Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The cow and the calf

Who is God and what is our relationship with God?

Here’s the story of Choturam who studied under Guru Mukundananda.

Guru Mukundananda was revered and loved equally by the entire village. He was always fair in his judgement of his students and favoured none.Many travelers stopped by his ashram and shared their problems with the Guru. The wise Guru patiently listened to everyone alike. He was a man who believed in equality of all forms of life and urged his disciples to respect the smallest of creatures as they would respect themselves.

He distributed the work in the ashram between his pupils according to their capacity. It was the duty of Choturam to take care of the milk needs of the ashram. It was the duty of Vedanta to take care of the classroom where they all studied. Boluram was given the duty of watering the plants. The disciples did whatever job was assigned to them to the best of their abilities.

Owing to their age, the boys were sometimes naughty and made fun of Choturam for having to bathe the cow and milk it. He also took care of the calf. He tied the calf to the pole before milking the cow and then set the calf free. He diligently handed over the milk to the cook. In the five years that Choturam was with Mukundananda, he rarely spoke with anyone. Though he knew that his peers were poking fun at him, he continued working, duty-bound.

As the years passed, the Guru was getting older and he thought it was time to name his successor. He called all his pupils and asked each of them what they would do, if they were to succeed him?

Vedanta was the first to speak. He had a lot of dreams for the ashram and wanted to promote education and teach all that he has learnt over the years to his pupil. He wished to follow his Guru and continue doing the good work that his Guru had started.

The rest of them followed, some with exaggerated passion, while others with genuine intentions. Finally the Guru summoned Choturam who was busy milking the cow.

The Guru asked him the same question. Choturam’s attention was on the calf. He had finished milking the cow and it was time to set the calf free. He could not answer the Guru’s question. Yet he did not want to disrespect the Guru. He bowed in front of the Guru and said, “Guruji, if I were to succeed you, I will set the calf free, so that it can feed from its mother”. The entire ashram erupted in laughter at the answer. The Guru understood what Choturam said and allowed him to untie the calf first. 

"I will set the calf free" said Choturam...

After Choturam untied the calf, he came back to where the Guru was seated. He then continued. “Guruji, the cow is like God, we are the calf. Once the calf is untied it runs to the mother. We need not teach the calf how to feed. All we need to do is to untie the calf. That is what I will do if I were to succeed you”, said Choturam to a roaring applause from his peers.