THE VOICE WITHIN
One afternoon Guru k and his disciples were resting on the banks of the Ganga. They had arrived at the great city of Pat of many towers and gates. The ruler of the city had already paid homage to the Guru. Crowds of devotees were flocking to his congregations.
In a sermon by the Ganga, the Master spoke of the divine light that shines like a precious gem within every man. His disciple Marda asked, “Why is it that men are not able to recognise this light inside them? Why do they waste their lives in conflict, seeking pleasures and idle pursuits?”
Guru k replied: “Although human life is the dearest treasure on earth, most people do not recognize its value. So they do not acquire maximum benefit from it.”
Marda was not convinced. “Surely everyone can see the value of life!”, he exclaimed.
“No,” said the Guru, “Each man puts his own value on things according to what he thinks. A different man with different knowledge will put a different value.”
To drive home his teaching with an example, Guru k gave to Marda a rare, extremely precious gem, which had been offered to him by the ruler of Pat. He then asked Marda to sell it to the highest bidder.
Puzzled, Marda took the stone to the marketplace. He first tried a vegetable seller who offered him an onion. A vendor of sweets tried to shoo him away with some sweets. A cloth merchant thought the stone was worth a piece of cloth. A goldsmith was ready to part with some money. A jeweler offered a large sum, suggesting at the same time that Salis Rai, the richest jeweler in Pat, would be able to assess the stone properly and pay its price.
When Marda sent the stone to Salis Rai through his servant Adharka, the master jeweler was astounded. He was a good judge of jewels and also of men. He realised that here was a gem exceedingly rare and precious, and it was beyond his capacity to buy. On the stone, he read the engraved words —’Whoever sees this must pay one hundred rupees as tribute to the owner’.
So Salis Rai returned the gem along with hundred rupees to Marda. But Guru k refused to keep the money, asking Marda to let Salis Rai pay whatever price for the gem he deemed fit.
The Guru then concluded his lesson: “Such a jewel is human life. Whatever you trade for it, that is what will be yours.” Marda felt happy and peaceful, for his Master had revealed a great truth to him.
It was now the turn of Salis Rai to be intrigued. When Marda returned the money, he wondered: “What kind of a Guru is he who does not care even for such a rare and precious gem? Surely he must be a sage who has renounced all worldly things, and has no wish to profit to the utmost from this jewel.”
Resolving to meet Guru k, Salis Rai was soon on his way with servant Adharka. And their lives were changed for ever. As they heard the Guru speak, a divine light seemed to shine upon them. With open hearts and inner vision, they saw how the fountain of eterl existence had always been as near to them as the lotus flower is to the frog in the pond. But they had ignored the nectar to wallow in the slime of worldly desires.
Like the lotus in full bloom that always turns to face the light, Salis Rai and Adharka became the most devoted disciples of the Guru. In course of time, they became the first missiories who carried the message of Guru k in the East.
— the harbinger