Table of Contents
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following three stories to his students who were gathered in Cairns, Australia, on 5 January 2003 for their annual Christmas trip.
1. Beethoven’s Sincerity Speaks
Sincerity inspires, encourages, illumines and fulfils the world. Ludwig van Beethoven, an immortal composer and a musician of the highest order, once offered a magnificent piano performance. The audience gave him a standing ovation, which lasted for a long, long time.
At the end of the programme, an elderly lady came up to Beethoven and said, “How I wish I could be a genius like you! How I wish I could have magic hands like yours!”
Beethoven immediately replied, “Madam, there is no genius involved; there is no magic involved. If you are prepared to practise eight hours a day for forty years, like me, then you can easily play like me. Just start practising many hours a day, and do it for many, many years. One day you shall most definitely play as well as I do, I assure you.”
Just as soon as many other great musicians are admired by the world as a true genius, they most assuredly think and feel that their musical capacities are far, far beyond the reach of ordinary and even extraordinary human beings. They will act as if they are divinity’s most precious gift to humanity. In Beethoven’s case, he was one of the greatest musical geniuses the world has ever seen. But he was not at all bloated with pride or arrogance. What wonderful encouragement he offered the elderly lady! Other musicians would not have been sincere. Others would proudly say, “Thank you! It is true that I am a genius, and this genius capacity comes directly from God. Right from my birth, God created me as a supreme musician.”
We all need to receive the sincere encouragement that Beethoven offered. For, when this encouragement comes from the greatest human beings in any field, it has tremendous power. How hard these geniuses work for years and years, and often they go totally unrecognised for decades. There are so many extraordinary and pre-eminent scientists, musicians, artists and others who work extremely, extremely hard day in and day out for years and years.
In the days of Beethoven, and for centuries before, people who created or discovered something really great simply offered it to the world. Usually they did not receive any special recognition or extra money.
Nowadays, if a scientist, for example, discovers something most significant, the Nobel Committee is there to present the scientist with millions of dollars. If not that, then a major university will offer the scientist a new laboratory and so on. Then the person becomes very rich. They offer their great discoveries and also receive great compensation. Yet in no way were the discoveries of the hoary past inferior to the modern-day discoveries. What did the brilliant scientists of some two or three hundred years ago receive? On the one hand, they did not or could not fill their pockets with very large amounts of money. On the other hand, they were inundated with appreciation, admiration and love. Because of their big hearts, they offered their discoveries and services for the betterment of mankind without charge. God Himself compensated these great scientists with His infinite Blessings, Love and Pride.
Each person must choose what they want: money-power or heart-power. While the two sometimes go hand in hand, it is the inner aspiration of the individual that is of paramount importance. Do we desire the increase of our money-power or do we aspire for the expansion of our heart-power?
2. Napoleon Bows before Saint Francis
Napoleon the Great was travelling once through Italy with his mighty troops, including several of his generals. He was at the front of a very large and majestic procession, having already conquered many lands.
On the way to their next destination, Napoleon saw a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. Napoleon commanded the entire procession to come to an immediate halt. He then removed his headgear and bowed. The generals were shocked. They said to Napoleon, “Sir, you are the greatest man in the world. You never bow to anyone, nor do you show respect to any other human being on earth. The entire world knows you and reveres you as the most indomitable figure ever to walk on this earth. How is it that you have taken off your headgear now?”
Napoleon replied, “I need guns and cannons to conquer the world. Once I conquer one country, another country revolts and then I must go there to quell their revolt and re-conquer the country. My victories are in no way permanent.
“Look at St. Francis! He was such a great saint. He had no weaponry – not one gun, not one cannon. I have countless weapons, but he had only one weapon: love. With that love-weapon, St. Francis conquered the entire world. With all my guns, cannons, ammunition, armies and more, my victories are never, never lasting. But his victory is everlasting, and his sole weapon was love.”
The generals were deeply moved by Napoleon’s humility. The greatest and most powerful man on earth recognised his own limitations. Napoleon Bonaparte announced to all his troops that one simple saint was far, far more powerful than himself. In this way, Napoleon won the one-pointed love, admiration, devotion and loyalty of his troops.
