There was a remote village situated in the beautiful environs of hills – far away from the developed world – with a handful of simple and uneducated residents. Some elders of the village who had heard the stories of the developed world around them, wanted the youth of the village also to be educated and developed. Once in a village meeting it was decided to send some young men to a town far away, for receiving education for the development of the village.
A group of ten young men was selected for the purpose. Since they were going out of the village for the first time, the elders briefed them extensively about dos and don’ts to be followed while on the way. They were advised to remain together so as avoid getting lost. With great expectations of becoming wise and learned, they left the village.
On their way, they had to cross a mountain stream. The flow of water in the stream was dangerously rapid. The young men were a little nervous and worried. How do we cross this river? What if some one is swept away while crossing? After some short discussions it was decided to cross the stream forming a chain, holding hands, so that all of them reach across safely.
The strategy worked and all of them crossed the stream. After reaching the other side, one of them suggested that they should count their number to ascertain that all of them had crossed the stream and no on had drowned in it. So, all of them queued up and one of them started counting.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine- Oh God! Only nine”, he shouted, “We have lost one of us”.
Wait a minute let me count again”, said another youth. Counting was started again.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine-Oh no!” he cried “Indeed one of us of has drowned.”
Yet another one started the count, but the result was same. Only nine! A pall of gloom descended upon them. Every one was in tears. “How tragic, we have lost one of our friends”. They started crying aloud.
On finding them crying, a passerby stopped along. “What is the matter? Why are you crying?”
“One of our friends has drowned while crossing the stream”, replied one of them.
“Oh that is very sad. How did that happen?” enquired the passer by.
“We don’t know, how? Ten of us had started from our village. But after crossing the stream only nine of us are left”, he was explained.
The passerby glanced over and found that that they were ten in number and not nine as they thought.
“Stop crying, and count again.”
The counting started again. All of them queued up and one of them started counting.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine. See we are only nine.”
The passerby understood the whole thing. The youth counting the numbers, was not counting himself in.
“We have found the tenth one”, he shouted aloud.
“Where is he”, all of them were relieved but anxious.
“You also join the queue.” The passerby said pointing at the one who was counting. After he joined the queue, the passerby started counting.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and Ten! Here you are”, he smiled.
The youth were happy, they had found the tenth one, who in fact was never lost and was with them all the time.
The great thinkers and philosophers have been citing this small story for centuries, to explain an abstruse principle. This stream of maya, is transforming so fast to be swallowed up by Kaala, that the being crossing this stream, entangled in its swift currents, forgets its own identity. He attaches himself to the material world through the nine orifices of senses, but forgets the tenth one – his own self. His consciousness fades off by the time it reaches Dasham dwar- the Tenth door- from where it actually derives its power and vitality. The being, extroverted through the nine orifices, forgets its true self, lost in the material world, as it gets enmeshed in the senses of Shabda (Sound), Sparsha (touch), Roopa (beauty) , Rasa (pleasure) and Gandha (fragrance).
How surprising! We don’t even know our true selves, but go out lock stock and barrel to reach out to everything else under the sun. We see ourselves only through the eyes of others.
If we have a number made up of zeros alone, its value will always remain Zero. But if we prefix One (1) to these zeros, the value of the number increases manifold. Similarly, all knowledge in the world is a naught until prefixed by ‘One’ – the realization of own self. Without this ‘One’, all material knowledge is nothing but a cause of distress and aimless drifting.
Gazing inwards every one should feel the entity that makes one count others; feel, in his innermost core, the force from which the eye derives its power to see, from which the ear derives its power to hear.
Rise above all that you see through cravings and aversions, that which you hear as admiration or criticism. Feel with your true-self, that which makes you see or hear.
The being itself is the manifestation of the bliss that it persistently seeks in the material possessions, in fame. How surprising it is, that it suffers endlessly forgetting its own blissful manifestation.
Have faith in the utterances of the brahma established Guru. Why are you crying? Why are you worried, feeling feeble, helpless deluded? Recognize yourself. You yourself are the source of all power, all energy. Not in you is the death, nor sorrow, nor any deficiency.
Rise above the nine orifices, establish yourself in the tenth- the Brahmarandhra. That is where you actually are. Be there and complete the count- of your true self. That source of power and bliss is your real self. That is the point where you will realise the entirety, totality of the self.