Once upon a time, in a remote corner,
Cut off from the madding crowd,
Lived a sage, who, after years of penance,
Abstinence, perseverance and forbearance
Reached enlightenment and in all humility,
Shared knowledge divine with the thirsty.
At the other end of the world, lived a man,
In times turbulent drinking
The bitter-sweet juice of life,
Disillusioned with the world,
Spent time championing humanitarian ideals,
Freedom of thought and expression.
He looked at his unharnessed stallion,
Rubbed the mole on his cheek
And started his pilgrimage
Looking for a sage who could unfold
The riddles of existence
With uncompromising clear-sightedness.
He crossed the hills listening
To the braying of the donkeys,
Crossed the rivers munching the bread of exile,
Climbed the reefs where the young eagles
Were learning to unfold their wings.
He traversed the deserts where the camels,
Sure-footed, whispered to him that his journey
Was just a beginning, not an end.
He had heard of a sage, a true one,
Not like the million fake ones
Who are themselves miserable, ignorant
And blind, making people believe
That they are enlightened.
Feet sore, hands weak, throat dry,
Heart shivering and soul thirsty,
He reaches the sage’s cottage
After having swam across the river.
Breathless like a fish out of water,
He crosses the cottage’s threshold
And sees the sage, seated like Shiva,
Serene like Buddha, sure of himself like Christ,
Loving and compassionate like Krishna.
The sage looks at him for a long time
And the seeker looks at the sage beseechingly.
The sage finally says,
‘Child, take this pen and paper
And in words not more than ten,
Write who you are.