THE THIRD ONE

Once Sheikh Raunqi Ram, strolling around, reached a Government Public Park.

He sat down on a bench. A while has passed when a startling sight caught his eye.

Two men, each following the other, were working briskly, with the precision of a machine. Nothing unusual!  Perfectly normal! Then what was it that startled him? It was the job they were performing.  One person was digging small pits one after the other, and the one behind him was filling those pits with a matched speed.  They were working with remarkable coordination, though their respective actions were absolutely contradictory to each other.

Sheikh was nonplused. He could not quite digest what he saw.

Curious as he was, he approached them.

“Excuse me friends”, he said,” I am unable to understand why you are taking the trouble of digging these pits, if you have to fill them up right now? Why dig them at all?”

“We are government servants, sir, and constitute a team of three”, said the one digging the pits, as they stopped their work for a while just to answer his question.

“The duty of our team is to plant saplings,” he continued. “Our respective duties are fixed. I dig the pits, and he fills the pit back” he said, pointing towards his fellow worker. “The third one, who is absent today, plants the saplings before the pit is filled. Today the third one, who plants the saplings, is on leave. But sincere as we are, we cannot stop our work. Can we? Therefore, both of us are doing our allotted jobs honestly. I am digging the pits and he is filling them.” Saying this, both of them resumed their work with the same vigor.

Shaken, the Sheikh sat down on his bench, his hand on his forehead, and his mind invaded by thoughtful concerns.

Isn’t it that day in and day out we board and alight from a strange train! A train which never moves! A train whose engine never starts, because its driver is always absent. With great regularity we go through the mundane routine of travel -the suffocation of compartments, the crowds of stations et al. – except that we never reach anywhere. We always remain where we were. We never move. We never improve. We never change.

Who is the gardener who has to plant the saplings in the pits of our heart? Who is the driver, usually absent, who has to drive the train of our mana (mind) on the rails of truth?

We often attend a satsanga and come back, unaffected, unchanged, as we were. We use a satsang, only to satiate our ego. “See I attend satsangs” we brag about ourselves. Nothing changes, except that in the garb of satsang we just pander to the dictates of our egoistic weak will and inflate our already swollen ego.

We raise huge structures, in the name of religion, or service. However, ‘he’ is ever absent. ‘He’ the gardener — who can plant and nurture, in these lifeless structures,  the saplings of love, compassion, selflessness and atma-prem is ever absent. That Brahm Sant is ever absent.

The so called “Heads” of such lifeless institutions, may satiate their egos, in the name of selfless service, but are reluctant to let a truly selfless “sevak” step in their empire.

Sheikh is a worried man.

Things cannot move without the “third one”! Who is this “third one”!  Where do we get him from!

Sheikh’s worry swirled in his head. He felt a flash within, his whole body trembled, and with cat-like agility he jumped off the bench. He dashed towards the two men working in the park and stood between the two.

With open arms, he cried “I will be the third one!! I am the third one!! I will plant the saplings.” “I will drive the train!”

In fact, nothing can change us, if we are not willing to change! No task can be fulfilled, until we take the onus on us!

Who is the “third one”? Sheikh Raunqi Ram is the third one. I am the third one. You are the “third one”. Let each of us be the “third one”. Let all of us become alive to ourselves.