Rama was known to be a very just and caring king. Everyday he sat in his court, trying to solve people’s problems.
So that day, towards the end of the evening, towards the end of the day when he’s to wind up the activities of the court, when he had finished dealing with all the people, he told his brother Lakshmana, who was deeply dedicated to Rama, to go out and see in the yard, if there is anybody else waiting. Lakshmana went out, looked around, came back and said, ‘There is nobody else. We are done with today’s business.’ Rama said, ‘Go and see, there may be somebody.’ It was a little unusual thing, he had just seen and come, once again he says go and see.
So Lakshman again went and looked around, there was nobody. He was just about to come in, then he noticed a dog which was sitting with a very sad face, and it had a wound on its head. Then he looked at the dog, and asked the dog, ‘Are you waiting for something?’ The dog spoke, and said, ‘Yes, I want justice from Rama.’ Then Lakshmana said, ‘Why don’t you come in,’ and took him into the court.
The dog came, bowed down to Rama and spoke. He said, ‘Oh Rama, I want justice. For no reason, an act of violence has been committed upon me. I was just sitting by myself. This man whose name was Sarvarthasiddha, he came and hit me on my head with a stick for no reason at all, I was simply sitting. I want justice.’ Immediately Rama sent forth for Sarvarthasiddha, who was a beggar. He was brought. So Rama asked, ‘What is your side of the story? Here this dog says you hit him without any reason.’ Sarvarthasiddha said, ‘Yes, I am guilty of the crime that the dog is accusing me of. I was overtaken by hunger, I was angry, I was frustrated. This dog was sitting in my way, so simply for no reason out of my frustration and anger, I hit this dog on its head. Whatever punishment you want to give, please give me.’
Then Rama put this forth to his ministers and courtiers. He said, ‘What is the punishment that you deem for this beggar?’ They all thought about it and they said, ‘Wait a minute. This is a very complicated case. First of all this is a case where a human being and a dog are involved, so all the laws that we normally know are somehow not applicable. So it is, being the king, it is your prerogative to come up with a judgment.’ Rama asked the dog, ‘What do you say, do you have any suggestion?’ The dog said ‘Yes, I have an appropriate punishment for this man.’ ‘What is it, you speak out.’ So the dog said, ‘Make him the chief monk of Kalinger Monastery.’ Rama said, ‘so it be’ and the beggar was appointed as the chief of the Kalinger Monastery, which was a very celebrated monastery. So Rama gave him an elephant, the beggar climbed the elephant, too pleased with the punishment. With great joy he rode off to the monastery.
So the court said, ‘What kind of judgment is this? Is this a punishment? The man is too happy.’ Then Rama asked the dog, ‘Why don’t you explain it?’ The dog said, ‘In my previous life, I was the chief monk of the Kalinger Monastery, and I went there because I was truly dedicated to my spiritual well-being, and also to the monastery which was instrumental in imparting spiritual well-being to many other people. I went there with a commitment to offer this to myself and to everybody, and I strived, I did my best. But as days passed, slowly other impressions in my mind, here and there overtook me.
Mostly I remained steadfast to my purpose, but here and there it overtook me. The name and fame that came along with the chief, being a chief monk, somewhere affected me. Many times my ego performed, not me. Many times, I started enjoying the simple recognition by the people as to who I was. People started treating me like a holy man. Within myself I knew I was not, but I started behaving like one, started demanding the things that should normally belong to a holy person. I did not commit myself to my total transformation, but started pretending like one, and anyway people supported me. Such things happened, and slowly my commitment for my spiritual well-being, and the people around me, slowly receded.
Many moments I tried to bring myself back, but the overwhelming recognition around me, somewhere I lost myself. And this Sarvarthasiddha, this beggar has anger in him, has ego in him, he is capable of frustration, so I know he will punish himself, as I did. So this is the best punishment for him, let him be the chief monk of Kalinger Monastery.’
People bring enormous amount of punishment upon themselves, pain and suffering upon themselves. Not necessarily a life committed to evil, life may be committed to spiritual well-being, life may be committed to many good things, but every day they choose and re-choose. They don’t allow their destiny to take shape. They keep destabilizing themselves by constantly falling off and falling on, falling off and falling on. They will bring enormous trouble to themselves – not because there is anything evil about them, simply because they don’t allow life to form itself.
It is like, keep on disturbing that which is taking shape. Every time you choose and un-choose, you distort the course of your destiny. Lot of sadhana, lot of things. Today if you face a frustrating situation – no situation is frustrating – if some situation you see and you get frustrated, then you un-choose from the path that you have taken. Tomorrow morning again you are on, but by un-choosing yourself for a few hours, you have destabilized the formation of your destiny, the course of your destiny.
A determined mind, a mind whose determination, a mind whose choice is permanent – once you make a choice you make yourself choice-less, such a mind will allow the destiny to flow the way you have chosen.