The Guru

The Guru sat alone in the desert, the Seeker came upon him.  “Master” she said “How do I achieve enlightenment?”  The Guru looked up and motioned her to sit beside him, she sat.  She waited.  The Guru sat and never spoke.  She waited.  Thinking the answer must be so profound it needed long deliberation.  The crossed the sky and sank beneath the horizon.

In the chill night air the seeker shivered.  She waited she thought about speaking, asking again how to attain enlightenment.  She stole a glance at the Guru, thinking he may have fallen asleep, he was gazing straight ahead into the distant darkness.  The darkness enshrouded the Seeker, the stars gave the only light.  She shivered and sat.  She grew weary and slept, waking to find herself lying curled on the ground beside the Guru in the chill twilight just before dawn.  She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and sat up.  She looked towards the Guru, who was gazing into the distance.  The bowl before him had half filled with dew, slowly, reverently the Guru reached down and picked it up, he drank deeply, then stopped.  The Guru seemed to notice the Seeker, he looked at her and at the ground in front of her, she had no bowl.  The Guru held out the bowl with the remaining dew within it.  The Seeker took the bowl and drank, neither spoke, when the bowl was empty she handed it back.  The Guru placed the bowl on the ground in front of him, and immediately turned his gaze to the distance.  The Seeker thought about asking again, but instead she sat down beside the Guru and watched as the sun rose.  They sat in the desert beside the path that led from the village to the oasis beneath the shade of a sparsely canopied tree.  The villagers came past on their way to collect water, as they passed they placed food into the bowl in front of the Guru, who spoke not, but acknowledged each gift by raising his hands from where they rested upon his knees, bringing them together with the fingers pointing to the heavens just in line with his heart, he then inclined his head forward.  The Seeker watched this process and sat silently beside the Guru for many hours.  When the sun was high overhead and the shade beneath the tree diminished, the Guru’s bowl was full, he lifted the bowl and slowly ate half of the fruit, grains, pulses and nuts it contained.  The Guru turned to the Seeker and held out the bowl with the remaining food whilst she ate he turned his gaze until he once more looked straight ahead.  When the bowl was empty she held it out to the Guru who took it silently and placed it on the ground before him.  The Seeker wondered how the bowl was so clean when she first arrived, but she did not ask.  Many hours later the Shepherd came past with goats, they milled around nibbling  thin dry shoots wherever they could find them and some lay down in the slight shade of the tree, the Guru sat and spoke not.  The shepherd took the bowl and milked the pure white goat filling the bowl to the brim with fresh white milk.  The shepherd placed the bowl in front of the Guru, reverently upon the ground by his feet.  The Guru raised his hands and inclined his head acknowledging the gift without speaking.  The shepherd gathered his flock and went on his way, the bells of the goats tinkling in the still evening air.  The Guru lifted the bowl and drank half of the milk before handing it to the Seeker to finish.  The milk tasted delicious and the Seeker relished every drop.  When  the bowl was empty she handed it back to the Guru, this time she raised her hands and brought them together in line with her heart fingers pointing to heaven, she inclined her head, the Gurus eyes filled with tears and he smiled  ery gently, before returning his gaze to the distant hills.

