The seeker-writerThere once was a seeker who had some sincerity in him. He was a writer and had written many books. Of his most important books, the first one was about animals, the second one was about man, the third one was about himself and the fourth one was about God. Animals, man, himself and God — these were his four most significant books.
He said to himself, “Now that I have written these books, let me go and read aloud the books I have written to the most powerful among the animals, to the highest among men, to the best inside of me, and to God.”
So he went into the forest and climbed up a tall tree. He settled himself and started reading out the portion that he had written on the lion. “Lion, you are the king of the animals. You are the most powerful and at the same time the most beautiful. You are always majestic. You do not kill other animals except when you are hungry.” His book went on to appreciate the many fine qualities of the lion and he felt great admiration.
Suddenly, to his horror, a lion started roaring nearby. He exclaimed, “Look at this ungrateful animal. I appreciated him highly. And instead of being pleased and grateful, he wants to kill me.” The seeker-writer was totally disgusted with so ungrateful an animal and he waited in silence for the lion to go away. After one full hour, the lion left. When he was quite sure the lion had left him, he climbed down and went away, murmuring, “Absolutely ungrateful animal!”
When he had recovered a little, he said, “Among men, who is the highest? The King.” So he went to the King’s palace and said, “O King, I have something to read to you. I have written extensively about human beings. I know that you are the highest, you are the greatest among men. And now I would like to read out what I have written about you.”
The King nodded in agreement and the writer began to read from his book. “You are the most powerful king and have conquered all other kings. We are greatly proud of you. To see you is to see the Face of God. Because you are the highest among men. You represent God on earth.” Reading this he flattered the King.
When the King had heard all that was written he said, briefly, “Thank you.”
The writer became angry and indignant. He said to himself, “I have written so many things about him in such high appreciation, admiration and adoration and he just says, ‘Thank you.’ What an ungrateful King!” But he did not dare to say it out loud. Only to himself he said, “Look at this ungrateful man.”
When he reached his home he said, “Inside me my soul is my best possession. So now let me speak to my soul.” He started reading out in front of his soul, “O Soul, you are the purest, you are the best in me. You are the most beautiful. Without you I would not exist. You are indispensable. We always need you and not the body.”
The soul gave a broad smile.
Once again the writer was angry. “For fifteen minutes I have appreciated you, admired you, saying that you are by far the best member in my family and you just give me a smile.” He grew angrier yet and said, “The soul is simply useless. It does not know at all how to accept appreciation and offer gratitude.”
Then the writer-seeker went to God. Standing in front of Him he said, “O God, You are so kind. Look at Your vast Creation. You are all Compassion. Because You exist on earth we are all on earth. Everywhere Your Compassion reigns supreme.”
God said, very simply, “It is all right.”
“Oh God! For such a long time I have appreciated You and You just say that it is all right? What an ungrateful God You are. You should have blessed me and said something nice about me. I have appreciated You, I have admired You, I have adored You, I have worshipped You, but alas, here is another ungrateful person on earth.”
Puzzled and disgusted, the writer said to himself, “Since all the superiors are so ungrateful, let me go to the simpler ones who are a little inferior. Now I shall show the superiors something about appreciation by going to the inferiors.”
Once again he went into the forest. To himself he said, “Now, next to the lion is the tiger.” He climbed up a high tree and when he was settled he started speaking highly of the tiger: “O Tiger, you have such great strength. I feel you are too modest. You can easily defeat the lion. When I look at you I get tremendous joy, because your very face shows solid strength. The lion has no strength compared to you. The lion only knows how to roar.” He belittled the lion.
The tiger heard and was very happy. He was being given such appreciation and the lion was getting only criticism. So the tiger started roaming around, feeling proud and happy and as he moved here and there he noticed a ring. He did not know that it was a golden ring. He was merely curious. He put it into his mouth, only to discover that it was something not edible. The tiger dropped the ring on the ground and moved off into the forest. As it happened, he dropped it at the foot of the tree in which the writer was sitting.
