The way to the highest Heaven

There once was a group of spiritual seekers who used to meet together to pray and meditate. They were all well advanced along the path to God-realisation. They all had one aim in common and that was to enter the highest Heaven after leaving the body. So they were praying and praying to God to be allowed to dwell in the highest Heaven.

One day the seeker who was the most advanced said to the others, “Let me enter into deep meditation and see how we will be able to go to the highest Heaven. Perhaps I will receive an inner message that will help us make faster progress.”

So this seeker entered deep within to try to discover the shortest road to his goal. All at once he saw a beautiful goddess in front of him. He bowed to the goddess and said, “I am searching for the way to reach the highest Heaven. My friends and I have been praying and meditating for so many years. When we die, we would like to enter the highest Heaven. Is there any special passage which is extremely fast?”

The goddess gave the seeker a mantra and told him to repeat this particular verse many times. Then she said, “Now go and teach this sloka to your friends. Let them learn it from you and practise it every day. I do not want you to go alone to the highest Heaven.”

When the seeker had finished his meditation, he taught his friends the mantra and together they repeated it countless times. They were all extremely pleased with the mantra and they begged the advanced seeker to tell them how he came by it. But the seeker remained silent, so everybody concluded that he had received it from within and did not want to take the credit. They told him, “You are so modest, so kind. We feel that since you are more advanced than we are, your own soul gave you this message. That is why you are reluctant to tell us. Your humility is preventing you.” Still the seeker just kept quiet.

Many years passed. One evening the seekers were all meditating together when the same goddess appeared. This time everybody could see her. She said, “You have all prayed and meditated here on earth for many long years. Now the time has come for you to leave your physical existence behind and go to Heaven. I have come to show you the way.”

The goddess went to each seeker in turn and showed that person the way to Heaven. At last she came to the advanced seeker. But instead of showing him Heaven’s door, she said, “You are so ungrateful! I will not allow you to go with your friends. Why did you not tell them that I gave you the mantra? You allowed them to believe that you received it from deep within yourself. You became so full of your own self-importance!”

Suddenly the goddess disappeared. The advanced seeker found that he could not go to the highest Heaven, although all his friends had gone there. Alas, he was forced to start all over again, chanting the mantra that the goddess had taught him long, long ago.