Sufi story: The lesson
One day, King of Magadha (a state in ancient India) called upon his growing son (prince heir to the throne) and asked him to go to Ashram (a place like present days boarding school) for higher education. Prince went to the Ashram and stayed their for many years to get higher education. It was summer time and one day Gurudev (head teacher) asked all the disciples to come along with him to have bath in the river flowing nearby. All went there and have good time enjoying the cool water. As they we returning, the prince was walking ahead of Gurudev with his friends. All of a sudden, Gurudev kicked the prince from behind and he tumbled into the ground. Looking at this sudden act of Gurudev, everybody was stunned. Prince stood up, cleaned his clothes and asked politely, “Gurudev, what wrong I did or what’s that I did not perform as per your expectations that you have treated me like this? Why have I been punished like this?”
Gurudev did not answer and remained silent. Prince again asked politely but Gurudev did not utter any word. When other disciples tried to ask, he just said, “Let’s go to Ashram, have food and then continue with study.”
Years went by. Prince and his friends did not get answer from Gurudev for that unexpected act. One day, Gurudev called upon the Prince and said, “O Prince, your education is complete and now you can return to the capital”. Prince returned to the palace to help King in royal matters.
One day, King called upon the Prince and said, “I’m very old now and want you to become the King.” He instructed his prime minister to start preparing for the grand occasion and send invitation to all state dignitaries and the common people. At this, Prince requested King that he wants that special invitation should be extended to his Gurudev. King was very happy to see Prince’s respect for his Gurudev and accepted the request.
On the auspicious day, when the crowing process was completed and prince became King, he stood up and said, “As King of the state, the very first thing I want to do is to ask a question?” Everybody turned silent. He turned to his Gurudev and asked, “Gurudev, I want to know from you today why I was treated by you like that on that day. As per best of my knowledge, I think I did no wrong then. I asked you few times but you did not answer. Why?”
Gurudev stood up from his seat and said, “O King! First tell me please, how did you feel over these years?”
King said, “Till today I am very disturbed and upset. I could not sleep well, eat well and act well, and of course very angry. I was not told for what wrong I did for which undue punishment was served to me in front of my friends and other children. It was very embarrassing and affected me very badly. Why did you do that to me? I wanted to…but stopped.”
At this Gururdev asked, “If I do not tell you even today why I did that to you, what will you do?”
King said, “I’m the King now and I can take a…again stopped.”
At this Gurudev said, ” O King! Listen. On that day I knowingly did injustice to you. Worst, I even did not explain reason to you and that kept you disturbed, dejected, upset and angry over these years. You must have thought highly negative about me (I’m cruel, dishonest, dislike/jealous of royalty, conspirator, play favorite, have vested interests, wanted to insult you etc) and may wanted to have revenge one day. As your teacher, this is my last lesson to you – Being Great King of our country never ever do injustice to anyone. I did not just want to tell you about what injustice is but to make you experience it in a hard and bitter way so that you understand it, never forget it and avoid it. Rule the country with commitment, integrity, power, pride, adequate transparency and above all with justice. Only then your subjects will have faith and trust in you, will be committed to you, will work for you. All this will help our country to grow, become stronger and prosperous. If injustice is served knowingly or unknowingly and worst not explained, your people will feel like you to be disheartened, dejected, upset, angry and uncommitted only to loose faith in you. All this will lead them to desert your or to become disloyal, disorder can set in and in worst scenario leading to a revolt only to have sufferings for you and your people and benefit to your enemies only. From that day country will not be safe and will certainly be destined to ruins. History is full of such instances. Never ever let that happen. This is your first and foremost duty and as a Great King and worthy disciple of mine I believe that you will be able to perform this continuously and successfully.”