Cheap and Easy
By His Divine Grace
If you think of quantity, you can say easy things, like everything is equal—if you worship Kali, if you worship Durga, if you worship Brahma, if you worship Siva, if you worship Krishna, it is all the same.
One time, one Gurudev and his disciple were walking to some place. The Guru went first and the disciple was following him. At some point, the disciple said,
"O Gurudev, I am very hungry, I cannot walk any further!"
Gurudev is very kind, he said, "All right, I have a paisa, take it and bring something to eat."
"OK, what shall I bring, Gurudev?" asked the disciple.
"Bring some chana (chickpea, fried dal)."
[They call chickpea chana in Vrindavan: not chhana (ছানা, paneer), but chana (চানা, chickpea dal).]
So, the disciple said "Yes, Gurudev, I am going," and went to the market.
But the disciple had no chastity for his Guru: he came to the market and, instead of buying chana, started asking the price of other things. He saw some grapes and asked the shopkeeper, "How many rupees a kilo are these grapes?" The shopkeeper replied, "One paisa." "Oh, grapes are only one paisa?" He was surprised. Then he asked the price of chana (chickpea) that Gurudev had told him to get, it was also the same price: one paisa a kilo. The grapes were one paisa, the apples were one paisa a kilo, the oranges were also one paisa a kilo—everything, all kinds of fruit, all kinds of things were the same price. The disciple got excited and thought in his mind, "It is a very nice place! I do not want to leave it. I will stay in this place! Everything is cheap and is the same price. So good!" Then, he went to a sweets shop and asked how much was chhana (paneer, curd). The shopkeeper replied, "One paisa, all is the same price." So, the disciple decided, "Why should I bring chickpea dal, chana? I will bring paneer, chhana!" So he bought one kilo of chhana.
When the disciple came back to his Gurudev, Gurudev asked him, "Let me see what you have brought. Where is your chana? I want to see it." The disciple explained, "Gurudev, it is a very nice place, everything is equal here. I asked the price of all things and everything is equal here! I did not bring what you had told me to bring, I bought something else. I got a kilo of chhana (paneer)!" Gurudev was very upset, "Oh, you do not listen to me. You follow what your mind tells you... What can I do? You know better what you want to do. As you like. You can eat your paneer yourself, I will not eat it." So, the disciple ate the whole kilo of chhana alone.
After a while, Gurudev asked him, "Have you finished your eating?"
"Yes, Gurudev, I have finished."
"OK, let us go now. Come with me."
"No, Gurudev, you can go, I will not go... I will stay here. This place is very nice, everything is equal here."
"No, no, it is not a good place! The place where is everything is equal, where a thief, a good man, a bad man, everybody is equal, is not a good place. It is not the same. You cannot stay here. Please do not stay here!"
"No, no, Gurudev, you can go alone. I will not go."
"OK, what can I do?" Gurudev said in the end. "You do not want to listen to me... Now you are covered by the illusory environment, you will not listen to me. What can I do? Let it be, but if one day you get into a dangerous position, if you face some problem, you will remember me. Now I cannot help you..."
"OK, Gurudev," said the disciple, "You can go, I am staying here."
The man started showing false renunciation—he would put tilak and when he saw people walking his way, he chanted loudly, "Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna!" (as soon as people passed he stopped chanting). Everybody thought, "Oh, this man is sitting under the banyan tree and not going anywhere!" They threw a coin, some money for him—he took that money and used it to buy some nonsense things. He always ate something and in the end became fat and had a big belly. Gurudev had gone and he was alone now...
Some time later, a problem started in that village: a thief started going house to house stealing things. One day, the thief burgled a big man's house. The man went to the judge, or the local village administrator, and complained,
"You are the local leader but you are not looking after your people! Every day a thief burgles a house! We are very disturbed! There was a problem in my house also today!"
"What has happened? Have you seen the thief?"
"I was sleeping and suddenly heard some noise of the utensils that the thief wanted to take. When I woke up, the thief ran away, but I managed to see that this thief is a very big, fat man."
The administrator ordered his men, "Go and find the fat man in this area!"
They began searching. They searched and searched and finally saw a new man (an outsider) in the village—a sadhu was sitting under a banyan tree. They said,
"Hey you, come with us. The administrator is calling you. You are a thief!"
The man was surprised, "No, no! I have not stolen anything! I always sit here!"
"No, go with us!"
The leader's men forcefully arrested him and the court found him guilty. Their judgement was, "You are the thief—you have been going house to house stealing things. You are new in this village, you are coming from outside—you are the thief! Otherwise how are you running your life? You are eating so much every day—it means you sit under your tree all day long and at night you go to steal. You will be impaled tomorrow!"
[Before, in landlord's times, they used shul system—impalement. There was a platform and a long pole, and the guilty man would be thrown on the pole so that it pierces his body from bottom to head. It is something like hanging.]
So, the administrator of the village announced to all villagers that the thief had been arrested and would be executed the next day.
While in jail, the disciple lamented, "Oh, why did I not listen to my Guru?" (Now he is thinking about that.) "Gurudev told me this area was not good and that here everything was equal. I am not a thief but they make me a thief! No, this village is not good—a good man and a bad man is the same here! Why did I not listen to my Guru! Where is my Guru now?..." He began remembering his Gurudev, and eventually his Gurudev came there.
Many years had passed since Gurudev left his disciple in that village. When Gurudev came to him now, he said,
"Yes, you are calling me now... Now you have such a big problem, I heard... OK, tell me what has happened?"
"O Gurudev, you told me, but I did not listen to you! Please forgive my offence. What am I to do now? Please give me some advice!" and the disciple explained what had happened.
Then, Gurudev said, "Yes, I am giving you advice, listen to me. When they take you to the shul, I will go with you and say, 'I will go to the shul! Let me be executed!'"
"No, no, Gurudev!" the disciple objected, "Why will you go there?! You have not done anything wrong!"
"Hey, guru-mukha-padma-vakya, chittete kariya aikya! [Make the teachings from Sri Guru's lotus mouth one with your heart.] You must follow your Gurudev's order, but you still do not listen to me! You must follow what I am telling you to do."
"Yes, yes, Gurudev, I will..." submitted the disciple.
"When they take you, I will also go with you to be impaled."
So, the next day came. So many people had come to the platform to see the execution. They saw the sadhu walking in front, follow by an old man (his Guru). Suddenly, the old man shouted, "I also want to be impaled! Let me also go there!"
Hearing his words, the administrator asked him, "Who are you?!"
The Guru explained, "You do not know me, I am an astrologer. Your father and grandfather made this shul at a very good time, and now it is also a good time, so because these two good moments coincide, the person who is going to be executed will go to Vaikuntha, Goloka Vrindavan!"
The administrator thought, "My father is very old and always suffers because of his disease... He wants to go to Goloka Vrindavan, to Vaikuntha—why must I send these people to Goloka?" Then he ordered his associates, "Tell them to get out and bring my father! It is a very good moment—my father will go to Vaikuntha!"
Then Gurudev said to his disciple, "Hey, my disciple! Now go! Now is the time to go!"
So, the Guru is always merciful. Whenever we make some offence, Gurudev wants to save us—even if we listen to him at the last moment, he can still rescue us from that kind of situation, from the illusory environment. We must follow what the Guru tells us. And another thing is that we do not think that everything is equal. This is a mayavadi conception, and we do not follow that kind of things.
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