Note – This story is reaching you with a message today. Hope the message rubs on you. When the story alighted in my mind, I laughed. And may you laugh too and spread it far and wide.
More than one thousand years ago in India, there lived a laughing Saint. Some called him a genius, others thought he was wise and some believed he was a fool.
So, a famous traveler from a faraway kingdom visited him one day. He wanted to evaluate and judge the man. The Saint was making an ordinary garland from grey flowers that had a very strong smell. On seeing the traveler, he pointed towards a bamboo mat.
The traveler kept sitting for a long time, watching the Saint, who would chuckle while putting fresh flowers in the thread. Soon, he got bored and thought the Saint was quite mad.
So, he started a conversation to get further proof of the Saint’s madness. “Ahem, hello Swamiji, for whom are you making the garland?”
“No one in particular, ” the saint laughed.
“Then why are you wasting your time on the garland?” the traveler asked.
The Saint looked at him and laughed again. The traveler got annoyed and thought this man was not only mad he was a fool too. There was nothing wise or intelligent about the man. Why was this idiot so famous?.
He got up to leave.
“Sit down, dear friend. I am sorry I offended you, ” said the Saint. “I will ask you a few questions that will make you understand why I laughed. Tell me about yourself?”
“I am a famous astronomer, scientist, and mathematician from a King’s court in the South. I own many palatial homes, immense wealth and I am highly respected in society. I have a lovely family and I live a grand life...”
“That’s very good. So, what brings you here my friend?”
“I wanted to know the secret of your laughter. But I think I have got my answer now, ” the traveler said, looking at him from top to bottom.
“You have everything in life. It must make you happy, so why did you come here looking for silly secrets?” the Saint asked, wrapping the garland in a wet cloth.
The traveler cleared his throat. “The problem is I should be happy but I am not always happy like you.”
“Ok, so what will make you happy like me?”
“Hmmm, I feel happy when I think about my wealth and power. And soon I am planning to go on a sea voyage, I guess, that will make me happy like you, ” said the traveler.
The Saint laughed again. “Well, thinking about your wealth is a memory of happiness! And planning a sea voyage is about future happiness. Tell me what will make you happy, right now? Because real and pure happiness can only exist right now!”
The traveler looked closely at the laughing Saint. Something clicked in him but he was still confused so he continued the conversation.
“I can be truly happy right now if I get something which I am hoping for.”
“Umm… like a better position at the King’s court.”
“So, you can be truly happy only – when you get what you love. But what if you – Accepted and loved what you got every moment the same way, ” the Saint laughed again.
“That is so simple and yet so difficult. But yes, that would make me happy right now! But I would still need to make plans for my future happiness…”
“If you stay alive in the Now, the future and your plans will be taken care of automatically. A fresh path gets carved out of every moment of conscious presence. Trust the universe to make everything work in your favor. Now, do you want to know why I laughed while making the garland?“
The traveler nodded.
“Well, this morning, I got some flowers as a present from the little girl next door. You would hardly ever see me making a garland at this time. But today, I decided to make it for no reason at all. The process of making the garland was exhilarating. The freshness, color, shapes of each flower was delightful. But a thought arose in me – Why was I making the garland? I didn’t pay attention to it and continued being in the moment. And then you came along.“
The traveler nodded again, listening with bated breath.
“You asked the same question – For whom are you making the garland? And I laughed appreciating the glory and grace of the Universe. Of course, for you, my friend! The little girl unknowingly picked up the flowers for you and I blissfully made the herbal garland for you. And the universe sent you here to get what you were really looking for. I know you have a rare disease in your left leg, I can smell it. So, here take the garland, the smell of the flowers will cure it.“
The traveler was bewildered and accepted the garland gratefully. He really had a rare disease that he had kept hidden from the world. “Yes, this was what I was looking for around the country. I am so joyful I got it. I am so indebted to you. But this cure was not what I was hoping to get from you. I really wanted to know why you laughed so much.“
“And you know now. Don’t you? I am blissful because I choose to accept and ‘just be’ in every moment. Whenever you want to be blissful, just come back to the moment from your past or present and flow with what is… May you always be as accepting and grateful as you are right now after getting the cure. And the universe will give you more opportunities for bliss and gratitude,” the Saint blessed him.
When he returned home, the King of Southern Kingdom asked about the laughing Saint. The traveler said – “At first, he may look like a mad man, then an idiot and a fool, and finally one of the wisest men on Earth. But one thing is sure – his child-like laughter and positivity will stay with you like the fragrance of a rare garland.”