3. Abraham Lincoln chooses God’s Victory
The great American President, Abraham Lincoln, had many saintly qualities. He did so many good and great things for America. This story took place when he was fighting alongside his army during the Civil War. There was a tremendous battle going on and God alone knew which side was going to win.
Lincoln’s Commander-General asked him, “Do you know what is in God’s plan? Do you feel that we are going to be victorious, or shall we go down in shameful defeat?”
Abraham Lincoln replied, “My problem is not the victory. My problem is to be certain that I am on God’s side. I am praying to God. I do not know if we shall win or lose this war. But my constant prayer is for God’s Victory. I pray that He will accept me and this nation to be on His side. I am not at all praying to God to take our side and defeat our enemies. No, never! I want God’s Victory, not my victory. This is my only prayer.”
The Commander-General and all his men were profoundly moved by Lincoln’s spiritual depth, which he maintained even during the thick of battle.
During his second inaugural address, soon before his victory, Lincoln once again affirmed his faith in God and his prayer for God’s Will to be done. Referring to the North and the South, Lincoln said, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged … The Almighty has His own purposes.”
As it turned out, God’s Victory was definitely won in and through President Lincoln’s most courageous leadership. Alas, he was assassinated just a few days after that immortal victory.
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following stories in Cairns, Australia, on January 20 and 23, 2003.
4. The Power of Kindness
The kindness aspect of life carries us far, very far, towards our destination. How kindness can change human nature for the best!
There was a school with quite a few students. Most of the students were excellent. There was only one unfortunate boy who was not at all a good student. At the same time, he had a very bad habit: he used to steal. Quite often this boy missed class in order to steal people’s money and other valuables.
Some of the boys lived in a dormitory and, from time to time, they found that their money was missing. This went on for a long time and the students became extremely frustrated. They had no idea who the actual thief was.
A brilliant idea flashed across the mind of one of the most intelligent students. On one particular day, this boy pretended to be sick and did not come to class. He was hiding in the dormitory. As fate would have it, the student who was in the habit of stealing came into the room to steal something and he was caught red-handed. The good student immediately informed the school authorities. Word spread very quickly around the school that the thief was caught. All the students came to know who the culprit was, and they started insulting him ruthlessly.
The teachers wanted to take the matter to the police. They said, “This boy should be punished! He should be put in jail!”
The headmaster firmly told them, “No, I will not allow that. It will bring disgrace to my school. Plus, I really want to help this boy and also help the other students.”
The headmaster called all the students and teachers together, including the boy who stole the money. He said to the students, “You people must be frank with me. I would like each one of you who has lost money to tell me how much you have lost.”
One student said, “I have lost ten dollars.” Others said twenty, thirty, forty and so on. The whole amount came to $300. There and then, the headmaster took out $300 from his own wallet and returned the exact amount that had been stolen to each student who had lost money.
The boy who stole all this money was badly humiliated. Then the headmaster said to him, “You may return to your classroom. You should complete all your courses.”
The boy obeyed the headmaster and resumed his classes. However, the other students continued to look down on this boy. They spoke about him behind his back and made fun of him to his face. When the headmaster heard what was going on, he was extremely sad. He told the students, “The way you are behaving is not good. We have to conquer people with our kindness. You are all my students. I will be the proudest person if you please try to develop kindness, compassion and forgiveness.”
The head of the school was truly an excellent human being. Unfortunately, neither the students nor the teachers listened to him. They simply could not look upon this particular student kindly or favourably. Immediately after being caught, the boy had stopped his stealing. He was determined to live a good life, but he was taunted again and again because of his past actions.
The headmaster repeatedly pleaded with his students and teachers, “I am begging you to please be kind to this boy. He has totally given up his stealing. All of us have weaknesses that we must conquer. Please try to find kindness, compassion and forgiveness inside your hearts.”
Slowly but surely, the headmaster’s pleading worked. People began treating the boy with sincere kindness and concern.
After four or five years, he completed his studies and went to work. He obtained an excellent job building houses. After he received his first pay check, the first thing he did was to withdraw $300 in cash and go to his old school. The headmaster was still there.
With folded hands, the young man offered the money to the headmaster and said to him, “I am eternally grateful to you. You saved my life. Everyone else wanted to cast me into jail, but you did not allow them to do so. I stole $300, which you yourself gave to the students from whom I had stolen the money. Now I am returning the $300 to you.”
