. “Ouch!” He went, as the scorpion stung him, then he went back into meditation.
The scorpion kept approaching and again a second time it fell into the water. The holy man came out of his trance, picked it up and placed it on dry land. “Ouch!” He went, as the scorpion stung him once more. The holy man went back into meditation.
For the third time the scorpion moved along the river bank and fell into the water. The holy man came out of his trance and yet again, picked it up and placed it on dry land. “Ouch!” (You guessed it) Went the holy man, as he was stung for a third time. Still, he went back into meditation and continued to pray in silence.
“You foolish man.” Said the young devotee, unable to bear it any longer. “Once I understood, twice is bad enough, but three times! You have a death-wish or something?” The holy man looked at him and smiled. “My son.” He said. “It is the nature of the scorpion to sting, and it is my nature to Love. Just as the scorpion must follow its own nature, I too, must follow mines.”
Morals: We are victims to our own nature. A bad person will continue to be bad and the Seer will continue to Love. When the God-Hour strikes, the life of animal propensity will also change into the life of Love Divine.
Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. Copyrighted, 8th November, 2016.
~ Awakening The Inner Light ~
P.S These are embellishments of stories heard long ago, told in my own inimitable style.