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Sweetened Condensed Milk Copyright © 2009 Shyam Dodge ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author. Book and Cover Design by Scott L. Hartwig Rose Ave Press LLC 309 ½ Rose Ave Venice, CA 90291
Author’s Note. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 The Bumblebee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Sweetness Gets Sweeter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Jumping Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 A Japanese Story about Living from your Heart . . . . 15 An Indian Story about Desire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Stonecutter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 A Story about being Fearless . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Old Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 When Rumi Met Shams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 A Story from Northern India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Four Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Tangerine Sutra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Marpa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Wisdom that comes with Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Don’t Change the World… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 On a Lonely Street Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Rough Medicine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Delhi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 The First Two. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 An African Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Zumbach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 The Blind King . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Amnesia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Father has Returned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Me Jump Up White Fellow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 3
Acceptance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 The Meeting Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Happiness comes from the Inside and Outside . . . . 50 The Little Raja . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Story from Bhutan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Do not Sink into Sadness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Beyond Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 The Poet Rumi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Do you want me to die? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 A Perfect One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 With your Eyes so much of Heaven can be Seen . . . 64 A Story about Beauty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 The Love of One Human . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 The Bird in the Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Flower Sutra . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 How He became a Saint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Falling in Love… . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 An Indian Story about Presence . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Cross of Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 How many signs do you need? . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 What We Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Real Warmth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Prayers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 When you’re in Love Everything is Your Friend . . . . 83 Thirty Day Fight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 A Cloud Spirit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 From his own Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 The Last Forty Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 The Touchstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Both Worlds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 Not Yet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 The Story of Hanuman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 After Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 4
Sweetened Condensed Milk is a modern retelling of ancient wisdom in old stories. From African tales about spirit and reincarnation, to Zen stories about acceptance, Sufi stories about Beauty, and Hindu folktales about monkeys who save the world through discovering their own innate divinity, this book seeks to inspire through the vehicle of Myth. I began collecting these parables and myths after taking Monastic vows at age five in a Hindu Ashram owned by my parents, who passed down ancient wisdom to their children, in the backyard beneath a large plum tree, through storytelling and dramatic re-enactments of Indian folktales. Refining my own observations after twenty years of teaching in inter-religious communities worldwide I have come to appreciate the power stories have for growth and transformation, by condensing and sweetening age-old observations on the meaning of life through drama and humor. Sweetened Condensed Milk reflects the particular insight of a former life-long monk who has grown pragmatic and realistic in his approach to grief and sustained joy. Myth and metaphor have a way of revealing the inexplicable, 5
hopefully free of dogma… and whatever truths you may uncover are yours and not the storytellers.
A Sutra is a condensation and compression of deep spiritual insight, a wisdom written in concise and direct language. A Book of Sutras, contain a few carefully chosen words to communicate a profound and intricate truth. It’s sweetened condensed milk. The Milk of words have been refined and condensed into a sweet and rich medicine for the burning heart. It is a stirring of honey into cream. This is a rich and potent mixture. I see this book as a cup of condensed milk. Each chapter or sutra is a sip from this thick potion. I suggest you savor each mouthful and allow it to penetrate your heart and mind. It is a kind of nourishment and its fullness will satiate the wanting creature within your chest. A book of sutras is meant to be read slowly, for each word is like the hatching of an egg. Something breaks open, the eyes are given more light from within, and you are born into a new world full of feeling and vision.
This book contains sacred teaching stories, poems and observations on the meaning of life. These sutras are offered here as a vehicle towards opening the heart. 7
The Bee drinks nectar from many flowers
The bee condenses this sweetness in the hive. The golden honey from the hive is richer than any flower.
Sweetened Condensed Milk VOLUME I *** Shyam Dodge *** Sacred Stories from many Cultures 9 .
I soon became friends with the bumblebee and the python.The Bumblebee A young king went looking for wise ones. One large and 11 . It simply waits in the grass and whatever animal passes by becomes the python’s dinner. I have been nothing but skin and bones. golden and blazing with love. his mane like curling tendrils of fire. After many days of travel he came upon a large naked fat man lying in the grass. with the brightness in his fierce eyes. Just such a Raja has housed and fed me until now.” The fat sage said. The wild creature burned the boy’s fears and doubts with the warmth of his heavy breath. subsisting on the stray cricket or grub… whatever passed my way. “From the python I learned that whatever you need will come to you. he saw God with the face of a lion. A python does not hunt or search for food. Many years before. As a young man he wanted to dip his heart deeply into the waters of prayer once more. They were my teachers. There is no need for striving in life. And I have been carried on large palanquins by the servants of kings and queens. The king asked this large sage why he was so fat and lying lazily in the grass instead of meditating? “I sat in stillness many years ago. as a small boy.
“From the bumblebee I learned to draw nectar from many sources. This allows me to be carried by the wind to so many flowers rich with nectar. I am filled with the honey of so many teachings.” the sage paused for a moment. And so I draw wisdom from many sources. But I left knowing it was time to move on. without attachment. from the feast of a king to the splendor of the grass in a land with nothing but sunlight and birds.rich feast was given to me after another. I had given all I could to the wise king.” 12 . as he stretched his massive frame in the sun.
Sweetness Gets Sweeter In India. increases the amount of love in the world and deepens the experience of God for everyone. they say parrots make fruit sweeter. it’s tasting. Everyone that loves makes love sweeter. Seekers of the truth make truth sweeter. A mango bitten by a parrot is sweeter than it was before. The world gets sweeter with every human life. 13 . Every human that drinks from the well of wisdom increases the sweetness and potency of the water. ripens the sugar of the fruit. Something about it’s mouth.
Jumping Fish The Fish who leap from water Into the air Are Learning about Water 14 .
They replied. with your butt in the air. “Your head must be heavy carrying so many heavy stones.” So the teacher asked if the big rock they were sitting on was only in their minds. dragging your head behind you. “The mystics teach that everything is subjective. The travelers said yes. your mind is filled with rocks and you’ve been walking backwards.A Japanese Story about Living from your Heart A Zen master asked some pilgrims on the road if the world was inside the mind or outside. “Listen.” the teacher said smiling. Learn to move from your heart.” 15 .
Every night his wife would clean and bandage his feet with strips of old cloth. Rocks and thorns pierced his skin and bruised his bones. 16 . He and another man stood on opposite sides of the water and dragged small vessels upstream. His feet were always bruised and cut from walking the muddy banks barefoot. He would no longer come home with bloody toes. The boat-puller would spend his days dreaming. With his great wealth he would cover the muddy banks of the river with silk and soft cushions. When he pulled the vessels upstream his feet would have a soft path to tread.An Indian Story about Desire There once was a poor man who tugged a boat by rope alongside the river everyday. He dreamed that one day he would be the richest man in the world.
A stonecutter was laboring in the hot sun. His whole body ached. The man cried aloud, “I wish I were wealthy and could lie in a silk bed all day!” An angel said, “You are what you wish.” The man found himself lying comfortably in silk pillows. Soon a king passed by with many attendants, a large golden umbrella was held above the king’s head. The man, seeing this, felt disgust for his bed. He said aloud, “I wish I were a king.” The angel said, “You are what you wish.” The man was a king with a golden umbrella. No matter where he went the sun baked down upon his head. The umbrella was useless. The man said, “I wish I were the Sun and therefore ruler of all.” The angel said, “You are what you wish.” The man was the sun. The sun burned the grass in the fields, burned the heads of all earthly rulers. Then one day a cloud came between the earth and the sun. The sun became depressed, he no longer ruled the earth. The sun said, “I wish I were a cloud.” The angel said, “You are what you wish.” 17
The sun became a cloud. The cloud gave shade to the grassy fields. The cloud rained upon the earth and made things grow. Trees and huts were torn down and washed away by its heavy downpours. Mountains became smaller after decades of rain. One day the cloud poured gallons of water upon a stone. No matter what the cloud could not destroy the stone. The cloud said, “I wish I were a stone.” The angel said, “You are what you wish.” The cloud became a stone. For many centuries the stone did not move and was glad. Then one day a stonecutter came with his pickaxe. He chipped away at the rock. The man was stronger than the stone. The stone said, “I wish I were a man, a stonecutter.” The angel whispered to the stone, “You are what you wish.”
“I wish I could have given him this moon.A Story about being Fearless Once a thief came to the hut of a sage in the forest but found nothing. Seeing that the criminal was empty-handed he demanded that the intruder accept his clothes. The shack was empty with wind whistling through the cracks in the bamboo. The thief left with the clothes and a feeling of weird failure. The sage returning from the river caught the thief. The sage sat naked on the mountain gazing at the night sky thinking to himself.” 19 .
“What’s Water?” 20 .Old Fish Two young fish are swimming along and an older fish coasts past them and says. “Hey boys! How’s the Water?” The two young fish keep swimming and a little while later one of them says.
a man rumored to have burned St. He walked over to Rumi and kicked the young theologian’s books into the fountain pool. “Now is the time to live what you’ve been reading and talking about your whole life. He looked like John the Baptist.” the wild one said. Francis of Assisi with the fire of divine love. This was the beginning of Rumi becoming alive.When Rumi Met Shams Rumi was a young religionist. One day he was giving a discourse on the lip of a beautiful fountain. This was Shams. with intense love burning behind his enormous and complicated eyes. A wild man entered the park. 21 .
