A Tale of Two Neighbours & the Mysteries of Karma

karma (2)There once lived a great yogi named Gorakhnath, an enlightened soul, who had experienced all the great truths of life, death and the Divine. He lived a simple life, revelling in the unparalleled bliss that only enlightened soul’s experience, and had great compassion for all life forms.

Although he did not seek a following, many were drawn to the radiance which emanated from him, and he gave them teachings suited to their temperament and stage of development. He taught that people should seek to live a life of inward reflection, duty, devotion, simplicity, love and compassion.


Yogi Gorakhnath

One day two men came to see him, who had a burning question for him about the law of karma. The two men were neighbours. One of them was a farmer who followed the teachings of Yogi Gorakhnath, and sought to live his life in a spirit of Dharma. The other was a man who believed only in his own pleasure and gratification. He had been known to have cheated others out of their money through dubious business ethics, and now spent his time living a life of vice; gambling, always intoxicated, and was known as a womaniser, despite being married with children.

That day, the neighbour who tried to live a life of Dharma injured himself on a thorny bush on the way home from work, and had sustained some injuries. On the other hand the neighbour who lived a life of vice had that day found two gold coins, and told his neighbour that this showed beyond any doubt that any spiritual and ethical dimension to life was a bunch of gibberish, and the person attempting to live a righteous and spiritual life was a deluded fool.

The righteous man was plagued with doubt, but suggested they should both go to see Yogi Gorakhnath and see what explanation he had to offer. They explained the events of the day to Gorakhnath, and asked him that how there could be any justice in the world when the selfish often appeared to have better fortune than those who strove to live a life of Dharma.

The Yogi smiled and went into meditation, asking the two men to remain there. Some time later, the Yogi emerged from his meditation, and said that he had seen the journey of both men’s souls over various lifetimes. The righteous man who had injured himself had in a previous life slain a man in great anger. It was a terrible karmic debt, but his righteousness since then had mitigated the karma, such that it had been reduced to just being pricked by a thorny bush in the mishap that had occurred that day. On the other hand, the man who had found the two gold coins had in a past life done great charitable deeds, which should have resulted in him acquiring a great fortune, but because of the way he had lived since then, the merit of his previous actions had been reduced to finding only two gold coins.

The Yogi then went on to recount many other details of both men’s lives which he could not have known by normal means; their birth, childhood and the various influences in their lives which had led them to become how they were today. He explained that human life can be likened to water drops on a leaf, it is intrinsically unsteady and can at any moment be swept away by a myriad of influences, due to desires and attachments which bind the soul in a precarious web, such that any progress achieved by the soul can easily be lost without great vigilance. Turning one’s life to seek knowledge of the True Self alone gives lasting peace and bliss. He told the man who had been living a life of vice that their meeting that day was also not just coincidence, it was because despite the errors he had made, he still carried grace of previous good deeds and could change the direction of his life if he wished.

Both men were moved by the insights of Gorakhnath, and the fact that he knew about their lives in great detail. The selfish hedonistic man repented the path he had chosen and sought the grace of the great yogi, who in turn blessed both men that their onward journey would carry his grace and blessings. Both men asked Gorakhnath what they could do for him as a token of gratitude. He told them that they should recount the story of the events of that day to others, so that people could see that a life of love, compassion and inward reflection was never wasted, despite the seeming lack of justice in the world, because the mysteries of karma and good fortune are not easy to grasp by the outwardly conditioned mind.

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