Ancient Indian Stories and Life Lessons – 1
Sabari remains a key epitome of Guru ‘Bhakthi’ till this date and is a lesson for all of us to understand what a good company, ‘satsang’ of a Guru, can do to purify and bestow blessings upon anyone; irrespective of earlier life and habits. Her story can be known from the epic Srimad Valmiki Ramayana, chapter Aranya Canto.
On the banks of river Pampa in south India, a lady named Sabari arrives and finds herself absorbing in the divinity of nature there. Unusual to her habits of meat eating, she is drawn with compassion to the animals living on that riverside and contemplates on leading life on vegetarian food. Nobody has compelled her. Furthermore she admires with awe that wild animals of different kinds naturally at row with each other, lives in harmony there. How beautiful!
Sabari then sees a Maharishi named “Matanga Maharishi” (a sadhu and a Guru) in that area, with His disciples and does not fail to realize that the divinity of that locale is due to the presence of this group of holy men. She is stuck with desire for Godliness and the path to reach The Lord. Being hesitant to approach the Master by virtue of her self doubts, she starts doing what she thinks is the best she can do – ‘selfless service’ to the Master.
In a few days, Matanga Maharishi asks His disciples about the ways in which the path to the riverside from ashram is being cleaned of stones, pebbles and thorns, constantly. He is given to understand of Sabari, the new woman in the block, by His disciples.
Sabari is called for by the Master and is bestowed with His kind grace and blessings. She continues to serve her Master this way with ever-growing devotion to Him, for a long time. Then Matanga Maharishi decides to attain liberation and allows His disciples each to ask for boons that they want. Like you and me , most of them asks for wealth, knowledge and such. When it is Sabari’s turn, the woman in grief of separation from her Master highlights her naivety and that (sweetly) there is no want simply because she does not know what to ask for.
Matanga Maharishi gracefully blesses her with the ‘Rama’ Mantra and consoles the weeping woman with assurances of blessing from divine at a suitable time, if she continues to chant this mantra without fail. He assures that there is no need of any formalities in chanting this mantra – this is suitable for chanting at any place, any time and any circumstance. All that matters is that she chants with devotion and at all times. To the weeping woman, He makes known that His soul will remain present in this Pampa ashram for her to live and pray with.
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