She made sure not to be seen. One night she decided to follow him. Each strand of the saint’s hair whispered to God. as she hid behind a bush.lifted it into the air and let it fall. Inside the house a saint was asleep. For many miles they traveled through fields of mustard and small trees holding the cold stars with their slender branches.A Story from Northern India Every night for three weeks God left his home just as his wife fell asleep. and motioned for her to follow him. Most Beautiful…Most Beautiful…Most Beautiful… Every night God came here to listen to the sound of pure longing. God bent down and grabbed a tress . She felt his absence and made a small river of tears in their bed. The saint’s hair hung over the side of the bed. As he left their bed and walked out into the moonlight she crept behind him. Soon they reached a house and God turned to her. 22 .
A man with skin 23 . He never knew a day of sickness.Four Signs A prophet spoke on the day of the boy’s birth. Maybe the seer was some kind of mountain wildman. A procession of sadness with men carrying a wooden stretcher led down to the river. The prophet said. These four signs will change his heart. This sage was well past autumn and into deep winter. He never grieved or understood the seasons of life. The boy’s father was a king. One day in late summer the young man went into his father’s city. He would not live to see the day when the child would grow to wake up.” And the prophet wept. animal bone thrower or simply someone whose eyes burned through reality. Poverty was unknown to the young man. This one will bring awakening to a world of sleepwalkers and sleepers holding hands against the light.” Many years passed and the child grew to become a man. “This one will turn the great wheel of suffering. The old man said. “Your son will see four things. He asked the prophet what would turn his son away from the business of ruling to the path of saints. a soothsayer. a contained universe free of suffering. The boy had never left the walls of his father’s palace. His father kept these realities as a profound secret from him.
He owned nothing but the bowl and his robe. never get old. The young prince felt like saving this sleeping figure. Everywhere I turn I see the end of what is beginning. On a dusty road behind some mud huts a man with a wooden bowl approached him. A pyre was made. As the prince stumbled away a man grabbed his leg. The young prince ran home confused. The skin on the old woman’s face was as cragged and rough as the body of a pine tree. “I have left behind everything to find the meaning of life. He begged his son not to leave. never die and that my wealth 24 . a day full of vivid unanswered questions.” The young prince went home and asked his father for permission to leave the palace and wander the world in search of the meaning of life.as white as the moon and silent eyes was propped upon the woven twigs. Sores covered the beggars face and a soft dry mumble came from his lips. Something in the solemn ceremony. turned his heart to a deeper fear. her spine hunched. The man’s cloth was torn and faded with age. The king’s heart broke. The man said. All that was left was a shell like a piece of charred wood. the fire had already burned to hollow remains. The prince asked him why he wandered the streets like this. Clarified butter was poured around the silent man and a torch was thrown to the dry wood. the women and children crying. “If you can promise me that I will never get sick. The next day the prince went back into the city. The man was already gone. An old street sweeper walked past with his wife. holding onto his arm. The young man said.
A buffalo boy befriended the homeless prince. some way out of death. The prince said. He sat beneath a tree and meditated in the small forest outside of her village as his strength grew back. dressed as a monk to fool the animals.will never be threatened then I will stay. On the muddy bank he drew his sword and cut off all of his black hair. Just before dawn he saddled his horse and made his most faithful servant follow him to the Anoma River. This boy had known grief for a long time. *************************** Many years later the prince fainted from long days of fasting in the mountains. He had three younger siblings who he cared for and supported all by himself. The prince traded his fine silks for the simple robe and disappeared into the forest. 25 . His mother and father had both died before he was eight years old.’” A hunter emerged from the tall grasses. The boy grazed and washed a rich man’s herd of buffalo and was paid in buffalo milk and rice. As the sun broke over the smooth water of the river the prince dismounted his horse. It is wrong to stop a man escaping from a burning house. fed him and brought his emaciated body back to life. A young girl found him. If I do discover something about this life. I will come back for them. ‘I will find the Truth or die trying. He gave the sword and horse to his servant. “Go home and give them this message.” That night the prince watched his wife and son sleep.
Something had cracked open and more light was coming through. The hot sun would make steam rise from their massive bodies. the prince saw through into the meaning of existence. It was as if a great distance and many years had held them apart. He was a buffalo herder and was beaten by his rich master. and through the friendship of the buffalo boy. “In my travels. I met a young orphaned boy who cared for his three siblings. The prince and the buffalo boy embraced each other. The next day the buffalo boy came to visit his friend. He simply did what was necessary to keep his family alive. the warmth of their friendship.The prince and the buffalo boy spent long days by the river. After forty days and forty nights of meditation underneath the pipalya tree. Something rich and deep grew between them. This simple moment. Their conversations were about the meaning of life. Upon seeing the prince’s smiling face the boy broke into tears. At times the boy carried bruises from the rough treatment his master gave him. That little buffalo boy worked to keep his family 26 . Everything ends that begins. When the prince returned to his family he told them a story. What I have come back with is love. whose eyes burned so clearly all those years ago had been waiting for. is what the prophet. Sometimes the prince would watch this child scrub the buffalo in the river. The boy never complained and was never cruel to the beasts. I left my family and home to search after a solution to death and suffering. The prince noticed a kind of rare joy in the child.
In the face of imminent death and suffering we must choose to love.alive. He was the key to my awakening. he had no care for philosophy or enlightenment. I see now that being present for the life we are given is all that we can do. he simply loved and he was happy.” 27 .
Buddha sat in the shade of a great tree. The sun was high and golden, pushing light through the green leaves of the banyan. The buffalo boy and his siblings sat with a humble offering of tangerines in a woven basket. Buddha pealed a tangerine and passed a thick juicy petal to each child. He asked them to close their eyes and breathe for a few moments. Then feel the weight of the fruit in their hands. Smell the sweet citrus syrup of the tangerine. Gaze at its orange and white texture in the light. And then place the pungent fruit in their mouths and allow the flavors and textures of the tangerine to consume their awareness. This was his first teaching on the Dharma.
A man hears of a great master in the mountains. He goes to the teacher and becomes his disciple. The man says, “What shall I do?” The Guru says, “Just chant my name. Anytime you are in need, remember me.” The man bows, grasps the guru’s feet, and leaves. A few days later the man is seen walking on the surface of a deep cold lake in the high mountains. Some longtime disciples of the guru witness the man performing this miracle. They run back to the master and say, “You underestimated a man the other day. You initiated him and now he walks on water!” The guru goes to the lake. The man is dancing and running freely upon the shining mirror of the water. When the man returns to the shore a crowd is waiting for him. The guru asks, “How have you done this?” The man says, “Why, don’t you know? I have simply said your name! I remembered you in my heart before stepping onto the water. Your name is capable of anything.” The master says, “Well then… Would you mind climbing to the top of that cliff and jumping off?” “Your wish is my command, O’ great one.” The man says as he climbs to the top of the mountain. No one in the 29
crowd expects to ever see him again. Maybe a few stray pieces of his shattered body can be collected for his funeral pyre. The man leaps off the cliff and lands half a mile away from the lake. The master and his band of disciples find the mysterious man sitting cross-legged and smiling underneath a tree. The guru says, “You used my name again?” The man replies, “Yes! By your name I have done this.” The guru decides to test his own miraculous power. They go back to the lake. The master whispers his own name and then steps off onto the water. Immediately he sinks. Somehow his disciples manage to save him. The guru is gasping on the sandy shore struggling to breath. The man says, “What happened master?” The guru says, “I am so sorry. I am not a master. I am a pretender.” The man says, “If you are a pretender then how did your name work?” The master says, “My name did not work. It was your faith. It does not matter whom you have faith in – it is the trust, the love, and the totality of it. I don’t even trust myself. I am always afraid of being cheated because I cheat others. How can I trust? You are an innocent man, you trusted me. It is because of your faith alone that these miracles have happened. It is because of the depth of your love.”
” 31 .Wisdom that comes with Age An old man sits on the porch watching his son work in the fields. “That old man sits and does nothing all day while I toil in the dirt! He’s just taking up space. He makes his father get into the wooden case and wheels him to the edge of a cliff. why don’t you just throw me off the cliff and spare the coffin? Your children will need it someday.” The son builds a coffin and carries it up to the porch. A soft knock comes from within the coffin. One day the son is fed up. “Son. He thinks to himself. The son opens the lid and the old man says.
“Yes my lord. He ordered that the whole kingdom be covered in animal hide.” “Then what would you have me do?” The jester smiled and said. The court jester laughed. “Do you think me foolish?” The jester said. The king said. “Cut the animal hide and tie it to your feet.” 32 .Don’t Change the World… A king was tired of walking on the hard ground full of sharp pebbles and thorny grasses.
He became a monk and lived for sixteen years in a monastery. Devotion had not healed the crack in his heart. hundreds passing him by on the sidewalk. After many years he went back into the world and everyone healed him. He was in love with each and every person with all of his heart. He had abandoned everyone to heal his heart.On a Lonely Street Corner A man lost his family in the Great War. One day he left. suddenly fed up with his community of fellow seekers. burning underneath the skin of the world. 33 . Bitterness and loss had broken his friendship with the creator. On a street corner in New York he was overwhelmed with a profound ecstasy. There was this light.
