Mahavir looked at the sun and realised how tired his disciples were as they made their way to the neighbouring village. The place was barren, with only large boulders visible on the sunburnt stretch. However, he knew that walking further could be detrimental. As they rested, the disciples were surprised at an unusual sight among the arid expanse: one solitary plant with a bud on it. There wasn’t s single plant accompanying this one. The sight was intriguing.
‘Tell us, Master, will this bud bloom into a flower?’ Gosalak, one of Mahavir’s disciples, asked.
Other disciples weren’t happy. They knew that Gosalak must have some mischief in mind. Though he never succeeded, he always tried to disprove Mahavir’s philosophy. Mahavir sat before the plant and started meditating.
‘What’s the point in meditating?’ Gosalak said. ‘I asked a question, and I need an answer. If you don’t have one, accept it.’
Mahavir didn’t reply. Opening his eyes after a few moments, Mahavir said, ‘This bud will surely bloom. No doubt about it.’
The moment he said that, Gosalak uprooted the plant and trampled it under his feet as he laughed, ‘There goes your philosophy.’
A few days later, as they were returning, they coincidentally, stopped at the same spot. Mahavir’s disciples were surprised at what they saw. At the spot where Gosalak had trampled it, the plant stood with a flower in full bloom.
The sight piqued Gosalak’s curiosity: ‘When it was crushed, how did the plant grow again?’
‘You’re looking for the reason outside, when in reality it lies within,’ Mahavir replied. ‘When you felt that I was evading your question by meditating before the plant, what I was actually doing was connecting with the plant’s core and trying to gauge its desire to grow. I realised a strong conviction in it and immediately knew that it would survive even a storm. The fact that it bloomed without any support or any other plant nearby in a barren land is a testimony to its indomitable will. That’s what matters. Not the external forces. And, Gosalak,’ Mahavir added as the disciples tried to soak in the profound philosophy. ‘I knew you’d do what you did.’
Rajessh M. Iyer, a storyteller who explores human relationships through meaningful anecdotes, parables, and stories, shares his work on www.rajesshmiyer.com.