The headmaster began shedding tears of joy and pride. He embraced the young man and said, “My son, my kindness has been most powerfully rewarded. I am so proud of you and so grateful to you. In the future, my boy, do not steal. Never steal.”
The young man replied, “I have completely stopped stealing. Never again in my life will I steal. I have turned over a new leaf, and it is all due to your kindness. I assure you, if and when I have children, my children will not be affected by what I have done. They will not be like me. I will only instil sincerity, kindness, concern and compassion into my children’s hearts and lives, just as you have done to me.”
Again and again the young man offered his gratitude to the headmaster, saying, “You saved my life! You saved my life!” Then the young man bowed to the headmaster very deeply once again and took his leave.
The following day, the headmaster related this particular incident to all the students. Most of the students who knew about the stealing episode had already passed their examinations and graduated.
The headmaster said, “Many years ago, somebody was not doing the right thing in this school. He stole money from so many students during the day while they were having their lessons. When he was finally caught, someone showed kindness to this boy. Most people wanted to put him in jail, but someone did not allow that to happen. The boy immediately turned over a new leaf and became very, very good and nice. I am telling you all this because I do not want you to repeat the same story.
“You must not develop the habit of stealing. At the same time, you must not develop the habit of looking down upon others. We all have weaknesses. At what point weaknesses will dominate us, we have no idea. If we become kind and compassionate to others, there is every possibility that our compassion, kindness and forgiveness will work miracles in their lives and in our lives as well.”
5. The Divine Curse
There was once a spiritual Master in India who had about ten disciples. The Master was extremely strict with all his disciples. Sometimes he used to actually strike them if they were not behaving well.
It so happened that once the Master was very sick. Even so, he was scolding three disciples most powerfully because they were not pleasing him with their aspiration. The disciples could not control their anger and they started beating the Master black and blue.
The poor Master was close the death. He said to those three disciples, “You have badly beaten me. I am dying now. But I am going to curse you. You will not believe what my curse is: from the inner world, I shall send you to a Master who is infinitely higher than me.”
In a few days’ time, the Master passed behind the curtain of Eternity. About one year later, the Master was repeatedly coming to those three disciples in their dreams. He was inspiring, begging and commanding them to go to another spiritual Master. He told them, “You will not be able to strike this Master. He is infinitely higher than I am. You go! Your new Master will be near the Bay of Bengal, and he has many disciples.”
Their Master gave a full description of the new Master. Only he did not mention his name. So the three disciples searched for the new Master and found him near the Bay of Bengal. They joined his Ashram and began to aspire most sincerely. Eventually, they wrote a book about how they were responsible for their former Master’s death. Look at the nobility and vastness of their Master’s heart! Their punishment was to go to a higher Master.
6. Only God can Cure Her
About one hundred years ago, there lived in India a very good and kind spiritual Master. Let us call him Guru Raghunath. At that time, he was eight-five or ninety years old and he was extremely ill. His dearest disciple was a woman. One day she came to care for her Master and, instead, she got angry with him for some silly reason. She struck him with a very large wooden spoon. Guru Raghunath fell down from his bed and died.
There were three or four other disciples present in the room and they witnessed everything. They hated this lady, but they did not report her to the authorities.
This story never ends! Many years later, another Master – let us call him Guru Achal – was in northern India to give a talk. Before it started, one man stood up and came near him. The man was screaming, “Where is your cross? Where is your cross?”
The man wanted Guru Achal to show his cross. Otherwise, he felt that Guru Achal was not authorised to speak.
Another man stood up and said, “Jesus Christ himself was a Jew!”
Yet another party came to the Master’s rescue and screamed at the first man, “You show Jesus Christ your cross!”
Finally, everyone calmed down and the Master was able to give his talk. After everything was over, a lady came up to the Master and said, “Guru Achal, Guru! Please do me a favour.”
He asked her, “What kind of favour would you like?”
She replied, “Please tell me the truth. I am Guru Raghunath’s disciple. People say that I struck my Master and killed him. Is it true?”
This was the question that lady was asking the other Master! He was so shocked. He said to her, “Am I the one to answer this question for you? You killed your Master and you do not know?”
