Monday, July 11, 2016

THE DRY LEAVES






Pic.: Ashwin Mohta

Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found very effective – was telling a nice story in two tenses… the Present and the Past. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people, who were earnest about improving their English, with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and, then, tell it to someone…

My friend, Mukesh, had narrated it to me, that morning, to impart a very valuable lesson…I had titled my Post – ‘THE CRAP’



THE DRY LEAVES

PAST:

Once, a disciple went to his Master with a ‘gurudhakshina’ – an offering to one’s Guru. This disciple had completed the study under his Master, and was confident that there was nothing more to learn. So, he had gone to express his gratitude to his Master with the offering – some valuable things.

When the Master saw his disciple with expensive gifts, he said, “My son, I would rather be pleased, if you could offer me some dry leaves.”

The disciple was surprised to hear this. “Of all the things in the world, my Master is asking for dry leaves!” he thought aloud, “What are they worth? What he wants them for?”

Nevertheless, now, the Master had expressed his wish, and there was no other way the disciple could think of to please his Master, and express his love and gratitude. So, he went to the nearest village to fetch some dry leaves. Soon, he could collect a bag full of dry leaves. He was quite happy, thinking about the fact that he was now able to please his Master. Just then, a villager saw him and asked, “You seem to be a stranger here. What is that you are carrying in your bag, from this village?”

“Just some dry leaves to offer to my Master,” the disciple replied.

“No, No. You cannot take them from here; they are very valuable to us,” reacted the villager. “We need them for fire – to cook our food, to warm our bodies, and to drive away the wild animals,” he added.

The disciple immediately emptied his bag, and moved toward another village in search of dry leaves. Here, too, he was able to collect a bag full of dry leaves. But, the same scene repeated. On his way back, the disciple encountered a villager, who said similar things, “You know, my friend, those dry leaves are very precious for us ... We use them as manure for our fields; they feed our crops, and the crops, in return, feed us. Please leave them behind.”

The disciple had no choice but to leave them behind. He tried his luck in one more village; but, the same-old scene repeated. Finally, he went back to his Master, empty-handed, and stood there -- heart-broken, and crest-fallen.

Seeing the plight of his disciple, the Master commented, “Now, my son, your study is completed. Come, bring to me the offering that you intended to make … I’ll accept it now.”



PRESENT:

(Once), a disciple goes to his Master with a ‘gurudhakshina’ – an offering to one’s Guru. This disciple has completed the study under his Master, and is confident that there is nothing more to learn. So, he has gone to express his gratitude to his Master with the offering – some valuable things.

When the Master sees his disciple with expensive gifts, he says, “My son, I would rather be pleased, if you could offer me some dry leaves.”

The disciple is surprised to hear this. “Of all the things in the world, my Master is asking for dry leaves!” he thinks aloud, “What are they worth? What he wants them for?”

Nevertheless, now, the Master has expressed his wish, and there is no other way the disciple can think of to please his Master and express his love and gratitude. So, he goes to the nearest village to fetch some dry leaves. Soon, he can collect a bag full of dry leaves. He is quite happy, thinking about the fact that he is now able to please his Master. Just then, a villager sees him and asks, “You seem to be a stranger here. What is that you are carrying in your bag from this village?”

“Just some dry leaves to offer to my Master,” the disciple replies.

“No, No. You cannot take them from here; they are very valuable to us,” reacts the villager. “We need them for fire – to cook our food, to warm our bodies, and to drive away the wild animals,” he adds.

The disciple immediately empties his bag, and moves toward another village in search of dry leaves. Here, too, he is able to collect a bag full of dry leaves. But, the same scene repeats. On his way back, the disciple encounters a villager, who says similar things, “You know, my friend, those dry leaves are very precious for us ... We use them as manure for our fields; they feed our crops, and the crops, in return, feed us. Please leave them behind.”

The disciple has no choice but to leave them behind. He tries his luck in one more village; but, the same-old scene repeats. Finally, he goes back to his Master, empty-handed, and stands there -- heart-broken, and crest-fallen.

Seeing the plight of his disciple, the Master comments, “Now, my son, your study is completed. Come, bring to me the offering that you intended to make … I’ll accept it now.”


GERALD D’CUNHA

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