On broken cups and old violins
- Today I am reminded of two "parallel" pieces of writing: one a poem,
the other a story.
What unites them is the common theme: how the touch of the Master
chooses and transforms....and how, when we receive countless
blessings, we wonder if it is really happening, if we did something to
It is not uncommon in Indian stories to hear a devotee saying, "I must
have done something good in a previous life, for I do not see what I
did in this life to receive such blessings", and so on...
I feel the same way with Sri Chinmoy. I am SURE I did not do anything
extraordinarily good to deserve all the love that he bestowed and
still bestows on me. I shall spend the rest of my life trying to be
worthy of his love, his compassion and his forgiveness.
But which are the two pieces of writing I am referring to?
The first one is a story, a Sri Ramakrishna story. I can only write
what I remember; I believe I lent that book and never got it back
(they say there are two types of fools; those who lend books, and
those who return them!)
The Broken Cup
Sri Krishna went to the house of a devotee, and the devotee served him
a meal. Each item of the meal was in a different cup. Sri Krishna
chose one of the cups, and started eating from it. It so happened that
this cup was broken.
Immediately the devotee burst in tears and said, "Do you do the same
thing with men, Oh Lord, that you choose the broken ones first?"
I feel that when I met Sri Chinmoy, life had already "broken" me. And
it is not that I went through any traumatic experiences, but "life" as
it was presented to me, did not make much sense at all. I could feel
that there was something more, and I wanted to know what it was, but I
did not know what "knowing" really means, and I did not have the tools
to know. Armed with my mind's doubt and negation, I was attempting to
"know" by denying the validity of established values or customs. This
"Neti Neti" process only left me bereft of anything. Only gratitude, a
positive feeling, was able to bring me back to the right path. It is
not, I believe, a coincidence, that Sri Chinmoy holds gratitude in
such high regard! He calls it a "miracle-action", and it is!
Here is the second piece:
THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER'S HAND
'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folks", he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?"
"A dollar, a dollar", then two! Only two?
"Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
"Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three...." But no,
From the room, far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
The music ceased, and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: "What am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two?
Two thousand! And who'll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice;
And going and gone," said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
"We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?" Swift came the reply:
"The touch of a master's hand."
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
A "mess of potage," a glass of wine;
A game- and he travels on.
He is "going" once, and "going" twice,
He's "going" and almost "gone."
But the Master comes and the foolish crowd
Never can quite uunderstand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.'
-Myra B. welch
No comment needed for this one!
TUNE ME FOR LIFE
Tune me for life again.
The awakening of new music
My heart wants to become.
My life is now mingled
In ecstasy's height."
Gratitude poem for today, April 6
Immediately increases the power
Of God's Blessings."
[quotes by Sri Chinmoy unofficial]