Friday, September 28, 2012

The merrymakers

This group of young people was known as ‘Bhadra Vaggiya.’ They lived during the Buddha’s time. ‘Bhadra Vaggiya’ meant ‘a group of intimates.’ The group was of 30 young men.

Most of them were closely related to kings. They used to meet once in a way to have a light talk. They wanted to make merry all the time. One day the boss summoned the whole group.

He came to know that there is a vast area full of trees and creepers in the city of Kimbulwath, the birthplace of the Buddha. There is a beautiful lake too, which is said to be divine.

“Why don’t we go there and have some fun? Who is going to join?”

No member disagreed with the boss. They all liked to join.

“But what about our partners?” Asked one young prince.

“That is simple. They can join us too.”

Although they all agreed, some of them remained indecisive.

“What is the problem?” The boss asked.

“Some of us are unmarried, though we have girlfriends. Can they come too?”

“Of course why not? We all belong to the same royal heritage.”

But then there was another issue. One witty young man posed a question.

“I do not have a partner. I am single.”

“So, what is the problem?”

“Can I come with a girl, whom you do not know?”

Boss was careful in responding to that question. In the first instance he looked at the others’ faces. They all looked as if to say it is all right.

“If others won’t mind, so won’t I,” said the boss.

So the excursion began. The princesses were clad in beautiful dresses. They knew each other very well, as they had met on previous occasions. The girl, who was not known to others, was singled out. She had no company.

“She is a good friend of mine. She can dance and sing so well.” Said the young prince.

Actually the young prince knew only a little about the young woman. She looked innocent in the first place and preferred to keep silent. The other females were somewhat worried to meet such a young woman. But they did not want to agitate, nor did they want to protest.

“Let her mind her own business,” said some of the sensible young princesses. Everything went well until they reached the beautiful lake full of lotuses.

“Now if you so like, you may have a dip in this lake. Do you hear me?”

“Yes, we like to have a pleasant time.”

“Mind you, this is sacred water,” The boss added, “what about you?” The leader asked the somewhat strange young woman.

“I would rather prefer to walk about in the place. I like flowers and plants.”

“So can she look after our garments, while we enjoy our time in the lake?”

The prince passed the message on to others. In the end the message reached the ears of the young woman.

“Yes certainly, with pleasure. I will look after all your belongings.” She said in her usual melodic tone. This pleased all the princesses. The young woman, who was accustomed to some habits of demeaning matters, reflected the gap that lay among princesses and herself.

As the merrymakers were enjoying themselves in the lake, she pretended she was pacing up and down protecting the belongings. But she slowly gathered a major part of the female garbs and made a bundle. She looked hither and thither to see whether there is anyone present as onlookers.

She kept the bundle of belongings, and walked into the thick jungle. And from there, she disappeared to another village far away from the lakeside.

When the merrymakers and their partners came out of the lake, they were surprised to find that the female clothes were missing. The newcomer was missing too. The boss was shuddered. What on earth has happened?

The young woman is missing. Perhaps she has taken all the belongings and disappeared. The young princes with their boss went looking for the young woman. But she was not to be seen. Entering a holy place, they saw the Buddha meditating, seated cross-legged.

“What brings you here?” Asked the Buddha.

The leader explained all the matters to the Buddha, and added.

“We are looking for her.”

“Are you really looking for her?” Asked the Buddha.

“Yes, great sir.”

Calm serene smile appeared on the face of the Buddha.

“You all look tired.”

They all listened.

“You are looking for a young woman. You may find her. But what is better: the search for her or the search within you?”

“Sir we would like to search within us.”

“Then give up searching her and reflect how to search yourself.”
 By Daily News