He grabbed a stick and began to beat the sleeper. Dirt and dung poured from the sleeper’s mouth. 34 . The saint tried to catch the snake’s tail but was too late. The sleeper pleaded for mercy and another pilgrim walking by interfered. The pilgrim held the saint as the man coughed.Rough Medicine Once a great saint was on his way to Mecca. The man woke up and wailed. A serpent slid into the man’s mouth. The sleeper dry heaved until bile came from his lips and then finally the serpent writhed and fell from his throat. The saint continued to beat the man and then forced him to eat dirt and donkey dung. Along the way he saw a man sleeping.
Delhi is three miles behind you. very far. A car stops in front of him and the driver says. you will have to travel the whole earth to get there. “How far is it to Delhi?” The old man says. “If you continue the direction you are going it is very. sits in the warm sunshine. If you turn around it will take only a few minutes. a few miles outside Delhi.Delhi An old man.” 35 .
“Second.” The little bird then hops to an even higher branch. If you let me go I will tell you three priceless truths. “First never believe an absurdity. It is already gone. The bird wails.” The man begins to weep and yell like a mother who has buried her child.” The bird then flies to a faraway branch on an olive tree.” The man agrees and releases the bird from his cage. “By the way within my belly is a ruby the size of a chicken egg. The bird hops to the man’s head and says.The First Two A man catches a small bird in a trap. do not grieve for what is past. The little bird says. “You have eaten so many large beasts and still you are not satisfied! The little meat on my bird bones won’t satiate your endless hunger either. Let it go. “Did I not just say. But you let me go and lost it. do not grieve for what is past? And never believe an absurdity? My entire body is barely the size of an egg! How could something so large fit in my belly?” 36 . It was meant to be your great fortune and your children’s inheritance.
and says. “Oh like you did so well with the first two?” 37 . “So. sniffs his nose. what was the third truth?” The bird replies.The man wipes his cheeks.
Underneath is a brighter world… This world is a skin 38 .
An African Story
There once was a man who owned ten cows. He loved his cows. The man bathed and fed them tenderly. One morning they produced less milk than normal. Each day for a week they gave less milk. So the man stayed up late one night to see what was happening. As he looked up at the sky, a star began to descend. It came before him as a glowing ball. A beautiful woman could be seen behind the light. Once her feet touched the earth the brilliance faded away. The man asked if she was the one who was taking milk from his cows. “Yes, my sisters and I love your milk,” the woman said. The man got up his nerve and asked, “Will you marry me? I will never beat you and you won’t have to tend to the cows all the time. I’ll tend to them some of the time as well. Will you?” “Yes,” she replied, “But under one condition. I have this basket. You must promise to never look inside the basket. If you do I will leave immediately.” The man agreed to the terms. They lived happily together for about a year. One day while the woman was herding the cows the man sat in his hut. The basket was in a corner behind the door. He said to himself, “She is my wife and so what’s hers is mine. It’s in my house and so technically this makes it mine as well.” 39
The man opened the basket and then began to laugh. “There’s nothing in the basket! There’s absolutely nothing in the basket! Nothing! There is nothing in the basket! There’s nothing! There is absolutely nothing in the basket! Nothing!” The man kept saying these words and laughing. He was so loud that his wife heard him howling from the fields. When she returned to the hut she said, “So you opened the basket?” The man began to laugh again, “Yes! I did! And there is nothing in the basket! There is absolutely nothing in the basket! Nothing! There is nothing in the basket!” She said, “I have to leave now. It’s time for me to go back.” He cried and begged her not to leave. “I have to go back now. What I brought with me in the basket was spirit. It’s so like human beings to think that spirit is nothing.” And she disappeared.
“Its just your posture. “See?” Says Zumbach. “Zumbach. “Zumbach.” Zumbach says. Picks a fine cloth and pays half up front. You’re not holding your head right. Your left shoulder is too high!” Zumbach tugs at the man’s left shoulder forcefully until both sleeves are the same length. No. He goes to Zumbach the tailor for measurements. When the man slips the coat on he finds that the right sleeve is three inches longer than the left. I’ll fix it!” 41 .” The man looks in the mirror. the right sleeve is longer than the left!” “No. “Look at the collar behind my neck!” The back of the coat is bunched up in the space between the man’s shoulders and the collar is riding at the man’s ears. “I was right. The man says. “Ah! See it’s your posture again.” The man says. Zumbach says.Zumbach One day a man decides to purchase his first tailored suit. Three weeks later he comes back.
” The man says. The man leaves the tailor bent over with his nose an inch from his kneecaps and his left shoulder scrunched and dislocated from the joint. The man walks to the bus stop and waits. “There that’s better. “How did you know?” “Because only a tailor as great as Zumbach could ever make a suit to fit your grotesque deformed body!” 42 . An older gentleman peers inquisitively at him from a park bench and says.” Zumbach says.Zumbach pulls and tugs at the man’s head until the back of the coat straightens out. “Did Zumbach make you that fine suit?” “Why. yes he did.
God said. heal my eyes so that I may see you. the advisors. with a tenderness that melted everyone to tears. The jester.” God laughed deeply.The Blind King There once was a blind king. 43 . The king trembled. the queen and royal guard gasped in awe. The blind king prayed silently in his heart. “Lord. God came to his court.” The blind king with internal eyes saw the Divine One and weeping bowed his head to the ground. A thrill of august rapture rolled like a tidal wave through the palace. “I do not need to heal your eyes for you to see me.
Amnesia A man knocked on a blue wooden door. his fingernails ruined with bitter thick notches split down to the cuticles. The man did not speak. Behind the lady the man could see a picture of himself with the woman in a happier time. The clouds above him were thick and gray. A woman opened the door and began to weep. as he counted small round copper coins. the sky like a tin pan reflecting dull light. His breath was colorless in the sunshine as the moist heat of his mouth made invisible smoke.” The man could not recognize the weeping figure bowing at his feet. The woman whispered on the ground like a child. His hands moved delicately as if he were handling ancient papyrus. 44 . for a kind of forgiveness. He may have even come in search of redemption. He came here for alms. He only knew his grievances and his need. his knees by his ears. “You came back. This man had spent the morning crouching low to the ground in a squat. He came to this door begging alms.
Father has Returned
On a red autumn morning a child was born to a young man and his wife. A great famine had come through the dry plains two years before. A collection of old men and women, their hands like burnt grass in the sun, their faces as deep and dry as a dead river, along with a few stubborn adolescents were all that remained in this ocean of sand dunes and cracked earth. A dust storm had turned the heavens into a mass of blood, land and sky merging into one palpable color. The new father carried his son out into the brilliant rusty glare of the morning. The boy, so small in the large hands of his father, bathed in the burning light of the desert. The man named the child ‘Father has returned.’ This small boy was the only family the man and wife could claim. Something had finally come back to them. Two years passed and another famine and drought cracked the earth into a deeper red. Mother and father fed ‘Father has returned’ every morsel of food they could gather. The woman wept silently at night. On the third year of the boy’s life he did not wake up. Mother and father buried him on a tender slope overlooking the vast dry plains. The sky was incredibly blue that day.
The man and woman made love in the middle of a warm night, knowing that everything that leaves returns again to the earth. At dusk nine months later, the sky a deep purple, a second child was born. They named him, ‘Son has returned.’
“Very Good! Me come back more powerful! Me jump up white fellow next time!” The bottom dropped. The wind blew softly through the eucalyptus and oak trees. fearless.Me Jump Up White Fellow They took the small aborigine up to the wooden platform. 47 . It was a dry and colorless day. The rope tightened. The dead man smiled. The little man laughed.
His student tries to stop him. “Leave me alone. I’m dying. crosses his arms. The old man says. After three days of keeping his eyes closed he gets up.” The old master walks to the cemetery and digs his own grave.Acceptance An old man lays sick in bed. looks at the sky and dies. He then lies down in the dirt. 48 .
49 . John of the Cross was imprisoned for his ecstasy. In his most lonely and darkest hour he met God. He was beaten and kept in a cell no bigger than a closet.The Meeting Place St. Sometimes your own private hell is the chosen meeting place for you and God.
Happiness comes from the Inside and Outside After meeting God in the dark night St. I know how much you’ve suffered.” John left that night and escaped to the high mountains. 50 . But now is the time to escape. Leave now! There is no reason to suffer. She said. “Dear one. John of the Cross was visited by mother Mary in his cramped and cold cell. And I know how deeply you love your God.
