The Aged Priest

There was a very unkind Mughal ruler. His kingdom has very cruel laws. Once, there was a famine in his kingdom. He issued an order that all the citizens have to dump their old relatives in the forests and leave to die to save the food.
There lived an old and poor Brahmin priest and his disciple in a temple outside the city. Their devotion to God and each other was exceptional. The poor disciple loved his aged Guru with warm care, and the order of the unkind ruler filled his heart with pain and anxiety. But nobody dares to defy the order of the king. So, with great pain and hopeless anguish, the disciple prepared to abandon his Guru in the forest to meet the death. This was considered the kindest mode of death by the king to the old people.
Just at sunset, when their day’s rituals ended, he took some bread, given by devotees which was the food for the poor Brahmin priest and his disciple. He dried them and tied them in a strong cloth which he hung in a potli (bag) on his shoulder along with a bottle of sweet- clean drinking water. Then he lifted his feeble old Guru on his back and started his sad and difficult voyage to the forest. The road was muddy and rocky. The narrow lanes and by-lanes were crossed and re-crossed by many corridors made by dacoits, hunters and woodcutters. Many times, the disciple was confused and lost his path but he did not care. One path after the other path, he kept on marching. The disciple went, moving blindly forward – even forward towards blind turns – even deeper towards dense dark forest what is known as “Mukti Dhaam,” a place where “aged are abandoned. ”
The eyes of the old Brahmin priest were not very weak. He noted the fast and quick pace from one lane to another lane. His learned and experienced heart grew restless. His disciple did not know the many zigzag paths of the forest and his back journey might be one of the hazards. So he stretched forth his long arms and plucking the soft twigs from the plants and the bushes as they passed, he gently dropped a handful past a few steps of the passage, so that as they passed, the narrow lanes in the forests were strewn at recurrent intervals with small heaps of twigs.
At last, they reached the designated place. Exhausted and sad by heart, the disciple quietly released his Guru from his back. He tried to make a place of comfort as his last ‘karma’ for his Guru. Collecting fallen soft twigs and leaves he made a soft bed and gently lifted and seated his old and feeble Guru onto it. He tightened his old sheet more tightly about his bending back and with teary eyes and a crying heart, he said goodbye to his dear disciple.
The shaky Guru’s voice was packed with generous love as he delivered his last sermon. “Don’t cry, my son.” He said. “The forest path is packed with hazards. Move carefully and take the path which has the heaps of twigs. They will direct you to the right path back home.” The disciple’s stunned eyes looked farther down the path, the poor old Guru, his wrinkled hands all hurt and soiled by his work of love. His heart shattered and bowing to his Guru he cried: “Oh, Worthy Guru, your kindness smashes my heart! I can’t leave you. Together we will track the pathway of twigs, and together we will breathe the last!”
Again he lifted his Guru on his back (it seemed very light now) and moved fast to the path, through the moonlight and the shadows of the trees, to the little temple outside the city.
He digged beneath the kitchen, a hidden hole in the ground, concealed from the view of the people. There he kept everything they needed. The disciple was concerned that he would be discovered by the men of the king. Months and years passed. They begin to feel secure. The luck ran out. Again the king sent forth another harsh order to show his might. He ordered that all the citizens would show him a pot filled with the ashes of the dead old people.
The entire kingdom shuddered with horror. The order must be abided. Who in the kingdom could show a pot filled with ashes? One evening, the disciple, in great anguish, whispered the dreadful order to his hidden Guru. “Wait!” The Guru said. “Let will think, Let me think.” The next day, he told him, what to do. “Bring an old pot,” he said. “Burn some manure cake on a calm night.” The disciple called upon the guards of the King and did as told by the wise Guru when the fire was extinguished. There in the pot, with everything showing perfectly, kept the pot of ashes.
The king was delighted at the intelligence and loyalty of the disciple and commended him immensely. However, he asked how he had got these great qualities. “Alas! Alas!” wept the disciple “The reality must be revealed honestly!” and with a long sigh narrated his act. The king listened seriously and pondered in quiet about the wisdom of the old Brahmin priest. Lastly, he spoke. “Intelligence is more significant than power in youth.” He said seriously. ” Alas! I must have kept in mind the well-known motto, ” With the crown of thorns, there comes the wisdom.” That very moment that brutal law was scrapped and law remained to allow the old to live peacefully.

Posted in Freedoms.