154 – A story narrated by Swami Sivananada

Two friends were walking on a pilgrimage. The path was full of thorns and it was very rocky. They were wearing cloth shoes. They had to tread carefully as there were roots, and wet leaves everywhere. It was slippery and the trail was very narrow. Suddenly one of the friends let out a yell of pain. A thorn had gotten into his foot through the thin sole of his slippers. The other friend said that it did not matter as it was only a thorn. The friend asked him to stop and take the thorn out.

He refused and started walking even faster. The poor friend was lagging behind and the thorn went in even deeper. The other friend was running and then he stopped in his stride and screamed with pain. A thorn had embedded itself in his foot. He sat down in his misery as he could not walk. His friend caught up with him, limping. He also sat down. They could not help each other as they were both in such agony.

In the meanwhile, another pilgrim was walking on the track. He stopped and asked them what was the matter. He heard the whole story. Then quietly he sat down and pulled the thorn out of their soles. After he had accomplished this painful task, he asked why they had not helped each other. After all they were friends and they were going on a pilgrimage.

There was no atmabhava and the second friend only thought about himself. How is it possible when you are going for a darshan of God, you only think of yourself? It has happened to me many times when I go for darshan to the temple, I am pushed and pummeled. And I always wonder, why are we doing this, God is watching. We are going to worship him. Without compassion and love for our fellow creatures, who are we.

Aim Hrim Klim


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