The Little Raja
One day a young boy sat happily on his father’s lap. His stepmother entered the room and yanked him to the floor. She said, “You will never sit on that throne. I am your father’s favorite wife and only my son, my flesh and blood, will be king.” The young queen then placed her own son on the king’s lap. The boy ran in tears to his mother and asked her if what he had heard was true. She looked at him softly, petted his head, and said sadly, “Your stepmother is right. Your father favors her. She is younger than I. You will never be king.” The boy said, “Isn’t there anything I can do?” “Only God can help you now.” “Where do you find God?” the boy said. “The forest…that’s where the sages go to find Him,” The mother said. That night the boy left the palace in secret and entered the forest. He was five-years-old and took his mother’s words far too seriously. In the darkness of the forest he found a man sitting underneath a giant tree with his legs twisted into the shape 51
of a lotus. The man was silent. In the deep shadows the boy suddenly saw the whites of the man’s eyes flicker. He could feel his gaze on him. The boy asked, “Who are you?” “I am a friend.” “Do you know where to find God?” The man smiled, his teeth shining in the perpetual night beneath the tall trees. The boy became the man’s pupil. He learned how to meditate deeply within his heart. For weeks he ate nothing but fruit, then nothing but leaves and roots. Within a few months he was subsisting on river and rainwater. The man left with the promise to return before autumn. The boy continued his fierce endeavor until he lived on nothing but air. His inhale took fourteen days. His exhale another two weeks. The boy chanted a simple prayer the man had taught him, “I surrender to God, who is present everywhere.” His mind began to burn up to heaven. He could see angels in the sky. One day the boy sat meditating within his heart. He saw God within his chest. The boy opened his eyes and God stood before him smiling. The boy fainted. When he woke the mysterious figure was kneeling beside him. The boy bowed with tears in his eyes. He prayed, “I was searching for broken pieces of glass and stumbled upon the greatest Gem.” “What do you want?” The boy replied, “Now that I see you…I want nothing but to be your friend.” 52
God whispered, “You will be king. This desire is what brought you to me and is therefore holy. Whatever desire or circumstance has carried you into the garden of prayer it is worthy of worship. You should never be ashamed of what has brought a diamond into your possession. You will not see me again in this life but when you die I will give you the Pole Star. You will rule forever in the night sky and I will live with you as your friend.”
54 . collected wood for his lonely fire in the hills. He did not know at first if he should run or take his long blade for cutting wood as a weapon to these fierce characters.Story from Bhutan In the middle of a glorious night full of thunder and rain a famous madman and murderer. This time something was different. He could only surrender to what was in the moment. Something in his heart had given up running and fighting a long time ago. and the growing softness of his mind – how the earth looked in winter covered with white snow. the gentle trees. The monk was filled with panic. Deep in the mountains he came to his cave. his lonely cave. There in the dank hole that he slept and meditated in was a roomful of monsters. There was a cry in his chest for how much he had now come to love this world. His skin was pale beneath his robes. now a saintly monk. his wood wet as he tied it to his back. the clear streams where he bathed. He fell to his knees in tears. with the warmth of deeply felt love. the dirt and straw bed. this is where he grieved and wept for what he had taken from the world. All the savage demons that can rage within a human soul were waiting for him. For twenty years this was his home. he had unexpected visitors. the birds in the dewy morning. The monk could only make peace and meet these monsters with open arms.
He embraced each frightening reality and in that moment accepted them within himself. As he held each one within his heart they disappeared like smoke from a fire that no longer burned. 55 .
No one curses winter or autumn. “Why do you grieve your losses? Men curse the fates and the goddess of fortune when times are rough. One night Lady Philosophy came to him in a dream. 56 . One day you are shining in silver and the next moment the seasons have changed. Then one day his friends turned on him. Brotheus was bitter with grief and anger.Do not Sink into Sadness Brotheus was head of the Senate and had written many books on philosophy. He was imprisoned and sentenced to death by hemlock.” Brotheus woke in his cold cell. But fortune is just like the seasons. All turning goes as it will. Its all part of life. She said. you are left bereft and penniless. The last year of his life he wrote a book on philosophy to soothe the grief stricken. A ceremony delayed his execution by a year.
The man went to the ocean at night and howled at the moon. the sand never so warm and soft…something beyond words spoke to him. A profound fatigue overcame him. He was spent. Anger and sorrow overcame him. The man could not fight anymore. Every night for three weeks he did the same thing. The moon was never so beautiful. One night under a large yellow moon the man fell to his knees. the ocean never so blue and deep. The man began to curse God in anger. 57 .Beyond Words A man lost his wife to another man. He screamed and thrashed on the ground. He could not work. He closed his eyes and listened to his heart. He could not eat. Every bitter emotion in his heart he took in violent prayer to his creator.
the warmth behind the flesh. Because he was still in love there was no death. This hidden body never dies. knowing in his heart that he was dead. He went looking for him. His search was made in trembling and grief.The Poet Rumi Rumi lost Shams (his teacher and deep friend) one night. It was a friendship of the inner body. On the streets of Damascus Rumi realized that their love was the friendship. no separation. Rumi knew he would never be alone. When you lose someone you love there is a body within your body that you both share. 58 .
riverbanks. his body vibrant and golden. passing camels pulling heavy loads and elephants clearing tree limbs. They beat the saint down the dusty road. Hari das was homeless and slept on sandy beaches. The Mohammedan ruler grew fearful of Hari das’ influence and sent fifty men to capture him. caves and underneath great banyan trees. He whispered the name of the Divine One every waking hour. The men found the saint praying underneath the shade of a tree. A small number of wise men began to seek the saint’s counsel. His lips grew sweet with the praising. They whipped and kicked and punched the saint. They asked Hari das to stand and then they beat him. He lived in Mohammedan India and was considered an ‘untouchable’ by everyone. Hari das whispered the name of his Beloved with tenderness 59 .Do you want me to die? Hari das was a Muslim who fell in love with a Hindu saint. The men were ordered to beat Hari das through every village and town in the region to make an example of him. He had found a love for the divine that exceeded all human boundaries.
The beaten man did not cry out of pain or sadness. with love for the earth. a close one to Allah. Some prisoners working on the roadside saw something glorious and heartbreaking. It is said all of the prisoners that day became Allah’s close ones. Every time he was kicked to the ground he picked himself up softly with reverence for the dust. You just keep saying the name of God. Hari das was beaten through eleven towns and twenty-two gates. A messenger on horseback went to the ruler. A man covered in golden dust. taking their clothes off and clawing at their own hair. Hari das collapsed to the dirt road. fell to the ground and kissed the earth. Upon hearing how Hari das died the ruler began to weep. The prisoners fell in love. The sun boiled the air into waves of steam. viciously beaten by fifty men… a completely forgiving acceptance of the abuse. crying. “What’s wrong?” The men said. “We were ordered to kill you but you won’t die. They’d never seen something so soft and tender in all their lives. and the man. No one has survived this long! Our master will execute us for not doing our job. The king’s henchmen began to weep. He went down to the riverbank barefoot and begged for God to forgive him for murdering a saint. Hari das heard the weeping and turned around. his tears were filled with gratitude.” “You want me to die?” The men nodded. his mouth bloody. 60 . He took the punishment without any resistance.as he was beaten. The henchmen then picked up his lifeless body and threw him into the river.
Before the kings eyes Hari das stirred and woke up on the muddy bank.At that moment Hari das’ body washed up on shore. “I was blind.” Hari das embraced the king in silence and love. 61 . The Mohammedan king grabbed the saint’s feet crying and whispered.
The saint ran for help. The wild drunk smashed his clay jug of coconut wine on the perfect one’s head. The brother was in a rage to see his divine sibling kneeling on the ground with a river of blood pouring from his head. Blood poured from a deep wound. They were drinking fermented coconut and smoking hashish. He said that in his own heart these two men had done no wrong and the moment he was struck by the jug of wine he had already forgiven them. kneeling. broke the hearts of the two 62 . Something in these words. Both men grinned and laughed at the shining one holding his bleeding skull. in the tenderness and humble affection in the man’s voice. He extended his hand to one of the murderers.A Perfect One A perfect one and a saint were traveling together. and with nothing but kindness in his eyes. One day they entered a town terrorized by two murderous brothers. The divine men approached the drunken killers. The perfect one intervened holding back his own raging brother. There was love glowing in the heart of the perfect one. He quickly brought back the perfect one’s brother. He was ready to kill the drunks.
63 . They fell to the ground weeping. rubbing their foreheads into the dirt in grief.killers. tearing their clothes and hair. The perfect one smiled and held the two weeping brothers tenderly in his arms. “Forgive us!” the brothers cried.
a single moment is separate from God. Feel the rain from a distant sky on your skin. Listen to the sound of the wind in the trees… And you will know that not a single thing. 64 . Look into the heart of a flower.With your Eyes so much of Heaven can be Seen Meditate on the laughter of a child.
For months Hafiz would compose elaborate love poems for the girl on the veranda. On a high veranda stood the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. As a young man he delivered bread. Hafiz fell in love. 65 . He was born short and ugly. One day he went to a mansion with a delivery. This was destined to be unrequited. He would sing them as he delivered bread. For forty nights he kept a vigil at the tomb of a saint.A Story about Beauty Hafiz is Persia’s greatest poet. He did not know that his words had touched so many hearts. In the daylight he delivered bread. On the dawn of the forty-first day the angel Gabriel descended. And for those forty days he did not sleep. He vowed to have his heart’s desire. These poems soon became famous all over Shiraz. Finally Hafiz became desperate with love.
