Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One Love

Once, a Hindu saint was traveling to the southernmost part of India. He was not alone. Samant, a student of his, accompanied him. Samant was not from a high family like the other disciples of the saint.

Unlike his usual practices the saint had started off for his journey alone. He wanted to see India, from north to south and east to west. On his way to the land of Pandya Kings, he met a poor young farmer and asked for some water. The young farmer not only gave him water but also provided him with shelter and the best clothes he had in his house. His name was Samant. Though Samant was a Christian, the saint thought great of him. Just imagine who would give so much of service to a stranger, even if that stranger is God himself. And from that moment the saint took Samant as his Student.

Infuriated by the saints decision, some local Hindus along with the priest of the nearby church protested, by saying: “This youth is from another religion and you are a Hindu. How could you take him with you?”

The young man looked hurt. He said, “I am a Christian. And this saint is not taking me; instead I am going with him for my own spiritual quest. I believe that if a carpenter’s son can change the course of the world with his convictions, why can’t a farmer?”

None of the villagers understood what the young farmer said. Samant went inside his house and asked permission from his old parents. And then he left the village with the saint in his spiritual journey. The villagers, infuriated by the young man’s ego trip did not say anything else. The saint smiled, thinking the time spent with him would change Samant’s perspectives on religion and he would become a Hindu.

The saint was coming from the Himalaya. His wisdom and knowledge were as high as the highest peaks of the snow muffled mountains of the Himalaya. And he knew it too well. His present status therefore, was that of a person making a rope walk. On one side of the rope there was the depth of eternal wisdom and on the other side, the desert of pride. However, of this current state, he was completely ignorant. But being a man of great years of practice, he knew something was wrong. But he attributed this feeling as a result of the environment of the place he was now in: Kerala. Both of them settled down at a place called Trivandrum in Kerala.

It was a city, full of temples. The saint went inside the greatest temple of the city, which was devoted to Lord Vishnu. And for the great pleasure of the saint, the young man too accompanied him inside the temple.

After their visit to the southernmost part, they started their return trip. They reached Calicut, a place in Kerala, famous for its Muslim tradition and cuisine.
“Why are we here?” The young man asked.
“I believe that after satisfying one’s spiritual hunger, one must satisfy the physical hunger. And here we can get some really nice food.” The saint said.
As they were walking through a street, they crossed a mosque. It was prayer time and every one was praying inside. For the saint’s surprise, the young man suddenly kneeled down and started touching his forehead on the earth.
“What are you doing? Are you praying like the Muslims? I thought you appreciated the temple.” The saint said puzzled.

Samant prayed silently. And after completing his prayer, he stood up. By seeing the young man praying outside the mosque, a man came to them. His name was Mustafa.
“Who are you?” Mustafa asked.
“We are travelers. Searching for wisdom.” The young man said.
Mustafa smiled. “I understand.” He said and bowed to the saint. “You look tired. Come with me, have some food.” He invited the two of them.

Samant did not say anything to the saint until they finished the food. Then he said: “It’s not a matter of liking some specific religion, master. I love God. I was not ready to lose some one I loved, just because he was called another name or spoke another language.”
The saint looked more confused and tired.