A very short beautiful story on the inexplicable…the invisible hand!
This refers to swayamwara arranged by the King Draupad to find a suitable match for his beautiful daughter, Draupadi.
A tough competition was set up: There was a wheel carrying a fish on its rim and revolving at the top of a pole. The pole was rose erect next to a water-body at its base. One who shot an arrow through the eye of the fish looking merely at the reflection in the waters below would win Draupadi’s hands.
The night before, a vexed Arjuna was talking it out with Krishna.
Krishna advised him: ‘ Arjuna, take care, put your foot forward, concentrate on the eye of the fish in your mind.’
Arjuna, more in despair: ‘If I do everything, what will you do, Krishna?’
Krishna smiled and said softly: ‘What you can do, I know, you’ll do and do well. What you can’t, I’ll.’
Arjuna: ‘And, what would that be?’
Krishna: ‘I’ll hold the water steady for you.’
…call it what you like, no denying the hand of the invisible in our lives.
There was this man, spiritually minded, going to satsang (religious/spiritual discourses) every day.
Observing him over several days, one day his parrot from its cage asked him where he was going so regularly.
He explained it to the parrot a guru had come into the town and he was conducting satsang and that’s where he was going. He further added the guru was an erudite person speaking with insight on various topics including high philosophy, not for birds and issues from mundane daily life too.
‘Will you then be kind enough to do me a favour?’
‘Certainly, tell me what would you like me to do for you?’
‘Will you ask him how long it would be before my freedom?’
‘Am so glad you too are yearning for moksha (eternal salvation). Perhaps my association? Surely the guru would have something to tell you.’
The man returned from the satsang after a couple of hours.
The parrot had kept awake beyond its usual sleep-time waiting for him:
‘So, please tell me what did guruji say? What were his precise words?’
‘You’re out of luck, boy.’
‘Why? He refused to…’
‘Oh, no…nothing of the sort. I did take you question to him.’
‘He heard me and suddenly right before me he fell unconscious…don’t know what came over him…his disciples rushed to his side. In the ensuing pell-mell I came away. I didn’t want them to think I had anything to do…’
‘Oh, so it was…’ the parrot fell silent.
The man got up and went about his morning chores.
After a while, it occurred to him there was no sounds coming from his parrot, usually in good cheer in the mornings.
He went up to the cage and saw the bird lying motionless on the base.
OMG, dead? Had it attained moksha it yearned for? Guru’s blessings?
May be it was alive yet. He took the bird in his hands and ran his fingers gently over its back in an attempt to comfort and revive it.
After a few seconds suddenly the bird came alive, flapped its wings and flew out of his hands and away.
The man was startled.
In the evening, the satsang was held like always. The guru appeared no worse for the incident of the day before.
Once the discourse was concluded, the man went up to the guru and solicitously inquired about his well-being and also narrated the strange incident of his parrot.
The guru smiled: ‘Your bird was smarter.’
Vexed as he was, our man did not pursue the subject any further.
During one of his travels, Kalidasa felt very thirsty and looked around for water. He saw a woman drawing water from a well. He went up to her and asked her for water. She agreed to give him water, but asked him, “Who are you? Introduce yourself.”
Now Kalidasa thought that an ordinary village woman was not worthy of knowing who Kalidasa was. So he said, “I am a traveller.” But his lady replied, “In this world there are only two travellers – the Sun and the Moon. Both rise and set every day and keep travelling perpetually.”
Then Kalidasa said, “Alright then, I am a guest.” The lady promptly replied, “In this world there are only two guests – Youth and Wealth … both are temporary and hence can only be called as guests.”
Intrigued Kalidasa said, “I am a tolerant person (sahansheel vyakti).” Now the lady replied, “In this world only two truly know the meaning of Tolerance – Bhoomi (Earth) and Dhru (Tree). How much ever you stamp the earth or throw stones at the tree (for the fruits), both continue to nurture us.”
Now Kalidasa was completely perplexed. He said, “Fine. I am a stubborn person (hatavaadi).” The lady smiled and said, “There are only two truly stubborn personalities – our nails and our hair. We keep cutting them non-stop, but they continue to grow.”
Kalidasa had been patient so far, but now in anger he said, “I am a fool”. Now the lady gave a wide smile and said, “There are only two kinds of fools in this world – a King who rules without having any capability or knowledge and a Minister who is a sycophant to such a King and lavishes praises on such a useless king.”
Kalidasa realised that he had been outsmarted. He fell at the feet of the lady and when he touched her feet and then got up, whom did he see? Mata Saraswati – the Goddess of Learning and Wisdom. She said, “Kalidasa, you are wise. But only if you know yourself do you become a Manushya (human being). A person without any awareness of self has not reached the pinnacle of being a Human.