The Snake Charmers
Everyone has surely heard of the many snake charmers in India, who travel from village to village and set up camp in the surrounding areas to display their skill. Of course they must be very skilful to trap and train the snakes and to protect themselves from a fatal bite.
In snake charming, as in all trades, there can be found the wise and respected, but also the swindlers and charlatans. There was once a leader of these snake charmers who unfortunately had directed all his energies into the development of negative powers. He had perfected the ability to render people unconscious by virtue of his hypnotic stare. His favourite victims in this game, were sadhus and swamis.
As he learned of the reputation of Sri Devpuriji and his many snakes, he became curious to discover more. So sending two of his fellow snake charmers to test Sri Devpuriji, he decided to find out what kind of person this yogi was.
With pretence and flattery they came to Sri Devpuriji.
"Sir, we have come to show you our modest art."
Sri Devpuriji allowed the two charlatans to begin their magic flute-playing. Their efforts had no effect, Sri Devpuriji's snakes were not at all aroused. They didn’t move an inch! After several more unsuccessful attempts, the rogues angrily turned on Sri Devpuriji.
"You have bewitched these snakes! Your magic spells may be superior to ours, but you will surely not influence our Master who is much more powerful than us. You will be no match for him!"
And so they escorted Sri Devpuriji to their camp, where he might measure his powers against those of their Master. All those belonging to the troupe of snake charmers, gathered in anticipation to watch.
The Master snake charmer summoned all his power and fixed a stony glare upon Sri Devpuriji. For a long time he stared but nothing happened. In vain did he try to defeat Sri Devpuriji, just as he had defeated so many others before. Finally, Sri Devpuriji returned the snake charmer’s stare and the man suddenly fell down unconscious. Sri Devpuriji first looked into the faces of the astonished bystanders and then spoke to the stunned snake charmer.
"I have just proven that your powers are not as great as you thought. In your own camp, before your own people I have defeated you. This was not done to display my own power, but rather to teach you an invaluable lesson about ignorance and pride. You have imagined yourself to be the highest possible authority, but this is the most grave mistake a man can make. By doing this you have placed yourself under the tyranny of your ego and thus yourself have become a tyrant. Instead of wasting time inflicting shameful defeats on sadhus and swamis you had best Master your own ego. The only power of any value comes by the grace of God who works through you and the only meaningful victory to be had, is the one over your own negative qualities."
Humbly the snake charmer bowed to Sri Devpuriji.
"O merciful one, with your blessing I will completely change my behaviour."
The details of this event soon spread throughout the community of the snake charmers and ever since they have worshipped Sri Devpuriji as their patron Saint. Today they still bring their sons to Kailash Ashram to receive blessing before initiation into the art of snake charming.
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