This is the story of a guru and his disciple. They spent their days traveling from place to place, staying for a while, spreading their teachings and then moving on to the next place.
The guru was a very kind and pure man and his disciple was very devoted to him, although perhaps just a little lazy at times.
It so happened that the pair found themselves in one particularly nice city. The people were really receptive to their teachings and they were treated well, supported by the community with food and shelter. Seeing that this was a good place where they were respected and welcome they found a place to stay more permenantly outside the city limits as it was always a bit congested in town.
When they were established, the guru said to his disciple, “It’s up to you to carry on our work in this town for a while. I’ll be back in two years to see how things are going. Above all live by the 2 principles I have taught you: 1. non-attachment 2. non possessiveness. These will guide you until I get back.
The disciple took his assignment in all seriousness and continued on as his guru had instructed him. The town was still happy to have one teacher in their service and continued to support him. Everyday, one of the men in town would bring him a glass of fresh milk from one of his cows. The milk nourished the disciple who otherwise ate very little and kept him in good health. But, as the yogi’s residence was on the outskirts of town, it was quite a long walk for the man to complete both ways and he soon became a bit worn out from the constant travel between the two places. He was a relatively rich man and really did appreciate the disciple being there so he decided to actually give him one of his cows. He had more than he needed for himself and his family and so one day, he sent the cow and made sure the yogi was instructed in its care.
The disciple took excellent care of the cow, milking her daily and even building a small shed for her as the weather got colder although he himself slept outside under a tree. Not long after the cow had come to the disciples place, she became pregnant and later that year had a calf. The calf was a happy addition to the place and spent the days frolicking around and sticking close to his mother. Soon though, as the calf grew, it became tough for the disciple to care for the two cows milking, grooming, bathing and feeding them. So, he returned to the man in the village who had sent the cow originally and requested that someone be sent to help him care for the two animals. The next day, the most beautiful girl arrived to help and it didn’t take long before the disciple fell in love with her.
As the days passed, he began to question why he was keeping such a harsh, meager lifestyle and decided to get married to the girl and start a family. As the two settled into family life they were soon blessed with a baby boy that the couple joyfully welcomed.
Their family life continued together as the time for the guru to return approached. When the guru came back he was quite surprised to find that not just the look of the place had changed from its simple beginnings, but the inhabitants had multiplied as well. Seeing the disciple emerge from the house, his wife and child behind him the guru asked in astonishment, “What happened to you, my child?”
Seeing his guru returned, the disciple suddenly saw how far he had gone from his path. All he could do was reply with a desperate face saying, “My dear guru, it all started with one glass of milk.”
How much do we really need? Too often we end up creating a whole chain of responsibilities for one much simpler thing. We come to think that each link of the chain is essential in itself but ultimately forget the basic need that we started with.