Sunday, March 25, 2018

Out of the Hospital

There was once a man who did not feel well, and he therefore went to the hospital to get better.

He found many doctors there, each with his own plan of treatment.  He trusted one, and then another, and then still another.  He tried their medicines, their exercises and followed their advice.

He felt he was getting better and better, but he still remained in the hospital.  Curiously, now and increasingly when he looked outside of his hospital window, he saw only sick people.

He still remained in the hospital, but believed that he was now healthier than he had ever been.

He continued to be on medication, and if he missed his daily dose, he felt uneasy and anxious.

One evening as he was looking out of the window, and saw so many sick people of the world, a beggar stopped on the street and looked at him.  The man in the hospital looked with pity at the beggar, sympathetic to what he thought must be a pitiful existence.  He invited the beggar into his room to share some fruit that had been kept by his bedside by the hospital staff.

The beggar smiled and turned as he walked and entered the hospital through its main door, and found himself in the man's room.  He was very happy to eat the fruit so generously shared by the man.  The two started talking.

The man told the beggar about his past, that he had been sick.  He told him that after spending more than seven years at the hospital, he felt as if he had found his destiny and had found the elixir of health.

The beggar had a twinkling look in his eyes.  He kept listening to the man as he told the beggar about the eternal sickness and its nature, about the medicines and the doctors, and about his daily exercises.  The man told the beggar about his realizations during this period, and how he now understood sickness and health and the deepest truths underlying the mechanisms of the body.

The evening had become the night, and conversation was nowhere close to its end.  But the beggar had to go.  He had to go back to his little tent near the railway line, where he slept every night.

As the beggar got up and said his farewell to the man, the man exclaimed, "It is your birthright to be healthy.  I have found the fountain of immortality, and I only wish everybody knew the secret."

The beggar nodded as he threw the banana peel and the apple crumbs into the wastebasket, and started walking out toward the door.

With one foot out of the door, the beggar turned around and said to the man, "If all that you say is true, you need not remain here.  Come with me."

The man was dumbstruck as he saw the beggar walk on, and walk toward the exit, and walk out of the hospital.

6 comments:

Venkat said...

Is this all a metaphor: hospital for an ashram, doctors for gurus, medicines for sermons, and perhaps, the beggar as someone free?

Harmanjit Singh said...

@venkat: One has to be free of help to prove that the help was effective. And you're right, I am commenting about self-help, spirituality, meditation and "inner growth". If you continue to need the guru's physical presence, the guru hasn't been of help.

Vikas Nagpal said...

Wonderful thoughts indeed!

Anonymous said...

Harmanjit you may be very close to enlightenment and have missed it. For me James Swartz was the one who clarified everything related to enlightenment and I never even once talked to him or met him. Only watched his YouTube videos and read few articles on his website. I still listen to Upanishads etc but only for pleasure not as a seeker.
https://youtu.be/S89Ew51bqY8

Venkat said...

Rereading your story, I think the beggar is a real hero. This is simply because he says "If all that you say is true, you need not remain here. Come with me."
He may be poor and hungry but he is content and satisfied. He has perhaps resigned himself to an impoverished lifestyle but he has seen through the illusion that it spirituality. I say that he also seen through the illusion that is (pure) materialism. I daresay that he has also perhaps been through actualism and seen it for the greater illusion that is. He has moments of sadness and self-pity and some moments of bliss. Though money is tight, he smiles often. And he considers himself a happy man. When someone asks him what is the meaning of life, he smiles. He has food, clothing and shelter and is free in mind and spirit. And to him that is freedom. I salute the beggar

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the story!