(A holy man is swimming in the river. An onlooker is sitting idly on the bank watching him. The holy man sees a scorpion right in front of him. Feeling sorry for the poor creature, he catches hold of it and very slowly, very gently puts it on land. While he is doing this, the scorpion stings him severely. The man begins to weep with pain.)
HOLY MAN: I wanted to save you, and I did save you. Is this my reward? Anyway, I have done my duty.
(A few minutes later the scorpion again falls into the river. Again the onlooker observes.)
HOLY MAN: Ah, poor creature, you are suffering again. I feel sorry for you.
(He lifts the scorpion again and puts it on land. Once more the scorpion stings him, this time even more severely. He screams with excruciating pain.)
ONLOOKER: You are a fool! Why did you do that? The first time you made a mistake, and the second time you repeated the same mistake.
HOLY MAN: My friend, what can I do? My nature is to love, my nature is to save. The nature of the scorpion is to hate, the nature of the scorpion is to sting. I have to follow my own nature, and the scorpion has to follow its own nature. If it falls into the water again, I shall lift it up again, no matter how many times it falls. I shall be stung, I shall cry, I shall moan; but I shall not deny my nature, which is to love, to save and to protect others.
(The onlooker immediately jumps into the river to touch the feet of the holy man.)
ONLOOKER: You are my teacher, you are my Guru. I have been searching, longing for a Guru. Today I have found in you my real Guru. Since I am your disciple, from now on if the scorpion falls into the river it is I who will put it back on land.
Peyechhe ajike thai
Moher bandhan hiyar jatan
Timir jiban shaman shasan
Halo abasan nai nai ar nai
[My thoughts, my desires, my aspiration,
my life’s disciplines
Have found their haven at Your Feet today.
The bondage of tempting attachment and
pangs of the heart,
The life of darkness and the torture of death,
No more I see, no more I feel.]
(He helps the holy man out of the river. The Guru now sits on the bank and watches the scene. In a few minutes the scorpion again falls into the river. The disciple catches hold of it and puts it on dry land, but the scorpion does not bite him.)
DISCIPLE: How is it, Master, that I was not stung at all? I thought that I too would be stung by the scorpion. Twice you were stung mercilessly. I don’t understand.
MASTER: My child, you don’t understand? Shall I tell you? Will you believe me?
DISCIPLE: Please, please tell me. I shall believe you, Master.
MASTER: The scorpion also has a soul, and its soul told the scorpion that if it had bitten you, instead of putting it on land you would have killed it immediately. The scorpion knew that you would not accept it, that you would not tolerate its ingratitude. From you the scorpion did not get any assurance of its safety. The scorpion did not sting you because it felt this. In my case, the soul of the scorpion knew that I would never kill it, no matter how many times it might sting me; I would just catch it and put it on land for its safety. In the everyday world also people fight, quarrel and threaten others only when they see that their opponents are either weak or unwilling to fight. If they see that somebody is stronger than themselves, they will remain silent.
DISCIPLE: Master, do you have disciples?
MASTER: I have many, many disciples.
DISCIPLE: What do you do with them?
MASTER: I give and take, and take and give. I take their poison every day, and I give them nectar. I take their aspiration, and I give them realisation. I take from them what they have, ignorance, and I give them what I have, wisdom. They give me the assurance of my manifestation, and I give them the assurance of their realisation. We need each other. You need me so that you can empty yourself — your impurity, imperfection, obscurity and ignorance — into me. And I need you so that I can fill you with my all, with everything that is within me. This is how we fulfil each other. Your nature is to give me what you have: impurity, obscurity, imperfection, limitation, bondage and death. My nature is to give you what I have: purity, love, joy, light, bliss and perfection. When your nature enters into my nature and my nature enters into your nature, we both are totally manifested and totally fulfilled. This is how the seeker and the teacher fulfil the Eternal Pilot, the Supreme.