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A Bear As My Teacher

On the 15th of May, 1954, I was staying with Mahaprabhuji in the Shivbagh Ashram at Bola Guda. Mahaprabhuji had just scolded me and even though it was for my own good, in my ignorance I was still upset and angry. To hide this I silently withdrew into my room though I knew no-one can hide anything from Mahaprabhuji.

Some time later the trainer of a bear came into the ashram to show Mahaprabhuji the tricks of his bear.

At first Mahaprabhuji refused.

"We are sadhus and are not interested in such plays."

"Gurudeva, I have come to you full of hope," the poor man pleaded. "Please do not disappoint me."

Mahaprabhuji relented.

"Well, show your bear to Madhavananda."

He then called me and I tried to refuse.

"Be seated and watch," Mahaprabhuji ordered.

This I had to obey, so I sat and watched as the owner of the bear began the performance. He had the bear imitate the crawling movements of a thief and then those of a dancing fiancee. For a whole hour he had the bear perform many tricks and he did his best to entertain us.

The man and the bear left the ashram after we gave a sum for his show. When all was over, I rose up from my place to return to my room, but Mahaprabhuji held me back.

"Tell me what you've seen," he said.

"You also saw the performance, so what should I tell you?" I answered, irritated.

Mahaprabhuji instructed me to be seated again.

"Now, listen well. A bear is a wild and dangerous animal and the trainer is his Guru. He taught the bear these skills through severe training and without a doubt, by punishing it from time to time. Only the Guru can bring to light the abilities of a disciple. Sometimes the Guru admonishes, chides and acts in harsh ways, but all this is done only in the best interests of the disciple. For this reason, never feel anger towards the Guru.

"A horse can't win a prize if it hasn't been rigorously trained. Gold, silver or iron will only fetch the highest price if first heated in the fire and then worked with the hammer. The highest price for wood is obtained when first it is cut and made into furniture. Clay is first given shape by the potter and baked in the fire of the kiln. Pots made in this way keep the water cool and so give pleasure to all who drink from them. In just this way the Guru moulds the disciple into a perfect vessel into which can be poured the nectar of knowledge. The methods to accomplish this miracle are only known to the Satguru."

I was so impressed with Mahaprabhuji's short lecture that all my negative thoughts passed away and I begged forgiveness from him. Mahaprabhuji laid his hand in blessing on my head and I sank down in supreme happiness.

 

 


 

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