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  Volume 4 - Issue 11 NOVEMBER 2006
 
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VIKRAM, THE STABLE BOY

 

There once was a stable boy named Vikram who took care of five fine horses. His daily chores included scrubbing the horses and feeding them their oats and hay. He also had to keep the stables clean and occasionally let the horses out for a healthy run. Vikram was a good boy, but his mind would wander and he became careless from time to time.

There were two pastures on the farm. One was well kept, pleasant and quiet, while the other was unkempt and left to grow wild, with plants and grasses abounding everywhere. Vikram’s father warned him that he should never let the horses get out into the wild pasture as the scents in the air from the grasses would act like a potent drug and stir their senses and cause them to go into a frenzy and run amuck. Vikram solemnly swore to his father that he would never let the five fine horses loose in this pasture.

 
 

For a long time the boy was careful and kept his word. On one particular Sunday, however, momentarily forgetting his father’s warning, Vikram was careless and unthinkingly opened the wrong stable doors which led directly to the wild pasture. The result was swift. The horses reared up on their hind legs, snorted like bulls and bolted out. With their eyes rolled back, ears flat, and mouths foaming, they knocked Vikram aside and tore the doors off their hinges and broke free.

The horses raced into the pasture where they immediately began to challenge and fight each other. Vikram watched in despair as they went wild and lost all control. He could do nothing but stay out of their way. In desperation, he prayed fervently. Finally, when they were utterly exhausted, the horses returned to the stable. They were covered with bruises and suffered injuries from their mad dashing about and fighting each other. It took many months for their various wounds to heal. During this time, they refused the healthy food Vikram offered them and were uncooperative and difficult to handle.

Eventually, the horses recovered from their physical wounds and became calm and well behaved once more. As for Vikram, did he learn his lesson and never make the same blunder again? We wish we could say he did, but that is not what happened, unfortunately.

Three months later, on another hot and lazy Sunday when his father was away, Vikram found himself bored and restless. He decided to let the horses out for just a few minutes so they could have a little taste of freedom. He promised himself he would be more careful this time and keep a close watch on them and not let things get out of hand like the last time. He thought he could keep them under control and so opened the doors for them.

However, once again, the horses broke free, knocked Vikram flat, pushed the doors right off their hinges and headed for the wild pasture. They turned on each other, became wild without any control and fought each other for dominance. Vikram prayed even harder than he did before, but by the time he managed to get them all back in the stable, they were in even worse shape than the previous incident! It took longer for the horses to return to a peaceful state and heal from their wounds. Vikram’s father was very disappointed in him, but not as disappointed as Vikram was with himself.

 

Dear reader, doesn’t our mind act like this? When we feed it healthy thoughts and positive ideas and maintain a clean environment and keep control over it, then it will behave and not cause us any problems or embarrassment. However, the moment we let it run amuck in the pasture of unhealthy ideas and activities, it can develop a taste for this dangerous “freedom” which is not really freedom at all but just rowdiness. Such unruliness can even become a habit or an addiction, which becomes harder to rein in every time we yield to it. When we slip into such a state, it can be very difficult to regain control of our “horses,” meaning to tame the mind once we have allowed it to run wild. Only through intense prayer and association with good company and keeping a pious environment can we then return them to the soothing, pleasing green pastures where we can experience peace and happiness. So you see, it is therefore worth the trouble and effort to keep our horses under control rather than let them loose to run wild. Lord Krishna in the Gita says,

Sraddaa vaan labate jnaanam
Tat parah smyatendriyaha
Jnaanam labdhvaa param saantim
Achirenaa adhigachatti

“The man of faith, earnestness, perseverance, determination and steadfastness, the man of supreme devotion, the man of sense control will obtain this wisdom. Having obtained this wisdom, he will soon enjoy supreme peace.”

- Courtesy: Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas, Sep 2006.
Illustrations: Ms. Vidya, Kuwait

- Heart2Heart Team


 
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Vol 4 Issue 11 - NOVEMBER 2006
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