Excerpt from ‘The Seeds of Selfless Service’

By Stevie Saranga 

One day a wandering holy-man, a mysterious mendicant visited our hill-top ashram. He had taken a vow of staying no longer than three days in any one place and like a bumble bee, travelled the earth taking a little nectar from each tiny flower, pollinating as he went. He was somehow aloof from the trappings of everyday life and declared to all that he carried a magical wish-fulfilling stone. He said that whatever we desired we should tell the stone and our desires would be fulfilled.

I was passing the mendicants room one day when he invited me in. “Would you like to pray to the sacred stone? Whatever you wish for will come true!”  I entered his chamber and saw the Sacred Stone sat atop a chest. It was glowing with an effulgent light. The stone was taken from the Holy Mountain over the sea and many leagues to the east. I bowed my head before the Sacred Stone and prayed with all my heart. 

“I know of the Great Teachers desire that the suffering people of this age be benefited by living a simple life, working on the land. That if they could have the chance to get away from the dirty and decrepit cities, full of sin and disease that there is hope for them to be happy. I have seen the vision of the Great Teacher. I would like to give my life and soul in the service of making his vision manifest. Please engage me in humbly serving at the feet of the Great Teacher.” 

With my forehead bowed, pressed down against the cold stone floor of the mendicant’s chamber, to my great surprise I heard a voice that was not my own resound loud and clear within my mind.  “If you can follow the instructions of the Great Teacher throughout your life, if you can follow the Four Golden Rules, no gambling, no intoxication, no meat-eating and no illicit sex, then during the many years of your long life, you will be blessed to bear witness to the vision of the Great Teacher slowly and gradually becoming a reality.”

And then I saw myself, an old man with a bent back. Having served my time I had left the monastery, married and started a family. My sons had grown to become men and I’d left my aging wife in their care. I myself had become the mendicant as I left hearth and home to lead a life of quiet solitude wandering the earth for a final few years before I passed away. I’d gone to the Holy Mountain and walked barefoot around its base, and I took from there a Sacred Stone, and as I walked from village to village, and farm to farm, I was sowing the seeds of selfless service in the warm, rich fertile soils of honest and open hearts.  “Whatever you wish for will come true!”

Stevie lived as a Hindu monk for 8 years at an ashram in Scotland. He’s married now and cares for his wife Geri who has schizo-affective disorder, and together they have one beautiful daughter. He continues his spiritual journey as a volunteer gardener at the ashram where he was a monk. His favourite hobby is writing and speaking about his experiences of being a monk. Write to him at stephen.shaw108@gmail.com

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