STO-101 – The Bird in the Cage (in poetic form) (the soul)

STO-101-sec © Copyright. Sakshi Gopal das, 1984. Many thanks to Sakshi Gopal for kindly allowing the publishers to reproduce his poem, which he has also set to music. This story relates to the notion of the atman, the real self within, and the need for spiritual nourishment. Exquisitely the cage was wrought with pillars carved […]

STO-102 – Liquid Beauty (soul and body)

STO-102-sec Once a man who was very handsome and powerfully built, but whose character was somewhat doubtful, fell in love with an exquisitely beautiful girl. The girl was not only beautiful but also saintly in character, and as such did not much appreciate the man’s advances. Her admirer, however, was insistent, impelled by lustful desire. […]

STO-103 – The Three Lives of King Bharata (reincarnation)

STO-103-sec King Bharata was a wise and experienced monarch, and his citizens expected him to rule for many years. However, in the prime of life he gave up everything – queen, children, and kingdom, to dedicate the rest of his life to self-realisation. He journeyed to a sacred place of pilgrimage called Pulaha-ashrama, at the […]

STO-104 – The Life and Death of Ajamila (the afterlife)

STO-104-sec There once lived a young brahmin called Ajamila in a city called Kanyakubja. Ajamila was compassionate and kind to all. He lived with his parents and young wife and always chanted his prayers and mantras, and offered respects to his parents and spiritual master. One day, when Ajamila went to the forest to collect […]

STO-105 – The Sadhu’s Blessings (karma)

STO-105-sec A sadhu (saintly person) and his disciple were passing through a city. “Let us see whether we can make our journey a learning experience,” the teacher said to his disciple. By chance, just as they were walking by the prince of the kingdom was mounting his fine white stallion “Greetings holy man,” the prince […]

STO-106 – Death in Baghdad (destiny)

STO-106-sec The story explores some of the problems of escaping destiny and is pertinent to questions of free-will and determinism. There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions. In a little while this servant came back, white and trembling “Master”, he blurted out, “Just now when I was […]

STO-107 – Three Men Enter the Forest (the gunas)

STO-107-sec The following story demonstrates how different people respond to situations according to their conditioning (in this case, by the three gunas – the three qualities of material nature). It also illustrates how people see the world differently, through their own mind-set. The first man entered a forest and thought to himself, “What a great […]

STO-110 – The Guru Embracing the Tree (the nature of maya)

STO-110-sec This story is relevant to the concept of Maya (see page 19 of the Teachers’ Book) The disciple humbly asked a question of his teacher. “My dear spiritual master, you are capable of freeing your sincere students from the illusory entanglements of this world. Please, therefore, explain to me what is the nature of […]

STO-111 – The Story of Prahlada (the nature of God)

STO-111-sec This story is connected to the fourth avatar of Vishnu, Narasimha (the half-man, half-lion). Prahlada’s Birth Prahlada was the son of Hiranyakashipu, a great demon who conquered the demigods and took over the universe. Once while Hiranyakashipu was engaged in austerities, trying to become immortal, the demigods captured his wife, Kayadhu who was at […]

STO-114 – The Vet’s Apprentice (the guru and blind faith)

STO-114-sec This story illustrates some of the problems in blind following. It could also illustrate the need for teachers to explain what they are doing and why! One day a vet was called to see a horse that had a huge swelling on its neck. The vet travelled with his apprentice and upon reaching the […]

STO-115 – The Oldest man in the World (transience)

STO-115-sec There was once an old yogi standing by the side of the river Ganges. He was very hairy and had received a boon that he would only die when each and every hair on his body had fallen out. One hair would fall out each day of Brahma, and each day of Brahma lasts […]

STO-117 – the Beggar meets God (time)

STO-117-sec This story is about how we cannot trick God and the laws of nature . . . Mohan was a professional beggar, and extremely cunning. He never missed any opportunity to line his own pocket. One day Mohan was walking in the woods near his home. As he turned a corner he was surprised […]

STO-118 – The Sacrifice of the Purusha (creation)

STO-118-sec Vishnu, as soul of the entire cosmos, manifests innumerable universes from the pores of his skin and from his breathing. He then enters each universe, as the universal soul. From his navel springs a lotus flower, upon which is born Brahma. Brahma performs austerity and creates the world from sound beginning with the Gayatri […]