He asked the young poet.” 66 . “What do you want?” Upon seeing this angel Hafiz forgot about the girl on the veranda. If God’s messenger was so beautiful then what must God be like? Hafiz said. “ I want God. Gabriel was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Who knows what food will nourish you? Make love on your prayer rug. Who knows what magnificent dreams will come? Live every moment in your heart… Only God knows what you will feel. Who knows what gods will enter your earthly body? Sleep on your prayer rug. Eat on your prayer rug. 67 .
The enormous moon hung low almost as if to consume our world. The sand on the beach. The blue ocean rolled softy onto the white sand. as white and brilliant as crushed ivory. close enough for the poor man bleeding on the sand to feel the weight of its heavenly gravity. His ecstasy was so deep he did not notice his cooked feet. At the door of his teacher’s thatched roof hut the saint rested for the night. became steaming embers. He gave his humble shade beneath the Banyan tree. with palm fronds for walls and doors. The saint would pick up the tender creature and place it back into his own body…the worms needed to live just as much as he did. The saint’s feet were covered in bloody blisters.The Love of One Human A saint decided to see his teacher. At times a maggot would fall from a bleeding sore into the hot sand. Small worms lived in his open wounds. coals from the day fire. He suffered from deep sores in his waist and belly. In the moonlight the teacher came home. glistening from a long swim in the sea. 68 . The saint walked for days in the hot sun. to a less fortunate lover of the Divine. The saint was known as an untouchable leper.
” 69 . his long full tears dripping down his face like translucent pearls. Your love is healing me. The saint tried to squirm away from his teacher. his tears flowing like a gentle river onto the body of the saint. I am not clean. He embraced the saintly leper. Your bleeding wounds are more sacred than any temple or deity. He said. The teacher whispered. “Your body is more purifying than all the holy rivers in India.Upon seeing his dear student the teacher wept.” The teacher began to tremble. “Master please do not touch me.” He then kissed the wounds on the saint’s body and bathed them with his tears. “The love of one human being is greater than the mercy of God.
“Why do you care so much about being saintly and how close you are to me? Your spiritual progress means nothing! The bird in the field has no concept of improvement. 70 . The saint cherished slander and the slow degradation of his own name. One night God came to the man in a dream and asked. All things except for man respect the intelligence that made it. His heart filled with contempt.The Bird in the Field A famous saint went to the mosque and prayed every day. He grew furious. He began to judge those who prayed in public. He began to take pride in being abused. The saint realized that the ego can grow large even in prayer. He thought he had rid himself of pride. He knew that his devotion was real and that anyone who prayed openly was a fake. as long as your devotion is praised. Your prayers are useless!” The man woke with a smile. One day he arrived late and had to pray in the back of the mosque. From then on he prayed alone and kept his heart a secret. From that day forward he fell in love with the world.
He gazed deeply into the heart of the flower. brilliant in their ocher robes – shining with smooth faces.Flower Sutra Buddha sat with a flower in his hand. glowing with dewy sunshine. The crowd of monks. Mahakasyapa stood for fifteen minutes with love in his eyes. Buddha said everything. Birds and insects could be heard in the green foliage. The air was filled with sunshine and thick with moisture. completely consumed by the flower. There was no lesson. Suddenly Mahakasyapa stood up smiling. grew anxious. Just silence. that Mahakasyapa had understood 71 . The Buddha did not speak for forty-fiveminutes. There was no talk on the Dharma. He gazed deeply into the heart of the flower. the humid Indian climate.
His heart compelled him to value another’s happiness more than his own. He then emptied his pockets and gave the beggar everything he had. for he knew how starved for love that poor suffering man must be. 72 . A leper whose mouth had rotted away asked for alms.How He became a Saint Francis of Assisi was traveling on the road. Francis grabbed the man and kissed him fully on the lips.
Falling in Love… Sometimes you need two To recognize the invisible third Shining in between all the empty spaces 73 .
merciful as a rain cloud full of mischief. until the third presence was known. “If two or more are gathered in my name. 74 . Jesus said. At night in a temple they passed the glowing cup of nectar. telling stories about the One. There is so much happening behind what the eyes can see. Two men met on the dusty road of pilgrimage.An Indian Story about Presence The story is simple. know that I am present.” This life is but movement and light.
He made a giant carpet with hundreds of crosses woven into the fabric and laid it down onto the marble floor of his court. the most holy symbol of your religion. “These symbols on the rug are not the cross of Christ.” 75 . Francis walked across the carpet and stood before the throne of the sultan.” Francis looked at the floor and said softly.Cross of Christ St. The sultan of this country had heard of Francis. you are not a real Christian. Francis of Assisi traveled by donkey to a faraway land. The sultan then had his men capture the saint and bring him to his palace. You have walked over dozens of crosses. This cross I carry in my heart. The true cross of Christ is the love of someone willing to die for the sake of another. “Dear Francis. You are not as they say you are. The king laughed.
The thieves broke into argument and fighting over who would get what. The saint was covered in precious gems and gold. The guards howled in joy every 76 . The thieves told their wives that they were going to a prayer vigil.” Another claimed the ruby necklace and yet another put dibs on the diamond earrings. His heart became greedy. They decided to raid the saint’s hut the very next night. One thief carried a pike. A hundred yards from the saint’s hut the men hid behind some bushes to plan their strategy. another a trident and another an axe. The thief could only recognize spiritual beauty as material wealth and so his eyes saw a richness inside as diamonds and rubies. The thieves waited a week for the new moon. They beat each other senseless with their weapons and went home bloody and bruised with stories of wild animals for their wives.How many signs do you need? The king of thieves saw a great saint walking with many dear ones. In the cover of darkness they hid behind the bushes once more. Each criminal in the league carried a special weapon. “I have dibs on the gold bracelets. One man said. The jewelry was an illusion. Two massive eight-foot tall men with bluish skin stood guard in front of the saint’s home. That night the king of thieves held a meeting with his cohorts.
The king of thieves said. How could so many things go wrong? The argument over who claimed which jewels could only be confusion caused by angels. I meant to rob you and God had the great mercy to thwart me at every step until. I recognized who you really were. This saint must be real. A few days later the thieves plotted once again to raid the hut. his shoes. The king of thieves pulled himself bleeding from the thorns. It turned into a hailstorm and pelted the men with rock-sized pieces of ice. They gathered together behind the bushes. As a thief I am blind. No Guards were in sight.” 77 . snoring until dawn.few minutes sending thrills of fear into the hearts of the thieves. walked to the river. With tears the thief fell at the feet of the saintly man. The thief bathed in the cool waters and came naked to the hut of the saint. The Giants were heavenly creatures sent by the Divine One. They were cut badly and their bodies were sore from the fall. A thunderstorm rolled in and drenched the thieves in torrential rain. They woke confused and embarrassed vowing to not be thwarted the next time. The sudden and strange fit of sound sleep was caused by Shiva and now this wild and ferocious weather could only be the anger of Indra. in misery. A few hours passed and a profound ignorance fell upon the criminals. In the midst of absolute misery the king of thieves had a sudden realization. “I could only see your beauty as material wealth. removed his clothes. the ruler of heaven. Soon every thief was sound asleep. and weeping. The king of thieves led his band of criminals into a deep ditch filled with thorny bushes. The men were alert.
” The saint said. 78 .” The king of thieves became famous for saintly weeping and giving charity to rich men. He was blind from that day forward to external wealth. “Your greed has brought you to God.“What you meant to take by force is freely given in love. I now lay a curse on you that from this day forward you will long day and night for others to possess the happiness you carry in your chest.
79 .What We Do A band of thieves captured the sun and broke it into a million pieces so each could have his share …it did not matter.
80 . The handsome monkey asked for a warm hug.Real Warmth A wild monkey saved the world from losing its own divinity and God asked him what could be given in thanks for such bravery.
The anger left. He prayed to God to have his anger taken from him. He lit incense and saw his envy burn to ash. On his way to the market one morning he saw a young woman carrying a large clay jar of water on her head. After another sleepless night the man walked out into the dawn. The man prayed to have his heart cleansed of greed and found himself incredibly jealous of everyone.Prayers One day a man sat by an old river meditating and found many dark things in his chest. The old river. The fire of longing burned in him. The man could not sleep at night. Smoke billowed 81 . was a long shining mirror. He prayed for his body to be emptied of desire and bitterness overcame him. her white teeth shone brightly. Her dark hair captured him. Birds were dark shapes against the morning light. The man was free and happy for many days. full of fish. Her breasts swayed. His prayers had only brought more anger into his heart. The man was filled with a deep lust. Soon he became obsessed with money. He went to the temple and fell crying at the altar.
from mud huts. A calmness entered his body.” 82 . A cloud swimming through an autumn sky needs no admiration. A human being is alive. It needs no listener. “The singing of a bird is perfect. Let me be what you want. A child shivered as she milked a cow in the cold morning. The man prayed.
He lived among lepers. bright with cold stars. “Please don’t hurt Brother Fire!” 83 . His friends sat around him eating thick Tuscan bread and clear water from the stream. Their brown robes were rough. and whispered to the sun sweet prayers of affection. He tended the fire under a vivid night sky. in the acres of sunflowers covering the land. their bare feet dirty and bruised from a long days walk. His church was filled with singing and beautiful animals – lambs and butterflies. in the rain and thick sunshine. He was known to dance in ecstasy naked in the snow. The saint’s sleeve caught on fire.When you’re in Love Everything is Your Friend There once was a saint who spoke to birds in the rolling fields. While his friends stamped out the flame he cried.