“Oh, no, you have to tell me!”
He replied, “I do not know whether you struck your Master or not. You are the one to answer this question.”
Then the lady put her hands on her throat and started massaging it. She said, “Please save me!”
“What has happened?” he asked.
“I have got a growth in my throat. You can cure me!”
“I do not have that kind of power,” Guru Achal told the lady. “There are other Masters who have that power, but I do not.”
She continued, “No, no. I know you can cure me. Can you not at least touch my throat?”
“O God! I cannot touch your throat. I am very sorry,” said Guru Achal. “But I can do one thing.”
“What?” she asked.
The Master answered, “I can pray to God to cure you.” The lady was very happy that he would pray to God on her behalf. Actually, he could never pray to God to cure her. Only he prayed to God, “Let Thy Will be done.”
7. One Spiritual Master Saves Another
There was a very, very high spiritual Master. Let us call him Master Balakrishna. One day he was meditating most powerfully in a forest. Alas, the forest was extremely dry and it caught fire. Master Balakrishna was about to be burned to ashes.
Another spiritual Master – let us call him Lalit – became aware of Balakrishna’s plight. Lalit had conquered fire and, therefore, it could not burn him. He assumed another form so that Balakrishna would not be able to recognise who he was. He went to Balakrishna and grabbed him in his arms like a child. Then he carried him away from the fire. In this way, Lalit saved Balakrishna’s life.
Many years later, Balakrishna went to see Lalit because Lalit was such a great spiritual Master. When Lalit saw Balakrishna, he said to him, “Do you remember an incident where you were meditating in a forest and then the forest caught fire?”
“I do seem to recall something,” answered Balakrishna.
“Somebody came and … ”
“Yes!” exclaimed Balakrishna. “Somebody came out of the blue. He grabbed me and took me out of the forest to safety. That person saved my life!”
Lalit asked, “Who was that person?” Then he assumed the same form that he had taken when he saved Balakrishna. “You see,” he said, “I am the one who saved you.”
Balakrishna knew that someone had come and saved him from the fire, but he had no idea who it was. There was no resemblance at all between Lalit’s ordinary form and the form he took when he entered into the forest to save Balakrishna.
After this, Balakrishna and Lalit became very close to each other. Lalit always wanted Balakrishna to go much higher than his own present spiritual height. He would tell him, “You can still go much higher, much higher! Why are you not going as high as you can?”
At that time, Balakrishna had many disciples. To them, Lalit also criticised Balakrishna. “You have such a bad Master!” he would say. “He is not going nearly as high as he is able to go.”
The disciples used to get furious. They would say, “You have no right to speak ill of our Master. How dare you criticise him!”
The time came when Lalit decided to take his earth-departure. He said to Balakrishna, “When I leave the body, I would like you to take care of my Ashram and all my disciples.”
Balakrishna was stunned. “No, I can never do that,” he said. “You always say such bad things about me. You constantly criticise me. How can I take care of your disciples?”
Master Lalit said, “No, no! My disciples are no match for you. You are much, much more developed than they are. Only I want you to go higher yet. That is why I have criticised you in front of your disciples.”
Master Balakrishna answered, “I do not want to take your position. I will not do that.”
“All right, all right,” said Lalit. “All I am asking you to do then is to pray and meditate more sincerely.”
By that time, Balakrishna had acquired much occult power and he had had many, many high, higher and highest spiritual experiences. He also had many disciples of his own. He never accepted a single spiritual Master. He had three or four Masters who helped him greatly. For a few years, he would have one Master and then somebody else would be his Master.
Sri Chinmoy narrated the following story on 12 December 2004 in Xiamen, China.
8. Not to Judge, But Only to Love
Once a prominent spiritual Master was invited to offer a talk by the mayor of a certain town. The spiritual Master had never been to that town before. He very happily accepted the invitation and decided to travel there alone. Though he had many, many disciples throughout the land, he had none in this town.
The mayor made all the arrangements for the Master’s visit. He reserved a large hall where the Master could offer his talk, and he had notices put up everywhere inviting all those interested to attend. Everyone was extremely happy and proud that such a famous spiritual Master was coming to their town.
One spiritual seeker named Jyotish asked his friend, “Have you heard the news? A very great Master is coming to town. He will meditate and give a talk. Who, know, he may even show us some of his occult power!”
