On the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh, a class on jñana-yoga was taking place. The master was explaining that the essence of every one of us is divine. In other words, we are God.
One of the disciples asked,
— “How is it possible that every one of us is God? We are limited beings, while God is infinite. Our knowledge is limited, while God is omniscient. We can only be in one place, whereas God is omnipresent.”
The Guru asked him to take a cup and bring water from the river Ganges.
The disciple did what his master had asked, approaching him with the cup filled with water…
The master then asked,
— “Is this water the Ganges?”
And the disciple responded,
— “Yes, master.”
At which the Guru asked,
— “How is it possible? The Ganges is immense, and contains a great quantity of fish; in the Ganges there are many tortoises, boats are passing and many people enter to bathe. However, this cup of water is small and limited, without fish, without boats… How can it be the water of the Ganges? “
His disciple answered,
— “Of course it is the water of the Ganges, but in a small quantity it obviously cannot contain fish, tortoises, boats or people who enter to bathe.”
— “I completely agree”,
Said the Guru,
— “Now return this water to the river.”
The disciple did what his teacher had asked, and when he returned, the Guru said to him,
— “You are like the water of the Ganges held in a cup. Despite being divine, it appears different, due to its limited form. In returning the water from the cup back to the river, it is returned to its immensity, to once again contain fishes, tortoises, boats and devotees. In each small drop lies the entire ocean.”
The disciple approached a saintly yogi who was completely awakened, to inquire about some aspects of enlightenment and about those who have been fortunate enough to experience it. The disciple asked the Guru:
— “Beloved Master, how is it possible that a jivan-mukta, one enlightened in life, can remain serene and in peace while humanity is suffering and enduring so much tragedy?
The master remained silent for a few moments, and then he replied:
— “Imagine yourself dreaming that you are traveling by ship at night and all the passengers are sleeping. Suddenly, you are walking on the deck and you realize that the ship has begun to sink, which produces enough fear that it awakens you. Now that you are awake, you realize that you were dreaming. And I ask you, now, will you quickly try to fall back to sleep again with the intention of warning the passengers that the ship is sinking, so they can save their lives?”
A king received a fine gift of two precious falcons. The monarch delivered both creatures to a falconry to be trained. .
After some time, the master of the falconry informed the King that one of the falcons was flying majestically in the heights but the other had not moved from his branch since his arrival. The monarch commanded that various experts from his kingdom be called to see if they could find a solution, however, none of them were capable of making the bird fly.
The king commanded that one of the wisest of his counselors be called, and great was his frustration in seeing that no one could make the bird leave his branch and fly.
One of his advisers told him that perhaps the best thing would be to search for a person more accustomed to a life in contact with nature to solve a problem like this.
The king gave the order to search in his kingdom for a farmer who might be able to do something about it.
One morning the king was amazed to see through his window that the bird was flying very high, and immediately said: –
—“Who has done this?”
— “A farmer, your majesty.”
At which the king ordered:
—“Bring me this hero immediately.”
The simple farmer was brought in the presence of the King, who thanked him for his efforts and asked him:
—“So my good man, could you tell me how you were able to convince that falcon to fly?”
To which the farmer replied:
—”“I simply took my tools and cut off the branch, your Majestry.”
A wise sadhu enjoyed great respect throughout the entire kingdom. Therefore, none of the guards dared to stop him when he entered the palace. Recognizing him, the king greeted the sadhu, asking,
—“What is the purpose of your visit, Your Holiness?”
The holy man replied,
—“ There is no particular reason… I was just passing by and I decided to stop to rest and sleep in this inn.”
Extremely surprised, the monarch answered,
—“But this is my royal palace, why do you call it an ‘inn’ ”?
The sadhu said,
—“Your majesty, could you tell me, whom did this palace belong to in the past?”
The king replied,
—“The previous owner was my father, and when he left his body, it became my property.”
So the sage asked him again,
—“And to whom did this palace belong, before your father?”
The king replied,
—“To my grandfather. When he died, the palace became the property of my father.”
The sadhu remained silent for a few moments and then he said with a firm voice,
—“Your majesty, with all my respect, assuming that you are right and this is not an inn… In which way would you call a place where different people live for brief periods of time, leaving afterwards? Is it not appropriate to call it an… inn?”
The monarch invited him to sleep in his palace and named him his personal adviser.
The pilgrim approached a sadhu who was resting on the banks of the Ganges in Haridwar, and told him:
—“I heard that you are an enlightened saint who is capable of performing miracles…What miracles can you do…?”
The sadhu replied:
—” “When I eat… I eat…when I drink…I drink…when I walk … I walk, and when I sleep… I sleep…”
The pilgrim looked at him, surprised, and answered:
—“But those are not miracles; I also eat, drink, walk and sleep…”
Answered the holy man,
— “When you eat, you remember; when you drink, you think; when you walk, you yearn for something; and when you sleep, you dream…but when I eat… I only eat…when I drink… I simply drink… when I walk …I merely walk, and when I sleep…. I simply sleep…”
A yogi with long hair and a beard lived in a forest in a small hamlet at the bank of a river. He was given food by a simple girl who had great devotion for Lord Sri Sri Radhe Shyam. The girl was a milkmaid, and she gave milk to the yogi every day. After some time, the milkmaid requested a mantra from him. The yogi gave her the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, telling her:
—“This mantra is very powerful; its repetition will help you to cross the ocean of ignorance.”
One day, when the milkmaid was on her way to take the milk to the yogi, there began such a torrential rain that the river overflowed and started to flood. It became very difficult to cross the river by boat, and the girl despaired, wondering how she would be able to take the food to the yogi. Suddenly, the girl remembered what the yogi had said to her when he gave her the maha-mantra:
—“This mantra is very powerful; its repetition will help you to cross the ocean of ignorance”.
She said to herself…
—“If the yogi spoke of an ocean and this is, after all, just a river, it will surely be very easy to cross with the help of this powerful mantra and their Lordships Sri Sri Radhe Shyam”.
With immense devotion, she fixed her heart on the divine couple and with absolute confidence, walked on the water repeating the mantra:
—“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
When the yogi saw her arrive, he asked her with tremendous surprise:
— “How did you manage to arrive here in such a flood?”
To which the girl replied:
—“You told me clearly that through the repetition of this powerful mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, I could cross the ocean of ignorance, which gave me the idea that if the power of this mantra was great enough to help me cross the sea… then without a doubt, it would suffice to cross the river. And it was exactly like that, by repeating the mantra and with the help of my beloved Radhe Shyam, that I was able to cross the river.”
After her explanation, the yogi became filled with vanity, thinking of how powerful he was, as he had given her a mantra that could produce such effects. He saw the miracle as a result as his own elevated degree of spiritual development and evolution.
Some days later, the yogi needed to go to the village; however, the monsoon rains had not yet ended, so the river continued to be swollen and it remained impossible to cross by boat. The yogi reflected that if the repetition of the mantra functioned for a girl who was just a simple, ignorant and illiterate milkmaid, then he could be completely certain that it would give the same results for him, as a great yogi, a pure, renounced devotee, and one knowledgeable in the scriptures.
Repeating the mantra, the yogi entered into the river. The current quickly began to carry him away, and the yogi was pulled under the water and drowned.