Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SQUARE ONE

SQUARE ONE
A Short Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE
 




I once heard someone saying "the lesser the baggage the better the journey" or Less Baggage Better Travel.


I think this applies to our journey of life too.

We seem to carry too much baggage, all types of baggage (material, emotional, tangible, intangible, the "baggage" of power, wealth, fame, ego, pride...) and it is this "baggage" that inhibits our smooth and enjoyable journey through life. Maybe this story is apt to illustrate this point...




A worldly man seeking Nirvana, true enlightenment, renounced worldly life, took a strict vow of celibacy which was a sine qua non for attaining enlightenment, and headed for the hills to live an ascetic existence of a hermit.

He found a secluded cave and began his simple contemplative meditative life surviving on natural wild vegetation in the forest and began his journey towards his quest for enlightenment.
 

One day he noticed holes in his robe and discovered that there were lots of rats in the cave who were chewing off his robes.

The rats soon were nibbling at his toes disturbing his meditation.

Perplexed, he went down to town and consulted his Guru who said, “No problem. It is simple. Get a cat.”

“A cat...?” asked the seeker perplexed.

“The cat will take care of the rats,” the Guru said.

So our wise man bought a cat and took it up to his cave.

The cat took care of the rats and the wise man was undisturbed in his quest for enlightenment.

A few days later the cat had eaten up all the rats, and famished, the cat started moaning with hunger.

The constant moaning and crying of the cat again disturbed the wise man’s meditation so the seeker again rushed to consult his Guru.

“Get a cow,” the Guru advised the seeker.

“A cow...?” the seeker exclaimed in astonishment.

“Yes. The cow will yield milk with which you can feed your cat and satiate its hunger,” the Guru said.

Now the seeker would spend some time milking the cow, feeding the cat and then settle down for his meditation.

A few days later the cow stopped giving milk and mooed loudly.

The cat too had started moaning again and disturbed by the moaning of the hungry cat and mooing of the starving cow the wise man ran to his Guru once again to seek his advice.

“Buy some seeds, plant them, tend to the plants and the crop will give food for the cow and you,” the Guru said.

The seeker planted the seeds which yielded food both for the cow and himself.

However now the man had to spend so much time tending to his garden, feeding and milking his cow, and giving milk to his cat, that he hardly got any time for meditation.

He rushed to his Guru who once again had a ready solution, “There is a young widow – poor thing she is destitute. She will look after everything and you can meditate in peace and attain enlightenment.”

It was indeed a wonderful arrangement – the young widow looked after everything, the garden, cow and cat flourished, and the wise man was undisturbed in his quest for enlightenment.

One day it began to snow, the temperature fell to sub-zero, and the young widow started to shiver owing to the biting cold.

Soon she could not bear the bitter cold any longer, so she snuggled into the wise man’s bed and tightly embraced him as that was the only way for her to keep warm.

Who can resist the tight embrace of an attractive woman in the prime of her life...?

The vow of celibacy lay shattered and there ended the wise man’s quest for enlightenment.

And with all his new possessions (the cat, the cow, and the woman), the seeker returned back to the material world and began to live a worldly life from where he had began his journey towards enlightenment to attain Nirvana.

The "wise" man was back to square one, much "wiser"!


Dear Reader,  

Read the story again, close your eyes and reflect on it.

Carry the story around in your mind all day and allow its fragrance, its melody to haunt you. Create a silence within you and let the story reveal to you its inner depth and meaning. Let it speak to your heart, not to your brain, and suddenly you will feel a sense of mystical epiphany when you realize the wisdom of the story.

Now you are ready to apply the wisdom to your own life and experience the inner meaning of the story till it transforms you and puts you on the path to enlightenment.

Dear Reader, do you agree, "The lesser the Baggage, the better the Journey" and "Too much Baggage - back to Square One...?"


VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.



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