When the tiger had left, the writer came down quite safely and saw the gold ring. It was a beautiful and most expensive ring. Delighted, he exclaimed, “Look at the appreciation of this animal. The tiger has listened to my appreciation. What has he given me? He has given me this beautiful gold ring. I can sell it and get hundreds of rupees. Now at last I have found one grateful person.”
Then he went to the Minister at the King’s palace. Next in importance to the King is the Minister. The writer started praising the Minister highly. He said, “You know, soon you will become the King, but already you are really the greatest person on earth. There are so many things you have done for the King, but the King himself takes all the glory. You have worked so hard, but just because the King is superior, he takes all the glory. Actually it is you who deserve it.” The writer lavished such appreciation and admiration upon the Minister.
The Minister was greatly flattered. He looked carefully around to see if the King was there and when he saw that the King was not there, he gave the writer 1,000 rupees. The writer was thrilled that he had gotten 1,000 rupees from the Minister and said to himself delightedly, “See, the superiors are so ungrateful, whereas the ones who are just a little inferior are so grateful.”
After he reached home he said, “Now, next to my soul is my heart.” So he started speaking to his heart. “O my Heart, You are so nice; you are so kind. You always feel for others. We talk so much about the soul. But where is the soul? We can feel you. Doctors can see you and feel you. When we breathe in we can feel palpitation and it is all inside you. You are so kind, affectionate and compassionate. Without you we can’t exist. When you fail, when you stop functioning, we cannot live. So you are the only indispensable one in my life.”
To his consternation, the heart started crying.
Astonished, the writer asked, “Why are you crying?”
The heart said, “I am crying because you are a fool. I am not indispensable; it is only the soul that is always indispensable. You have to give the soul its proper value. You must know that the soul is infinitely more beautiful than I am. The soul has a divine spark, a divine light; it has everything divine much more than I. Only the soul can deserve lofty appreciation and admiration. I only feel sorry for your stupidity. You are appreciating the wrong person. It is the soul that deserves this kind of appreciation and admiration and not I — never.”
The writer said, “Look how nice the heart is. I am appreciating it so fully and it does not accept my appreciation; it gives all the credit to the soul, the soul that was so nasty.” He said that the heart was so nice. He deeply appreciated the heart’s nobility and generosity.
Now he went to one of the minor gods. God had disappointed him; God had simply said, “It is all right.” So he went to one of the cosmic gods and stood in front of him and said, “Oh, who cares for God? We go to Him, we appreciate and adore Him, we praise Him and He just says, ‘It is all right.’ Now I say it’s all wrong. O minor god, you are the most beautiful and in a few years you can transcend God. Your beauty surpasses His. Now it seems to me that God has become old and He does not talk sensibly. If I appreciate someone so fully for such a long time, would he say, ‘It is all right’? But you are different, you are a cosmic god. Soon you are going to replace God and you will be able to rule the present creation much better than God. God is not doing anything well. See, He does not even have an iota of common sense. He does not know how to appreciate even an ordinary human being.” He started adoring the cosmic god, extolling him to the skies. While saying this, he placed a flower at the feet of the cosmic god. He said, “I didn’t place a flower at the Feet of God. You rightly deserve my appreciation, admiration and adoration. So to you I offer the flower.”
The cosmic god said, "You fool! Do I deserve this kind of thing? He is the Lord. He is the Supreme.” The cosmic god took the flower and placed it at the Feet of God and bowed down to the omnipotent God, the Supreme.
The writer was deeply impressed and said to himself, “Look at the cosmic god’s nobility. I offered him all my appreciation, admiration and adoration. He could easily have kept it for himself. He could easily have said, ‘I am glad that you have realised me, my capacity.’ But no, look at his nobility, look at his sensibility. He offered all my appreciation, admiration and adoration for him at the Feet of God, the Supreme. People think that he is inferior to God, but look at his heart’s magnanimity. To me, he is the one who is really superior. Now I have come to realise that all the inferiors are far superior to the so-called superiors. In each case it was proved. The tiger showed gratitude, the Minister showed appreciation with money, the heart showed its sincerity and nobility and the cosmic god who deserved all my adoration offered it to the Supreme God. This proves that those who are great are not really great and those who are not great are really great.
