The Metaphor of Children's Innocence
This story is a metaphor for Anunda, the Transpersonal innocent, the ideal behind this work.
- Anunda walked quietly into the forest. He was a blind child. He was beloved of all the villagers and sometimes they wept for him. But Anunda never wept, his eyes were clear and shiny bright. They just could not register sight as others do.
The forest grass was wet, soft and warm under Anundas feet. Without hesitation he walked. Often the villagers were amazed at his freedom of movement. Now he made his way towards a bend in the river. As he came to a large tree Anunda reached out his hand and embraced the tree, for all things were his friends. He sat and dangled his feet in the water and it rippled a murmur of greeting. The sun found its way through the leaves and branches overhead and warmed Anundas body.
- In the distance he could hear the voices of the villagers as they called each other to the noon time meal. Soon the village would be free of discordant voices, becoming quiet as people sat to eat their meal.
Anunda was 12 years old. He did not work in the fields as the others did. He did not run or shout or argue. He was an orphan and lived with his Aunt and Uncle. They, like all who knew Anunda, loved him and they pitied him less. 'There is something about that boy,' his Aunt often said.
It was while he was sitting in the usually quiet time of noon that disruption tore the stillness. Anunda was startled by cries and shouting from the village. He leaned forward and the water murmured to him of fear, fear in the marshes that spread out from the river at the far end of the village. The marshes were a treacherous place inhabited only by animals and tough lawless men banished from their own villages.
- Anunda stood and again embraced his friend the tree and then walked slowly, calmly, back towards the village. From the far end of the village he heard voices and a womans piercing crying.
His Aunt saw him and came to him. She told him that two children from the village had been going to the temple to offer food to the Gods in thanks for the return to good health of their Grandfather. The children had asked their mother for a little rice to make an offering. She had instead made a beautiful platter of sweet food and a garland of forest flowers. She had stood and watched the children leave on their walk to the temple, but that was early in the morning and when they had not returned for their meal she went in search of them. She could not find them.
The old lady who cleaned the temple told her that the children had not come with the offering, but that at the time the children should have arrived she had heard harsh voices and a child screaming. She had thought it was one of the village children being disciplined by an angry parent. No one in the village, neither adult or child had argued that day and so it was that the thoughts of all those gathered came to one dark focus on the hungry and dangerous men living in the marsh. Probably the men had seen the children and the food and had taken both into the marshes.
No one from the village had been in the marshes for a long time. The paths were shifting and not safe, what was a path one day was a mud pit the next and the mud was treacherous. On occasional nights the screams of an animal falling into the marsh echoed through the village.
'What shall we do?' asked Anunda's Aunt of her nephew. Anunda did not reply but took her hand and his Uncles also and gently brought their hands together. Then with a smile that held them both silent he turned and, edging around the crowd, moved towards the marsh.
'Stop him,' shouted someone. 'What does he think he is doing?' asked another. 'He will drown, stupid blind boy.' Before anyone else could speak, Anundas Aunt and Uncle spoke in unison. 'Let him be. It is his path.' And together they barred any who would go after him to try and stop him.
- Anunda continued to walk. The air became still. Even the incessant noise of the marsh insects seemed to lessen. Under his feet Anunda felt the well trodden dirt of the village street give way to an uneven texture. He turned his head neither left or right but walked on with sure strides into the marsh land.
The villagers remained silent. Even the dogs stood and watched as the blind boy grew smaller and the marsh grass and reeds taller. It seemed an eternity that they all stood still, indeed the sun moved across the sky. Finally the crowd became despondent and the childrens mother continued to weep.
All the time Anunda walked, he never wavered in choice of footing or direction, he never once felt the dangerous mud begin to ooze between his toes. The animals of the marsh did not run from him, they did not even hide, but stood looking at him and around him.
Eventually, deep now in the marsh, Anunda heard voices, voices of men and the crying of children, the missing children. Without hesitation Anunda turned and walked towards the voices. The tall marsh grass seemed to be thinning and in two steps Anunda was clear of the grass standing in a clearing in full view of seven hardened wild men. The children were the first to see Anunda and called his name with all their might. 'Anunda .. Anunda .. he has come for us.' The dirty ragged men were arguing about a ransom price for the children. On seeing Anunda they fell silent.
