The Rule of Love
A mighty king was marching home after a triumphant victory in a gruesome battle. He had slain the ruler of the neighbouring kingdom and had captured their crown prince too.
The army, on its way back, passed through a dense jungle. As it was eventide, the army decided to halt for the day, and began to set up camp.
Close by in the forest was a hermitage, the abode of a famed sage and his disciples. Deciding to pay his respects to the sage, the king sent his minister and soldiers to the hermitage, directing them to seek an audience with the holy man.
"Maharaj wants to meet the sage," they told the disciples there. The disciples, however, requested them to come the next day saying, "Guruji has retired for the day. Please come tomorrow."
The next morning, the King went to the hermitage attired in his regal paraphernalia, and accompanied by his retinue of ministers and attendants. The sage was sitting under a tree, scattering millet seeds. All around him were hundreds of birds of different kinds, pecking at the seeds and filling the air with the music of their twittering.
The King walked up to the sage whose attention remained on his birds.
"Pranam (salutations), Guruji!" the King said. There was no answer.
The King raised his voice, "Pranam, Guruji!" Still, no answer.
"Guruji, I said Pranam!" the King said in an angry voice. The sage looked up and said, "Stop shouting, you are frightening the birds away."
That made the king even more furious. "Do you know who I am?" he yelled. The sage said calmly, "Yes, I do. You are the one who kills for the love of power. You are the one who knows not that this power is temporary. One day, another king shall kill you in the same way. Your love of power shall bring about your downfall."
The king was beside himself with rage. He said, "Your impertinence is intolerable. I shall kill you right now!" He drew out his sword and raised it to strike the sage. In an instant, hundreds of birds flew from all sides and attacked the king.
They flapped their wings vigorously and fearlessly on his face, jabbed at his arms, and pecked at his legs and body. The desperate king flailed his arms up and around to ward off the fowls, which had suddenly become ferocious and dauntless. But the birds wouldn't leave him.
Finally, the sage called out, "Leave him! Leave him! Come to me, my dears!" All at once, the birds quietened down and sat meekly at the feet of the sage.
The sage then said in a grave voice, a voice which commanded authority and spoke of his great wisdom, "All I ever gave these birds is love. Oh King! Realize the power of that love. Conversely, the love of power has blinded you, and brought you to the level of a killer.
"These birds would have killed you – a reflection of your own misdeeds – had it not been that they love me. I rule over them like a king too, but the only power I exercise over them is the power of Love and that is the greatest power on this Earth.”
This story’s potent affirmation has been reiterated innumerable times by Bhagavan Baba who constantly exhorts us to foster love. In His divine discourse in November 23, 1996, Baba said, “Transform your entire life into a saga of Love. You will then lack nothing to make you happy. All wealth and position will be added unto you, for Love conquers all!”
But what exactly is this love that Baba refers to? He has Himself explained, “Pure, unselfish Love towards all living beings, considered as embodiments of the Divine, with no expectation of reward, is true Love… Happiness will come in the same measure as your love for God.”
~ Story adapted from SSS Bal Vikas, April 2009
~ Illustrations: Ms. Lyn Kriegler Elliot
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