(T) The Guru Embracing the Tree (the nature of maya)


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 maya. ”

The guru paused for a moment, and gently replied, “I will tell you, my dear disciple, but not right now. The lesson will come when the time is right.”

The disciple was initially disappointed but had firm faith in the words of his guru. As the weeks and months passed, he forgot the incident. Then one day, as he was collecting dry wood in the forest for burning in the havan (the sacrificial fire), he suddenly heard his teacher’s unmistakable voice, “Help, help, let me go!” The disciple pelted in the direction of his guru’s voice. Thoughts tumbled through his mind. Had his spiritual mentor been attacked by a tiger? Had dacoits attacked the ashram? The piercing cry of his guru echoed throughout the forest. Sweat dripping from his forehead, the disciple pursued the cry for what seemed an age. He sped through the forest, unmindful of the stones and thorns.

“Help me! Please, help me. Let me go,” implored the voice.

Suddenly, the disciple broke through a clearing. There tightly embracing the trunk of a tree was his beloved spiritual master – still begging, “Let me go! Please, let me go!”