This is a small beautiful story…
Buddha is going from one village to another, and on the way – it is a hot day, summer – he feels thirsty. He is old, so he asks Ananda, “Ananda, I am sorry but you will have to go back. Two or three miles back we have left a small stream of water, and I am very thirsty: you go and bring water.”
Ananda said, “There is no need to feel sorry. This is my joy – to serve you in any way. I am obliged; you are not obliged. You rest under this saal tree, and I will go.”
He went back. He knew exactly where the stream was; they had just passed it. And when they had passed by the side of the stream, it was crystal-clear – a mountain stream has a clarity of its own. But when Ananda returned to take the water, two bullock carts had passed through the stream, and the whole stream was muddy; all the mud that was settled on the bottom had risen to the surface. Old leaves, rotten leaves, were floating on top. He could not think that he could take this water for Buddha to drink.
So he came back and said to Buddha, “This is the situation. I could not bring that water for you, but don’t be worried. Four miles ahead you can rest; I know a big river, and from there I will bring the water. Although it is getting late and you are thirsty, what else can I do?”
Buddha said, “No, I want the water from that stream. You unnecessarily wasted time; you should have brought the water.”
“But,” Ananda said, “the water is dirty and muddy; rotten leaves are floating all over it. How can I bring it?”
Buddha said, “You go and bring it.”
When the Master says so…. Ananda went back reluctantly, but was surprised: by that time the leaves had moved. The water was continuously flowing, and it had taken the leaves away; the dust and the mud had settled down – just a little was left. But Ananda got the message; he sat by the side of the stream.
That’s what Buddha had meant: “Go back.” And seeing that things had changed…. If he had just waited, soon the crystal-clear water would have been there.
He waited, and soon the water was there. He brought some back.
Buddha said, “Ananda, did you get the message?”
Ananda was crying. He said, “Yes, I got the message. In fact, I had not told you: when I went the first time and saw this whole thing – those two bullock carts passing just ahead of me, just in front of me, disturbing the whole stream, I went into the stream to settle it. And the more I tried to settle it, the more it became unsettled. The more I walked into it, the more mud came up, more leaves.
“Seeing that it was impossible to settle it, I came back – I did not tell you this. I am sorry, I was foolish. That was not the way to settle the stream back into its natural way. I should have simply waited by the side, I should have simply watched. Please forgive me, because I was angry on the way; I was thinking you were stubborn. I had gone unwillingly – I feel so sad that I did something unwillingly. And now I know it was not only a question of water, because water could be brought from the river too. You were teaching me a method. Sitting by the side of that small stream I learned….
”Because as the stream was getting clearer, there was nothing else to do. Suddenly the parallel came to my mind: perhaps the mind is also in the same situation. You have just to sit by the side and let the mind settle down. It settles, but not by ﬁghting. To ﬁght with the mind is to give energy to it; to ﬁght with the mind is to keep it alive.”
Just sit by the side – no judgment, no appreciation. Do not say anything about the mind: that it is crazy, that it is ugly, that it is disturbing my peace, that it is the only barrier to my spiritual growth. Don’t say a single word; just watch – that is the key, the secret, golden key. Whenever you can, sit silently and watch the mind… and soon a few things will start happening.
One will be that you will see that you are not the mind, you are the watcher. Naturally the mind cannot watch itself, and the moment you realize that you are separate from the mind, it is almost half the victory. And let the mind go on – it is its old habit; maybe for hundreds of lives you have trained it in that way. So don’t be in a hurry, and don’t be impatient.
Rejoice in watching. See the mind more playfully – not seriously, but just like a drama on the screen… all kinds of stupidities your mind is full of.
And this simple process of watching will bring you to the same state that you have felt here. Soon the mud will settle down, the dead leaves will be gone down the stream and there will be a crystal clear consciousness. And to achieve it is the most precious thing in life; from there begins the real pilgrimage towards the divine.
Anand continued, “Things happen on their own. The leaves were going down the stream and the mud was settling. And just sitting there watching the stream, I got the message, that this stream is the stream of my mind – of all rotten thoughts, past, dead, mud – and I am continuously trying to settle it. Jumping into it makes it worse than before and creates a pessimistic attitude that ‘perhaps in this life I am not going to attain what Buddha says – the state of no-mind.’
Anand said, “But today, seeing that stream, a great hope has arisen in me: perhaps the stream of my own mind is also going to be settled in the same way. And just sitting there I had a little glimpse.”
Buddha said, “l am not thirsty, you are thirsty. And you were not sent to bring water for me, you were sent to understand a certain message. While we were coming I had seen those two bullock carts on top of the hill and I knew by what time they would be passing, so l had sent you right in time to bring water.”
Just sit by the stream of your mind.
Don’t do anything; nothing is expected from you.
You just keep quiet, calm, as if it is none of your business. What is happening in the mind is happening somewhere else.
The mind is not you; it is somebody else: YOU ARE ONLY A WATCHER.
Osho, From Misery to Enlightenment, Ch 24, Q 1 (excerpt)
The Osho Upanishad: CHAPTER 27. YOU THIMK THIS IS A DISCOURSE. IT IS JUST ADEVICE Q 2 (Excerpts)
है पत्ते-पत्ते बूटे-बूटे पे मस्ती सी छाई हुई,
शायद अभी-अभी यहाँ से मेरा यार गुज़रा है! ——— मसीह अयाज़ ख़ाँ
Hai patte-patte buute-buute pe masti si chhaai hui,
Shaayad abhi-abhi yahaan se maira yaar guzraa hai. ——— Masih Ayaz Khan
The whole universe seems to be entranced
Maybe my beloved just passed by from here…
Above story talks about the stream water getting muddy, in the same sense this song hints that the chunari of our body and mind is getting spoilt, creating the dilemma of how to wipe it clean. I love this evergreen song in Raag Bhairavi…. “Laaga Chunri me daag”- Dil hi to hai (1963 Hindi film)
“Laaga Chunri me daag”- Dil hi to hai (hindi film) bollywood – YouTube
11 thoughts on “Fetching water for Buddha.”
A wonderful lesson in relationship and handling messy situations. The more we use our energy to settle it the muddier it becomes . Calmness is called for.
Excellent case. Feel like reading again and again
Superb…. Once again mind blowing. I appreciate Rajiv Bhai. Shree Rajiv Bhai ( Dixit) this name has huge impact on my life by his
patriotic lectures ( ayurvedic & many) and now your thoughts 💬 wow…. I am really bless with your friendship that I have been getting feast on every Sunday before 6am.
Just sit by the stream of your mind. I have done same 6 times in 6 Vipassana courses. Milan Bhujbal. Navi Mumbai
Wonderful story and great point. This is exactly what the Vipassana method of Buddha is based on – observe – don’t get upset, drawn in, even happy/joyous. Just observe the sensations in yourself and you will see them change over seconds/minutes
Excellent way to make a layman understand the method of getting a calm mind with a easy understandable example is your art
Excellent 👌 lesson
Awesome story and excellent narration
The selection as always absolutely brilliant.
It resonates everytime with one or the other situation in life.
Stay still , wait for things to settle, let there be no-mind….
Thanks a lot for sharing this
I am not applying my mind. Just enjoying stillness and allow it to pass by. Love it. Very useful reinforcement. Thanks
Beautiful story, message, song & dance with soul👏🏻