Stories from Rishikesh
The town of Rishikesh is a holder of wisdom - ancient and alive. Throughout our time wandering through the crowded streets we crossed paths with many people who possessed a fire in their eyes. These were the yogis. The Givers. Generous with their time and intent with their message. Spending time in the Himalayan foothills illuminated the power of story to communicate the deeper messages of our experience on this earth. These people welcomed us into their homes, cooked us food, and took the time to share stories with us. I'm grateful for their genuine, welcoming presence.
This post is a retelling of 3 of those stories. I'm not sure where they came from, but I pass them on to you today as they were passed to me.
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A Father, A Son, and A Horse
A father and son are crossing a valley with their horse. The two are sitting on the horse together as they pass through a small village. People saw them and were appalled. "How can they make that horse carry so much weight? It's cruel to the animal!" Hearing their comments, the father decided to jump down and walk alongside the horse instead.
Then they passed another group of people. "Look at that poor father walking next to his own horse. It is not right. That boy is young and should be the one walking."
So, the father told his son that it is better for him to ride the horse. Now the father was riding and his son was walking. The next group of people commented, "that father is so inconsiderate. His son is young and should be learning how to properly ride a horse."
The father hopped off the horse and tried a new approach. Now he and his son were walking together beside the horse, the three of them in a line. People on the side of the path were disgusted. "What are those two doing with that perfectly good horse? It's a shame that such a nice horse isn't being ridden through this beautiful valley!"
Frustrated by all the comments, the father and son hoisted the horse on their shoulders and labored down the path. The people laughed.
No matter what you do, people are going to judge you. And that's perfectly OK.
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A King Builds a Bridge
A king decided that he wanted to build a beautiful, majestic bridge across a river in his kingdom. It would be a grand project that would eventually become one of the most exquisite pieces of architecture that this land had ever seen. The construction began and the king was elated.
Weeks later, a squirrel came by and heard about the king's grand plan. "This is a great idea. Now it will be so easy to cross the river!" Excited about the new bridge, and keen to contribute, the squirrel harvested a small stone and placed it on the bridge.
The squirrel approached the king and shared his work. "Goodday your majesty," the squirrel said, "I wanted to let you know that I placed a stone on the bridge yesterday to do my part in completing the project. I'm excited to see what it looks like when it's done!"
The king was taken aback by the squirrel's generosity. Never had he encountered a creature willing to help him with his projects in this way. "Thank you so much," the king said, "I will be forever grateful for your efforts." The king smiled and the squirrel continued on his way.
Any act of kindness - no matter how small - leaves a positive impact on the world around you.
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Where is God?
A king was sitting on his throne, lost in deep thought. He turned to his security guard, "Guard, can you answer this question for me: where is God?" The security guard looked back at him. "Hold on sir. I'll be right back."
When the guard returned, he placed a bowl of milk in front of the king. The king was confused. "Why did you bring me a bowl of milk?"
"When a man wants to make ghee, he always starts with milk. But one cannot just make ghee without putting in the effort required. There is a process to it. You have to work the milk, and continue working it, and eventually you will have delicious ghee."
"God is like ghee. There is a process involved to uncover His magic. You have to engage with the process of turning your perception toward God, just as the man works to turn milk into ghee. Then you will see God everywhere you look."
The king was perplexed. "And what is this process?"