A strong stillness settled in the clearing. The children and the men stared at Anunda. It seemed as if he had grown and was no longer a lone 12 year old boy. As Anunda stood, he felt the stillness within himself and the tension within the men. He spoke. 'Untie the children, let them come to me.' No one moved. Again Anunda spoke, his voice resounding. 'Untie the children and let them come to me.' Two of the men moved as if compelled and did as he said but still they said nothing. The children, sobbing with fear and joy ran to Anunda and though he was hardly a physical head taller than them they had to look up to him. The men also had to look up to him and they began to cower and to back away losing themselves in the tall grasses.
So it was that Anunda, holding a hand of each child, turned in silence and walked from the clearing. Unerringly he found a path wide enough for the three to walk abreast, for the children would not be separated from Anunda. He had freed them and would lead them home and they loved him.
It was Anunda's Aunt and Uncle who had remained waiting and alerted the village to movement in the tall grass. The children ran to their mother and allowed her to hug and touch them before they turned and took Anundas hand.
'Tell us what has happened,' cried all the people of the village. Anunda squeezed the hand of the oldest child, giving the boy encouragement to speak. The child related the story of their capture and flight into the marsh, of being tied up and argued over, of the despair that they had felt. Even now their brave, dirty faces were stained with tears.
As he spoke, the child continually looked at Anunda, who remained silent. 'Then Anunda came,' burst out the youngest girl who could not hold back the words. 'And the Mother and Father God came with him and Anunda was all grown, all big and shiny bright and light twinkled all around him and the Mother and Father God too. When they saw Anunda, the bad men had to let us go. Big Anunda made them untie us.' She paused for breath. 'Then the Mother God and Father God thanked us for the beautiful platter and the flowers, even though the bad men took them, they said they knew that we had brought them the gifts and said they would find them and take them back to the temple themselves.'
The villagers were silent. Anunda's Aunt and Uncle wept, others shuffled their feet for they knew that something strange had happened for the children and Anunda had returned after walking into the marsh. Yet as people do, some still doubted. 'How can a blind boy go into and out of the marshes as if walking down the village road?' they asked.
- Anunda let go of the children's hands and sat down on the grass. In a moment the village children gathered around him then the adults sat too.
The children speak only the truth,' said Anunda. 'I can move where you cannot for I can see when you refuse to open your eyes. I was born to trust. I never suffered the burden of attachment for I am an earthly orphan. I have never held to the illusions that are seen with human eyes. My focus is always on the Eternal Absolute. Many of you pity me, yet I am bliss for I am with my Heavenly Father and Mother at all times in complete unity born of trust and blind faith, not just when I am in the temple. So it was at my Parents will that I went to bring the children home, for my Parents will not abandon those who seek to give thanks with an honest heart. Together we walked into the marsh and I could have no fear. So it was that I who cannot see in my human form are not held bound by that form and so was revealed in my essence to the men and to the children, my eternal Mother and Father with me.'
The crowd then heard a voice coming down the village road. It was the old lady who swept the temple and kept the candles lit. 'Come, come,' she cried. 'It is a miracle. The beautiful platter of sweet food that the children carried is in the temple and with it a garland of fresh forest flowers. But no one has been in the temple for I have been tending the entrance, no one has been there since before noon. I swear that none has entered, but the offerings are real, I touched them.'
So it was that near sunset, the whole village was at the temple and saw for themselves that what the children and Anunda had said was true, the food as fresh as when first prepared and the scent of the garlands of flowers filled the temple with their gentle perfume.
From that day on the parents of the village set their children free from work in the fields in the late afternoon so that they could sit with Anunda, by the river under the trees or in the temple and give thanks for the gift of life and to experience the faith of a blind boy and the presence of Our Heavenly Parents. And each afternoon the children took time to prepare a meal of thanks and leave it at the edge of the marsh for the men who lived there. It was their way of saying thanks for giving the villagers back their faith. In time the men responded to the kindness for they too had once been children and their faith was restored by the act of the unconditional thanks given freely by the children.
- Upon this village the Mother and Father God smiled for the unity of men, women, children, faith and trust had been restored. The perfume from the garland of flowers still remains in the temple. In faith you can find it too.