Issue nº 47

Stories about sacred stories

Stories about sacred stories

The other woman

     Eve was walking in the Garden of Eden, when a serpent came over.
     "Eat this apple," said the serpent.
     Eve, having been instructed by God, refused.
     "Eat this apple," insisted the serpent, "you must look more beautiful for your man."
     "No need," answered Eve, "there is no other woman besides me."
     The serpent laughed: "Of course there is."
     And, since Eve didn't believe him, he took her high up on a hill, where there was a well.
     "She is in that cave; Adam is hiding her in there."
     Eve leaned forward and saw, reflected in the water down the well, a beautiful woman. Immediately, without hesitation, she ate the apple the serpent was offering her.

After the deluge

     At the end of the forty days of deluge, Noah came out of the ark. He was filled with hope, but all he found outside was death and destruction.
     Noah protested:
     "Almighty God, if You knew the future, why did You create man? Just for the pleasure of punishing him?"
     A triple perfume rose up into the sky: incense, the perfume of Noah's tears, and the aroma of his actions. Then God replied:
     "The prayers of a just man are always heard. I will tell you why I did this: so that you will understand your work. You and your descendents will always be rebuilding a world which came from nothing - and in this way we share the work and the consequences. Now we are all responsible."

Another reflection, another story

     Cain and Abel came to the banks of an enormous lake. They had never seen anything like it.
     "There's something inside it," said Abel, looking into the water, not know that it was his reflection.
     Cain noticed the same thing, and raised his staff. The image did the same thing. Cain stood waiting for the blow; his image did the same.
     Abel studied the surface of the water. He smiled, and the image smiled. He laughed out loud, and saw the other imitating him.
     As they walked away, Cain thought:
     "How aggressive those creatures are who live in there."
     And Abel told himself:
     "I'd like to return, for I met someone both handsome and in good humor."

I too am on the outside

     In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the brother who always obeys his father is furious at seeing the rebel son received with celebrations and joy. In the same way, many people who are obedient to the Lord's word, end up becoming the merciless hangmen of all those who one day strayed from the Law.
     In a small village in the interior, a well-known sinner was barred from entering the church.
     He was angry and prayed:
     "Jesus, hear me. They will not let me into your house, for they think I am not worthy."
     "Do not worry, my son," answered Jesus. "I too am on the outside, together with those I have always stood alongside - sinners like yourself."

Do not question the search

     Sri Ramakrisna tells the story of a man who was about the cross a river, when master Bibhishana came over, wrote a name on a leaf, tied it to the man's back, and said:
     - Don't be afraid. Your faith will help you walk on the waters. But the minute you lose faith, you will drown.
     The man trusted Bibhishana, and began to walk on the waters, without any difficulty. At a certain point, he had an overwhelming desire to know what his master had written on the leaf tied to his back.
     He took it and read what was written:
     "Oh god Rama, help this man to cross the river."
     "Is that all?" thought the man. "And who is this god Rama, anyway?"
     The moment this doubt became lodged in his mind, he was submerged and drowned in the strong current.

Does the master not suffer with bad disciples?

     A disciple asked Firoz:
     - The mere presence of a master causes all sorts of curious people to gather round, to discover something beneficial. Can't this be a hindrance and negative? Can't this divert the master from his path, or cause him to suffer because he could not teach that which he wished?
     Firoz, the Sufi master, replied:
     - The sight of an avocado tree laden with fruit whets the appetite of all those who pass by. If someone wishes to satisfy his hunger beyond his needs, he will eat more avocados than necessary, and will be sick. However, this causes no indigestion to the man who owns the avocado tree.
     "It is the same with our Search. The path must be open to all; but it is for God to set the limits of each individual."

Issue nº47