It was one of those times when the sishya (disciple) felt free to air his doubts.
‘Guruji, if god created man why has man not inherited traits of god just as I’ve taken after my father? Why is he not like god? God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient…while man is not…’
‘Let me tell you a short story. Hope you’ll find your answer.’
One evening there was this man, a poor beggar, going about the streets of Kashi. Perhaps someone who came in search of peace and enlightenment and did not wish to return – Kashi, a city with a hoary past, did that to many.
As he footed the affluent section of the city where the rich merchants trading in silk resided, seeking food, doors were slammed on his face with a look of annoyance.
On the streets housing the workmen and artisans, and also those engaged in religious activities serving the steady inflow of pilgrims – here too he drew a blank.
Now with nowhere else to go, he headed towards the ghats of the river Ganges.
On the way past a garbage dump there was an old leper with visibly advanced affliction readying his dinner spread. Whatever he had managed to collect as alms, he made equal portions for his dog and himself. Just when he was on his first morsel of food, the leper froze seeing the haggard face.
The leper beckoned him to his side: ‘Stranger, come here. Have this – you look bad. Well, it’s not much…might help in refreshing yourself a little.’
The man took a little bit from the outstretched misshapen hand.
The leper shrugged: ’How does it matter who you’re? First eat and then talk.’
‘Do you know who I’m?’ the voice was raised a notch.
A certain firmness perceived in the voice made him look up. Was he from the local constabulary in mufti sent to evict him?
Taking a while, ‘You must be Vishwanatha.’ (the presiding deity in Kashi who, it was believed, took rounds of the city from time to time)
He gasped: ‘What makes you say that?’
‘Who else would readily take food without a hint of aversion from a disfigured discard?’
‘It’ll be a sin to deprive you of your food, my friend. Pray, do not worry about me. I’ll find mine.’
The man walked away quietly without looking back.
‘Have you got your answer now?’
‘Yes, Guruji. Seeing his compassion, the leper likened the man to god. So it must be compassion that man has inherited from his creator.’
‘Let me finish – there’s a little more to the story:’
When he woke up next morning the leper realized he was right about Vishwanatha (Lord Shiva); mercifully, he was cured.’
‘Now what do you make of it?’
‘My guru provided me an added perspective: God when he is god is just and severe – he lets the laws of Karma prevail remorselessly, to each according to his deeds. His compassion shows only when he manifests as human or, most likely, when he works through one. Could we then say compassion is a trait unique to man?’
It set the sishya thinking.
The guru smiled – he had done his job for the day.
Seeded from: Heard on MegaTV in a patti-manram program reported by TR Sathya at facebook.com/tr.sathya.3