Symbols of the world's religions



Bal Natu

Long, long ago, there lived a king in India who was strict in administration yet benevolent to his subjects. He seemed to be an exceptional ruler, attending to all his duties, from the great affairs of state to the needs of the common people, with equal attention. Most thought of him as a good king and a few felt that he was a saint, but he was, in fact, a Perfect Master.

Once, a sincere seeker visiting the city for several days had the opportunity to observe the king performing his day-to-day duties — holding meetings of court, attending a gathering of sadhus, and even watching a sporting event — in each activity, the king displayed a perfect equanimity. The seeker wondered, "He lives in the world, but is not of it. What could be the king's secret?" And he felt intuitively, "Here is the Master who will guide me."

Later, the seeker had an audience with the king. "Your Majesty, I feel that you are the one who will help me to find the way to God within my heart."

The king smiled and then, becoming serious, replied, "You will have to obey me."

The seeker answered, "Yes, I will."

The king called for a round platter filled to the brim with milk, then commanded the seeker to put the platter on his head and walk through the main streets of the capital city. The king ordered, "Do not spill even a drop, or you will be beheaded by the two soldiers I am sending to escort you." The seeker humbly accepted the king's order with all sincerity.

A few hours later, the seeker returned to the king, having not spilled a drop. Pleased, the king asked him, "Did you enjoy the sights of the city!"

The seeker answered, "No, I didn't."

"Perhaps you were distracted by the crowds and the hustle-bustle of the marketplace," the king suggested.

"I never noticed that," the seeker replied.

"Why not?" the king asked, as though perplexed.

"My whole attention was focused on not spilling one drop of milk."

The king then queried, "Where is your attention now?"

"It is still absorbed in the milk."

With a smile, the king ordered the seeker to lift the platter from his head and place it on the ground. When this was done, the king revealed, "Such one-pointed focus on the presence of God within you is the secret of remaining detached in the midst of worldly activities."

Then, embracing the seeker, he said, "You can stay with me, and I will help you to find what you are longing for." There was a glow of bliss on the young man's face. For the seeker, this was the blessed moment of the Master's acceptance, and indirectly, it was God's assurance of his ultimate Union with Him.


1997 © Sheriar Foundation


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