The disciple was shocked. He was about to sip the tea in the cup. The tea was very hot. It was when he brought the cup near his lips that he noticed that there was a fly in his cup. He was puzzled. His human nature could not accept it.
This is only a minor thing. In the ashram life such things are common. They are inevitable. The surroundings are such. Surrounded by woods, such occurrences are not surprising. Flies may be found in food stuffs. Insects may crawl all over the body. Ants may occupy the sugar can. Spiders may creep in. Even scorpions and snakes may move around human beings. Ashram life is to adopt with all living beings—without any murmur or ill feeling.
The guru noticed the delicate condition of the disciple. With an empathetic look he leaned forward and enquired his disciple.
The disciple was in a great dilemma. What to answer?
“Oh, nothing, Guruji” The disciple could not say anything else. He was much worried about his guru’s reaction.
“It’s just a fly in my tea.” The disciple somehow managed to express a smile on his face. He did not want show his inner struggle of acceptance. “I do not want my master to think that little things, even insects can disturb me. What will he think of me after training me all these years?” His inner self was shouting inside him.
“Oh, I see, a fly in the tea,” said guru in a low tone.
“It doesn’t matter. I can manage,” the disciple managed to say with a smile at his guru. But his guru, with great concern on his face, continued to focus his attention on the tea cup. He got up, leaned over and dipped his finger into the tea. With great care, he took out the fly and left the room.
After a few minutes, the guru returned with a gleaming face.
“It’s okay,” he said with great sigh of relief. He described how he had placed the fly on the leaf of a plant so that his wings could dry quickly. “He is still alive and has started to flap his wings.”
The disciple could see the confidence on his guru’s face. His face was still gleaming with joy and smile. “We can be confident that he will fly soon,” said the guru in a confident tone looking outside.
Then the guru turned towards the disciple and said, “It wasn’t a concern about your tea; it was about the life of that fly. You can always make another cup of tea, but do you think the fly will have another moment to live? We should be glad that we acted in time.”
The disciple was stunned at the compassion of his guru. The guru continued, “Always use things and love life…and never love things and abuse life.”
Use things and love life. Do not love things and abuse life.