CREEDS AND THE INNER PATH
The boy started on his journey and by sunset he met an aged person, who seemed to him to be a man of much experience. The old man said that he too wanted to go to the same destination and offered his company to the boy, which he willingly accepted. After some time they came to a big and shady tree where the old man decided to halt for the night. The boy remembered his father's words that he should obey the experienced guide. So he raised no objection to sleeping under the shade of a tree, though this was against the general command which he had received.
He soon fell asleep and was long in dreamland. The old man, however, kept watch, and when at midnight a big snake appeared under the tree, the vigilant guide soon killed the snake; and the night passed off safely.
Next morning the boy and the guide resumed their journey. At night, they came to the big city. The old guide decided to pass the night there. It was contrary to the general advice of the boy's father. But the boy again accepted the order of his guide and agreed to spend the night in the city.
The king of the city had a daughter. Anyone who got married to her never came back alive after the wedding night. This happened invariably in the case of all who were successively married to the princess. And when this fact became known to the inhabitants of the city, no one in the city was willing to marry the princess. So the king decided his daughter would marry a young man who came from outside the city.
When the king heard of the arrival of the two strangers, he accordingly summoned the boy to his palace. The old guide, however, gave some definite instructions to the boy before he was taken from him. When the boy found himself in the royal harem he got bewildered. But he scrupulously stuck to the instructions of his guide and the result was that he passed a safe night and he was the only one like him to tell the tale next morning. Plus, he was allowed to go his own way. He returned to his guide and they again resumed their journey onwards.
Ultimately when both reached their destination the debtor of the boy paid back the loan. The boy was about to return immediately, but the old guide insisted upon their availing themselves of the hospitality offered by the debtor to spend the night under his roof. The boy who had all the while met no harm by following the order of the guide decided not to disobey him even this time.
After supper the host inquired as to where thy would prefer to sleep at night. And the old man requested that they be allowed to sleep on the verandah. Both slept there for a while. But at midnight the old guide awakened the boy in his care and asked him to come with him inside the house.
Two sons of the debtor were sleeping inside. The old man requested them to change places with them, since they, being new to the place, could not withstand the cold outside. The sons of the debtor agreed to the suggestion and obliged the guests. In the morning when the boy got up he witnessed a gruesome tragedy. The host was wailing and weeping over the murders of his two sons who, he declared, were killed by robbers that night.
The fact was that the debtor himself, in his uncontrolled greed and miserliness, had committed the foul deed, believing that the two persons on the verandah were the visitors and hoping to get back the money which he paid the boy.
When the old guide started their return journey, the boy began to assert that all the restrictions which his father had put on him were groundless, since he discovered through his own experience that every time he disregarded those restrictions he came to no grief. The old man smiled and reminded him that among other things, his father had also given him the instruction to follow an experienced guide. The boy, however, felt sure that the other instructions imposed by his father were meaningless.
Then the old guide discussed all the incidents on the journey and convinced the boy that he would surely have come to grief and even might have lost his very life by disregarding the initial advice given by his father, had it not been for the fact that he was saved every time by the intervention of the one whom he had accepted as his guide.
The established codes of religion and morality are like the general advice given by the father of the boy. They are for the well-being of mankind. But when a person gets the advantage of living wisdom it has to be accepted in preference to these established codes. This may be done not only without coming to any harm but with much benefit.
As stated by a seer, wealth may be sacrificed for health; wealth and health for self-respect; and all three (wealth, health, self-respect) for one's own religion. But to gain God, everything, including religion, may be sacrificed without any hesitation.
SPARKS OF THE TRUTH, pp. 16-18, C. D. Deshmukh
1971 © The Universal Spiritual League in America