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A Story of Two Very Different Spiritual Guides

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Dedicated to the spirit of Indian Saint Neem Karoli Baba.

Once there were two spiritual teachers who lived in a valley at the base of a glorious mountain range. The first teacher had many followers, whom he charged for his time and counsel. Due to his substantial earnings, this individual lived in a large house in an exclusive part of the village, drove a pearl-blue Mercedes, wore fine clothes and frequently mingled with the town’s political elite. He also wrote several spiritual books and pamphlets, which amassed him great personal wealth.

In contrast, the second spiritual teacher had a smaller following, but had many more sincere devotees. Believing his work to be something greater than himself, he never charged his followers for his time or counsel. The second teacher also lived with very few material possessions, didn’t own a car, wore nothing but a tethered white robe, foraged for all his food in the forest and lived in a small hut at the edge of town.

The second teacher, too, published several spiritual books and pamphlets. However, he donated all his royalties to the village’s poor, whom he preferred passing his time with.

Crossing paths

Fruit and vegetables on table

One sunny fall afternoon, the two spiritual teachers crossed paths in the town market. The first teacher, who was dressed in his finest Sunday attire, saw the second teacher in his tethered white robe and greeted him condescendingly: “Ah, I see that the riffraff has arrived. Let me ask you, can you do this?”

As a large crowd of people began to gather around the two men, the first teacher waved his right hand and made a long table filled with plates of food appear out of thin air. The crowd cheered with delight, as the first teacher bowed to them with great pride.

All eyes turned to the second teacher, as he replied with a genuinely loving smile: “I’m afraid I can’t make food appear out of thin air. But I will tell you what I can do. I can take the food that sits before us on this table and distribute it to the hungry here among us.”

With that, the second teacher began to quickly hand the plates of food to the poor. The first teacher laughed scornfully and said, “Is that all you can really do? You can serve food to the most wretched here among us?”

Once more, a warm, authentic smile broke out across the second teacher’s face, as he said: “There is actually one more thing that I can do. I can bestow a blessing upon the most virtuous and graceful people of our village.”

The second teacher then turned to his poor devotees, who still had plates of food in their hands, and recited a short prayer: “May the Lord of Love Shine its eternal light on the Earth’s downtrodden, who humbly serve with the spirit of love and devotion in their hearts.”

Flowers and rain

Blue cornflowers

Within seconds of the prayer’s finish, blue exotic flowers suddenly began raining down from the sky on all the village’s poor. As the flowers continued raining down, the second teacher turned to the astonished crowd and waved his right hand, just as the first teacher had done only moments earlier.

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Mountain village at night

A grey rain cloud then appeared right above the first teacher’s head, and began soaking him with water from head to toe. Embarrassed and furious, the disgraced teacher scurried away to shelter, as the crowd wildly cheered.

The second teacher placed both his hands over his heart, repeated a few sacred words to himself and made three giant banquet tables appear, with enough delicious plates of food to feed the entire village. For the remainder of the evening, rich and poor alike broke down their barriers and feasted together in the spirit of their humble servant sage of devotion.

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image 1: Pixabay; image 2: Pixabay

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