The seeker-writer went home very pleased with his discovery. He fell asleep. All of a sudden he saw a most beautiful human being in front of him. He said, “What do you want from me?"
The being looked like a saint. The being said, “I have come only to see you.”
The seeker said, “Today I have been terribly disappointed. All the time I used to cherish the idea that superior would be superior in every way. But now I am seeing that the inferior is actually superior to the superior.”
The saint said, "Now, tell me, how does the superior become inferior and the inferior become superior?” So the writer told the whole story.
Then the saint said, "Unfortunately you are mistaken. You are simply a fool.”
“I am a fool? What do you mean I am a fool? Tell me why you think I am a fool.”
The saint said, “When the lion was roaring, it was not because he wanted to devour you. You energised the lion with your admiration. The lion was roaring with tremendous joy and inspiration. You energised the lion to such an extent that he was roaring in deep appreciation and he wanted to show his courage and strength and kill all other animals. The lion felt that with your appreciation you made him even stronger. That is why the lion was showing you, through his thunderous roaring, his own appreciation. He was also telling the other animals; ‘Look, here I am well appreciated even by the human beings.’ So it was gratitude he was offering to you and you misunderstood him.”
The saint continued. “Now the King said to you, ‘Thank you’. First of all, the King gave you permission to come and see him. You are only an ordinary man. You wrote a few things about the King highly appreciating him. But you must understand that the King does not care for this kind of appreciation. Every day he gets lots of appreciation and admiration from men who are far more important than you. The King allowed you to come to his palace, he listened to you and he most kindly said, ‘Thank you’. He is such a great man and you must remember he has many, many things to do. Kings don’t usually even say ‘thank you’. They just nod their heads. They have no time. Yet your most generous King has given his very precious time and also said, ‘Thank you.’ What more can you expect from a great King? So the King did show more than justice by saying ‘Thank you’ to an ordinary person like you. To get a ‘thank you’ appreciation, from the King is really something.”
"Now, about the soul,” the saint resumed. “When you spoke highly of the soul, the soul smiled at you most beautifully and divinely. To get a smile from the soul is not an ordinary thing. After all, the soul represents God on earth. Next to God on earth is the soul. This soul of yours gave you a generous smile. What does it mean? It means that the soul offered its own divinity to you through a smile. So you saw and got your soul’s divinity in the form of a smile and you say that the soul didn’t appreciate you. You are such a fool.”
The saint paused and went on, “Now about God. You went and appreciated, admired and adored God and said all nice things about Him. God said to you, ‘It is all right.’ When God tells you ‘It is all right’, that means that what you have said is absolutely perfect. Look, we human beings say everything wrong, we write everything wrong, we do everything wrong. For God to say that it is all right, that means that what you wrote about God is exactly correct and fully significant and He appreciated that you have done the right thing. To hear from God that your words are all right means that he has fully sanctioned what you say, fully approved of all your writings. He has sanctioned all your writings. That means that what you have written is absolutely correct. You fool, God has appreciated you much more than you actually deserved to be appreciated. If God says to me that something I say or do is all right, I would be so proud, so utterly delighted. We are all ignorant people. For us to do anything right and to hear from God that it is all right, is the height of our glory. What more do we need? What more can we deserve?”
He continued, “The superior is always superior and will remain so. But we are not able to understand the superior. When we do not understand we go to the inferior and try to create a problem between the superior and the inferior. But if we are sincere, if we are earnest, then we will come to see that the superior is always superior. But the superior will offer his appreciation a different way from the inferior. When we mix with the inferiors, just because we ourselves are equal to the inferiors we understand their appreciation perfectly well. But when we actually mix with the real superiors we do not understand their way of appreciation.”