Symbols of the world's religions



Eruch Jessawala

"When I was a kid in Bombay, Baba, I used to walk to school every day," Gustadji explained. "On my way I had to pass a stable, and whenever I went by I would look at the horses." And here Gustadji described the horses he had seen. "And I couldn't help noticing that these horses used to come and go but that there was one old horse that was always there.

And I used to notice that sometimes a carriage would be hitched up and this old horse was always one of the two horses pulling the carriage. Because he was old, he tended to be slow and steady, but the younger horse with him would be prancing around and would want to go very fast and the driver would beat the old horse to urge him to keep pace with the younger one.

Time after time this old horse was paired with one of the young horses and every time, although the old horse was well trained and knew the correct pace to use, he would be maltreated by the driver, whipped and beaten to force him to keep up with the reckless gallop of the younger horse.

As a child I used to wonder about this. Why did the owner of the stable keep that old horse if they were only going to abuse him? If they didn't think he went fast enough, why didn't they get rid of him and only keep the young horses? After all, it seems that they never kept the young one for very long. Why was he the one horse that always remained in the stable while the younger ones came and went?

I never understood that, Baba. It didn't make sense to me. If he was too old, why didn't they put two young horses together to pull the carriage? I used to walk by the stables every day, and every day, I would see this, and I could never figure out what was behind it all.

"And I used to notice that the young horses got the best treatment. They always had nice feedbags filled with oats and hay, but the old horse had to feed himself from whatever old hay he could find on the ground. The young horses were always well groomed and looked after, but no one seemed to take any care for the old horse. Even when the young horses did something wrong, it was the old horse that got whipped. And I would see this and I would wonder about it.

"Then as I got older someone explained it to me. The old horse belonged to the stable. He was used to break in the young ones, to train them, to teach them the proper way to be. Other people, wealthy people, would send their horses to this stable to be trained. That was why they were well fed and looked after properly. Once they learned from the old horse how to behave, they would be sent back to their owners. That was why the young horses used to come and go but the old horse always remained.

"Now I understand, Baba, why I have had to suffer all these years. It was to properly train all these young horses around you that you have done this to me. I have been abused and mistreated so that they might learn."

Baba laughed. We all laughed, because Gustadji would say all this with great humour. He had that capacity so that even his complaints brought a smile to our lips. He had perfected the art of entertaining Baba with his complaints.


THAT'S HOW IT WAS, pp. 97-98
1995 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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