Wednesday, December 7, 2011
"When Lao-Kung felt that his end was approaching, he asked that all his pupils gather around him that he might once more see them and bless them ere he set forth upon that voyage from which no man has yet returned.
"And so they came and found the old painter in his workshop. As usual he was sitting before his easel, although he had grown much too weak to hold a brush. They urged him to retire to his couch where he would be more comfortable, but he shook his head, saying unto them, 'These brushes and these paints have been my steady companions throughout these many years. It is fitting that I should be among them when the time comes for me to depart.'
"'Master, we are sad at heart when we contemplate your fate. For you have no wife to weep over you and no sons to carry you to the grave and give offerings to the gods. All your livelong days you have worked and slaved, from earliest dawn to the setting of the late sun, but the grubbiest money-changer in the meanest market has accumulated greater material rewards for his unworthy labors than have ever come your way. You have given with both hands and mankind has quietly taken whatever you offered. Has this been fair? Have the Gods shown you any mercy? Has this great sacrifice on your part really been worth while?'
"Then the old man raised his head and his face became like that of a mighty conqueror at the moment of his greatest triumph as he answered: 'It has been more than fair and the reward has vastly surpassed my highest expectations. What you have said is true. I have neither kith nor kin. I have spent well nigh a hundred years on this earth. Oft I went hungry and more than once, if it had not been for the kindness of my friends, I would have been without shelter or raiment.'
"'I surrendered all hope of personal gain that I might the better devote myself to my task. But in following the inner voice that bade me follow my solitary path, I have achieved the highest purpose to which any of us hope to aspire.'
"Thereupon the oldest of the pupils addressed him haltingly. "Master," he said in a whisper, "as a parting blessing, will you not tell us what the highest purpose may be to which mortal man can aspire?"
"A strange light now came into the eyes of Lao-Kung as he lifted himself from his seat. His trembling feet carried him across the room to the spot where he stood the one painting that he loved best. It was a blade of grass, hastily jotted down with the strokes of his mighty brush. But that blade of grass lived and breathed. It was not merely a blade of grass, for within itself it contained the spirit of every blade of grass that had ever grown since the beginning of time.
"'There,' said the old man, 'is my answer. I have made myself the equal of the Gods, for I too have touched the hem of Eternity.'
"Thereupon he blessed his pupils and they laid him down upon his couch and he died." [source]
[All illustrations this post are from Ajit Mookerje's Yoga Art ]