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"Holy Mother" painted by Swami Tadatmananda
Used courtesy of the Vedanta Society of Southern California
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It is said that for the things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them. The Buddha told a story about this.
A young widower, who loved his five-year old son very much, was away on business, and bandits came, burned down his whole village, and took his son away. When the man returned, he saw the ruins, and panicked. He took the charred corpse of an infant to be his own child, and he began to pull his hair and beat his chest, crying uncontrollably. He organised a cremation ceremony, collected the ashes and put them in a very beautiful velvet bag. Working, sleeping, eating, he always carried the bag of ashes with him.
One day his real son escaped from the robbers and found his way home. He arrived at his father’s new cottage at midnight, and knocked at the door. You can imagine at that time, the young father was still carrying the bag of ashes, and crying. He asked, “Who is there?” And the child answered, “It’s me Papa. Open the door, it’s your son.” In his agitated state of mind the father thought that some mischievous boy was making fun of him, and he shouted at the child to go away, and he continued to cry. The boy knocked again and again, but the father refused to let him in. Some time passed, and finally the child left. From that time on, father and son never saw one another.
After telling this story, the Buddha said, “Sometime, somewhere you take something to be the truth. If you cling to it so much, when the truth comes in person and knocks at your door, you will not open it.”
This story reminds me of what I read last night of a disillusioned seeker (true story) in India who went from holy man to holy man for answers. He met a master in Southern India and asked "Can you give me what you have?."
The master did not at first answer, so he asked again, and then the Master replied, "I can give it to you, but can you receive it?" The seeker went away and never saw the Master again, but in all of his philisophical tortured sounding life, it seemed to be the only answer that ever penetrated.
It also reminds me that we should never do anything out of fear.
My son is serving the American Army in Afghanistan. I fluctuate between fear and trust. I have prayed as a Mother (our Mother) prays for her children. I remember the dream I received from Mother that "Your boy will be allright" and I don't know whether to rejoice or to doubt. In the same story above, the seeker also posed to the Master, "Sometimes I think I am free, and sometimes it leaves me." The Master answered "You are either free, or you are not."
I am so grateful I have this spiritual family. Thank you for the story that touches so many levels.
Location: New Bern, NC
Rosemary, I am rushing off to Bourne End (Vedanta Centre) for a three day retreat to be conducted by Swami Veetamohananda of France and will be back on Thursday. Hence a brief comment.
Neither rejoice nor doubt but a simple trust in the Divine Mother's assurance is enough. Feelings of fear under your circumstances are normal. Every time such feeling comes, simply pray: "Divine Mother, what I call 'my son', really belongs to you. So please take good care of him and keep him safe. I as his earthly mother am simply his caretaker on your behalf." As a caretaker mother keep sending him your thoughts of love, everytime you think of him.
Location: Wilmslow, U.K.
I know you are not "at home" now, but I must go ahead and deeply thank you for your reply. My mind is very strained and your words are most helpful.
Location: New Bern, NC