Don't Muddy the Pure Stream of Mind

Published: 06.11.2003
Updated: 02.07.2015

A teacher and his disciple were travelling, for it is said that travelling helps acquire knowledge. The journey was hot and tiring; finally they reached the edge of a lush green forest.

The master said to the pupil, “Young man,we shall rest here for the night. I hear the sound of water. Will you go fetch some to quench our thirst?”

The young man hurried forth to carry out his master’s bidding. On reaching the little rivulet that was gurgling past, he was happy to see that the water was clear and pure. “I’ll fill it to the brim and take it to guruji”, he thought to himself.

So joyous was the young man that he even paused to look admiringly at a beautiful purple flower by the wayside.

Suddenly, he saw a bullock cart cross the river to the other side.

Carrying some wares, the cart driver was singing loudly - keeping time with the jingle of bells tied round the bullocks’ necks - as he drove across the shallow waters.

The young disciple stood still. The cart had unsettled the waters. The water that looked pure just a little while ago was now slushy, dirty and chaotic. How can one drink this dirty water?

Disheartened, the disciple traced his way back to his master.

“Sir,” said the dejected pupil to the master. “A cart just drove across the waters and the waters have become muddy. So I could not fetch any.” The guru asked him to go back a little later when the waters would have settled.

Half an hour later the young man picked up his jug and went to fetch water. The waters had not yet settled.

For the rest of the day, he kept repeating this operation, thirst unquenched. The waters were still muddy.

At dusk, the disciple went for the last time and returned with an empty jug. The master smiled.

“Have you learnt anything from this?” he asked the student. The disciple said: “What, noble sir, is there to learn? When a cart traverses through a stream, it brings up the slush. One has to wait for it to settle.

What else is there to know?”

The master called the disciple to his side. “Sit down”, he said. “Such is the state of our minds too... If one cart crosses the river and it takes so long for it to settle down, can you imagine how many carts cross our minds and how much longer it should take to settle down? Can you stop the flow of thoughts? Purity, clarity and a tranquil state is the experience of consciousness. This is possible only when thoughts are emptied out, in a thoughtless state, when bullock carts stop traversing our minds.”

Acharya Mahaprajna explains that spirituality is the path of purity of consciousness; the awakening of a consciousness that develops because of sublimation of attachment and aversion. This results in an appeased mental state and the true experience of peace and freedom from inner turmoil.

For this, concentration and a strong resolve are necessary. Will power is more powerful than any bullock cart, it can stop all intrusions at the banks of the river (mind). Perhaps of greatest importance is the need to restrain emotions.

Today, most of our problems are caused by volatile emotions. They agitate our minds and make it slushy. We have to learn to exercise control over emotions through meditation; you have to watch yourself, your thoughts and your soul as distinct from the body. We have to wait patiently for the agitated mind to settle down in order to attain bliss.

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  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Mahaprajna
  3. Body
  4. Concentration
  5. Consciousness
  6. Guru
  7. Meditation
  8. Soul
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