Whatever brilliance, glory and distinction is found in the disciple’s life is the result of his devotion to the Guru, whether in this life or in numerous past lives. At times, on reaching the peak of his fame, the disciple thinks that the genius is attained by his personal efforts and that marks the beginning of his downfall. But Gurudev is so kind-hearted that he not only saves the disciple from the abysmal downfall but also makes all efforts to elevate him.
A disciple learnt archery from his Guru. With Guru’s grace, he became a good archer in a short time. He was praised by all people. He gradually became egotistic. In his arrogance and egotism developed by fame considered himself a bowman superior to his Guru.
Blinded by the desire for respect and admiration, one begins to strike at the root of one’s success. Noticing the downfall of the disciple, the Guru’s heart was filled with compassion. He devised a plan to save him.
One day, the Guru with that disciple set out towards another village on the pretext of some work. There was a ditch on the way. The trunk of a tree bridged the ditch for crossing it. The Guru easily walked on the trunk, and standing in the middle of the bridge, asked the disciple, “Tell me what should I shoot at.”
The disciple said, “Guruji, you shoot at that trunk of the thin tree seen in front.” The Guru hit the target in one go and walked to the other side of the bridge. Then the Guru told the disciple to do the same. Swollen with pride, he stepped on the bridge but he became scared. He somehow reached the middle of the bridge, but as he lifted the bow to aim at the tree, he lost his balance and cried in consternation, “Gurudev! Help me! Save me from falling into the ditch.”
The kind-hearted Guru immediately went there and rescued him. The disciple heaved a sigh of relief. His ego was deflated. Now, he realized that the Guru was at the root of all his successes. He prostrated himself at the Guru’s feet and seeking forgiveness said, “Gurudev! Conceited by fame, I made the blunder of considering myself superior to you. I had forgotten that I had achieved all success by your grace. I had foolishly considered Guru’s grace as my prowess. As the root is the support of a lush plant, you are the support of my prowess. Gurudev ! Kindly forgive me and bless me that I should not fall prey to such foolishness again. The penitence and prayer from a distressed heart touched the Guru’s heart. He smiled, raised his disciple affectionately and walked towards his ashram.
- Rishi Prasad – July 2013