Volume 7 - Issue 10
OCTOBEr 2009
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THE SAINT AND THE CHILD

 

In a mountain village, there once lived an enlightened man - a saint. He meditated for days on end. He had neither a wife nor children. The man lived alone and wanted to experience divinity. The saint isolated himself from everything that in his opinion could interfere with reaching his goal. People were forbidden to approach his house.

The villagers believed that if the saint succeeded in reaching God, then the whole village would live in bliss and love. People waited many years for this miracle to happen, and they hoped that it would occur soon. Nothing happened though.

On the outskirts of the village, there lived a shepherd with his small family - wife and two children. Early mornings found him herding the sheep, and occasionally he would return only several days later. His wife took care of the house and children in his absence.

 

Their youngest daughter was to turn five in the spring that year. The child was looking forward to this day very much. The parents had been saving money all year to buy their children some sweets on this day, especially because they couldn’t afford it more regularly.

When the long-anticipated day finally came, nature itself was rejoicing. The sun was shining brighter than usual, the air was filled with fragrances that seemingly had never been there before, and the water in the mountain spring was uncommonly sweet.

The little girl was up with the first rays of the sun and running through the whole village thanking everybody for being there and smiling at everyone she met.

The child gently touched all the leaves and flowers, whistled to the birds and reminded everyone, plants, animals and people, to celebrate her birthday. Her joy overwhelmed the village.

People forgot they were supposed to be silent so as not to disturb the saint’s attempts to reach perfection. The adults let the children play. Some even joined the merry hullabaloo. Joy was the rule in the village that day.

The girl had been inviting everyone to celebrate her birthday until she came to a grey house on the other side of the village. She was happy she had discovered a whole new world on this day, because she had never been there before. She felt so grown-up now that she had crossed the whole village and come to a place everyone considered sacred.

The child clapped her hands and uttered in glee: “Hurray! Hurray!” She ran to the door and tried to open it so she could ask the inhabitants of this house to join the festivities too. The door seemed closed. The child pulled at the handle, but she was too weak to open the heavy door. Then the girl thought that she must have already met the people living in this house and invited them to her birthday; she assured herself that they would probably be already waiting for her at her parents’ house.

Still glowing with joy, the girl ran home to thank everyone who had showed up. Closer to her home, she saw many people had responded to her invitation. The children were playing hide-and-seek, concealing themselves behind this and that. The grown-ups were talking and laughing.

We often intellectualize things like peace, divinity, happiness, truth, bliss...
It is actually not that hard to experience if we let go and absorb
all the good things around us.

The girl’s parents looked embarrassed and cross, because they didn’t have anything to offer to so many guests. All they could afford to give their daughter on this day were a few sweets that the father had bought from the saved money in the village in the valley.

The girl came up to everyone. She tickled the children, and took the adults by the hand and pressed their palms to her cheeks. She kissed the jasmine bush growing by her home, the leaves and the flowers. She came up to every animal, dogs, cats, and the sheep herded by her father.

The child made time for everyone, and thanked them with a caress or a smile for being there. Joy overwhelmed every living being. It flowed through the village streets and entered every crack, every house, every place everywhere, and finally it came to where the saint was waiting for divine enlightenment.

The joy embraced the holy man too. The saint started. All his work had been in vain! So many years had been devoted to finding the divine for the village to live in blessing and happiness. The goal seemed to have been so close, and then someone had destroyed it all in one moment.

The saint jumped to his feet, beckoned to his staff and ran in the direction from where he heard joyous chatter and laughs. He believed he could still bring the villagers back to their senses, stop this happy riot and regain balance in order to achieve stillness and god.

 

The saint ran through the streets he didn’t recognize anymore. The last time he had seen the village was when there had been only a few shacks. Now, the streets sort of multiplied and everything seemed new. Houses had grown like mushrooms, brown, white, red. There were bushes growing by the houses, there were pots with flowers in all the colours of the rainbow swaying to the wind.

When the saint reached the place the joy had been born, he seemed a little confused, because there were many people there, children and adults, more than he had ever seen in his life.

Having come closer, he saw joy itself; a small sun-kissed girl was smiling at everyone. The child came up to the saint and was about to take his hand when the saint said in a cold voice: “Do you understand what you have done? I meditated for years to achieve bliss and divine love for myself and for this village. It was just about to happen, but you ruined it all in one moment!”

The girl smiled at the saint: “Your efforts were not in vain. Look how many people have come to live near you! You created the conditions for the miracle to happen. I just happened to trigger off the miracle!”

The saint was surprised at her words. He sat down on the ground and started to cry. The little girl sat next to him, cuddled him, and started to hum a song. Then she took the man’s face in her small palms, wiped away his tears and silently said: “Free some space for joy! Look around you! You, an old, wise man, and me, a little girl, together, we have created such a miracle - we have given joy to so many people!”

It was only then that the saint understood what he had lacked to achieve the divine enlightenment - simple, pure, and child-like happiness!

We often intellectualize things like peace, divinity, happiness, truth, bliss... It is actually not that hard to experience if we let go and absorb all the good things around us.

 

By Ms. Rita Ivanova, Latvia

 

Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Do you have a similar story to share? Please tell us your reflections about this article by writing to [email protected] mentioning your name and country. Thank you for your time.

    - Heart2Heart Team

 

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