Wrestling and throwing and punching…the battle lasts for thirty days straight. The king went home to his cave and gave the shining treasure to his son as a plaything. Then something occurs to him. He found inside the mouth of the carnivore a giant precious gem. 84 . His sparring partner is getting the upper hand. Incredible blows are made. The King of the Bears thinks to himself that no one alive is as strong as him. He attacks the man. A brilliant fight ensues.Thirty Day Fight The King of the Bears killed a lion with his bare hands. He is the King of the Bears! Who is this mysterious opponent? He begins to feel himself weakened. The King of the Bears embraces the shining man and weeps. One day a glowing man is seen taking the gem from the child. God holds the king until all resistance is gone and only love remains. The king cares nothing for the gem only that his son was cheated. He’s fighting God.
A Cloud Spirit
A man was traveling through the desert in search of treasure and his camel died. He walked for days in the hot sun. On the brink of death, a wise spirit came to him from the clouds. The spirit dug a hole in the earth and a clear thin stream of water welled up from the ground making a small pool in the sand. The cloud spirit then rubbed his hands together. The dust from his palms became a pile of bright gold, enough to buy a small kingdom. “Choose,” Said the spirit.
A pile of black hair was strewn on the dusty ground. Upon seeing this spectacle. The boy grew up hearing stories of his father. The mob was making an ocean of grief. Nimai. The woman saw the boy’s father in his eyes and invited him home. The woman began to weep. Nimai from that day forward was remembered as a great saint. Nimai. who left her to become a monk. Nimai held his head low as a barber scraped his scalp with a long razor. At the end of the year his wife was pregnant. Srinivas crossed to the other side of the Ganges. There on the muddy banks he met a woman washing her sari. At fifteen. Srinivas. Srinivas then asked if this was the day his father went mad. the man. 86 . in the center of a sea of weeping villagers. There the woman told the boy of her husband. The man died soon after the birth of his son. inexplicably went mad for one year. a sound that could be felt in your bones.From his own Heart A man crossed the Ganges and passing through a town saw his dear friend from school. She told him how her family and fellow villagers had tried to stop Nimai.
But look at my book. He heard that a great saint named Sanatam was living in the land of Braj. the stars pushing their cold light through the dark branches and leaves. By that time the old man had died. He wandered all over India and one night beneath a great Banyan tree. An old man recognized the boy and took him to a quiet alcove overlooking the sea. The ink had melted away. Some secret current was flowing into him from the clouds. Srinivas tore apart the palm leaf manuscript. “He died yesterday. the boy found the voice of the old book speaking through him.Srinivas swam home. He asked me to teach you. Upon seeing her son she fell to her knees in a swoon. Giant tears stains covered the manuscript. In grief. For many weeks. He then shaved his own head and stood in the courtyard waiting for his mother. He took a robe and dyed it the color of saffron.” The old man opened the frail palm leaf book. You need to go to Benares and get me another book.” The boy set out and in six months returned to the temple with the book. The boy traveled for three months to Puri in search of Nimai. Srinivas wanted to uncover the mysterious force that drove his father and Nimai from this world. When he arrived at the temple everyone was crying. “The master told me you were coming. he wandered the moonlit fields and sandy banks of the Ganges reciting the pages of a book he never read. Three days away from the village a man on the road told him that the great saint had died the day 87 . Srinivas traveled there to find the secret of his inspiration.
The temple was filled with heartbreaking music. He was looking for his father’s spirit in someone living. Then one day without thinking he spoke. The boy carried the manuscripts in a cart drawn by a bull. Jiva. What came from his mouth was sweetened condensed milk. His words carried the texture and flavor of someone steeped in the wisdom of grief – thoughts spun from divine inspiration. a famous scholar and saint. a rich outpouring of love.before but that his younger brother. Srinivas woke the next morning lying on the temple floor. Upon arriving in the small village he found a sea of people weeping and clawing at their hair. the books were gone. For twelve months the boy drank in the honey of the saint’s presence. For nine long months the boy searched for the manuscripts. Everyone was mourning the death of Rupa. Rupa. The first night Srinivas slept in a field. Srinivas took heart. was playing a two-sided drum. He did not sleep the entire time. The boy fainted in exasperation. still lived and carried the same devotional power. 88 . The rich man was secretly the king of thieves. Then Jiva sent him to Bengal to distribute devotional books. He felt a profound sweetness enter his chest. Srinivas became the saint’s student. Srinivas listened to the talks humbly for many weeks. One day he heard that a local rich man was holding spiritual gatherings at his house. The next morning. the younger saint.
” The king of thieves then took the boy into his bedroom. Everything he’d been looking for in saints. When they came back it was simply a pile of books. was already living in his own chest . Srinivas told him how he had lost the sacred books. He began to weep. He burned clarified butter and incense in a ritual of worship.just as that first palm leaf manuscript spoke to him from some unknown corner of his being. He realized his heart contained every line in those frail pages. in teachers and in books. The king of thieves became very quiet and then said.The king of thieves asked the young boy who he was. A great treasure was sitting unprotected in a cart on the roadside. Srinivas performed a ceremony. “Nine months ago I had a dream in the middle of the night. I gathered my men and told them to retrieve the contents of the cart for me. Underneath the bed was a trunk filled with the missing devotional books. 89 .
“What do you want?” Hafiz looked within his own heart and found he did not want for a thing. With tears in his eyes he said. Give me what you promised. My wife and son are now gone. He went to his teacher and said. “Let me be of service to others. Hafiz could take it no longer. He neither ate nor slept. his body not moving an inch. “I have given you forty years. He drew a circle in the sand and vowed not to leave it for forty days and forty nights. He did not leave to go to the bathroom. On the dawn of the forty-first day the angel Gabriel descended and said.” 90 . his heart burning with grief for five weeks. The poet sat there praying. All desire had left him.The Last Forty Days Hafiz lost his wife and son. And still I am no closer to God.” His teacher asked him to be patient.
Once the sky fell in love with the grass. 91 .They made love and humanity was born from that union.
Silk garments and rubies and pearls spilled over many dense shards and nuggets of gold. If you find it you can keep it. The old one said. it turns to gold. Whatever it touches.” The man sorted through the trash-filled heap of ‘forgotten things’. The man spoke of his dream and that he desired the stone. his hand revealed the stone. He prayed with every fiber of his being until each moment was a secret plea… “Make me Rich. 92 . God told the man that in a small village an old teacher possessed a touchstone.” One night God came to him in a dream. The man traveled to the small village in search of the old teacher. “I remember having once owned such a thing…it might be hidden among forgotten things in the rubbish pile behind the hut. Soon enough. He knew that the stone must be somewhere among all these riches. A touchstone is a magic mineral.The Touchstone A man prayed every night to be made wealthy. The wonder of this rubbish pile were the treasures hidden among the old rags and broken clay pots. His prayers became a sweetness in the dusk and a rich honey in the morning. When he got there the old one was sitting halfnaked in the dirt. This stone would satisfy all of his desires. a fieldstone from heaven.
Are you crazy! What secret treasure do you possess that made it so easy to give away a touchstone?” The old one simply smiled and said. the more his 93 . Riches meant so little to the old one that he gave away a touchstone! A magic mineral from heaven! The man could not sleep because a question burned in his chest…“Why?” It was a ghost. but one thing haunts me. In a moment of ecstatic tears he gathered dirt and bathed the stone with the soil. Yet his heart grew more empty with every pulse of his veins. “Years ago you gave me a gift. One night the man woke in his golden sheets and satin pillow in a cold sweat. The sage found that the more he used the stone to change things into gold. he ran through the streets rubbing the stone all over his clothes until he was dripping in golden fabric.He was overjoyed! Without thinking.” The old teacher told the man that he too had used the stone to gain the world. You gave the stone not even a second thought. He found the sage sitting exactly as he had left him. Why would someone give up the one thing everyone else is so desperately seeking? Something he had prayed for in earnest until his mind ached? The rich man went back to the village in search of the old teacher. “LOVE. He owned everything a man could want. He soon had a handful of gold dust. Now I am fabulously wealthy. The man let the wind carry it away as an offering to the grace that brought him the miracle of endless wealth. The rubbish pile he once searched through to gain his fortune haunted his dreams. The old teacher had a rubbish pile filled with treasure. Many years passed and the man grew unhappier with each passing day.
once more. “I’d rather be a witness to tiny things…events small and fast or long and silent. and the man received what his heart desired. Some say the old teacher was the real touchstone. 94 . among forgotten things.heart grew empty. With love I can walk on the surface of the sun even though I sit here anonymous and unknown by the world. To sit with love inside meant more than a kingdom and fame.” The touchstone now rests.
