Sharing a story that so powerfully illustrates how ones's fear of invalidation can often impede the flow of one's expression .And when ambition,the desire for validation and approvals become the riding factor the pure joy of work gets diminished. In that the opportunity of work being a pilgrimage, a path to unknot the mind and clue in with the essence is lost.
How often do we do this to children when we split work and play? How often we give them the message that something that flows from affection be it a verse or a story or a picture or something they do with their hands is not worth it unless it matches standard benchmarks?! How many Hanumans have not found the space to flower? And how many Hanuman's Ramayanas have been lost?!
When Valmiki completed his Ramayana, Narada wasn't impressed. 'It is good, but Hanuman's is better', he said.That monkey has written the Ramayana too!', Valmiki didn't like this at all, and wondered whose Ramayana was better. So he set out to find Hanuman.
In Kadali-vana, grove of plantains, he found Ramayana inscribed on seven broad leaves of a banana tree.He read it and found it to be perfect. The most exquisite choice of grammar and vocabulary, metre and melody. He couldn't help himself. He started to cry.
'Is it so bad?' asked Hanuman
'No, it is so good', said Valmiki
'Then why are you crying?'
'Because after reading your Ramayana no one will read my Ramayana,' replied Valmiki.
Hearing this Hanuman simply tore up the seven banana leaves stating " Now no one will ever read Hanuman's Ramayana.'"
Hanuman said, 'You need your Ramayana more than I need mine. You wrote your Ramayana so that the world remembers Valmiki; I wrote my Ramayana so that I remember Ram.'At that moment he realized how he had been consumed by the desire for validation through his work. He had not used the work to liberate himself from the fear of invalidation. He had not appreciated the essence of Ram's tale to unknot his mind.
His Ramayana was a product of ambition; but Hanuman's Ramayana was a product of affection.
That's why Hanuman's Ramayana sounded so much better. Valmiki realized that "Greater than Ram..... is the idea of Ram!!!! "
( राम से बड़ा राम का नाम ).
The world needs a mystic's universal and inclusive love, not the exclusive love of a faithful. - Rabindranath Tagore
How do we find it in ourselves to expand our world to include all earth beings, when can we see ourselves primarily as earth citizens and members of a large biotic community?? Maybe being in touch with the mystic’s love within us as expressed by Tagore, we would find it in ourselves to make ethical choices and decisions and move away from speciesism. Maybe it will help to shift away from an anthropocentric focus to a more eco-centric world view…this is what the world certainly needs at this point in time.
Tending to my garden and being with the beauty, the mystery, the complexity, the joys and challenges was when this flash of inspiration suddenly dawned on me. Since then I have been mulling over the idea and the more I think about it the more certain I feel that there is a lot for the teacher to learn in the garden.
Why a gardener, would be a relevant question to ask??