Tuesday, July 14, 2009



Some years ago, we had an earthquake in Poona. The people were frightened. There was one who showed no signs of fear: he was serene and unafraid.

"Were you not affected by the earthquake?" they asked him.

"No" he answered. "I rejoiced in the thought that I have a God who can shake the world."

"But what if you had been among casualties?" they asked him.

His answer was simple one: "Alive or dead. I would still be in His Loving Arms."

There is a beautiful little story told us by the great German mystic, Meister Eckhart. There was a learned man who, for eight years, longed to be shown the way to God. Every day, he sat apart from men and prayed that he might be brought into contact with a Sage, a Saint, a tatwa sarshanah, a Knower of Reality. One day, as he sat in prayer, he heard a voice say: "Go to such and such a place, and you will meet the man who will show you the way to blessedness and bliss!"

Great was his joy when he heard the words. Forthwith he went to the place indicated by the Voice. He was surprised to find a man, humble, simple, poor, with tattered clothes on his body, his feet soiled with dirt and dust.

The learned man looked around him, but found no other man seated there. So, to this man, he said, "Good morning to you!"

Quietly answered the poor man: "I have never had a bad morning!"

"God give you good luck!" said the learned man.

"I have never had ill luck!"

The learned man’s astonishment grew. "May you be happy!" he said to the poor man.

To which the poor man answered: "I have never been unhappy!"

"I am unable to understand," said the learned man. "Pray explain it all to me."

"Gladly," said the poor man. "You wished me a good morning. I never had a bad morning. For, if I do not get food to eat, I praise God. If it rains or snows, if the weather is fair or foul, I still praise God. If I am despised and have no human company, I praise God! And so I had never had a bad morning, never an evil day."

"You wished me good luck: but I have never had ill luck. For I always dwell at the Lotus Feet of the Lord; and I know that whatever God sends me is the very best that can never happen to me. I cheerfully accept me every thing that comes to me – health or sickness, prosperity or adversity, joy or sorrow – as a gift from God. I never had ill luck."

"You wished me happiness. I have never been unhappy. For the deepest longing of my heart is to live in union with God’s Will, and I have so entirely yielded my will to the Will of God, that what God wills, I will."

Astonished, the learned man asked: "What if God should will to cast you into hell?"

"Cast me into hell!" exclaimed the poor man. "God is too loving to do that. But even if He sends me to hell, I should have two arms with which to embrace Him. One is the arm of humanity, the other of love. With them I should so embrace Him that He would have to go to hell with me. And I would rather be in hell and be with God, than be in heaven and remain away from God!"

The poor man taught self-surrender, in utter humility, is the simplest, surest and nearest way to God.

When asked, who he was, he answered: "I am king!" he was the very picture of destitution: and yet he felt he was king! For he had learnt to walk the way of acceptance. He accepted all that came in his way and rejoiced in all that happened. He expected nothing: he lacked nothing. Was he not the richest of men on earth?

Of a simple, poor dervish it is said that a rich man wished to offer him some money – a thousand rupees. How much do you have for yourself?"

The rich man answered" "I have many thousands of rupees with me."

The dervish asked: "Do you still wish to have some more?"

"Surely, yes!" answered the rich man.

"Then I shall not accept your thousand rupees" said the dervish. "For a rich man must not receive from one poorer than he!"

"I do not understand," said the rich man.

And the dervis explained: "Though I have nothing, I desire nothing! You have so much : still you desire more! Surely, the person desires to have is poorer than the man who feels satisfied and desires nothing!"

To him, everyday was a happy and blessed day! May it be the same with us all!

(written by J P Vaswani in East and West Series))