Friday, February 10, 2012


                       There was a saintly sage in ancient India. He resided in a hermitage in a forest. He was a great scholar, philosopher and gifted physician who had mastered the science of Ayurveda, the superb system of indigenous medicine which is very popular in India even today. He used to provide free medical aid to the poor people of the neighbouring villages. He had several students who stayed with him and learned under his expert guidance.
                      On a stormy night, a young man rushed to the hermitage and sought the help of the sage to save his father, a poor villager who was very sick and bed-ridden. He was actively involved in the festival of the local temple when he suddenly fainted and fell down and was carried home and laid on bed.
                       The sage collected the necessary medicines and asked one of his disciples to accompany them. He lighted the traditional portable oil lamp from the lamp of the hermitage and handed it to the student. "Carry it carefully as the night is dark and windy. See that it is not extinguished by the wind and that the oil is not spilled out from the lamp." The student led the way carrying the lamp carefully. The sage and the young man followed. They reached the end of the forest and proceeded along the narrow path through the village. They could see at a distance the temple which was illuminated and decorated beautifully in connection with the festival. They reached the patient's house. The sage examined the patient in detail and gave him all necessary medicines. He gave directions to the family members and started his return journey. He volunteered to carry the oil lamp and the student followed.
                       On reaching the hermitage, the sage asked the student about the decorations and illuminations he saw on the way. The student innocently informed him` that on their way to visit the patient, he could not watch the scenes as he was carefully guarding the lamp from the wind and possible spillage of oil. But he could watch and enjoy every scene during their return journey. The sage then told him, "You could not enjoy the scenes when you were concentrating on the lamp. But when your attention was not fixed on the lamp, you could enjoy the scenes. This incident teaches us an important lesson about spiritual life. We cannot give equal attention to God and gold. If you want to be with God, you must avoid worldliness. If you are immersed in worldly pleasures, you cannot please God. If your aim is a pure and saintly life, leave all interest in amassing wealth and focus on studies, meditation and serving the poor people, practising poverty and austerity with sincerity."
                    "No one can be a slave of two masters; he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" {Matthew 6: 24}.
© By: Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally and Leo. S. John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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