Your life is in your hands: a story

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Long ago, in a remote village in India, there was a wise sage who lived high on a mountain which overlooked a small village. The villagers would often take a day or two to travel up the mountain to consult with the sage, who was reputed to be a seer and great mystic. People would often report being greatly helped and sometimes healed of certain ailments.

I first wanted to express my gratitude to Tamrapani Prabhu and those who who make Krishna.com function for allowing me to write here, as well as all the readers, and those who make comments. While we are on the subject, I also express my gratitude to Shrila Prahhupada and my many shiksha guru's for giving me the gift of Krishna consciousness and so much inspiration and support from which I have an unlimited subject matter to write about.

No successful person in any field or major endeavor can accomplish what they do without the help and support of many people. Look at the "Acknowledgments" section of most books and see how many people helped make a book possible, that one person is given credit for. I am always amazed at the number of people mentioned in many books. I think that I hardly know well that many people, and I would be hard pressed to remember all their names. I always read that part of any book, and am always impressed.

The title of today's blog is from an old story I heard years ago, that I can't remember where it comes from. It may be on the Internet by now. When I was offering mangal arotik this morning (temple services during the early morning---which start here at 5AM) I was reminded of the following story:

Long ago, in a remote village in India, there was a wise sage who lived high on a mountain which overlooked a small village. The villagers would often take a day or two to travel up the mountain to consult with the sage, who was reputed to be a seer and great mystic. People would often report being greatly helped and sometimes healed of certain ailments.

As is often the case, not everyone believed in the sage, and some even derided him and those who believed in him. Some children of such doubters devised a plan to discredit the sage, who they knew must be some charlatan who preyed on gullible people. They would go to the sage with a small live bird in their hands and ask the sage if the bird was alive or dead. If the sage said the bird was alive, they would kill it, and if the sage said it was dead they would let it go. Then they would expose the falsity of the sage and tell the whole village.

Armed with their nefarious plan, they made the long journey to the sages hermitage. Upon arriving there, they made their presence known to the all-knowing sage, and offered their pretend respects. The sage offered them a seat and some water, and inquired about their welfare. Then he asked them why they had some to see him.

One of the stronger young men spoke up. "O sage we have come with a number of questions for you. We have heard that you are a wise sage, yet some people doubt this, so we have devised a test to determine if is worthwhile to ask you anything else. We wish to inquire from you about the bird my friend has in his hands, is it alive or dead?"

The sage smiled at the foolishness of the boys, and shook his head. Then assuming a serious expression which caused the boys to tremble, he said in a loud commanding voice, "You have thought yourself very intelligent in devising this plan to discredit me. I knew all about your plan long before you made it. There is an important lesson for you here, if you are willing to consider it.

"In your hands you hold the key to life and death---of the bird and your own life. The life you possess if a very precious commodity. You come into this life with a certain nature, and a certain amount of happiness and distress, as well as good and bad fortune, because you are an eternal soul who has lived countless lives before this one. How you live your life today will determine your future in this life, and the next. You should understand at least this much. However, the goal of life is not just to create a better material life for yourself, but to remember your eternal nature as a soul who is part of God."

The sage was truly a realized soul, and thus his words were full of power and meaning, and spoken with true love and compassion. As a result his words affected the boys by awakening in their dormant spirituality.

The boys released the bird and fell at the sage's feet, begging his pardon. The sage told them he wasn't offended in the least, because he knew the boys were ignorant and just accepted the story of others. However he requested them, to dedicate their lives to spiritual cultivation under the guidance of advanced spiritual teachers. The boys hardily agreed, but having faith only in this sage, they requested the sage to become their guru and teacher. After some consideration the sage agreed, with the stipulation that the boys try to get their parents permission.

When the boys returned they appeared different by the influence of the sage and the awakening of their dormant quest for God. Therefore, their parents agreed to the boys request, being moved by their sincerity and intensity, and built an ashram for the sage, and their children.

In conclusion to the story we remind you of the sages teaching to the boys and to all of us:

"Your life is in your hands".

There is a much help and support in the shape of scriptures and saints, yet as Shrila Prabhupada said:"You have to fly your own airplane." At the time of death we have to be responsible for our life's activities, and we must take full shelter of the Lord as our only refuge. Prabhupada is emphasizing that we have to do our part. At the same time Krishna will help us.

Krishna helps those who help themselves. Helping our self means trying our level best to be Krishna conscious through taking advantage of all the processes of devotional service, especially "Sadhu sanga" (saintly association), pure chanting of the holy name, and endeavoring to offer our life for the service of Guru, Krishna, and the Vaishnavas (devotees) in the mood of the 3rd verse of Lord Chaitanya's shikshastakam.

This verse is summarized by Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur in his prayers glorifying these 8 prayers in verse 3 stanza 7: "By possessing these four qualities---humility, mercifulness, respect toward others, and the renunciation of desires for prestige----one becomes virtuous. In such a state you may sing the glories of the Supreme Lord."

Combined comments from old site

Thu, 10/04/2007 - 06:15 — Preethi.N
Thank you

Hare Krishna!
Please accept my most humble obeisances!
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
All Glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

Thank you so much for sharing that realization.It is surely something we all have to learn.Surely have to follow trinad api sunicena then only we can chant the holy names of the Lord.
Thanks for sharing and please keep enlightening fallen souls like me with such wonderful realizations so that i can make some advancement in KC

Your insignificant servant,
Preethi.