A hundred years ago a simple-minded Indian peasant overheard a rich man say portentously, ‘Money attracts money.’ He took a silver rupee from his tiny savings and went to the shop of a moneylender in town with the idea of capitalising on this piece of knowledge. At one end of the counter the moneylender was busy negotiating a loan. At the other end his strong-armed assistant was keeping guard over several piles of silver rupees. The peasant quietly came in and sat down in front of the money. When the assistant was momentarily distracted by a fit of coughing he took out his single rupee and put it on the counter opposite the mass of rupees. Then he waited for his money to attract money.
Recovered from his coughing fit the assistant now noticed the single rupee on the counter, and assumed that he must have somehow knocked one of the piles so that the top one had fallen down. He saw the peasant staring at it, and glared at him as he picked it up and put it back. The peasant, too frightened to say anything, sat helplessly until the money lender came across and asked him his business.
The peasant told him frankly the story and said he had wanted to try whether his money would attract more money, but it had not, so the rich man had been quite wrong in what he had said.
The moneylender laughed and told him, ‘No, he was right, but my money was much more than your money so it’s attraction was much stronger.’
Suddenly, looking at the innocent face before him, he felt an unusual gleam of compassion. ‘Look here, I can see you’re very straightforward, and you hardworking peasants support us all. I’ll make it work for your side too.’ He gave him three silver rupees from the top of the pile and sent him away happy.
The yogic application of this little story is that the spiritual attracts the spiritual. Many people take up yoga feeling they are acquiring something for themselves. Perhaps there is even a hidden aspiration to become a teacher. They imagine themselves thinking, ‘I’ll give them this now, but I don’t think they’re ready for that yet.’ Such sentences actually appear in books by self-appointed teachers who claim to have risen above all egoism. However, if aspirants are straightforward and work hard at yoga, they will find that any little personal success is swallowed up by the gradually revealed greatness of what they are practising.
Still, after the complete transcendence of the personal, a few silver coins of inspiration may well come back from the infinite.
With thanks to Trevor Leggett.
© 2000 Trevor Leggett
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