One side chose to live in a world where the only truth was what could be communicated in words. quantified or recorded. The other side chose to believe in what could not be said. The world of the unspoken developed elaborate rituals of lovemaking. It was not enough to simply be happy they wanted to feel themselves be happy. touch. There were whole evenings dedicated to mass laughter under the stars and events focused on expressing through sight. The world of the unspoken was rich in the arts of cooking. The world of the unspoken smiled at how the language and art of the others could never say the truth but could only point to or indicate the deepest feeling places of the human soul. In the world of words novels were written. In the world of words a strange awareness grew in the consciousness of the people. It was not enough to be warmed in the sun. They 95 . sound and psychic awareness the fullness of unexplainable human emotion. musical notation and mathematical equations.Both Worlds The earth was once divided in half. There were innumerable hugs that expressed different emotive realities. It was still an ineffable and quickly vanishing experience. massage and love. poetry was refined to an art and great plays were performed. They could witness themselves from multiple points of view. hugging and weeping.
They never knew that poetry helped you to pray with the grass in the meadow and share wisdom with the butterfly or connect to other human beings in a million unspoken ways. What only breathing and hugging and human eye gazing could express. These recordings could be viewed afterwards and created rich textured layers of experience from many points of view and references of time. Nothing had meaning or real value unless it could be recognized and felt in multiple layers of awareness with an ever-expanding objective perception of what they were feeling.wanted to feel themselves warmed in the sun. Many people in the world of words could not feel content in their life experience unless it was recorded by one or more audio/visual technologies. If it was not recorded it did not happen. That language could be a way 96 . Everyone was desperate to know that they were feeling their lives. Soon they wanted to feel themselves feeling what they were feeling. A day was not fully lived unless you knew you were fully living it. What the butterfly knew in the field or how the grass prayed as it drank dew in the meadow and what the bird felt in the ocean of the sky. There was a satisfaction in simply being with no need to do or feel anything other than being. Technologies were developed to assist in the making of meaningful experience. Without self-awareness they could not overcome moments of rage or pass down wisdom through the generations. There were audio and visual devices designed to record events and daily activities. But as a population they were unable to know anything other than what they felt in the moment. This grew into a mass anxiety. You had to have a conscious awareness of what you were feeling. In the world of the unspoken a deep respect grew for what could not be said.
No one in her world could see how deeply she needed to be protected. dipped it into the ocean and then let it soar in the sky before touching her heart. The man raised his hand. And that what could be expressed mattered. She then whispered in his ear… No one knows what she said but this they say was the moment the world began to heal. Even if it could limit your thinking it could also free you. They only saw her strength. She had never felt so understood in her life.of expressing the un-say-able. 97 . One day a woman from the world of words met a man from the world of the unspoken on the tide line of the earth.
“But I’m not a dead Zen Master.” “But how can that be? You are a Zen Master. “I don’t know.Not Yet A student once asked his teacher what happens after death.” He said.” 98 . The Zen master said.” “I know.
The Story of Hanuman
A band of monkeys stand at the end of the world. A giant bird, once burned by the sun, sits perched on a dune waiting to eat them. The monkeys talk of their journey. They had searched through all of India for the kidnapped wife of their friend and now there is only ocean and sky. The bird, flightless-his feathers burned off by solar fire, takes compassion on them. He says, “I saw the woman you speak of being carried away by an evil man in a flying chariot. My wings are broken but my eyes are still sharp. He took her to an Island far off the coast. It is hundreds of miles away over the ocean. If I still had wings I’d fly you myself.” The monkeys talk amongst themselves. No one can jump that far. Then Jambavan, the king of the bears, steps forward. He points to Hanuman and says, “He can do it.” Hanuman, a large monkey, says, “I’m sorry, but I can’t.” The bear tells the monkey a story. Once the Wind fell in love with a beautiful female monkey high in the Himalayas. The heat of their passion gave birth to a son. They named him Hanuman.
The boy one day mistook the Sun for a giant mango hanging in the sky and jumped to catch it. The three-yearold Hanuman left planet earth and hurtled toward the Sun. The gods became fearful and the lord of Thunder struck the boy with a powerful bolt of lightning. Hanuman fell to Earth with a broken jaw. The Wind caught his son and took him to a lonely cave in the mountains. Hanuman’s father wept as he held the boy. The Wind in grief became still. The universe could not breathe. The gods began to panic. Humans and animals and trees were gasping in a vacuum. The gods went to the cave and begged the Wind to move otherwise all life would end. The Wind said, “If you heal my son and promise that he will always be protected then I will fly once more.” The gods agreed but under one condition. The boy must never know his own power. The gods would heal his jaw but also cast a spell of forgetfulness over him. Hanuman would never know the strength inside him. He would just think himself to be like any other normal monkey. “So dear brother that is your divine heritage,” the bear says smiling, “You are immensely powerful. You’ve just been suffering from amnesia.” Hanuman climbs to the top of a large cliff over the rushing sea. He takes in a deep breath, digs his feet into the earth, and with a roar, leaps out into the sky.
The sound of that large monkey hurtling forward is that of the heavens breaking open. 100
After Note 102 .
The time scale and largeness of the known universe is seen from the white deserts sands. The sun in the daytime is meaningful. The flowers and tides carry immense value. To become devoted to finite things is the only solace and comfort we have underneath the night sky. And yet what happens here on earth is so small and incredibly fast that in the vast scale of the stars it almost doesn’t happen at all. Looking into the night sky is a kind of time travel. To be warmed by other human bodies as we sleep and dream. Most of the universe is dark matter. Humans on earth make love and birth children. to worry over the 103 . whatever giant events took place they happened a long time ago. Floating on the edge of something so dark and incredibly large we choose to be a witness to extremely small things that happen so fast no one will know except us. I have been a witness to things so incredibly far away that it takes millions of light years for me to see them. There are things we will never be able to understand. the ocean cliffs and mountain ranges of earth as something bright and incredibly small.The Night Sky The night sky is filled with things so large and ancient that we might need old stories to feel needed in this endlessness. The stars are only tiny points of light and are meaningless to most of us here on earth. A human life is smaller than a living cell and it dies just as quickly.
104 . Some would think it silly to love a small flower or a little dog.little things in the lives of very perishable beings is not so much a choice but a necessity. your sunflower is still the only one in existence. to love a swiftly dying planet no bigger than a speck of dust in an endless vacuum. If you love one sunflower in a sea of golden faces. when you love something it becomes yours. The thing is. a poem or a painting-maybe a little song. Our dreams might seem ridiculous under the night sky. Our praise of little things will not even flicker like a lightning bug in a jar for a moment in the night of a distant world. Some of us choose to be remembered by some observance of beauty. To pay attention and believe that each little thing is of immense value is not a choice it is a necessity.
Appendix 105 .
represents the very honey and cream of the Bhagavat Purana. is very different from the original but I hope it cuts more clearly to the essence. His message is simple and applicable. This particular scripture reminds me of Arabian Nights. it tells many exciting tales and it’s ultimate context is death but. The idea of waiting and gathering.The Bumblebee I heard this story as a child growing up in the Ashram. The theory behind itihasas is that story is a more powerful tool for transformation than dry philosophy. Parrots are believed to possess a special chemical in their saliva that increases the sweetness of sugar in fruit. The fat sage. the lessons of the python and the bumblebee. In the first chapter there is a discussion concerning parrots and mangoes. no one in this vast narrative is trying to escape physical death. Sweetness Gets Sweeter This also is drawn from the Bhagavat Purana. unlike Scheherazade. It’s original source is an ancient scripture known widely as the Bhagavat Purana. as I tell it. It is one of those great epic metanarratives contained within the branch of Hindu literature known as the puranas but I feel it belongs more fittingly within the itihasas or histories. I think it is a wonderful metaphor for the sweetening and enriching of human knowledge and human feeling through time. for me. is my own interpretation of this ancient tale. It’s the story of a man seeking eternal life (though of course Scheherazade does attain immortality through the power of storytelling). 106 . The story.
Jumping Fish Leaping fish is a common metaphor in the Sufi tradition. 107 . But the best dream. It narrates how limited our thinking can be. especially when we dive back into our source. A Japanese Story about Living from your Heart This is a classic Zen story. is to cover the muddy banks with his wealth. so that he can keep his job. this man can come up with. he wouldn’t need to pull the boats upstream anymore. If the man became wealthy. Sometimes we may feel like a fish drowning in oxygen but then we learn more about water and how it feeds us. It speaks volumes about getting too caught up in theoretical spiritual talk. An Indian Story about Desire This falls directly into the category of the Hindu teaching story. It speaks to the meaning of human life. we’re spirits leaping into physical form to learn about spirit.
A Story about being Fearless This story is Japanese. I heard it from a student of Osho when I was about six-years-old in the Ashram. We can swim through life wrapped up in our own little worlds and never know what it is we’re swimming in. Old Fish I don’t know where I first heard this parable but it’s completely brilliant. It illustrates so clearly how love can overcome the pain of impermanence and loss.Stonecutter The original source of this story is Japanese. Throw away your books and dive head first into human experience! 108 . We can go for a long time deaf and blind until someone or something shakes things up like that old fish. When Rumi Met Shams This is a good story for fundamentalists to read.