His friend Madhu replied, “Fantastic! I did not know of this. We cannot miss it.”
Like this, the Master’s forthcoming visit became the talk of the town. Everyone was most eagerly looking forward to the renowned Master’s arrival. Finally, the day of the talk arrived. People from the town, and even many people from the surrounding villages, had come to listen to the Master and meditate with him.
Madhu excitedly telephoned his friend early in the morning. “Jyotish, we must arrive at least four hours early in order to get a good seat!”
“Yes, of course,” Jyotish replied.
The friends agreed to leave at eleven o’clock to walk to the town hall where the Master would be speaking. It was the largest meeting hall in the entire town. The talk was to begin at four o’clock in the afternoon. As usual, the mayor himself would not be attending, but he had done an excellent job of letting all his townspeople know about the Master’s coming.
A wave of tremendous spiritual excitement had spread throughout the town. All the people were thrilled in anticipation of being in the presence of a great spiritual figure. The men were wearing their cleanest white dhotis and kurtas, and the women were wearing pure white saris.
Hours before the master’s talk, people were streaming down the main road of the town in large numbers. Just near the mayor’s mansion, and a few blocks from the town hall, all those who were passing by saw an old, unkempt man sleeping on the side of the road. His grey hair was long and dishevelled. His beard was completely uncared for. His clothes were simpler than the simplest. Nobody had ever seen this old man before.
Because people were going to attend a spiritual function and were in a good consciousness, most of them took compassion on the old man. Some kind-hearted people gave him bananas and other food.
“Here, take this, old man,” one nice mother said. She was going to hear the Master with her four young children. She put a small bowl of rice right in front of the old man. Then she and her children went on their way.
A few people were far less kind, and some of them even cursed the man. “Horrible! Horrible! Are you even a human being? Get out of here!” they cried to the poor, dishevelled man. “How dare you to be here dressed like that on such a sacred day as today! Go! Go away!”
But the old man seemed only to sleep and sleep.
Finally, the time came for the Master’s talk. When the Master entered the hall, there was a stunned gasp from the audience. “What! This is the Master? This is the Master? There must be some mistake!” they exclaimed. They were all shocked, for the Master was none other than the same old beggar they had all passed by, who was lying down on the road and sleeping.
The Master simply bowed his head and meditated in complete silence for several minutes. Then he spoke slowly and with tremendous intensity. “I am extremely grateful to all of you for coming here today to attend my talk. I have not come here to judge you. I have come here only to love you.”
Then the Master continued, “All of you who passed by me this afternoon judged me. You said to yourselves, ‘This man is so poor! He is so dirty! What is this old man doing sleeping on the road like this on such an important day? How dare he?’ Some of you were extremely kind to me and even offered me your food. Others were less kind. They made fun of me or showed their anger. I wish to tell you that the spiritual life is not to judge, but only to love. If you can all follow this one divine teaching, then you will make tremendous progress in your spiritual lives. You will see immediately what a difference this will make in your own inner life of aspiration and in your outer life of dedication.”
Without saying another word, the Master blessed each and every person in the hall in silence. Then he bowed his head once more and slowly walked out of the hall.
When the Master returned home, his spiritual children were extremely eager to hear how his trip had gone. The Master simply smiled and said, “I gave a talk. It went very well. I said that I have not come into the world to prove anything. I have not come into the world to judge anyone. I came into the world only to love everyone and everything.”
All the disciples were deeply moved. They bowed to the Master and silently filed out of the room.
Sri Chinmoy told the following story on 2 December 2005 at Pangkor Island Beach Resort in Malaysia. Later he said to his students, “This is a most significant story. I shall be grateful if you occasionally read this particular story. Then you will know the real meaning of obedience.”
9. The Obedient Student
A Teacher, or Guru, was teaching religious as well as regular studies. In India, even a schoolteacher is called a Guru. In the morning, about fifteen or twenty young boys used to go to their Teacher’s school to study and play, and in the late afternoon they used to come back home.
