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Yogi Stories 4

RESERVATIONS Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc. 

The Net and the Fish

FISH. A NET has been cast into a lake to catch fish. Some fish are so clever that they are never caught in the net. But most of the fish are entangled in the net. Some of them try to free themselves from it. But not all the fish that struggle succeed. A very few do jump out of the net, making a big splash in the water. Then the fishermen shout, "Look! There goes a big one!"

But most of the fish caught in the net cannot escape, nor do they make any effort to get out. On the contrary, they burrow into the mud with the net in their mouths and lie there quietly, thinking, "We need not fear any more; we are quite safe here."
      But the poor things do not know that the fishermen will drag them out with the net. [Tas No. 13]

Ramakrishna's Four Types

  1. Some men live in the world to teach others giant truths.
  2. Those who are free from dross, are not entangled in lusting for flesh and wealth. They ever focus . . . inwardly.
  3. The yearners or seekers of love and freedom and joy - some of them succeed and others don't.
  4. Some men are sunk in worldliness and are forgetful of any Inside Godhead.

The parable about the net shows how fishers of men are, and what fished ones may expect. It is dangerous to be around fishers if you are their target. Apostles were fishers of men, says the gospel.

The Villagers and the Snake

Be like a rhinoceros. - Buddha (attributed). Opposed to this some think "Keep smiling - at times it's the best you can do."

Sleeping kitten.
"Be firmly established by the self in the self." - Yoga Vasistha [Yv 202]
ONCE ON a time a venomous, vicious serpent lived in a hole in a hill outside a village. A hermit of great miraculous power also lived in this village. Many of the villagers' children, who ventured to play around the hill, were attacked by the serpent and stung to death. The villagers tried their utmost to kill the serpent, but failed. Therefore they went in a body to the local hermit and asked him to help them.

Yielding to the entreaties of the villagers, the hermit went near the hole where the serpent lived and summoned him to come out. When he did, he was scolded for stinging children to death and instructed never to bite again, but to love his enemies. The snake did not say "No can do" to anything of this; it seemed that the hermit had hypnotised or cast some spell on him in an odd sort of way.

Now the hermit left the village for a year on a pilgrimage. As he was returning to the village by way of the hill, he thought: "Let me see how the friendly serpent is enjoying life." As he came up to the hole in the hill, he found the serpent lying half-dead in front of the hole with stitches in his back.

The hermit said: "Hello, what's all this?"

The serpent whispered: "Oh, this is the result of practicing your teaching. After you had changed me, the village boys knew I would not attack any of them. Then they threw small stones at me, and after a while big stones at me. They wanted to kill me. I got badly hurt. Now I am lying here with several stitches in my back while trying to love these enemies.

"I told you not to sting, but why didn't you hiss and scare a bit?" countered the hermit. [Retold from Ce 163]


Although meek and spiritual, one should not be spineless or without common sense and allow himself to be made into a doormat, says Yogananda, and: "One should never hiss . . . if he has the tendency to . . . injure anybody. That is what Jesus did."

Learn from cat ways, rather: Hissing has straightforward meanings and escalations. Further, you may be called odd if you refrain from defending yourself and your territory, and from dealing adequately.

"Control your destiny or somebody else will." - Jack Welch

Sleep and more

AT A Hollywood party the guests were playing a game where each had to write an epitaph. A much married actress was sitting next to Robert Benchley and complained that she didn't know what to write for herself. Benchley said,

"Oh, well, I will write it."

He did. The epitaph was "At last she sleeps alone."

Culinary and sound sleep is a great art, well worth learning.

Meeting a Mad Elephant

ONCE in a forest there lived a hermit who had many disciples. One day he taught them to see God in all beings and to bow low before them all. One of the disciples went to the forest to gather wood for a fire. Suddenly he heard an outcry, "Get out of the way! A mad elephant is coming!"

All but the disciple of the holy man took to their heels. He reasoned that the elephant was God in another form. So why run away? He stood still, bowed before the animal, and began to sing its praises while the elephant driver (mahut: elephant keeper, trainer, driver, etc.) was shouting: "Run away! Run away!"