The Seeker sat pondering the vents of the day and feeling she was depriving the Guru of his food and drink began to wish she had thought to bring some food or at least a bowl so she could fill it with water at the oasis.  For a while they sat together in the lengthening shadow of the tree, a few of the women from the village passed on their way to the oasis, the first stooped down and took the bowl from in front of the Guru, who raised his hands and inclined his head acknowledging the action, The Seeker gasped, wondering why the Guru said nothing.  The Seeker and the Guru sat in silence, an hour passed and the sun dipped towards the horizon.  The village women returned carrying their pitchers of water, the first placed the newly washed bowl back on the ground in front of the Guru, who said nothing but lifted his hands and inclined his head in acknowledgement, repeating the action a moment later when the second woman placed another bowl before him, the third and fourth women filled the bowls from their pitchers, brim-full of fresh clear sparkling water.  The Guru acknowledged each gift and service without speaking but by honouring the acts with love.  When all the women had passed the Guru lifted the first bowl and turned to the Seeker he handed her the bowl full of water, she drank deeply and as she did so the Guru lifted the second bowl and drank.  When the bowls were empty the Seeker handed the bowl back to the Guru, this time they exchanged the salutation, honouring the actions each of the other.  The Guru turned to gaze straight ahead and for a while the Seeker watched and waited now she thought he is going to speak and I will learn how to attain enlightenment, but the sun sank towards the skyline and the silence deepened into darkness.  The Seeker turned to face straight ahead and sat, silently in the darkness, the stars wheeled across the sky, she gasped at the beauty of a shooting star, she raised her hand and pointed “look” she said, the Guru lifted his gaze and looked, in the darkness she felt the warmth of the smile she could not see and the emotion in the eyes of the Guru.  The Seeker felt her eyes grow weary and remembering the previous night decided to lay quietly down on the earth beside the Guru rather than fall.  As she lay in the stillness and silence she became aware of the gentlest of vibrations, the smallest of sounds in the soil beneath her ear.  She raised her head and could no longer hear the whispering; she lay he head back down upon the ground and waited.  The sound came again, she sat up, a little fearfully, and she asked the Guru “what is the whispering I hear when I lay my head upon the ground beneath the tree?” The Guru turned towards the tree and raising his hands and inclining his head he acknowledged and honoured the tree that gave them shade, and then he turned and looked at the Seeker and smiled, before turning to gaze once more into the darkness. The Seeker lay down, placed her head upon the ground and allowed the trees roots to sing her a lullaby until she fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.  When she awoke in the early light just before dawn, she thought she would take the bowls and walk to the oasis to fill them for the Guru but when she looked she saw that each was already half full of dew and she recalled how good the dew had tasted the morning before, so she sat in silence beside the Guru until the sun peeked over the horizon and flooded the desert with golden light.  The Guru raised his hands and inclined his head towards sun, welcoming, acknowledging and honouring the giver of warmth and light.  The Seeker, couldn’t help herself, she copied and felt her heart expand with love, she gasped and looked at the Guru who gazed straight ahead but smiled gently.  The Guru lifted one bowl and handed it to the Seeker, she took the bowl but didn’t drink straight away instead she watched as the Guru carefully lifted the second bowl to his lips but before he drank he took a deep in breath as if inhaling the aroma of the dew in the bowl, she watched as the Guru drank, then replaced the bowl on the ground before him.  When he had done so she noticed he lifted his hands and brought them together in line with his heart, he inclined his head towards the empty bowl.  The Seeker understood, she inhaled deeply and the heady aroma of the fresh dew in the bowl almost overwhelmed her senses.  She drank deeply until the bowl was empty, then she placed it reverently in front of the Guru and emulated his gesture of acknowledgement for the gift of life giving water and clear pure air.  The Guru gazed silently ahead but there was a small smile lighting his eyes and lifting the corners of his mouth.  As the sun climbed in the sky the villagers passed and each left a gift of food in the bowls before the Guru, when the sun was overhead, they ate, as the shade deepened the shepherd came with the goats and filled both bowls with fresh milk, in the evening the women collected the bowls and took them to the oasis where they washed them before returning and filling them with sparkling water, the Guru never spoke, he acknowledged each and every act silently, reverently, he ate, drank and sat gently, with minimal effort, he handed the Seeker the bowl, he took the bowl back, he acknowledged and returned her greetings.  The days passed, each the same, other Seekers came, they each asked the Guru, how they might attain enlightenment, they sat as indicated by the Guru.  Some waited for only a few minutes, some a few hours, when the Guru ate or drank, he shared the bowls with all those sitting with him.  Some sat in silence and then left, when they rose to leave the Guru acknowledged and honoured them but he never spoke.  Some became angry and shouted, asking why the Guru didn’t answer their question.  The Guru only offered them his silent acknowledgement.  They left muttering.  Some stayed many days and nights, some just a few moments.  The weeks passed and still the one Seeker waited, and watched and learnt.  One night it was once again just the two of them and the sun had just dipped into the horizon with its last lingering rays it lit the distant hills and they seemed to pulsate in response to its light.  The Seeker gazed, she gasped, she did not speak but she held out her hand and pointed to the hills the Guru looked, he smiled, his eyes filled with love and he placed his hands on the earth flat, palms down before him, the Seeker did likewise, she felt the pulse of the earth, the Guru leant forward and placed his forehead on the earth, the Seeker did likewise.  Together they felt, and heard and saw the heartbeat of the planet, as one with all living beings, at one with the multiverse, at one with each other and every sentient being.  Many hours later the acolyte felt the soft warm touch of the sun’s first gentle caress as it rose over the horizon.  The Bliss in the heart of the disciple filled every fibre of her physical being she felt her energy field expand and merge with all that surrounded her, the Guru, the tree, the bowls, the hills, the soil.  She was at one with all beings.  A being of light inhabiting a physical body.  The guru sat beside her an expression of bliss upon his face, with his eyes gently closed and his hands held before him, fingers pointing to heaven in line with his heart.  For the last time the Seeker emulated him.  As the sun rose higher into the sky the Seeker lifted the dew filled bowl and handed it to the Guru, he took the bowl, inhaled and drank, the Seeker joined him in the action together as one they breathed and drank the air and water of life, together they heard and felt the heartbeat of the earth, the earth beat, the earth pulse, together they felt the warmth and saw the light of the sun.

The Guru knew and the Seeker knew enlightenment.  The time had come to leave, knowing they were as one, with each other and all life forms.  For the last time they bowed their heads and raised their hands each honouring the other.  The Guru stood and the Seeker gazed into the distance, her eyes filled with love and her heart filled with joy, her whole being at one and at peace with all that is.

The Guru turned away and treading softly upon the planet walked away, becoming the Seeker, knowing that in stillness and the echo of silence the beating heart of the earth united them.

The Seeker sat alone beneath the tree in the desert, becoming the Guru, she smiled, her eyes brim-full with love her heart expanding with joy, her whole being at one and at peace with all that is.

 

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