Story 1 of 72 in the book, “72 Stories of God, Good and Goods“, published in 1989:
Once a young man was walking down a road and, in the pathway, he saw a cobra. It was a king cobra and there was no way around it. He knew that if you ever come to a king cobra, you are never supposed to run from it. He knew he had three alternatives. One was to take a stick and hit it and kill it. The second was to stay where he was until it left. And the third was to let it attack, and then try to attack back.
But instead of any of these alternatives, he decided to do something altogether different. He put his stick on his shoulder and leaving a large distance between himself and the snake, he slowly began inching past him.
Now the king cobra is pretty intelligent. He knew if he wanted to bite the young man, all he had to do was to leap and then do so. But he also knew that if he didn’t leap far enough, the young man would hit him with the stick. Therefore, he decided since the young man was letting him live and just passing on, he would also let the man live, and not try to attack. And so, the matter ended.
Later that night the young man reached his home. He opened the door to his house, went in and looked around. He went into the kitchen, fixed his dinner, ate it and then decided to go to sleep. He entered the bedroom where he saw his wife sleeping. She looked very peaceful. But much to his surprise, right on the bed next to her, sat the same king cobra he had seen earlier that very day.
Now he was a very intelligent young man, so he quickly thought up a plan. He very quietly walked past the cobra, leaving a large distance between them. He walked into the kitchen, took a pot and put some milk in it, and he brought it back into the room, and left it there. To his relief, the king cobra left his seat on the bed, came to the milk, drank it, and then slipped out of the house.
The next day, out of gratitude, the young man and his wife both went to the temple to pray and give thanks that they had not been harmed. While they were there, the head priest came up to them and invited them into his sitting room. The priest said, “Son, I have a job for you if you will oblige me.”
The young man said, “Babaji, my pleasure. What can I do for you?”
The priest said, “Would you like to sit down on this seat, please?” And he pointed to the seat where he, the head priest, usually sat.
Now the young man was very much surprised. A devotee, a real devotee, will never sit on the seat of the teacher. Never. Because to him that seat is just like his altar, and you don’t sit on an altar. The master’s seat is the altar of a student. So the young man said, “Sir, I cannot do it.”
The priest said, “I am telling you to do it.”
He said, “My master, you are like a place of worship. This is your seat. I cannot sit there. I am only your student. I am your disciple. We have come to thank you and to pray to the God. We have brought these gifts. That is all.”
The teacher said, “If you cannot sit there, then will you do me another favor?”
The student said, “Yes, master, anything.”
He said, “Then just sort of slip in the seat and be there.”
The young man was so surprised. There really was no difference in what the priest was asking. He still was asking him to sit in that chair. Finally, the young man said, “Well, okay, because you are the master and you have asked it. I will obey.”
Then the priest went out and came back carrying water and towels. And much to the surprise of this young couple, he washed their feet, and then drank some of the water. Next, he called to everyone in the local village to gather in the temple. When they had all arrived, he gave them all some of the water to drink also.
When everyone had left, the young man got down from the master’s seat and he asked, “Sir, what are you doing all of this for?”
The master said, “Son, I must tell you something. In seven days, I am to leave my body. This morning I dispatched my messengers to go throughout the entire congregations in the country to invite them to come here in seven days. But I must also request that you not be here at that time. You’ll be asked to come later. And at that time, you will sit on this throne, and you will be the master.”
In shock, the young man said, “My master, my spiritual teacher, in seven days the entire world will be invited here to see you leave your body and go to the heavens. They will hear and feel the vibrations of the angels who come to carry your soul off. Am I to be the only one deprived of this experience? What have I done which is so wrong to deserve such a bad karma? I, who you slipped into this seat…I, whose lotus feet you washed and then drank the water and then gave some to everybody who came to drink…what sin have I committed?”
The teacher said, “My son, you have committed no sin. You have been a great disciple. You have practiced the “let live” principle so much in your life that even I, who want to die and go to God, would not be able to do so in your presence. So at the time of my death, if you should happen to be here, I could not die, even though it is my time to die. I want to go home to my Ultimate Master. And you are to be the next master here on earth. Therefore, I have ordered that you should come about 6:00pm. Everyone else will come early that morning, as I am to leave at 11:00am. So you’ll arrive about five hours later.”
“Whatever you say, my master”, said the student as he bowed and touched his teacher’s feet.
The master squinted at the face of his student, as he said, “Wait a minute! I know what you’re thinking! I have read your thoughts. You thought, ‘Well, wherever I am physically, it doesn’t matter, because mentally I shall be here.’ Isn’t that true? Isn’t that what you were thinking?”
The student’s face reddened as he admitted it. “Yes sir, you are right. That is exactly what I was thinking.” And he let out a little laugh at being caught.
The teacher said, “Okay, then you must make me one promise, and I will let you attend the ceremony, along with everyone else.”
The student said, “What is it?”
The teacher said, “My only command is, please let me die.”
The young man looked very sad as he said, “But Master, why?”
The teacher said, “Unfortunately, I have a student like you and now I cannot even die if you do not wish it. Your love is that powerful, that you won’t let me die. The principle of ‘let live’ is so powerful in your life that I must now command you to let me die. Only then will you be allowed to attend.”
So this student, who later became very famous and was able to heal people from diseases and death, came that day and prayed and sent his own master through the valley of death, and helped him to drop his old tattwa-body.
You think all healers are men. No. A healer is only a person with the consciousness which believes in the ‘let live principle.’ To ‘let live’ is the real worship of the principle of life. It is not enough to believe that ‘thou shall not kill’. One step further is to ‘let live’.
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