(Soon the king comes and sees that his Master’s arms and legs are bruised. He is shocked to see this, and bursts into tears.)
KING: O Master, why didn’t you call me? How could this happen? How could you suffer so much? Who threw stones at you? Who could have done this kind of thing to my Master? It must have been one of my servants. Please tell me. Do you know the person? I shall kill him.
SAINT: No. I know the person, but I won’t tell you who he is.
KING: Why not? Why not?
SAINT: He threw stones at the mangoes, not at me. The mangoes are the children of the tree, but the tree has forgiven him. Look, the tree is still here: it did not fall on him. The tree has forgiven him, although he took away quite a few mangoes. If a tree has the capacity to forgive a man, since I am a religious man, a superior being, I should also have that capacity.
KING: O Guru, if you forgive this servant of mine, he will go on with his wrongdoing. Is it fair, please tell me, to allow a criminal to go without punishment?
SAINT: You call him a criminal, but I call him an ignorant fellow. And again, it is I who sat here while your servant was throwing stones at the mangoes. I could have moved away.
KING: You? Why should you? You are my Master, you are my All. I am at your feet. What kind of audacity did he have to throw stones at the mangoes while you were sitting at the foot of the tree? I shall now go back to the palace and order all my servants to come here. And the one who did this will have to make a confession. If he does not make a confession, then I shall find out by some other means who the real culprit is.
SAINT: The real culprit is your Guru. He allowed this ignorance. He allowed this man to throw stones. If I had told him to stop, he would have gone away. But he was hungry; he was tempted to have a few delicious mangoes, and I did not stop him. I could have asked him to climb up the tree and take some mangoes, or I could have moved away, but I did neither. If you want to say that it is his mistake, I wish to say, no, it is my mistake. It was I who allowed him to throw stones at the mangoes. And the result is that I am hurt. So, O King, do not blame him; it is I who am the real culprit. If you feel that I have done the right thing by forgiving him, which you should, then I wish to tell you that this quality of forgiveness I learnt from this tree. And I impart this quality of forgiveness to you, King. Forgive your servant. It is through forgiveness, mutual forgiveness, that we live on earth. There can be nothing superior to forgiveness. If it is a matter of crime, then forgiveness is the only cure. And if it is a matter of experience, then I wish to tell you that through this servant I have experienced hunger, temptation and wrong action. From this servant’s ignorance, I got one experience. And from the forgiveness of this tree, I got a divine experience. Ignorance teaches us; knowledge and forgiveness teach us. Ignorance teaches us how to destroy ourselves; knowledge and forgiveness teach us how to build ourselves, how to place ourselves within everyone, how to become one with everyone, how to become universally one.
(The king touches his Master’s feet with a new light, a new vision.)