A story of the student who teaches his master
A sage sent out the residents of his hermitage to travel in order to learn from the vast school of the world. When the set time was over, all of them except one returned. The sage was delighted on seeing their achievements and accumulation of knowledge. They had come back with much learning.
Eventually the other young student also returned. The sage said to him, “You have returned last of all; certainly you must have learnt more than all the rest.” The young man replied, “I have returned without learning anything. On the contrary, I have forgotten even that which you taught me.” What could have been a more disappointing answer?
Then one day the same young man was massaging the body of the sage. Rubbing his back, he murmured to himself, “The temple is very beautiful, but inside it there is no image of the divine.” The sage heard it; he was outraged. Certainly these words were said to him. Certainly it is his beautiful body that has been described as a temple. And seeing the anger of the sage the young man started laughing. This was like adding fuel to the burning fire. The sage turned him out of the hermitage.
The student becomes the teacher
And then one morning when the sage was reading his scriptures, the young man casually stepped in from somewhere and sat near him. He sat there as the sage continued to read. At this very moment a wild honeybee flew in the room and started searching for an exit. The door was open—the very door through which it had entered, but becoming utterly blind it was making futile efforts to go through the closed window. Its humming sound began to echo in the stillness of the temple. Standing up, the young man said aloud to the bee, “Stupid, there is no door there, it is a wall! Stop and look behind you. There is only the door by which you have entered.”
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It was not the bee but the ‘master’ who heard these words—and he found the door. He looked into the eyes of the young man for the first time. This was not the youth who had left to go travelling. These eyes were different. Now the master knew that what the young man had learned was no ordinary learning. He had returned after knowing something, not after learning something.
The master learns a divine lesson
The master said to him, “Today I have come to know that my temple is empty of the divine, and that until now I have been hitting my head against the wall and I haven’t found the door. Now what shall I do to find the door? What shall I do so that my temple does not remain empty of the divine?” The young man said, “If you wish for the divine, be empty of yourself. Only he who is full of himself is empty of the divine. He who becomes empty of himself finds that he has been full with the divine forever. And if you wish to find the door to this truth, do the same that this honeybee is doing now…”
The master saw that the bee was doing nothing now; it was sitting on the wall, just sitting. He understood. He woke up. He realised as though a sudden flash of lightning happened in the darkness. He also saw that the bee was now going out through the door.
This story is my whole message. This is what I am saying. Nothing has to be done to attain the divine; rather, dropping all doing, one has just to see. When the mind becomes quiet and looks, the door is found. The peaceful and empty mind is the door.
My invitation to you all is towards that emptiness. That invitation is of religion itself. To accept that invitation is to become religious.
This was first published in the October 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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