The power of the magic stick

Something very expensive was stolen from the house of a rich man, but no one knew who the thief was. The man had five servants, and one of them was definitely the culprit, but each one said he did not know who the thief was. It was impossible for the owner to accuse all five of his servants, for they were certainly not all in collusion. Finally the rich man sought the advice of the King’s minister, who was a very wise man. The minister told the rich man to bring the five servants to his house the next day, and assured him that he would catch the real thief.

The next day the rich man brought the five servants to the minister. The minister said, “I have five sticks. My master once taught me magic, and I tell you that these five sticks have magic in them. Now I am giving each of you one of these magic sticks. They are all the same length. Tomorrow morning each of you has to bring his own stick back to me. Whoever has committed the theft will see that his stick has grown an inch longer than all the others. Then he will be caught. He will not be able to deny his guilt.”

Now when they heard this, the four innocent servants were quite calm. But the guilty one was in a turmoil of fear and anxiety. “Since I am the thief,” he thought, “the magic will expose me.” Finally he decided that the best thing would be to cut his stick an inch shorter, so that when it grew an inch it would still be the same length as all the others.

The next morning the five servants presented their sticks to the minister, who measured them against each other. “How is it that your stick is one inch shorter than the others?” he asked the guilty servant.

“Shorter?” said the servant. “That is no problem. You said it had to be one inch longer for the thief to be identified.”

But the minister replied, “You fool, if the magic that I put inside this stick has the power to make it longer, it also has the power to make it shorter. You are caught.”

Spiritual comments

What do we learn from this story? The sincere ones, even if they are accused, will eventually be freed, but the insincere ones, today or tomorrow, will be exposed. Some disciples bow down to me dramatically, but inside there is no love, no devotion, no surrender. In the New York Centre they will bow down twenty times, or they will gaze at me until they get a glance or a little smile. They will go on and on with this behaviour. Everyone thinks that they are most devoted, but after a few months or a year or so, when they see that I am not smiling at them, or even looking at them, they will leave the Centre. It has happened in many, many cases.

The sincere disciples don’t have to show off. They may or may not bow, but their sincerity will one day prove itself. One day they will automatically get the best smile, the deepest love, affection and concern from me.

In the story, we saw that the same power that could make the minister’s stick taller could also make it shorter. Likewise, the power I have that can lift you up towards the highest Truth and bring forward all your divine qualities can also expose your undivine qualities if you try to deceive me in your spiritual life. So always be sincere, and there will be no problems.