One day the Teacher (or Guru) asked a particular boy to do something. What was it? While the students were playing, the Teacher summoned the young boy and said to him, “Throw my child into the well.” The Teacher’s child was only five or six years old, but the student did not hesitate, even for a fleeting moment. He grabbed the child and threw him into a nearby well. The other students noticed it and came running. Two or three entered into the well and brought the child back out, and other students thrashed the particular student who had thrown the child into the well. The student did not say a word. Meanwhile, the Teacher was watching the whole situation. He also did not say anything.
A few months later, while the students were playing, the Teacher summoned the same boy and said to him, “Set fire to my house.” Again, the boy did not hesitate for a second. He immediately set fire to his Guru’s own house. The Guru’s wife was inside, and she was shouting and screaming. Then, as usual, the rest of the students struck him mercilessly, saying, “How did you dare to set fire to your Guru’s house?” Again, the boy did not say a word. He did not say that his Guru had asked him to do this, and the Teacher also was silent, not saying anything. The other students could not fathom it: how could the Teacher be so indifferent?
As the days ran into weeks, the weeks into months, and months into years, there came a time when the students grew up and entered into their own way of life. By this time, the Teacher had become very, very old, so he invited all his various students, past and present, to come and see him. They all came, and the Teacher started blessingfully giving them some material objects, such as plots of land and other things. Whatever he had, he wanted to give away to his students. They were all very happy. Then they noticed that for some reason, that particular student did not receive anything, perhaps because the Guru felt that he had not been a good student. The others were wondering why the Guru had not given him anything.
At long last, the Teacher said to the boy, “I have nothing to give you on the material plane that will equal your obedience. I have never seen, and I will never see, anybody who is so devoted to his Teacher. I have never seen anybody as obedient as you are, and whatever I give on the material plane will not be equal to your obedience.”
Then the Teacher said, “I am giving you a boon. The boon is this: in a few years, the Lord Himself will come to you as your student. Lord Krishna will come and be your student. This is the greatest gift that I can give you. I am the happiest person to tell you that the Lord Himself will come and study with you.”
The name of this particular student was Sandip Muni. He became the Guru of Sri Krishna. He had this kind of obedience to fulfil his Teacher’s requests.
Sri Chinmoy told the following story at his house in Jamaica, Queens, on 6 June 2007.
10. This World is Boring
There was once a very, very good king, a superlative king. He was kind-hearted, compassionate and wise. In every way, he was so good, unimaginably good. All his subjects took him as their father. They were so fond of him.
One day the queen was massaging the king’s head with coconut water. While massaging him, there were tears in her eyes and these tears were dripping on the king’s nose and on his whole body.
The king became so concerned. “Why are you crying? Why are you shedding tears? Have I done anything wrong? Is there anything that I will not do for you? Tell me! If anybody has insulted you, I shall punish them. Although I am a very kind-hearted person, I will not forgive anybody who has misbehaved towards you. So please tell me what is wrong. You are dearer than the dearest to me.”
The queen said, “No, no, nobody has insulted me. I am crying because just now I found one white hair on your head.” She showed it to her husband and said, “I am crying because you are getting old. One day soon you will die. Then how can I live without you? Who will take care of me?”
The king tried his best to console the queen. He said, “Is there anybody who will not become old? Life is like that. Everybody will eventually be old. I am getting old, you will become old, everybody.”
But the queen was crying and crying. “Oh, you are getting old, you are getting old. You will die soon.”
Finally, the king said, “You are right.” He ruled only for a few more years. Then he placed his son on the throne and went with his wife to the forest. He said, “I cannot deal with the problems of my kingdom any more. Now I am really old. Let me spend the rest of my days in prayer and meditation.” So the king entered into the spiritual life.
The king’s subjects loved him so much that they accompanied him to the forest and then they did not go home. All of them stopped eating and then they started praying to the sun god. They prayed and prayed for a long time. The sun god was pleased with their prayers and he appeared before them. “All right,” he said, “what do you want?”
They answered, “We want our king back so that he can rule us for ten thousand years.”
The sun god granted the boon and then they went to the king to inform him. The king said, “I do not want, I do not want, no!”
But the sun god forced the king to come back to the kingdom and rule for ten thousand years. The poor king said, “O my God, O my God! What am I going to do?” Then, as the years went by, he saw that people who were younger than him were all dying in front of him. One by one, his subjects were all leaving the earth plane. The king cried, “What kind of boon is this?”
