Treasure Beyond Measure

Year 1951…

The festival of Christmas was approaching? The Ashram was filled with numerous offerings in the form of toys and colourful balloons. Shri Paramhansa was sitting cross-legged on his seat. On the table in front of him, toys, balloons, and other Christmas presents laid scattered. Suddenly, he picked up the toys and started playing with them. Like a child, he whistled with glee, tossed the toys. In between, he laughed heartily, clapped, and giggled. In those moments, expressions on his countenance were child-like and he behaved like a cherub.

The disciples, nearby, who were engrossed in making preparations for the festivities, stood silent and perplexed. They gaped at their Master. Among them was also present a disciple whose heart was perhaps loaded with dry feelings. It seemed as if a smile was strictly banned on his face. As if to him, laughter was a criminal act. …However that day, looking at the playful acts of Gurudev, a little smile sprouted on his lips. Giving a pause to his play for a while, Gurudev raised his eyes. Pointing at the toys, he asked the same disciple, “How do you find them?” The coy disciple replied softly, “They are lovely, Maharaj!” Paramhansa said with a benign smile, "Why have you loaded yourself with so much of maturity and adulthood? Why don't you be like a child? I have taken the whole sole responsibility of your well-being upon my shoulders so that you all can become little, lovely, and innocent siblings. Then, why don't you hold my finger and move with a carefree, jovial attitude"?

Well, from that day onwards, the disciple renounced all sorts of worries. He did every work and Sewa (Service) ungrudgingly, with enthusiasm and merriment. The Master's words had revealed to him the secret of living a lighthearted life.
It was a fine evening? The day had been hot, with the temperature soaring high... of the climate as well as the mood of Gurudev? Actually, two disciples had committed some grave mistake. When Paramhansa came to know about it, he took them to task. He scolded them and counted their shortcomings amidst all other disciples. With sunset, the Master's strict attitude also mellowed. He summoned both the disciples to the Ashram's garden. Their sorrowful faces were still speaking the obvious. Both sat in the sacred feet of Gurudev with their eyes downcast. On seeing them, Paramhansa burst into peels of laughter. Both the disciples raised their heads in surprise. They did not say anything, but their questioning eyes fully spoke their heart. Gurudev immediately answered their unasked questions– 'With lots of efforts, I have painted and polished the sparkling white walls. But, when I see patches on them, I just can't restrain myself from removing them.' Tears trickled from the eyes of the disciples. The Master patted their cheeks gently and spoke with great affection– 'My children, don't forget that a scolding from Guru is like an operation. My Gurudev used to rebuke me in the open court of disciples and devotees. But no sour feeling ever crossed my mind. I knew those were Gurudev's blessings in disguise. He could not see any malfunctioning part within me. So far as some part of the body is diseased, suffering is inevitable. On even a slightest prick of taunt from anyone, you will be agonised. My efforts are to set right and service those parts.' Gurudev's words were truly profound and precious.

Both the disciples looked at their Master with awe and wonder! One of the disciples became deeply emotional and uttered, 'Gurudev, you think so much for a useless individual like me? Paramhansa surveyed him with great affection and said, “Why? If a diamond falls into the slush, its value does not diminish. My dear children! I can see the purity and beauty of your souls. It's just that the pious soul bears a cover of weaknesses and negativities. Only that covering needs to be removed.”

Having said thus, Gurudev's eyes turned towards the beautiful, colourful, blooming roses in the garden. He said, 'Look, how beautiful are these flowers! One who sees them admires their beauty, colour, and formation. But to make the flowers bloom, how strenuous efforts are needed, that only a gardener knows!' Both the disciples, the growing rose-buds, surrendered at the feet of Gurudev– their caring gardener! A silent prayer emerged from their hearts, 'The world around us may or may not know. But Gurudev, we are the witnesses to your relentless and selfless efforts to flower us!'

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