Look at the Rose
A king wanted to test the wisdom of his two most trusted ministers. And so, he summoned the first one, well-known throughout the land for his cruelty and greed, and whom the citizens were fearful of.
The king ordered, “I want you to travel the world and find me one truly good man.”
The minister replied, “Yes, my Lord,” and obediently began his search. He met and spoke with many people, and after much time he returned to the kingdom and reported to the king, “Lord, I have done as you have asked and searched the whole world for one truly good man but he is nowhere to be found. Whoever I met were all selfish and wicked. I could not find this good man you seek!”
The king sent him on his way, and then called for the other minister who was well-known for his generosity and benevolence. He was admired by all. The king issued a similar order but with a slight difference, “I wish for you to travel the world over and bring to me one truly wicked man.”
He too obeyed the king and immediately undertook the journey. On his travels, he met and spoke with many people.
After much time had passed, he returned to the king saying, “Lord, I have failed you. I have met many people, some are misguided, others are misled, and there are those blinded by ignorance but nowhere could I find one truly evil man. They were all good at heart despite their failings!”
It is clear from this story that people have an inclination to see the world through their own perspective. If they are loving, kind and benevolent, they recognize those attributes in others. On the other hand, if malice and greed have taken root, others are viewed in a negative light. What we keep and nurture in our hearts is manifested in our thoughts, words and deeds. Saddled with these idiosyncrasies, who then is deserving of God’s love?
As much as man has learned to master the world around him, bringing wonderful inventions and technology into play for the benefit of all mankind, he has yet to understand himself and his actions.
There is a great need to realize that our thoughts dictate our actions, and our actions shape our destiny. This is not an easy situation, for we are under constant assault from the fickle mind. Such is the need for vigilance over our thoughts, words and deeds.
Let us get some perspective on this. Say for example, you plant the seed of a rose and water it faithfully. Before it blossoms, you examine it. While doing so, you realize that the beautiful bud which is soon to blossom will produce thorns. You think to yourself, “How can such a beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?” Saddened by this thought, you stop watering the rose, and before it blooms, it dies.
So it is, with many people. Within every soul there is a rose. These are the God-like qualities planted in us at birth, that grow along with the thorns – our faults and defects. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns. We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, causing it to die, never fulfilling our true potential. Most people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them.
One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is the ability to look past the thorns and see the rose in others. This is the characteristic of love – the ability to look at a person and recognize the nobility in his soul.
This is precisely how the Master goes about his mission of spreading the teachings and showing the way back to the Father. The very way the Master treats everyone and how he lives his life while interacting with every living being is an example for all to follow.
Fortunately for us, the Master sees what we truly are – a drop of the ocean of God. He sees the pearl in every oyster. He glimpses only our potential, not our imperfections.
The Master is an embodiment of love, nothing else. In spite of our weaknesses and faults, he nurtures, forgives and encourages us, every step of the way. He imparts the teachings by showing us how to be a ‘human’ being.
Through his physical presence, satsang, darshan, seva, and ultimately, our regular practice of meditation, day by day, with his grace, we grow to become like him – a rose worthy of being in the Lord’s garden.
Well, you know Hazur loved roses. You are all his roses
and he gave me the seva of head gardener to
look after the garden and his roses.
Baba Gurinder Singh, as quoted in The Equilibrium of Love