Once upon a time, there was a rich and very beloved king, who used to visit the neighboring kingdoms regularly to maintain good relations with the other monarchs. During the meetings between the kings, it was customary to exchange gifts, and the kindly king always arrived with full hands and returned to his kingdom with even fuller hands.
During a visit to a neighboring kingdom, the King was given two beautiful parrots, which had come from faraway magical forests, or so he was told. “These parrots need a natural environment to grow and flourish,” they explained to the king, so when he returned to his kingdom he set up a huge garden with landscaped vegetation, clear lakes, and high waterfalls.
As the time passed, the parrots grew, and one of them even began to fly around the garden regularly, but the other parrot remained on the branch on which he had stood from his first day in the garden, refusing to leave it.
The King had invited thousands of professional parrot trainers from all over the kingdom and the neighboring kingdoms, and they had done their best to make the lazy parrot fly, but no matter what they tried, the parrot would not budge.
The King’s advisers advised him to publish an advert, promising one thousand gold coins to whoever managed to make the lazy parrot fly. The King agreed, and that’s exactly what he did.
The next morning a simple farmer arrived at the King’s palace and claimed he could make the parrot leave his branch and fly. The King was very wary, he did not understand what a simple peasant could know about parrot training that the royal parrot trainers did not.
However, on that day, while the King was walking in the garden, he saw two parrots fly through the air, one of them being the lazy parrot who had not previously agreed to leave its branch. The King summoned the farmer immediately and asked him, “How did you make my lazy parrot leave its branch and fly?”
The farmer replied, “It was very easy, Your Excellency, I just cut the branch on which it sat.”
This parable teaches us that, like the parrot, we all have the ability to succeed and reach new heights, but it takes courage to deal with things that are unfamiliar to us or that frighten us. We must free ourselves from our branch – our comfort zone – to explore new possibilities for success and discover what our true capabilities are. Until that happens, we will not be able to spread our wings and fly.
By indian-admin on 20-12-2017
In the famous movie “Mass Appeal” Jack Lemmon was playing an older priest who had been more interested in pleasing his people than God, but, then, had a conversion.
So this Sunday he stands up and begins: “My homily this morning will be exactly 30 seconds long. That’s the shortest homily that I’ve ever preached in my life, but it’s also the most important homily I’ve ever preached. I want to make just three points.
First, millions of people in the world are hungry and homeless.
Second, most people in the world don’t give a damn about that.
Third, many of you are more disturbed by the fact that I just said damn in the pulpit than by the fact that I said that there are millions of hungry and homeless people in the world.”
With that, he made the sign of the cross and sat down.
‘To call the spade, a spade’ you don’t need a lot of words, but courage.
By indian-admin on 15-12-2017
Peter liked to hike around in the woods, especially with his father, who could explain so many things they saw. So they both went out for another hike, only this time the whole area was muddy because it had rained during the night. But they were prepared: they wore their rubber boots.
As they trudged along, more and more mud caked onto their boots so that their feet looked like two big blobs of mud.
After a bit, Peter was forced to stop. “I can’t go any farther,” he said, “My feet are too heavy.”
“No wonder,” his father said. “Your rubber boots are caked with mud; we can’t go on like this. We’ll have to get that mud off our boots.”
So at the next little stream Peter washed the caked clay off his boots, then walking became easier again.
Reflection: It is the same with our spiritual life too. As we trudge along it is almost inevitable that we become dirty. We need to cleanse ourselves frequently.
By indian-admin on 09-12-2017
An eagle and a tortoise had been friends for many years. One day the eagle said to his tortoise friend, “You know, it’s too bad that you are so small and slow. If, for example, my mother were to die suddenly, you would never make it in time for the wake.”
To which the tortoise answered, “In this life intelligence is worth more than both strength and size. You just tell me when your mother wants to join her ancestors, and I’ll be there immediately.”
The eagle just smiled but said nothing. When shortly thereafter his mother died, he sent a vulture to the tortoise to tell him the news.
The tortoise thanked the vulture for bringing the news and told him, “Fly back to the eagle and tell him that I’ll be coming soon. Then come back because in the meantime I want to get some presents ready. In case we don’t meet, take along this handbag; it contains everything.”
The vulture flew back to the eagle with the tortoise’s answer.
The eagle just hung his head and said. “1 just knew that that poor fellow wouldn’t come in time. And even when he insists that in this life intelligence is more important than size and strength, I know those are just empty words. Now I’d like to see that handbag of which you spoke, so go back and get it.”
So the vulture flew back to the tortoise, found the handbag in his cave, and he brought it to the eagle. “You see,” said the eagle with a sad smile, “the tortoise is not here yet. I knew he would not be able to come on time.”
He had hardly finished the sentence when the tortoise stuck its head out of the handbag.
Reflection: Often enough we hear people, who are otherwise in very bad shape, remark, “Thank God, the head is still okay.” “Intelligence is more important than anything else in life.”
By indian-admin on 07-12-2017
Advaita Vedanta! The doctrine of Advaita Vedanta as expounded by Sankara can be summed up in half a verse: “Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah” — Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; this world is unreal; and the Jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman. This is the quintessence of his philosophy. According to Sri Sankara, whatever is, is Brahman. Brahman Itself is absolutely homogeneous. All difference and plurality are illusory. Insights into Advaita Vedanta Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; this world is unreal; and the Jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman.
