A ‘Tale’ Of The Ego…
A Story of A Master And His Student
Written by Troy Devine as Inspired by Karuna..
In the distant hills of the Himalayas sits a Wise Grey Master and his Student. Eyes closed and at peace with their surroundings, they both allow, only the sound of their slow breathing to fill the icey cold ‘Ashram’ they sit in….
At 77, the ‘Guru’ has the physical body of that of his student, muscles interweave his chest and crossed legs with perfect precision, a gentle smile effortlessly fills his face while he remains in a trance like state. Sitting directly opposite, is his 34 year old student, also eyes closed with legs crossed, yet he somehow looks troubled and uneasy with this Meditation. ‘Shakti’ arrived at the himalaya’s as an orphaned boy, left by his western parents at the age of 14 with nothing but the clothes he wore, he decided to seek the universal gift he somehow knew was deep within and was offered refuge at a local Ashram. Now 11 long hours of meditation and 20 years later he begins to question why it was that he decided, to long ago devote himself to the teachings of this Guru.
At the gentle chime of a bell outside, the Guru and his student gently open their eyes. Shakti smiles at his master as if to signal gratitude for the 12 hour endurance session he just sat through, but his Guru, although not showing it, sees straight through his tiring students eyes. “Up” the master signals sternly without words, Shakti knows what is to come next, yet another lesson before his is allowed to settle in for the evening meal. Again without words Shakti’s master signals a very clear demand, pointing at the rug they both just shared with his boney stretched out finger, the Master yet again demands Shakti go down to the river and clean the rug.
Arriving at his favourite stream, Shakti welcomes the icy waters, not because he enjoys yet another day of rug washing, but because, down here the air is filled with the gentle aroma of freshly peeled bark. Shakti enjoys regularly watching the shiney white paper bark drift on by as if to carry all of his worldly troubles away, “I know I can be my own master down here”. He thinks to himself, “someday, I will be my own master up there too” as the Bark of the local Betula trees continues to flow on by. A short while later, Shakti finally gets to retire his weary muscles for yet another night.
The warm golden morning sun rays, gently begin to touch the crossed legs of the master and his student as they once again settle in for their daily meditation. “This day is different” Shakti thinks to himself, allowing his mind to get the better of him, “Today is my 35th Birthday and I am going to become my own master today”. The mere thought fills the room with an unsettling energy, one that Shakti’s Guru senses immediately as he continues to just ‘be’. That afternoon, gentle chime sounds once more, signalling the end of yet another grueling 12 hour shift, but better still, this sound provides the signal for Shakti to announce his own birthday gift.
“Mmmaster”, Shakti stammers, before his master has time to point at the torn old rug on the ground. “Today I feel as though I have finally become equal”, a questioning frown spreads quickly across his masters forehead. Shakti knows that this means his recent statement requires some further clarification, “What I mean is that I want to become a Guru like you, I feel as though I have learned all that I can learn from you, and now…….” His Master’s hand quickly signals that enough has been said, the hand is now close enough to Shakti’s face that he can smell the garlic seeping from the pores from last night meal. As the hand lowers, their eyes meet, Shakti is waiting for a violent outburst but instead is greeted with a calm smile and a gentle nod. “Does this mean you agree” Shakti thinks to himself, his master shakes his head sternly, Shakti should have known that his master somehow knows his every thought.
“Come” his master says, Shakti nearly falls over, as this is the first time he has heard his master’s voice in over 20 years. Shakti follows his master down to his favourite river, smiling to himself knowing that today was not a day he would have to scrub that tattered old rug. Palms facing up, his master signals with both hands that he is now ready to hear more of the story that he ended so abruptly only moments ago. Shakti excited at the chance, he launches into a verbal assault that lasts 10 minutes, “ I know everyone in this village wants to hear my story”, “All the girls dream of marrying me one day”, “My Possessions will amount to a fortune”…..Shakti declares throughout his less than convincing rant. “Ok, I have heard enough”, says his master as he effortlessly glides back up the muddy pathway that leads to the village.
While Shakti was walking through the village that evening, he witnessed once again his master offering a very special blessing to a complete stranger, “a beggar of all people” Shakti said out loud. The stranger wore only one sandle, his loin cloth was muddied and ripped all over, yet as if by magic, when the master offered his blessing the beggar stood tall and smiled as if to instantly let go of all his worries, his face showed that today was now somehow filled with purpose. “I deserve that blessing”, Shakti thought without thinking, at that moment his master, who was at least 200 metres away, spun around looking over his right shoulder as if to try and locate Shakti’s location. “Lucky”, Shakti says softly as he springs behind the temple.
“I want that blessing”, “I want to be a master”, “I know all there is to know”, Shakti mumbled as he returned to his ashram. Turning the last corner before home, his sandals had just about gathered as much mud as they could carry, “SHAK..!!”, his Guru abruptly says, now only a few inches from his face, seemingly appearing from nowhere. “Yes master”, Shakti replies, knowing that his thoughts were somehow heard a few moments ago. “You want my blessing”, “you want to be to all that you can be”, said his master. Without allowing time for shakti’s grin to produce any words, his master forced him to the ground by pushing down on both shoulders, the weight was the same as a 1000 mud bricks. Shakti now sitting in the mud felt humiliated, but to his surprise his master continued to smile as he also lowered his perfect physique down into the mud.
