FATHER AND SON
In a village there lived a father and son. The son’s mother died when she was delivering him, and the father brought the boy up. The father and son loved each other very much, and the son was so devoted to father that he would not leave him for a minute. Now and again, the father would consider how the son never left him for any change whatsoever, even for recreation or sightseeing. When the father would ask the son to go sightseeing, the son did not want to go. One day, the father thought of a plan to give some change in scenery to the son.
He said to him,” Your maternal uncle is about 50 miles from here, and I would like to see him. Will you come with me?”
The son said, “Of course, how can I leave you alone? I will go with you.”
“We have only one donkey. How can we both go?”
“I am quite young, and I can walk the distance,” the son said. “There is nothing difficult for me. I am strong.”
The father was very happy, and he thought that in this way his son would get a change. So early in the morning of the following day, they started on their journey. After traveling awhile, they came upon a village. The villagers stared at the pair as they travelled down the street.
The people said,” just see this man. He is riding the donkey, and he has no shame in seeing that young boy walk beside him.”
When the father heard this, he felt ashamed that he was riding while his son was walking.
So the father said, “Son, now you ride the donkey. I will walk for some time.”
Because people were laughing at them, the son, feeling ashamed, also agreed. The son and father switched places and the son was riding the donkey. They went a further distance and came upon anther village. There again, people started looking at them and speaking amongst themselves.
This time villagers said, “What kind of young man is, he that lets older man to walk while he rides the donkey like a prince? He has no shame.”
When the son heard this, he felt very ashamed. So the father decided that both of them should ride the donkey. They went further distance and came across another village.
There, too, people looked at them and said, “Just see their cruelty. Both of them ride the donkey, while the poor, dumb animal cannot say anything. How cruel they are!”
When father and son heard, they felt bad because they were being so cruel to the donkey. They decided then that both of them should walk and drag the donkey. Now sun was near setting, and they came across another village. Once again people looked at them and said, “What fools they, that they are dragging a donkey while they themselves are walking. They are so ignorant that they don’t even know that a donkey is meant for riding. They walk and drag the donkey.”
Now the father and son felt really confused. They were feeling ashamed and cruel and foolish all at the same time. As they passed through that village, the father and son decided to sit under tree, feeling overwhelmed from everything that everyone had said to them. Wherever they went they were found in the wrong by others. And they did not know how to proceed on their journey.
Jus as they were thinking such thoughts, a saintly person cane by and he said to them, “why are you sitting. They said, “We are thinking what to do.”
And the father told the saintly person what had taken place in the journey. “If you have any remedy for this situation, please let us know. We will act accordingly.”
The saintly person replied, “The reason that all this is happening because you want to please the people of the world. But this not possible because each person has their own ideas. Even though you did what they wanted, you are now confused and ashamed. They found you cruel and foolish. This is your weakness, because really you are neither. But if you continue to listen to the people as you travel from one village to the next, you will never be able to get your destination. Then you really would be foolish. Do not listen anymore to their chatter, but listen to God within you. He will guide you properly.
Explanation in Bhau’s words:
The father and son had not listened to the voice inside themselves, and so they were at loss as to what to do. All they could do was listen to everyone else. And that is why it is most important to listen to how Meher Baba is prompting one. That is the voice one must follow, otherwise one will not get the destination. But one should hear the voice one’s heart; one has to be very honest with him. Desires of every kind will always be in one’s mind, urging one to follow their lead. So one has to develop the discretion to distinguish between what is the voice of heart and what is the noise of mind and its innumerable desires. If one is not honest with himself one will be led by false modesty, thinking that one is leading a spiritual life. But what one will be leading only ideal life, and no real inner change will take place.
(Spiritual training programme –Bhau Kalchuri ed. 2005 pp-111-114)