Banyan Tree - Banyan Tree - Jul 2006
by Life Positive
If you can Disentangle
yourself from your selfish self
all heavenly spirits
will stand ready to serve you
If you can finally hunt down
your own beastly self
you have the right
to claim Solomon's kingdom
You are that blessed soul who
belongs to the garden of paradise
is it fair to let yourself
fall apart in a shattered house?
You are the bird of happiness
in the magic of existence
what a pity when you let
yourself be chained and caged
But if you can break free
from this dark prison named body
soon you will see
you are the sage and the fountain of life
Translated by Nader Khalili
Athiti Deva Bhava
The subcontinent is known for its whole-hearted hospitality. Wherever you go, chances are good that on befriending someone, he will ask you to break bread with him.
The source of this generosity is based on the Vedic concept, athiti deva bhava. Translated, it means that the guest is God. Based on the understanding that all is one and all is divine, this saying enjoins the householder to recognize the divinity of all who enter his house and to treat them with the respect and reverence they deserve.
Stories in epics illustrate the primacy of our duty towards the guest. One story, for instance, refers to some sparrows who find that a king has wandered into their part of the forest and is resting tired and hungry, warming himself before a fire. The male sparrow tells the female sparrow, "The king is our guest and it is upto us to provide him with a meal." Saying this it jumps into the fire, followed by his mate.
Such tales of noble sacrifice illustrate the lengths to which the ideal is expected to be practiced and sure enough, even in the meanest household, the guest is treated with ceremony. Only the best titbits are reserved for him and the most comfortable bed chosen. Even at the cost of staying hungry himself, the Indian householder will ensure that his guest is feted divinely.
"May I become your disciple?"
"You are only a disciple because your eyes are closed. The day you open them you will see there is nothing you can learn from anyone." "What then is a Master for?"
"To make you see the uselessness of having one."
Anthony de Mello
A Malcontent Cured
One day, a dissatisfied fellow was sitting under a walnut tree and his eyes fell on a great pumpkin growing nearby.
"O God," said the malcontent, "how foolish You are to give such small nuts to this big tree and such immense fruit to this thin plant! Now if pumpkins were growing on this big tree and the nuts on the pumpkin plant I would've admired Your wisdom."
Even as he finished saying this, a walnut fell down on the man's head and startled him.
"O God," he continued, "You are right, after all. If the pumpkin had fallen on me from such great height, I would surely have been killed. Great is Your wisdom and Your goodness."
Adapted from Folk Tales from India by A K Ramanujan
Man with no Legs Climbs Mount Everest
Impossible is nothing. At least that's what Mark Inglis firmly believes. He has accomplished what few even dare to think, especially when all the odds are against them. He has become the first double amputee to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
A mountaineer from New Zealand, Mark Inglis lost his legs in a climbing accident 24 years ago. Despite this, on May 15, 2006, he touched the summit of Mount Everest.
Climbing Mount Everest is no mean feat to begin with. But Inglis, with a strong desire to conquer it, knows what it means to surrender to the will to beat the odds. After 40 tough days of climbing, 47-year-old Inglis said by phone from Everest that his one emotion when he reached the top was "relief".
Inglis added that the conditions were "bloody cold, bloody hard". He broke the news that he had reached that summit in a call to his wife Anne. He only had time to say, "I'm at Camp 4, I did it," when the phone got disconnected.
Anne said her husband's prosthetic legs had not caused any problems. When one snapped earlier this month, he described the mishap as "a minor hiccup". In case something went wrong, Inglis was carrying a spare set of legs as well as equipment to make the necessary repairs.
Inglis made his final push for the top from Camp 4 - 450 meters (1,485 feet) from the summit - in perfect weather conditions. He was following the path of another New Zealander, Edmund Hillary, who with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, had 53 years ago became the first to conquer the Everest.
But that's not the end of the story. Inglis suffered frostbite and had to undergo surgery after reaching Christchurch, New Zealand. Two of his fingers were removed to the first joint and doctors said it would be best to operate on the tips of the stumps of his amputated legs to avoid further complications from impact damage. Despite this, the mountaineer seemed to be in good spirits, said a spokesperson from his family. Great model for perseverance and grit, uh?
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