If you are truly ready for my blessing, then you will except one final lesson from me, “Anything”, Shakti snaps with eagerness. “I know you’re not ready to become a master, but if you insist I will allow you one final chance to prove otherwise”, the master explains. “Now then, return to your ashram at once and eat what you see on the floor before you”, “wait..!!!” the master says as he see’s Shakti’s weight shift as if to begin his sprint home. “I advise that you eat it all immediately, as each day that passes, it will only grow larger and larger”…..”Go..!!” The Master says finally. Shakti lept from his sitting position directly into a sprint, his sandals ripped off his feet with ease, as the old straps were no match for the sticky mud below.
Busting through the door, Shakti cannot wait to see what meal lays before him, to his absolute amazement, there it is, his one final chance to prove his master wrong, although this meal is only the size of one of his forgotten sandals, it is not the size of the meal that disgusts Shakti, it is the smell. “Horse Shit”, Shakti yells. A few blocks away his master is making his way home, with yet another gentle smile, he senses Shakti’s absolute disgust. “You old bastard, you expect me to lower myself to eat this horse poo”, Shakti thinks clearly this time, as if to send a direct message to the one he feels is holding him back. Feeling totally lifeless and not willing to eat the poo he decides to sponge off the mud and retire for the night.
Upon waking, Shakti makes his way to his masters temple. Deep down Shakti knows that he did ask for this challenge, he personally asked his master for one final chance to prove his mastery. Shakti already knows the response of his master, so he decides to not seek for the removal of this challenge, he decides that it would be better to ask for an alternative. Sitting before the smug old man in front of him, Shakti spots a nearby urn that is filled with dirty washing water, for moment he pictures himself tipping the dirty water over his master but stops his thoughts instantly, in fear of alerting his master of his current rage and disgust. “Master, I beg of you that I will accept any challenge, but this one, please don’t make me eat the poo”, Shakti pleads. “Oh Shakti, I am not going to make you eat the poo”, as the master looks over towards the urn. “You will one day understand what I want from you”, “maybe the poo will help you to discover this, maybe it won’t”. Shakti jumps in while feeling his master’s possible sympathetic energy, “anything else but this master, I want to be my own master of life, but I don’t wish to eat the poo”.
“Ok, you only have one final option, you are to get each and every person in this village to hate you, do whatever it takes, also, to become a master as you so desire, you must not resent them as they fill the air with words of disgust towards you”. The Master was final with his options this time. “OK..!!”, Shakti announces, he immediately likes his alternative. Although Shakti loves nothing more than people looking up to him, he knows that this option is far better than what lays back on the floor of his ashram. A few days pass and Shakti is sitting in his ashram while staring at the pile of horse poo, now the size of a bucket he remembers his master’s original words. “You must eat it all immediately and each day that passes that you refuse to do so, then it will only grow larger and larger”…. Shakti ways up his options, “Do I leave the village and become my own master somewhere else”, “Do I throw out the poo and tell that old bugger that I finally ate it”. “No, no” Shakti says, putting an end to his loose thoughts as he knows who is listening. “I need to do this in order to become my own master, I need to show him once and for all that I want this bad enough”. Off Shakti went, leaving the ever growing pile of dung behind to start on his quest to gather haters.
Weeks had passed now and Shakti had only managed to get a couple of people to hate him in the village of around 50, he was finding it hard not to hate them back, Shakti also began to think poorly of his master. While sitting once again in his ashram, to his surprise the horse poo grew very quickly each time Shakti had a negative thought towards anyone, amazed, Shakti ran out of his ashram to try a little experiment. One by one on this day, Shakti’s list of haters grew larger larger, he heard them speaking poorly about him everywhere he went. Racing home to confirm his experiment, he sat before the huge pile of dung that was now almost up to his waist, he sat on the floor and began to regulate his thoughts by doing his favourite waking meditation.
Shakti’s eyes wandered around the room as usual but he was certain not to let his thoughts wander anywhere, Shakti believed that this pile of poo was a direct reflection of his thoughts towards himself and others. As he heard the villagers outside walking passed yelling obscenities about him, Shakti continued with his gentle waking state meditation, bringing his attention back to the now, letting each moment drift on by without judgement or attachment. He was now the watcher of his thoughts, something he had not fully grasped until this moment. Before him, the pile of poo began to grow slightly smaller. “I get it, I finally get it, my master didn’t want me to eat this poo after all, he wanted me to understand that it represented my EGO and each time I allowed my thoughts to dominate my life, it would grow larger”….
As the entire village now spread the word about Shakti, their disgust filled the air. Shakti remained the ‘watcher’ of his thoughts while in waking state meditation everywhere he went, offering a gentle neutral smile to all passers by, he now sent love.
Shakti knew that today would be the day that he lost his ego once and for all. “I am the master of my thoughts, I chose to never allow my ego to ruin my life ever again” Shakti announces with as a gentle smile that fills his face.
Many years passed and people began to like Shakti once more, they began to ask him for advice, like he once did with his master.
Now sitting back in his ashram, Shakti smiles as the smell of his favourite paperbark tree fills the room and his nostrils. There in the middle of the room is a beautiful piece of bleached white paper bark. Shakti leans forward on his knees and reached out for the perfectly square piece of bark, settling back into the legs crossed position he turns the bark over, there he finds 4 words that touch his soul….
“ YOU – HAVE – MY – BLESSING “
Tears begin to flood Shakti’s cheeks, sobbing uncontrollably he knows that these tears have been waiting to be discovered for some time now, these tears are the final realisation of how to live a masters life. Every moment that he and his master shared together begins to flash passed in his mind, from a young age of 14 to now 40, Shakti knows what it was that his master wanted all along, “he only ever wanted me to find and then lose my ego”……..
Shakti grins and sends love once more.