The Atman is self-evident (Svatah-siddha). It is not established by extraneous proofs. It is not possible to deny the Atman, because It is very essence of the one who denies It. Brahman is not an object, as It is Adrisya, beyond the reach of senses, mind or intellect. It is not another. It is all-full, infinite, changeless, self-existent, self-delight, self-knowledge and self-bliss. It is Svarupa, essence. It is the essence of the knower. It is the Seer (Drashta), Transcendent (Turiya) and Silent Witness (Sakshi). It is always the Witnessing Subject. It can never become an object as It is beyond the reach of the senses. Brahman is non-dual, one without a second. It has no other beside It.Sat-Chit-Ananda constitute the very essence or Svarupa of Brahman, and not just Its attributes. The world is not an illusion according to Sankara. The world is relatively real (Vyavaharika Satta), while Brahman is absolutely real (Paramarthika Satta). The unchanging Brahman appears as the changing world because of a superimposition of non-Self (objects) on Self (subject – Brahman). This is called Avidya.
The Jiva or the individual soul is only relatively real. Its individuality lasts only so long as it is subject to unreal Upadhis or limiting conditions due to Avidya. The Jiva identifies itself with the body, mind and the senses, when it is deluded by Avidya or ignorance. Just as the bubble becomes one with the ocean when it bursts, so also the Jiva or the empirical self becomes one with Brahman when it gets knowledge of Brahman. When knowledge dawns in it through annihilation of Avidya, it is freed from its individuality and finitude and realizes its essential Satchidananda nature. It merges itself in the ocean of bliss. The river of life joins the ocean of existence. This is the Truth. Because samsara (or duality) exists due to ignorance or Avidya, Knowledge (Jnana) alone can make an individual realize his true nature. Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga etc., are necessary only to purify the individual and to help remove this Avidya. All other paths culminate in Jnana. Brahma Jnana is not about acquiring any external knowledge (as Brahman can’t be an object of knowledge), it just about removing the Avidya or Maya.
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 28-11-2017
Once there was a king who used to regularly take the advice of a sage. One day the king asked the sage as to how to get rid of his anxiety and depression as he was not feeling well in body and mind.
The sage closed his eyes and thought for a moment and then replied; “There is only one cure for your sickness. The king must sleep one night in the shirt of a perfectly happy man.”
Messengers were sent to every nook and corner of the country to search for the “happy man’, but none could be found. Every seemingly happy man had some misery that had robbed him of complete happiness.
At long last the search was successful, and the messengers found a man who was perfectly happy. He was a beggar. They explained to him the situation and wanted to procure his shirt at any cost to cure their king. The beggar burst out into laughter, saying, “I don’t have a shirt.”
By indian-admin on 11-10-2017
A priest, a minister and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephone repairman worked nearby.
“Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray,” the priest said.
“No,” said the minister. “I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven.”
“You’re both wrong,” the guru said. “The most effective prayer position is lying down on the floor.”
The repairman could contain himself no longer.
“Hey, fellas,” he interrupted. “The best praying’ I ever did was when I was hanging’ upside down from a telephone pole.”
By indian-admin on 10-10-2017
Two strangers approached a Zen master with sorrow in their hearts. ‘We have done wrong. Our conscience is troubled. How do we wash away our guilt?” They told the Master.
The first man said, “I have committed a great crime.”
“What about you?” asked the Master to the other man. “I have done many wrong things, but they are all small.” Said the second man.
The Master reflected for a while before answering them and then told them, “You go and bring me a stone for each of your sins.”
After a while the first man returned struggling under the weight of a huge boulder, and deposited it at the feet of the Master. In the mean time the second man also came back carrying a bag of pebbles.
“Now take these stones and put them back where you found them.” Counseled the Master. Once again the first man shouldered the rock and staggered back to where he had found the rock. But the second man found the task impossible.
Then the wise man told them, “If one has committed a serious wrong, it lies like a heavy stone on his conscience. But when he is really sorry, he is forgiven the and the load is taken away. But if one commits small faults, and does not bother about his conscience, he is not likely to feel the burden of his guilt. That will gradually lead him to greater evil.”
Little wrongs, overlooked, can steadily lead us to grave ones, as little by little our conscience becomes calloused. Gradually we loose the strength and courage straighten up. Going wrong and then coming back straight is rather difficult.
By indian-admin on 09-10-2017
“Holy man,” said a novice to Father Abbot, “my heart is full of love for the world and my soul is free of temptations from the devil. What is my next step?”
The Abbot asked the young man to accompany him on a visit to a sick person who needed the ‘anointing of the sick.’ While comforting the family, the Abbot noticed a trunk in a corner of the house.
“What is it?’ asked the Abbot. “It is clothes,” replied the son, that my father never used. He bought nice clothes, always thinking that the right occasion would arise to wear them. But he never wore them. They ended up rotting in that truck.”
“Don’t forget that trunk,” said the venerable Abbot to the young man, as they left the house.
Comment: Be aware of the good gifts you are endowed with and be sure to make use of them for the good of your neighbour and for your own spiritual growth. Left to themselves they will rote away like the good clothes in the trunk.
By indian-admin on 22-09-2017
A young man crossed the desert and reached the monastery of Scelta. There he asked permission to attend the talks of the Abbot.
That afternoon the Abbot spoke about the importance of meditation, and went on to talk about the importance of silence. Finally when his talk was over, the Abbot asked the young man to help him build a road to the neighbouring village.
“But why?” asked the young man. “After all, isn’t most the important thing to pray?”
“Praying is important,” said the Abbot. “But you can pray even better, if you manage with your hands to find a way to communicate with your neighbour.”
Comment: Prayer is important. But prayer without good works is dead. While calling on God for assistance, one should also lend a helping hand to his needy neighbour.