But the disciple didn't run.

The animal seized him with its trunk, cast him to one side, and went on its way. Hurt and bruised, the disciple lay unconscious on the ground. Hearing what had happened, his teacher and his brother disciples came to him and carried him to the hermitage.

With the help of some medicine he soon regained consciousness. Someone asked him, "You knew the elephant was coming - why didn't you leave the place?"

"But, "he said, "our teacher has told us that God Himself has taken all these forms, of animals as well as men. Therefore, thinking it was God that was coming, I didn't run away."

At this the teacher said: "Yes, my child, the elephant God was coming; but the mahut God forbade you to stay there. Why didn't you trust the mahut's words? You should have heeded the words of the mahut God."

"A partial understanding of Reality is no good." [Swami Krishnananda] - But it looks like what an explorer has to make do with.

Ramakrishna Addition

God dwells in all beings. God is even in the tiger. You may say, "Why run away from a tiger, which is also a manifestation of God?" The answer to that is: Those who tell you to run away are also manifestations of God - and why shouldn't you listen to them?
      A man should not have dealings with the unholy, the wicked, the impure. He must not be intimate with them. With some of them one shouldn't even exchange words. One should keep aloof from such people. (Tas 256-57)

All for a fine loin-cloth

INSTRUCTED by his Master a man built a dam and a little hut overlooking it, at quite a distance from the nearest village. Then, when summer came, he moved in and decorated his hut with flowers and get a daily routine.

Every morning he would hang his washed and wet loin-cloth on a tree close to the hut, to dry it. But one day he found that rats had cut holes in it. Next day he strolled to the village for a fresh one, for there was nothing better to do.

He got it, but a few days later the rats got that one too, and tore it to shreds where it hang. He got annoyed and said to himself: "Who shall I ask for another one?"

He went back to the village and asked those who lived there for advice. They said, "Do one thing - keep a cat, and it will keep away the rats."

He got a kitten in the village and carried it to his hut. From that day the rats stopped troubling him. How glad he was!

His little cat was so useful a creature that he decided to give it warm milk every day, and look after it with great care. He begged for the milk at the village for a long time, and kind villagers gave it to him. Then one day one of them said to him, "You come begging for milk every day. Now, think about it. Who will supply you with milk all year round? A cow! Keep a cow, my friend, and you'll have milk for yourself too. It will be a good thing."

The man did as he was cautioned, and got a milch cow. Now he didn't have to beg for milk any longer. But the need for hay and straw for his cow rose. He went to the villagers to beg for straw and hay, and they said at once, "O dear, there are lots of lands next to your hut. You should cultivate it, and then you don't have to go for hay anywhere else."

He took to tilling the land, and it yielded a thousandfold. He had to engage carpenters to build barns to store the crop in. He turned into a land-owner and took a wife to look after his household. He started to live like a too busy householder.

His master came to see him one day, and saw him in the midst of goods and cattle. The guru said, "A fine yogi used to live here in a hut. What has happened? My son, what is all this about?"

The man felt terribly ashamed all of a sudden, fell down at the feet of the master and sobbed, "It was all for a loin-cloth! Why did I do it?"

The master replied, "You didn't stand to live without other people, I surmise."

  • The more you strive, the worse it tends to go, without your knowledge.
  • In India much is destroyed by the rats.
  • He could have been better off if he had made do with a cat and earned his bread.
  • In the long run not even religious-looking begging is the great help it is said to be.
  • The illusion of being tricked to live well is indeed hard to overcome. (And that idea fits many other variants of this Indian tale.)
  • The lost secret of success is not being interested in it a single bit.
  • Maybe the well-to-do man could have outsmarted the rats without a pussy by some sagacious solution to keep his clothing safe and his wants simple.

Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc. 
Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc. - END MATTER

Yogi stories, yoga tales, etc., LITERATURE  

Ce: Müller, Max. Collected Edition of Prof. Max Müller's Works. London: Longman's 1900.

Tas: Ramakrishna. Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna. 5th ed. Madras: Ramakrishna Math, 1974.

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