A LITTLE MORE EFFORT
There was once a yogi who lived a very strict life in the forest, living on berries, and having no possessions of his own. He was just sitting there, hoping to find God. Forty years passed, and still he was sitting there, but still God didn't come. You see, there is a way to do everything, and this yogi didn't know the way to find God. And so God didn't come. The yogi had let his hair grow very long, and his fingernails too, and he had smeared himself all over with ashes, and he looked like nothing on earth. He had almost lost consciousness of his body altogether.
Finally he became tired of that way of life, because the birds used to come and nest in his hair year after year, because that was all he was good for. He was a fine place for birds to bring up their children. So finally he got bored of just sitting around, and said to himself, "This is no good. I'm going back, and I'm going to get married. Even if I can't see God, at least I can enjoy bringing up some children of my own."
He was on his way back from the forest to live in the world, when he ran across a famous dancer who was rather short of money. She said that she was going to dance in the palace of the king in a nearby town, although people told her that the king was a miser who wouldn't give her a penny. She told the yogi that she was sure he would give her something if she danced well enough and long enough.
So the yogi, the sadhu, thought that this would be a splendid way to be introduced to worldly life: he would go to court and watch this famous dancer dance before a king. And he went to the palace, and he sat there in the corner with his long hair and his blanket. And the king was there, and his son and daughter. And the dancer danced, and she danced, and she danced.
She danced until the first light of dawn crept into the courtyard, but still the king threw her no gold coin, tossed her no purse: and at last she became tired of waiting, and sang to her husband,
"We won't grow rich by standing here.
I think we'd best be gone, my dear."
But her husband, who was playing the tabla, sang back to her,
"We've done so much,
there's not much more to do,
let's not stop here,
let's see this business through."
Now this yogi was a naked yogi, and his blanket was the only cover he had. But he was so overwhelmed by this verse that the husband sang, that he forgot all about his nakedness, and took his blanket, and threw it across to the dancer. And the king's daughter threw her diamond earrings across to the woman, and the king's son took off his ring, and threw that.
The dancer was very satisfied, more than satisfied, by this unexpected turn of events. But the king was very angry about it. And his reason was this: in that part of the world it was the custom that the richest man present would be the first to give a gift. So the king was very angry, and he asked the sadhu, "Why did you do that?
Why did you give her your blanket before I had made my contribution?" And the sadhu, the yogi, said, "O King, I had nothing else to give her, so I gave her my blanket. If I were the emperor, I would have given her all my lands, my palaces and slaves, because she and her husband just saved my life. When her husband sang, "We've done so much, there's not much more to do, let's not stop here, let's see this business through," I suddenly realised that God was giving me one last chance. I have been meditating and trying to see God for forty years, but recently my mind has been beginning to trick me. It has been persuading me to give up my attempt to see God, and to go back into the world and get married instead. But when I heard that verse, I understood something. I saw that if I made a little more effort, my whole lifetime's search would be rewarded. But if I gave up now, I would have wasted my whole life. So I was simply overwhelmed that they should give me such good advice, especially as they didn't even intend it for me; and I gave them my blanket, because that was all I had to give them in return."
So the king turned to his daughter, and asked her why she had given her diamonds to the dancer, and she replied, "O Father, what can I say? I was just going to commit a terrible sin. Every time I have asked you to arrange a marriage for me, you have said, 'Okay, I will arrange it soon.' But you were so stingy that it never occured to you that I was slowly growing old, and you never did anything about it. So I finally got very impatient, and tonight I was going to run away with the Grand Minister's son. But when I heard that verse the dancer's husband sang, I realised that if I had managed to wait this long, I might as well be patient a little longer. And when I saw that that little ditty had saved the reputation of our whole family, I just gave them my earrings. It was the least I could do."
And then the king turned to his son, and asked him why he had given away his ring. And the son replied, "Tonight would have been the last night of your life, if it weren't for the dancer and her husband. Recently I have become completely fed up with your miserly ways. You refuse to marry my sister, although she keeps asking you to find her a husband, and you are completely reluctant to allow me any power, although I am your son and heir, and a grown man. Tonight I was going to kill you, and then I would have given my sister's hand to a worthy husband, and ruled the kingdom to the best of my ability, because everyone was getting completely tired of you and your hesitations. But when I heard that verse, I said to myself, 'I have waited this long. Perhaps I should be patient a little longer.' So that poem saved you from death at the hands of your son; it saved me from killing my own father; and it saved our land from the rule of a murderer. That little ditty worked wonders for us all. And that's why I gave my ring to the pair of them."
At this point, it dawned on the king that something marvellous had happened. He appointed his son to rule his kingdom, married his daughter off to a brave and gentle prince from a neighboring state, sent lavish presents to the dancer and her husband, and then went off himself with the yogi in search of God. And all because of a little poem that said "let's not stop here, let's see this business through."
So this is the point that I'm trying to get across, dear people: have a little patience, practise this meditation, and you will all live happily ever after.