Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A story about ego

Back in 2006, I chanced upon a group called Charity Focus. I don't recall exactly how I found it. One of the things they offer is Wednesday evening meditation sessions in the South Bay that are open to all. I had met one of the founders, Nipun Mehta, there and he was one of the several people that nudged me very strongly to take my first 10-day vipassana meditation course. But I digress.

I attended a few of these Wednesday sessions. On August 23rd 2006 they had a special guest, Subba Rao. The following story was told to us that Wednesday by him. I wish there was a transcript of the story as he told it, but since there isn't I'm going to tell it in my own words and hope I can convey the message as intended. Subba Rao himself is a very interesting person, and I would urge you to read this interview.

The story is about man who meditates for many years, even decades, without an ulterior motive. However, on seeing the diligence of his practice, God makes an appearance and asks him to request a boon. He can ask for anything he wants and it shall be granted. The man refuses saying he is meditating just for the sake of meditation itself. To which God says, "In that case, I will grant you a boon anyway. I will grant you the power to heal the sick and the power to eradicate poverty. If you see a sick person and will it, the person will become healthy at once. If you see a person stricken by poverty and will it, the person will become wealthy beyond imagination."

Thus saying, God was about to leave, when the man responds, "Now that you have granted me this power, I must ask for something else." God begins to wonder what it might be that the man has suddenly decided he needs, but nevertheless obliges. So the man continues, "If I should ever exercise this power that you have bestowed upon me, please do not let the thought enter my mind that it is me that is making it happen."

1 comment:

  1. Nice story – what I like more about it is not so much the wish of keeping out the thought of ‘me’ doing good by the story’s hero, – of course keeping such thought out is in anyone’s self interest, required to stay free and everyone has right to do things in self interest so far as others are not harmed. what I appreciate more is, “if I ever should exercise power..” part where stories hero implies that he accepts responsibility to decide when to exercise his powers. I think challenge is not to simply give up credit/debit for the deed. it is to not get trapped in that credit/debit while not giving up effort to strive to know and select good over bad in responsible manner and story doesn't miss that point.