Sages quote a historical story about the conversation between the powerful king Yadava and an AVADHUTA
One day, Yadu Maharaj noticed an AVADHUTA brahman, that seemed to be very young and learnt, walking freely and self-confident. Being himself very well learnt and a good knower of the spiritual science, the king took the opportunity and addressed him: Brahman, I see you do not practice any religious activity and yet you have gained a deep knowledge upon all things and people in this world. Please tell me how did you gain this extraordinary wisdom and why do you travel freely in the world, manifesting like a child?
Usually, human beings work hard in order to cultivate the religious feeling, to gain material well-being, satisfaction of the senses, as well as to know their soul, and their purpose is often to prolong their life, to become famous and to fully enjoy the accumulated riches.
But you, although you are skilful, learnt, intelligent, beautiful and very eloquent, you do not engage in any activity and do not wish for anything.
Although all people in the material world burn in the great fire of sensual desire and greed, you remain free and are not attracted to that fire. You are like an elephant protecting itself from the fire in the woods in the waters of Gange river.
Brahman, I see you find no pleasure in the contact with worldly joys and you travel alone, without any companion or family member. This is why, because I am honestly curious, please tell me the reasons of the great ecstasy you feel in your being.
Krishna continued: “The intelligent king Yadu, always respectful towards brahmans, waited, his head bowed, while the brahman, pleased with the king’s attitude, started talking: Dear king, using my intelligence, I learned from many spiritual masters. Having obtained from them transcendental knowledge, now I wander the earth as liberated. Please listen, I will describe them to you.
Oh, king, I had 24 masters, which are: the earth, the air, the sky, the water, the fire, the Moon, the Sun, the dove and the python, the sea, the moth, the bee, the elephant and the honey thief, the deer, the fish, the prostitute Pingala, the bird Kurara and a child, a young girl, an archer master, the snake, the spider and the wasp. Dear king, studying their activities, I found out about self-knowledge.
Please listen, son of Yayati, tiger among men, because I will tell you what I have learned from each of these masters.
A steady person, even when harassed by other living beings, must understand that the aggressors act according to God’s will and this is why one should never be distracted from his progress on his spiritual path. I learned this lesson from the earth.
A holy being should learn from the mountain to consecrate all the efforts to serving others and make their well-being the only purpose of his existence. He should learn from the tree to consecrate himself to the others.
A sage should be content with maintaining his existence and not seek for contentment by satisfying material senses. In other words, he should take care of his material body so that his high knowledge will not be destroyed and his speech and mind will not be deviated from self-realization.
Even a spiritually realized being is surrounded by many material objects, which have good and bad qualities. Yet, the one who transcended material good and evil must not be disturbed when he comes in contact with material objects; instead, he should act like the wind.
Although a realized soul can live in different material bodies while in this world, experiencing their various qualities and functions, he is never disturbed like the wind that carries different fragrances.
A wise foreseer, even if he lives in a material body, must understand that he is a pure spirit. Also, he must see that the spirit enters all forms of life, both animated and unanimated ones, and that individual spirits are thus all-penetrating. The wise man must notice that the Lord, as Supreme Spirit, is simultaneously present in all things. Both the individual spirit and the Supreme Spirit can be understood be comparing them with the nature of the sky: although the sky spreads all over and everything rests in the sky, the sky does not merge with anything and cannot be divided by anything.
Although the wind blows strongly, spreading the clouds and the storms in the sky, the sky is never involved or affected by these activities. Analogically, the spirit is not modified or affected by the contact with material nature. Although the spirit enters a body made of earth, water and fire, and even if he is impelled by these three tendencies of nature created by the eternal time, his eternal nature is never affected.
King, a saint like water, because he is free from anything that could make him dirty, has a kind nature and when he speaks he creates a beautiful vibration, like that of running water. Only by seeing, hearing, or touching such a holy being, the soul is purified like someone who is cleansed when in contact with pure water. In this way, a holy man, like a holy place, purifies all those who come in contact with him, because he always praises God.
Holy beings become strong by performing certain austerities. Their consciousness is immovable because they do not aim for anything in the material world. Such naturally liberated sages accept the food offered to them by destiny and if it happens that they eat impure food, they are not affected, like the fire that burns the offered impure substances.
Like fire, a holy being may sometimes appear under a hidden form, and sometimes it is revealed. For the good of the conditioned souls that wish for true happiness, a holy being can accept the hypostasis of spiritual master and in this way, just like fire, he transforms into ashes all past and future wrong reactions of his disciples, accepting their offerings with compassion.
Just like the fire manifests differently in wooden pieces of various sizes and qualities, the omnipotent Supreme Spirit, after entering the bodies of certain superior or inferior life forms, created by His power, seems to take the identity of each.
