Editor’s note: From 1951 to 1956, during her Friday classes, the Mother used to tell the children in the Ashram stories from various parts of the world. She also encouraged a small group of them to write stories.
Tara Jauhar, known to everyone in the Sri Aurobindonian family as simply ‘Tara di’ was one of these children. We present here one of the four stories that she had written during her early teens. The Mother corrected these stories written in French but she kept intact the childlike spirit of the story. We present here an English translation of a story titled ‘Simplicity’ sourced from Tara Di’s book titled ‘Learning with the Mother’. The book recounts how the Mother helped her from an early age to develop the qualities of leadership and strength of character.
The sun was setting on this small village in France. Darkness of the night was fast setting in and along with it came a heavy shower of snow. A young boy around fourteen years of age was walking alone on the deserted street. He was walking towards the monastery which he could see far away. He wanted a place to stay for the night. He had been walking the whole day and had knocked on a few doors trying to find a place for the night but had been unsuccessful.
It was not like this always. Once he was a performer in a circus. His father owned the circus. He had taught his son many acrobatics and disciplines. He could walk on a tight rope fixed high up on the tent. He rode a single wheel cycle and showed many acrobatics. Twenty chairs were stacked one on top of the other and he would perform on top of this stack. He could slip his entire body through a tire so small that only a person’s head could pass through. Such a skillful boy he was.
One day while performing on the trapeze swing, his father slipped and fell and hurt himself. Two days later he died and the boy was orphaned. His mother had died earlier when he was only two years old. He did not remember his mother’s face anymore. After his father’s death the other members of the circus did not allow this boy to stay with them any longer. Poor child was completely alone in this world now.
He walked on the streets hungry and tired. He performed acrobatics on the streets and earned a few pennies. With that he used to buy a little bit of food whenever he was hungry. He was trying to live on his own. The whole day he used to perform on the streets and earn some money and during the night would sleep wherever he found some space, be it under a tree or on the pavement or on some bench in some park.
For the past few days it had been snowing very heavily. No one was venturing out, every one stayed inside. So the boy did not have an audience to perform, therefore he could not earn and had nothing to eat. And where would he sleep? Thick snow had covered everything so he had no place to sleep. No one was ready to give him shelter in their house either.
Suddenly he remembered the monastery. So he crossed the road and walked towards it. He knocked at the door of the monastery a few times. A priest opened the door and asked what he wanted. The boy said that he wanted a shelter for the night. The priest let him in, first gave him some food to eat and then showed him a corner to sleep for the night. Next morning the boy, before leaving went to say thank you and pay his regards to the head priest.
The head priest felt sympathetic towards the boy and asked him about his life. The boy sat down and narrated his life story ending it with the fact that he had no one to take care of or to love. The head priest thought for a moment and then told the boy that if he worked at the monastery they could allow him to stay there. The boy was happy and extremely grateful and thanked the head priest over and over again.
The boy started working from that day on. He happily and sincerely did whatever he was asked to do. He never complained. In the evenings he would go and sit near the head priest and listen to all the stories that he used to tell. Sometimes he would narrate stories from his life at the circus. Days passed in this manner and both the boy and the head priest started loving each other and were gradually getting closer and closer to each other.
Read another story written by Tara Jauhar
After a few months the head priest realised that there was a change in the boy’s behaviour. He remained quiet and lonely, all by himself, not talking too much, as if he was enjoying being alone. He would sit under the Banyan tree or in a corner of his room and looked towards the sky and think. Finally the head priest asked him what was wrong but he refused to tell him anything.
One day the head priest heard the boy sitting under a tree talking to himself, “I have been living in this monastery for quite some time now but what am I actually doing? The learned monks here all read the scriptures but I cannot because I do not know how to read. Every morning they say their prayers but I cannot because I have not learned the prayers. How can I talk to my mother?”
A few days later the head priest noticed that the boy was smiling and happy. There was an aura around the boy. He thought, “There must be a reason for this change. I must keep a watch on him and see what he does the whole day.” Every afternoon when the meditation hall was empty and no one was around, the boy used to quietly go into the room and lock the door. The head priest watched through the key hole.
Inside the boy stood in front of the Mother’s idol and said,
“All these wise and learned men read the scriptures and pray to you but neither do I know how to read nor do I know how to pray. But I will show you what I can do, perform for you the acrobatics that I had learnt in the circus. Today I will show you a new game. Tell me if you like it or not”.
He threw the ball that he was carrying high then turned, stood on his hands and caught the ball with his feet. He did this with 25 balls, juggling them and then catching them with his feet. In the end he took two somersaults and then stood on his feet. He went and stood in front of the idol and said, “How was the performance, Mother? It was not so good, was it?”
Then a divine light emerged from the idol gradually and stood before the boy. The boy knelt down and bowed his head. The divine light covered his body and tears were flowing uncontrollably.
The Mother came closer, blessed him and said,
“My dear child, you have performed very well and have made me very happy. Please show me such games, newer games every day and they will all be as good or even better. I am very pleased with you.”
With that the divine light was absorbed back into the idol. The head priest was stunned at what he saw.
Then he told himself, “Now I understand that only a child’s innocent simplicity can please God.”
Integral simplicity: the simplicity which is the consequence of perfect sincerity.~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 14, p. 150
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~ Design: Beloo Mehra