Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Crow and the Cuckoo

Once in the ashram of sage Vidhyatheertha, the disciples were having a very heated debate and the Guru was silently watching them.The students were debating whether it is wise to be selfless or is it foolishness to allow people to make use of you. Since they could not come to any consensus, they decided to approach the Guru and get their arguments judged by the Guru.

Each faction presented its argument. The faction that opined that people should be selfless argued that changing the way others think is not within our control. But if each of us decided to be selfless at least there will be more selfless people and therefore Dharma will survive. Otherwise there will be complete anarchy in the world and the entire earth will move towards destruction.

The other faction which argued that it is foolishness to be selfless had a very strong reasoning too! They bowed respectfully in front of the Guru and told him, “Guruji, with due respects to you, we all felt that as you have been rightly teaching us that God is the full of kindness, let God himself take care of everyone. Who are we to take over the duty of God? God has created all of us equally and if one person can do something the rest of us can do it too!”

The Guru was quite happy and proud of his students as they were able to think beyond his teachings and debate thus. Initially the Guru agreed with both their contention and then started telling a story.

Once there lived a cuckoo on a tree near a village called Lakshmipur. She sang very beautifully and passers-by were enthralled by her voice. She became the talk of the town and people. Everyone used to sing her praises as her voice was melancholic and yet divine. There lived a crow in the neighbouring tree. She could not sing or caw sweetly. People started making unreasonable comparison and used to ask the crow to shut up so they could hear the cuckoo sing. Though the crow felt bad she kept quiet and went about her business.

She built her nest and laid her eggs. The next day she saw that the number of eggs in the nest had increased. She knew that the cuckoo had laid her eggs in the crow’s nest. The crow could stand it no more. But without erupting in anger, she went to a sage who lived under the tree and asked him what she needed to do. The sage told the crow that she had to incubate the cuckoo’s eggs like she did hers. The crow obeyed the sage’s orders. The passers-by who were watching the crow’s nest one day saw a tiny cuckoo emerging from her nest. The word soon spread about the crow’s selfless behaviour. Soon people from the village brought food for the crow. 

The word about the crow’s selflessness spread far and wide and people started eating their food only after offering the first handful to the crow. Priests asked grieving relatives of the dead to offer food to the crow as her blessings will lighten their grief. Soon the crow began to enjoy a status far superior to that of the cuckoo, who by now had become lonely. Even her children flew away from the crow’s nest. Due to her loneliness her melancholy increased and her voice became sweeter. The passers-by stood to hear her voice and her singing, but offered food to the crow and left. 

The crow understood the need to help others irrespective of their behaviour towards her. Each time people offered her food she started cawing and calling as many friends as possible and shared her food with them.

The Guruji paused and looked at his disciples. To his amazement he now saw both the factions had merged into one as they silently stood up bowed respectfully in front of the Guru!