A great saint, Minora, was dying. His chief disciple came close to him and asked softly, “Master, you are leaving us. One question has always been in in our minds. Who was your Master?. This has been a great curiosity among all your disciples because we have never heard you talk about your Master. But we could never gather courage to ask you.”
Minora opened his eyes and said, “It will be very difficult for me to answer because I have learned from almost everybody. The whole existence has been my Master. I have learned from every event that has happened in my life. And I am grateful to all that has happened because out of all that learning I have arrived.”
Minora said, “Just to satisfy your curiosity I will give you three instances…
I was very thirsty and I was going towards the river carrying my begging bowl, the only possession I had. When I reached the river, a dog rushed past me, jumped into the river and started drinking.
I watched the dog for a moment, then threw away my begging bowl. A dog could do without it. I also jumped into the river, drank as much water as I wanted. My whole body was cool because I had jumped into the river. I sat in the river for a while longer. In my heart, I thanked the dog with deep reverence because he had taught me a lesson.
I had dropped everything, all possessions, but there was a certain clinging to my begging bowl. It was a beautiful bowl, very beautifully carved, and that I was always aware that somebody might steal it. Even in the night I used to put it under my head as a pillow so nobody could snatch it away. That was my last clinging. The dog helped. It was clear: if a dog can manage without a begging bowl, what more me? I am a man, why can’t I manage? That dog was one of my teachers.
I lost my way in a forest and by the time I reached the nearest village it was midnight. Everybody was fast asleep. I wandered all over town, until finally I found one man. I asked him ”Can you give me shelter for the night?”
The man said, “I can see from your attire that you are a mystic. I am perfectly willing, but I must tell you who I am. I am a thief. Would you like to be the guest of a thief?”
For a moment Minora hesitated. The thief said, ”You seem to be hesitant. The thief is willing but the mystic seems hesitant, as if the mystic is weaker than the thief. In fact, I should be afraid of you—you may transform my whole life! Inviting you means danger, but I am not afraid. You are welcome. Come to my home, eat, drink, go to sleep and stay as long as you want. I can manage for two persons. And it will be really beautiful to chit chat with you of great things. But you seem to be hesitant.
Minora became aware that it was true. He asked to be forgiven. He said, ”Yes, my rootedness in my own being is very weak. You are really a strong man and I would like to come to your home. And I would like to stay a little longer, not only for this night. I want to be stronger myself!”
The thief said, “Come on!” He fed the Mystic and gave him shelter. Now I will go. I have to do my own thing. I will come back early in the morning.” Early in the morning the thief came back. Minora asked “Have you been successful?”
The thief said, “No, not today, but I will see tomorrow.”
And this happened continuously, for thirty days: every night he went out, and every morning he came back empty-handed. But he was never sad, never frustrated –no sign of failure on his face, always happy—and he would say , ”It doesn’t matter. I tried my best, I could not find anything today again, but tomorrow I will try. And, If it is the will of God, it can happen tomorrow if it has not happened today.”
After one month Minora left, and for years he tried to realize the ultimate and it was always failure. But each time he decided to drop the whole project he remembered the thief, his smiling face and his belief ”If God wills it, what has not happened today may happen tomorrow.”
Minora said, ”I remembered the thief as one of my greatest teachers. Without him I would not be what I am.”
I entered a small village. A little boy carrying a lit candle was going somewhere. And Minora asked, “Can you tell me from where the light comes? You have lighted the candle yourself so you must have seen where the light came from. What is the source of the light?”
The boy laughed and he said, “Wait!” And he blew out the candle in front of Minora. And he said,” You have seen the light go. Can you tell me where it has gone? If you can tell me where it has gone I will tell you from where it has come, because it has gone to the same place. It has returned to the source.”
Minora said, “I had met great philosophers but nobody had made such a beautiful statement: “It has gone to the very source.” Everything returns to its source finally. Moreover, the child made me aware of my own ignorance. I was trying to joke with the child, but the joke was on me. He showed me that asking foolish questions: “from where has the light come?”—is not intelligent. It comes from nowhere, from nothingness — and it goes back to nowhere, to nothingness.”
Minora said,” I paid reverence to the child. The child was puzzled. He asked, “Why do you pay respect to me?” And I told him, “You are my teacher– You have shown me something. You have given me a great lesson, a great insight.”
Since that time, Minora said, “I have been meditating on nothingness and slowly, slowly, I have entered into nothingness. And now the final moment has come when the candle will go out and the light will go out. And I know where I am going—to the same source.
No situation is without a lesson, no situation at all. All situations are filled with meaning and intelligence. But we have to discover them. They may not always be on the surface.
When we see life itself as our teacher, these lessons become more accessible.
What are the Spiritual Laws in operation here?