Archive for March, 2010

God’s mysterious ways – II

1. One of the common trades in village India is dyeing. You buy your white cloth an then take it to this person who has many vats of dye, each a different color. Do you want your cloth yellow? He soaks it in the vat of yellow dye; purple, in the purple dye, etc. One day there came to a village a traveling dyer, who had only one vat! (How could he make a living?) But you see, it was a magic tub: whatever color you asked for, that was the color the cloth came out. People marveled to see such a thing. The same vat gave blue, red, etc. A clever villager was watching all this at a little distance. Finally he brought his cloth to the dyer and said, “Please make my cloth the color of the dye in your tub.” Why is God like the magic dye? Because, though he is One, he gives everyone different things, according to their preference; if you want to know what he is in himself, be like the clever villager.

 

2. In a certain village of India there was a little park where people came to sit and chat. The path to it lay alongside the forest. On the edge of the path there was a large, well-known tree. One day a city-dweller came to the village, passed the tree, and saw a peculiar lizard climbing on the trunk. When he reached the park he told the others sitting there, “I just saw a cream-colored lizard on that old tree!”

“Oh,” said one man, “I know that lizard. I’ve seen it there several times — but it’s not cream-colored, it’s green.”

“No, no, not green,” said another, “it is yellow.” Then others chimed in: “We have seen it — it is lavender (gray, etc.). Everyone had a different picture of the lizard.

They decided to go to the tree to find the animal and settle the argument. What they found was a hermit from the forest, sitting in meditation under the tree. The people questioned him. “I know all about that creature, who lives on this tree,” he answered. (Have you guessed it? Yes. It was a chameleon.) “It is sometimes lavender, sometimes gray, sometimes green, yellow, cream, and sometimes it has really no color at all.”

God, said Sri Ramakrishna, is like that chameleon, taking on different qualities and appearances, and then again He has none.

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