Each strand of hair is ceaselessly whispering praise and this praise is irresistible to the Divine One. Four Signs This of course is the story of Siddhartha Gautama. Tangerine Sutra This story is drawn from Old Path White Clouds. that each hair on a saint’s head is in love with God. If Buddha doesn’t come back with love as the answer then it is a very sad story. My interpretation of the story is a dramatic departure from how it is traditionally told. They say. a story of a deadbeat dad with a pseudo spiritual fanaticism. in Bhakti schools of meditation. It’s my favorite Buddhist sutra. My theory is that the buffalo boy is the reincarnation of the prophet who predicts Buddha’s awakening. 109 .A Story from Northern India My mother told us this story growing up underneath the plum tree in our backyard. a biography of Buddha’s life by Thich Nhat Hanh.
This is the story of how he first became awake.Marpa Marpa (1012-1097 A.D.) was a famous Tibetan Buddhist teacher. He was the teacher of the famous saint Milrepa. Wisdom that comes with Age Chinese in origin. even in the face of his imminent death. 110 . this story illustrates the selfish tendency of youth and the sense of personal sacrifice that matures with age. Don’t Change the World An old Indian story about the invention of shoes. I love how pragmatic it is! This perspective on teachers and miracles was good for me to come to terms with my own guru experiences. it humorously approaches the human tendency to externalize problems that are inherently internal. The old man is persistent in his love for family and a long-term vision.
Thomas Merton was a Catholic monk and scholar. John the Baptist was wild and crazy. Sometimes medicine is administered in silence and the friend is difficult to recognize. “Repent! Turn around! The direction is inward! Go beyond your limited perspective. because the whole world is within your own heart!” This is another story about externalizing and searching for something outside when the change has to happen within.On a Lonely Street Corner This is a loose adaptation of a true story. 111 . Fear would have overcome the sleeper if he had been told the truth and it would have been too late. I heard it told by people on the street many times in Northern India. The Dalai Lama credits Thomas Merton for destroying his own sectarian views. Delhi In India people find this joke very funny. His whole life was a bright fire. He came out of the wilderness crying. He did more for modern Inter-religious dialogue than almost anyone else in the beginning of the twentieth century. Rough Medicine This is an Islamic story that I first heard as a child and then rediscovered in a translation of Rumi poems.
112 . The Blind King Originally from India’s great epic poem the Mahabharata. the divine is seen through the eyes of the heart. such as being old. like an old coat. tied up in Zumbach’s coat. I believe that this story is about the affects of a limiting identity. We often slip on. a crippling idea of who and what we are. this story discusses a common theme in Hindu philosophy. An African Story I don’t know where this story comes from in Africa but it illustrates with profound clarity the metaphysical plight of human beings. Zumbach A Yiddish joke in origin.The First Two This is a popular joke in Turkey. If we’re not careful to keep our minds free of limiting ideas we might end up like that poor man.
inspired by Yorubo and Edospeaking tribes in Africa. inspired by the Hindu and Socratic theory of spiritual amnesia. I believe this is how we are with God…when we could so easily go inside and make love. What they mean by. They believed in the transmigration of the soul and the law of Karma. 113 . Father has Returned Another original story. who would courageously face their execution without fear. who name their male children ‘Father has returned’ and their female offspring ‘Mother has returned’ reflecting their belief in reincarnation.Amnesia A story of my own. Me Jump Up White Fellow This statement. “Me Jump Up White fellow!” comes from the aboriginals of Australia. “Jump Up!” is that they’ll spring back to life and exact their revenge when the roles have karmically switched in the cycle of rebirth.
The Meeting Place I first heard this story from my father. This usually leads to disappointment and a gradual decline in self worth. disregarding the importance of outside circumstances. Early on the path many believe. John spent the rest of his days seeking inner and outer joy. Happiness comes from the Inside and Outside St. John of the Cross. myself included. He used it to illustrate the central theme of acceptance and grace when facing death that is present in all eastern religions. his physical existence. that happiness can only be found within. the author of the classic poem The Dark Night of the Soul. came to profound states of mystical awareness and still his earthly life. 114 . which is a work of spiritual and literary genius.Acceptance This is a Zen story that I heard Ram Das tell in a live lecture. had value. John of the Cross. a big fan of St.
in the night sky and as king of the brightest star. Marpa tested his troubled student for twenty years before teaching him. Ancient Hindu belief placed this boy. I trust someone who suffers and then comes to a sense of peace much more than a teacher who has never been human. Do not Sink into Sadness Brotheus. Finally Milrepa got spiritual instruction and moved to the mountains to meditate and pray. Milrepa sought many teachers but finally settled on Marpa. is a much more relatable character than Socrates. I believe. Then seeing what he had done became repentant. Druva. high towers. to the gods and then knock them down and tell him to start again. who first studied black magic to kill his family. He actually goes through angst and grief unlike his other Greek brother who simply is too wise for any normal human.The Little Raja At night. He would make Milrepa build monuments. my parents would point out the pole star and tell us this story about the boy who sought God in the dark forest. A Story from Bhutan This is the story of Milrepa. 115 . gazing at the stars. Twenty years later he faces these internal demons and through love overcomes them.
and how Rumi saw through loss is a lesson in healing. Rumi. from then on. The Poet Rumi Rumi gives a whole new depth to the poetry of grief and love. Do you want me to die? Originally this story was documented in a biography of another saint named Caitanya who was Hari das’ teacher. Shams is rumored to have been murdered by jealous disciples of Rumi. signed his poems as Shams. 116 . Many people draw connections to the story of Jesus and the suffering and resurrection of Hari das. The story of their friendship is a rare gift. signifying the source of his inspiration. Shams changed Rumi forever.Beyond Words This story is a reflection of my dad’s perspective on prayer. who disagreed with the wildman’s influence.
it has the feeling of Hafiz. a 15th century Bengali classic.A Perfect One A story of forgiveness. to kill the murderous brothers. With your Eyes so much of Heaven can be Seen An original poem. Hafiz means ‘memorizer’. God arrives on the scene. said to be the brother of the Perfect One. The forgiveness and clarity of the Perfect One I left unchanged. people still memorize Hafiz poems by heart. A Story about Beauty The Sufi tradition says that God’s greatest power is beauty. I grew up performing this as a play adapted from the Nityananda Caritamrita. it is the title of someone who has memorized the entire Koran by heart. Whether this story is true or not. 117 . The original story is a little different. Hafiz captures God’s beauty in this world through poetry so purely that he makes it into a thing of even greater beauty. In modern day Iran.
The Bird in the Field An original story about my own experience with prayer. How He became a Saint This story was drawn from a book I studied with my father called St. Flower Sutra After Buddha’s flower lesson. Buddha’s wordless lessons are the basis for Zen practice. Mahakasyapa was known for giving Dharma Talks without words. I hope I captured it. The book is as thick as a college dictionary with very thin almost transparent pages. I love that word Omnibus. Francis. Francis of Assisi Writings and Early Biographies English Omnibus of the Sources for the Life of St. 118 .The Love of One Human This story comes from a little known Bengali hagiography called the Caitanya Bhagavat. The original is a bit more sectarian but the flavor of divine love pours through. He would simply sit and smile at the audience.
Falling in Love A poem I wrote in honor of everyone I love. We felt the Third Presence every night. I would perform an adapted version of this story as a play every Christmas growing up. Omnibus of Sources. The translations I have read are very funny and maybe even a little cruel. Cross of Christ Again from the book. A Story about Presence My father and I loved this story. How many Signs do you Need This is from the Bengali hagiography Nityananda Caritamrita. 119 . What We Do An original poem. when we read and discussed devotional philosophy together.
even the fire burning his sleeve. Prayer An original story about all of my attempts at changing and correcting my behavior/inner desires and my ultimate failure. This is also from the Omnibus of Sources. The monkey is Hanuman. When I surrender to my humanity and the beauty of life these so-called attachments no longer feel like chains but become anchors to a world I dearly love.Real Warmth This is part of the story of the Ramayana. This story is drawn from the Bhagavat Purana. 120 . Thirty Day Fight Sometimes when you fight so long and hard you have to wonder why there is such strong resistance…maybe you’re fighting something much larger than you could ever imagine. When You’re in Love Everything is Your Friend A story about St. Francis’ immense love and reverence for all things.
Once the Sky Fell in Love This is a Hawaiian creation story I grew up with. From a very secular want he is accidentally placed on the path. gains a higher taste through devotional practices and then commits himself to searching for the divine. It’s not an easy road. From his own Heart I discovered this Bengali story after my dad died. The Last Forty Days The life of Hafiz is a perfect allegory for the spiritual journey. It resonated very deeply and I am grateful for the chance to retell it. becomes disappointed and disillusioned. his life was full of grief and loss but in the end his heart becomes saturated in love. 121 .A Cloud Spirit An original story. leaves the guru and tradition to seek God on his own and then finally arrives at selflessness and love.
122 . He was at the forefront of literature written in colloquial tongues rather than the exclusive Sanskrit of the Vedas. in no way mirroring the slow maturation of real life.The Touchstone The old man in the story is Sanatam Goswami. This did wonders for cutting through the caste system. Both Worlds An original story. the seeker of wealth realizes the truth far too quickly. This Swami with his younger brother and a close student single handedly inspired the spiritual. the leader of the famous Bengali Six Goswamis of Braj. In the original. I altered the structure of the story so that the payoff is greater at the end. dance and theater renaissance of 15th century India. musical. literary. Not Yet A classic Japanese story told in Monasteries.
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