Then he started praying and praying to the sun god. His prayer was, “Please, please, please give them also ten thousand years. Since I am supposed to live for ten thousand years, let my subjects be with me.”
After many years, the sun god was pleased with the king’s prayer and granted the boon he desired. So they were all living for ten thousand years. Now it happened that after a few years, some people became so miserable. They were saying, “We are living for ten thousand years here on earth, but there is no joy. This world is boring, boring! We do not want to be here for so many years.” They were murmuring that they were not pleased with their boon.
It seemed that nobody was satisfied. So the king prayed and prayed to the sun god once more. This time he prayed, “Please give us some wisdom what to do with your boon.”
The sun god replied, “Never stand against God’s Will. If God wants you to die today, you die. If He wants somebody else tomorrow, then that person has to surrender. It is all God’s Will. When God wants you to die, you should take it happily. Otherwise, you will go against His Will.”
Here people were thinking, “We are immortal.” But afterwards, they discovered it is boring. What are they going to do on earth for ten thousand years? Are they happy living on earth for so long? God fulfilled their desire, true, but when God fulfils our desires, it does not mean that we are going to remain happy. On the contrary, we will feel miserable.
God says to us, “You will always be miserable if you want to please yourself in your own way. But if you please Me in My own Way, then only you will be happy.”
Sri Chinmoy told this story on 17 June 2007 at Aspiration-Ground, New York, during a special Father’s Day function.
11. The Riddle
There was once a king who had a most beautiful daughter. She was endowed with beauty, intelligence, self-giving and many other virtues. When she was of age, her father wanted her to get married. She told her father, “I am ready to marry, but first I shall have to ask the person only one question. Whoever can answer the question correctly, I shall without fail marry.”
Many, many prospective bridegrooms came to the court. They were from different walks of life and they were all eager to marry such a beautiful, intelligent and pious girl. To each one, she posed the same question. Her question was: “Who is both blind and not blind at the same time?”
Some of them were puzzled; others became angry or disgusted. A few of them even cursed her. All of them said, “Either one has to be blind or not blind. How can one person be both blind and not blind at the same time?”
Then they insulted and even cursed the king for allowing his daughter to make such an unreasonable request. “Your daughter has many good qualities,” they said, “but she is very haughty.”
The poor king was so disappointed. Among all the young men who had come to the court with the hope of marrying his daughter, not one had passed the test.
At long last, after everyone else had gone home, an old man approached the king and his daughter. His hair was long, his beard was long and he had a long moustache. Everything about him was old, old.
As soon as the princess saw him, she became furious. “Am I going to marry you? You should be ashamed that you are thinking of marrying me! I will never, never marry you. You are such an old man. It is absurd!”
The old man said, “You had a question. If I answer the question, will you marry me?”
The princess said, “You will never be able to answer that question.”
He said, “No, I can. Let me try.”
“All right,” said the princess, “see if you can answer my question. Who is both blind and not blind at the same time?”
This old man happened to be a very great sage. He said to her, “See, I am definitely blind. At this age, I still have lower vital problems. Otherwise, why would I want to marry you? You are beautiful, true, but I should have controlled my senses. So I am blind. I am blind because I have not yet conquered my vital forces. My weaknesses are nothing other than my blindness.”
Then he continued, “Now I want to prove that I am not blind. I see God inside every human being. There is not a single person in whom I do not see the living Presence of God. This is all due to my yoga, which I have practised for so many years. In your case, I see God inside you very vividly. Very clearly I see the Presence of God. That is why I love you. According to your understanding, I have weaknesses; I am old and so forth. But I want to tell you, I see God so vividly inside you. God is infinitely, infinitely more beautiful than you are, so I want to marry that infinitely more beautiful Person inside you.”
When the princess heard that, she immediately garlanded the old man and said, “You have answered my question.” As soon as she garlanded him, the old man became very young, of her age.
The king was so delighted. He said, “O my God, how can you become so young? Just a few moments ago, you arrived here as an old man.”
The sage said, “This is what yoga has done. Your daughter saw me as an old man, but I am so proud of her that in spite of that, she wanted to keep her promise and marry me. I knew that she would keep her promise. And now, you see, I am quite young.”
He and the princess got married and they lived for many years happily, happily, happily.