The Sage & His Stuff

Sukhdev Muni is destined to be enlightened, but he first has to accept Raja Janak....

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This is a famous story that even the Gurus heard when they were children: The story of Raja Janak and Sukhdev Muni.
Sukhdev Muni’s parents were both highly spiritual sages who spent their lives meditating. Raised in this spiritual environment Sukhdev Muni always impressed even the wisest people with his intellect. He was so bright!

As he got older he realized something, “Father, even though I’m young, and like, everyone knows me as a spiritual master, I just, I don’t know. Like there is something missing I feel. Is there still more that I need to learn?” His wise father responded, “My son I knew you were an enlightened soul from when you were born. It is your destiny to be a great teacher. But it doesn’t matter who you are, you cannot be enlightened without a Guru.”
Sukhdev Muni was ready for this new learning and asked who is the greatest sage alive, but he wasn't ready for the answer, “The greatest of great sages alive is.. Raja Janak.”
You see he didn't see how a king could teach him, “Father, I do not need to learn about the world, what can a worldly man like the king teach me about spirituality?” His father explained that Raja Janak is the greatest holy man of the age and, “Son, listen to me. Raja Janak is the one. He is the only one who can be your Guru.” And Sukhdev Muni finally agreed, “Hmmm, ok I will meet with him… out of respect for you father.”

The young Muni went to the king’s palace. He left his begging bowl, walking staff and prayer mat out on the lawn. When he went inside the palace the first thing he saw was Raja Janak being affectionate with his queen. Sukhdev Muni thought, “Oh gross! I knew this man was a fake he’s not a sage or a yogi. He is lost in family life, he’s stuck in the world, he can’t teach me about God. This was a waste of time. But since I’m here, I might as well test him anyways.”

Raja Janak invited him closer, “Young sage, welcome.” Sukhdev Muni asked the Raja a question and as the Raja was answering a servant came in, “Raja Sahib, a fire has started near the palace!” The raja smiled, “Please take the needed actions to put the fire out.” And then he simply took some water and sprinkled in the direction of the fire. Sukhdev Muni thought, “There’s a fire and the king doesn’t seem to care!”

And they continued their conversation. Again as they were talking the servant came back, “Raja Sahib, we have tried our best but the fire is growing. It is even spreading to the palace hall, if we can’t put it out the fire it will make it here soon!” Again Raja Janak smiled and said, “I trust your ability. Do what is needed to put it out.” He again sprinkled water towards the fire and he turned to Sukhdev Muni who thought, “I can’t believe this. His palace is on fire and just acts like nothing is happening. What kind of king is he!”

Then they resumed their talk, “I’m sorry for the interruption. You were about to ask another question. Please go ahead.” Sukhdev Muni was still surprised at the king's behaviour but went on to ask him more questions. And sure enough the servant came in one more time, “Raja Sahib, the fire is spreading from the hall to this throne room, It’s almost reached the lawn outside right now!"
Sukhdev Muni realized, “MY STUFF IS IN THE LAWN!”

And he jumped up to save his bowl, his mat and walking staff. But before he got far the king called out, “Oh Muni! You fear losing your little possessions! Why are you so proud of being a spiritual man, you are still so attached to your things!”

Sukhdev Muni stopped running. And his mind stopped too. He realized “I have done yoga and meditation my whole life... and yet I was more attached to my few things. But you Raja Sahib, you are a true yogi. You have so much stuff to look after and endless things to worry about.. But somehow you aren’t attached... at all, you are carefree.”

He looked at Janak again and saw... his Guru. “I am such a proud, proud fool. You are a true master. I will obey your every word. I am your servant.”

Raja Janak taught him and gave him many difficult tests. Eventually Sukhdev Muni realized his destiny, he became enlightened and many people were blessed by his presence.

How about you? Do you ever feel attached to your things? Maybe you really like a particular toy or you have some clothes you really like? How about your tablet or video game? You can even be attached to TV shows. Now imagine that you lose that thing you like the most. Take a breath… it’s OK, It’s just stuff. Stuff comes and stuf goes. Getting upset about stuff only makes you feel bad. So why worry about losing stuff?  All the good things we have can all be destroyed. But the good inside you is always with you and cannot be destroyed. So take a deep  breath and remember, the best thing you have... is inside you.

The Guru says,

gaaveh janakaadh jugat jogesur har ras pooran sarab kalaa ||

“True yogic masters like Raja Janak sing praises of God, and Guru Nanak, such sages are completely filled with creative power.” (Ang 1389)

Storyteller:  Harijot Singh Khalsa
Topics:  Saints & Sages
Age ranges:  7 - 12