Integral Yoga Teachings

Enlightening Tales by Sri Swami Satchidananda is a story book for everyone—with lions and kings, rogues and saints, a boy who can stop an elephant, and a milkmaid who can walk on water! Sri Gurudev is a master storyteller, and many of His most precious stories are compiled in Enlightening Tales. These selections have been reproduced here for you.—Editor

Enlightening TalesFrom the Introduction

If you really want to learn, you will find that the entire nature is a book of knowledge. It can teach you everything you need to know. All the knowledge that you seek is freely available in this university. You don’t have to go to a library; even the tiniest little thing can teach you a big lesson. The great teachers understood this; that is why they used examples from ordinary life to convey important truths. This can be seen in the beautiful stories and parables they told to their students. That is how they taught—with very simple examples to bring out great truths. Many of the great sages and saints were just simple people. They seldom quoted from scriptures, because they didn’t even read. They lived with nature, and what they, themselves, were learning directly from nature, they brought out in the form of stories. Then, when the people saw the ordinary, natural things in their daily lives, they were reminded of the highest truths. Another reason that most of the great teachers taught in the form of stories is that people often forgot the plain truth, because it’s just plain. But they can easily remember a story. And by remembering the story, they can remember the teaching, also. So the great teachers often presented the higher truths through stories—and the stories are very simple. In fact, the truth itself is very simple. Sometimes, our complicated minds don’t want to accept that. They question, “Could it really be that simple?” A complicated mind doesn’t want to accept simple things. That is why the kingdom—real peace and joy—lies among the children. As the great sage Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa would often say, “Forget everything that you have learned. Become like a child again, and you will experience God right now.” These stories are for children of all ages. They contain within them the ancient wisdom and universal teachings of the great sages and saints of India, and are golden keys for true success in life. May you apply them well and experience all health, happiness, peace, and prosperity.

A Drop of Honey

A man was walking through the jungle when, all of a sudden, he encountered a large tiger. He was almost exhausted when he saw the tiger, but he drop of honeywas so frightened that he got a burst of adrenaline and started running. The tiger chased after him. The man ran as fast as he could, but all of a sudden, “Whoops!”— He stumbled into a deep, dry well. The well was very old and had been covered over with creepers and vines. Luckily, he didn’t fall all the way to the bottom but caught hold of one of the vines. So there he was hanging midway down the well. He started to climb up, but when he looked up, he saw the tiger standing there. “My gosh,” he said, “What should I do now? I can’t hold on like this much longer! I’ll just have to let go and jump.” As the man was about to jump, he looked down below and saw a big cobra. So there was a cobra below and a tiger above. Just at that moment, the fellow heard a faint scratching and felt a vibration along the vine he was holding. He looked up and saw a small rat nibbling on the creeper. At any moment, the creeper would be cut, and he would fall below. What a predicament! He wondered, “What am I to do?” All of a sudden, something fell onto his lip, a kind of heavy drop. He licked his lips and wondered, “What is that?” Soon he realized that when he fell down, he had disturbed a honeycomb, and a drop of honey now fell onto his lip. “Ah,” he thought “this is just like the honey I had when I went to my mother-in-law’s place for the first time and met my wife-to-be. Oh, she was such a beautiful girl.” Then he started thinking about his wedding day, the beautiful feast, and how happy the honeymoon had been. He continued to daydream: “Ah, but unfortunately, she divorced me. Still, she has a sister somewhere. Maybe when I go back, I should ask the sister to marry me.” And he started planning for another marriage. Thus, a little, tiny drop of honey made him forget about all the danger of his present situation, as well as his past suffering, and there he was looking to make the same mistakes again in the future.

People constantly think of trifling, temporary, fleeting happiness. They forget all about the knocks and bumps they received in life and make the same mistakes again and again, falling deeper and deeper into the pit. If you want to speed up your growth, learn from the past experiences and stay away from anything that would disturb your peace.

Enlightening Tales is available at Integral Yoga Distribution. IYTA members save 45%.