The Master's sandals

King Shivaji was so happy to be serving his Master in the temple. After some time, his Master asked him, "Do you want to stay here permanently?"

"Yes, that is what I want," replied the King. "I am not going back to my kingdom."

"But I want you to go back to your kingdom," said Ramdas.

King Shivaji was puzzled. "You do not want me to have this kind of happiness? Please believe me, I do not want my kingdom. I want to be here at your feet. Let somebody else take care of my kingdom. I want to remain here. I want to be your servant forever."

Ramdas said, "No, you have to go back."

Finally, Shivaji was forced to accept his Master's command. As he was leaving, he pleaded with Ramdas, "Can you not give me your sandals at least? I shall place them on the throne."

Ramdas willingly gave the King his sandals. Then he said "I will come occasionally to visit you. But, remember: you are not the King. You are a mere instrument. I am the King."

Shivaji bowed and replied, "If you are the King, then I am fully prepared to go back. As I have been your slave here, I am ready to go back to my kingdom and be your slave there. Inwardly you will guide me, and I will do everything in the way that you want me to."

This is how Shivaji went back to rule his kingdom. He took his Master's sandals and placed them on the throne with the absolute faith that they would guide and protect him at every moment. The same thing also happened in the life of our first Avatar, Sri Ramachandra. When Sri Ramachandra was compelled to go into exile for fourteen years, his brother Bharat took his sandals and placed them on the throne as a symbol that he was only taking care of the kingdom until Rama returned.

Sri Chinmoy, Shivaji, Agni Press, 1997