All for a Loin Cloth
Source: An old Indian story
There was a monk in the hermitage, one day he said “Master, all I’m doing here is work, no spirituality, I’m going to leave the hermitage.”
The wise master said “No, you have to work for God, otherwise you will fall.”
“Oh no, it will be
all right,” said the monk and took two pieces of loin cloth and a begging bowl with him and left. He began sitting under a tree to do his meditation. He was very proud that he had renounced the world, renounced the hermitage and master’s wish and everything.
First thing in the morning he sees that a mouse had worked on his extra loincloth, he got very worried and said to God, “At last Lord, I gave everything and now you want to munch at my few pieces of loin clothes”.
There was a man passing by who saw this worried monk. He asked, “What is the trouble master?”
This monk wasn’t a master of course, he was a student trying to be a master! Yet the monk replied, “I’m worried for my loincloth, these mice are working on even the last piece of cloth I have.”
“Master, it’s very simple. Why don’t you keep a cat?” said the man.
“That’s wonderful! how will I get a cat?” said the monk
“That’s simple! I will get you a cat” said the man and went home and brought a cat. The mice fled as soon as the cat came. Now the cat would meow from time to time, as she desired milk. So the monk had to go to the village to fetch milk for the cat to keep the peace. So now the monk was worried for cat.
The same passer by who had helped the monk before saw this and asked “Master, what is worrying you now?”
“Well! now I have to go
to the village all the time to beg for milk”, said the monk.
“Well, that’s easy to solve. Get a cow
,” said the man.
“Where will I get a cow?” questioned the monk
“Well! I will give you a cow”, said the man and brought a cow for the monk. Now the monk had a cat and a cow. The cow was known as the saint’s cow, so it was freely eating from everyone’s field.
After a year villagers could not bear it anymore, “Teacher, we are tired of your cow, we have tolerated it for one year.”
“But how am I going to feed my cow?” said the monk
“Why don’t you have your own land?” said the villagers
“How will I get the land?” questioned the monk
“We will give you all the land you want” said the villagers and gave him the land. So he got the land, several cats and several cows. He borrowed children from the village and they all worked for him.
After two years the head of the village came and said “Master we have tolerated you for two years, you borrow our children, they are never at home, always working for you, taking care of your cats, dogs and cows and everything.”
“But how will I maintain all these things?” said the monk.
“Why don’t you have your own children?” suggested the village head.
“Well! that’s a good idea, but how?” asked the monk.
“I will give you my daughter in marriage” said the village head.
The monk was seriously considering marriage and having children to help him manage his cat, his cow and the farm.When his master arrived
looking for a monk who had nothing. Finally he found him, as there was no monk in the village who had nothing!
He said, “I thought you had renounced the hermitage because there was too much work, what is this? You have built up a big house, and land and everything and now I hear you are going to get married?”
“Master this is all for a loin cloth. You were right! I will walk away with you,” said the monk and walked back to the hermitage.
Comment: On our path to enlightenment we will have many obstacles. We need to stay clear of them. To master them and not let them master us.