By Sadhvi Nidhi Shri Ji & Sadhvi Krupa Shri Ji
During the 19th century, there lived a pious king in the foothills of the Himalayas. He was a lover of sport and enjoyed venturing out for sports in the jungles nearby. One day, he did not find any game and decided to venture out alone, after having spent several hours with his companions. His attempts however, led only to failure. He was now in the midst of very deep woods and decided to spent the night in the woods. He found shelter nearby at the humble dwellings of a hermit.
On entering his cottage, the king found the hermit to be in deep meditation. Not wanting to disturb him, the king quietly prostrated himself before the hermit. On the completion of his meditation, the hermit looked at the king gently. The king was greatly soothed to be in the midst of such serene and quiet surroundings. He humbly folded his hands and asked the hermit, "My Lord! Why do you live all by yourself in these jungles?"
The hermit answered, "My son, King. I have set out in my search for truth. Through devotion, I wish to achieve God." "How long has this devotion of yours taken you in you search of God?" asked the king with uncontained curiosity.
"It has been almost 50 years since I set out on my journey" answered the hermit.
Fifty long years in search of truth had an awesome effect on the king. He queried further, "My Lord! How many more years will it take you to complete your search?"
The hermit showed him a bamboo stick saying, "this was given to my by my Guru. He said that my task would only be accomplished when this bamboo stick would be entirely covered with leaves fruits and flowers."
"How much change has your bamboo stick registered O Father?," questioned the king.
"At present only one tiny bud is visible" answered the hermit. The whole concept of a stick sprouting leaves, flowers and fruits had an awesome effect on the king. He was overwhelmed by what he was and was greatly inspired to tread the path of the hermit. He requested the hermit, "O Lord! I too wish to embark on this journey in search of truth."
"You too can embark on this journey, my king. You can also use the bamboo stick as your measure. Once it sprouts leaves, fruits and flowers, you will have realized your goal" said the hermit.
The king now became a royal hermit. He built a small cottage for himself, a short distance away from the hermit's and soon was lost in a meditative trance.
The next night witnessed the fury of nature. There was a violent storm - the heavens vent their fury on mother earth. Bolts of lightning struck the earth, the wind whistled an eerie wound, the clouds poured rain relentlessly. Amidst all this chaos, a traveler was caught up in the storm with his family. The storm had reduced visibility to naught. The traveler could not move any further and just spotted a small light glowing in the hermit's cottage.
With great hope he entered the hermit's cottage and in his weary state begged of the hermit, "O Wise man ! I have lost my way in this storm. Would you please be kind enough to help my family and find our way to nearest village!"
The hermit was incensed at having been disturbed in his meditation. He cursed the poor traveler, "You are such an insensitive man! You have ruined my concentration by your inane question. Henceforth, you and your family will always lose your way in your travels!"
The traveler recoiled in fear when he heard these harsh words. His dejection knew know limits. He trudged along with his family bearing the cross of this curse. At a short distance, he saw the glow of a light in another cottage. After much contemplation and with great trepidation he entered the cottage of royal hermit (king). After gathering enough courage he beseechingly asked the king to help him find this way.
The king felt n immense compassion towards him. His weary, tired state and the additional responsibility of being with his family in this strong night, brought out all feelings of kindliness. He at once left his contemplative posture and walked the distance with the traveler to the nearest village. On returning he saw his covered bamboo stick in the courtyard. He was tempted to see whether his bamboo stick had sprouted any flowers. But he reasoned with himself" How can my stick shown any sing of growth, when it has taken my Guru 50 years? However curiosity got the better of him and he eventually did uncover his bamboo stick.
Lo and behold ! What did he see! The bamboo stick was fully covered with flowers, fruits and leaves. The king could not believe his eyes. He thanked Lord for having thus blessed him so. With great excitement he visited the hermit and recounted all that had happened.
The hermit thought that the magical night must have a profound effect on his bamboo stick too. He went and uncovered his stick only to find that the single bud that had flowered had not wilted. He fell on his knees in despair and looked imploringly heavenwards - "Where did I go wrong My Lord? Despite my undivided devotion why do I not achieve my goal? I even turned away the weary traveler, lest the disturb my devotion" wept the hermit.
On hearing these words the king questioned the hermit about the traveler. He said that he had shown the traveler the way to the village. The king and hermit looked at each other with a rested wisdom. They realized that tender and compassionate gesture of the king had elevated him to an exalted status. Thus the blooming of the bamboo stick.
The basis of all religions is compassion. Compassion to our fellow beings, our surrounding and all aspects that we come in to contact with will the cosmic order of our soul. We will become the master of our destinies and one with cosmic order. The very pillar of the Jain vision is compassion.
Information Courtesy : Mrs. Nandita Jain, 14, Alipur Road, Civil Lines, Delhi-110054, Tele : 392-4828/398-2413