The different phases of material life of a being, starting from birth and ending with death, are all properties of the body and do not affect the spirit, just like the waning and waxing of the Moon does not affect the Moon itself. Such changes are imposed by the imperceptible movements of time.
The flames of a fire appear and disappear at any moment and yet this creation and destruction is not noticed by an ordinary observer. Similarly, the strong waves of time are moving constantly, like the strong currents of a river, and they imperceptibly cause the birth, the growth and the death of innumerable material bodies. And yet, the soul, being then forced to change location, cannot perceive the actions of time.
Like the Sun that makes large quantities of water evaporate with his strong rays, and then gives the water back to the earth as rain, so the holy being can accept all kinds of material objects with his material senses and, at the opportune moment, when the right person comes to him and asks for them, he returns these material objects. In this way, receiving and giving up the objects of the senses, he is not disturbed by them.
Even reflected by different objects, the Sun is never divided nor merged with his reflection. Only stupid one would believe the Sun to be like this. In the same way, although the soul is reflected through different material bodies, it remains undivided, immaterial.
Nobody should be excessively affective or preoccupied by somebody or something, otherwise he will face a great sufferance, like the stupid pigeon.
Once upon a time there was a pigeon, living in the forest together with his mate. He built a nest in a tree and lived there for many years together with her.
The two pigeons were very devoted to domestic duties. Their hearts were united by love, they were attracted by the other ones glance, body characteristics and mental state. In this way, they were totally bond together by love.
Believing in the future with naivety, they were resting, walking, flying high, talking, playing, eating and so on, like a couple would, among the branches of the tree.
Oh, king, whenever she wanted something, the pigeon’s mate flattered her husband and he was pleasing her, offering her everything she wanted, even if sometimes they faced great difficulties. He could not control his senses next to her.
Then, she became a mother for the first time. When the time came, the modest lady laid several eggs in the nest, in the presence of her husband.
At the right time, the eggs hatched and the babies came out, with soft limbs and feathers, created by the Lord’s unimaginable powers.
The two pigeons became very loving with their children and they enjoyed very much hearing their delicate chirp, which their parents found to be very sweet. So, they began raising their new born little birds with great love.
The parents felt great joy watching the soft wings of their babies, listing to their chirp, following their innocent movements in the nest and their attempts to jump out of it and fly. Seeing their children so happy, their parents were also happy.
With their hearts connected by love, the ignorant birds, being totally fascinated by Vishnu’s illusory energy, continued to take care of their new born heirs.
One day, the two adults went to find food for their children. Being eager to feed their babies properly, they wandered through the forest for a long time.
During this time, a hunter walking through the forest saw the young pigeons moving in the nest. He stretched his net and caught them.
The pigeon and his wife were preoccupied with feeding their babies, and this why they were flying through the forest. After they found the adequate food, they returned to the nest.
When the pigeon mother saw that the babies were caught in the hunter’s net, she felt overwhelmed by pain and, screaming, she flew towards them, while they were also screaming.
The pigeon mother had always been chained by intense material affection bonds and because of this her mind was overwhelmed by pain. Being under the Lord’s illusory energy, she totally forgot about herself and, rushing towards her helpless babies, she was caught into the hunter’s net immediately.
Seeing his babies, which were more dear to him than his own life, hopelessly caught in the hunter’s net, together with his wife, whom he believed to be his equal in all regards, the pigeon started winning.
He said: Oh, I am devastated! I for sure am a total fool, because I did not perform any pious activities, as I should have had. I do not feel content and I did not fulfil my life’s purpose. My dear family, the basis of my devotion, of my material well-being and satisfaction of senses, is now destroyed.
My wife was for me the ideal partner. She always obeyed me with faith and she had even accepted me as her god, which she worshipped. But now, seeing her children lost and the house empty, she abandoned me and left to heavens together with our holy children.
Now, I am a miserable being living in an empty house. My wife is dead, my children are dead. What to live for anymore? My heart is so hurt by the separation from my family that life has become just suffering.
While the grieving pigeon watched his children caught in the net, about to die, fighting desperately for their freedom, his mind became dark and he also fell in the hunter’s net.
The cruel hunter, fulfilling his desire to capture the pigeon, his wife and their children, went home.
In this way, the heart of the one that is attached to his family is disturbed. Like the pigeon, he aims to find pleasure in worldly sexual attraction. Being very preoccupied to support his family, such an unhappy person is destined to suffer a lot, together with all his family members.
The doors to liberation are wide open to the beings who received a human body. But if a human being is devoted only to family life, like the stupid bird in this story, than he is like the one who climbed to a high place only to stumble and fall.”
Fragment taken from the book “Krishna, the great Avatar and divine teacher”, published by Sapietia Publishing House.