There was this Raja passing through the forest with his an entourage of loyal courtiers and bodyguards.
When they reached a clearance, they saw a small low-roofed hut. And a holy man meditating in the front, lost to the world.
The Raja decided to stop.
A sishya (disciple) rushed out of the hut on hearing the commotion outside. Seeing the Raja approaching the hut, he hurriedly brought a straw mat and laid it out a little away from the holy man for the Raja to sit.
A senior courtier saw this and signaled to someone at the back. Quickly a high seat was improvised upon which the Raja settled down comfortably.
After a period of silence, the nervous sishya ventured to say his guru had entered meditation not long before and it was quite uncertain when he would emerge from his spell.
The Raja got up and paced up and down wondering if he should go now and return later.
Just then the courtiers were startled to see ripe mangoes rain down from a small tamarind tree under which they were standing.
It was a man up in the tree who was then ordered to come down by the Raja’s men, his sack tearing at the seams.
Quite shaken, he managed to get it out he was no thief nor did he intend any mischief. He was new in these parts. And carrying some fruits with him. On seeing the holy-man, he felt the urge to make him an offering of the fruits he carried.
‘If you are not a thief, why were you hiding in the tree? Were you worried our Raja will take away your fruits? Fool, only fruits from the royal orchard enter the royal kitchen. And not any mongrel stuff.’
‘It’s not that…and I wasn’t hiding…’ he sounded a little hurt.
‘I’m an illiterate man, not familiar with propriety of conduct in your land.’
The courtiers waited for him to proceed.
‘And today it left me vexed when I saw the Raja take his seat. The inversion of heights around here is new to me. Though I learnt quickly, the problem remained – that’s when I saw this lone tamarind tree where I could wait to make my offering. There was no better solution available under the circumstances.’
‘What was your problem?’
‘Don’t you understand? If the Raja of all this land is humble enough to place himself on a high seat before the venerable guruji, how am I as an ordinary man of no accomplishment, going to find a seat elevated enough for my station in life?’
To the consternation of his courtiers, the Raja stopped pacing and unhurriedly settled himself on the mat waiting on the guruji.