Raunqi Ram was newly appointed at a Zoo which had just acquired a new giraffe. The majestic animal with a long, slim-tree-trunk like neck had to be guarded. The responsibility for this fell on Sheikh Raunqi Ram. He has to see to it that the giraffe did not escape his pen.
“An easy job”, thought the Sheikh. “I will raise a 20 feet wall around the pen that the animal would never be possible to climb down.”
So he had a 20 feet high wall raised around the pen with a huge gate of the same height. “The giraffe cannot escape. No way”, thought Sheikh Raunqi Ram, and satisfied thus, he went to sleep.
Next morning he woke up and went straight to the giraffe’s pen. He was stunned!
The giraffe had vanished. A commotion ensued with all the employees now running around to search for the lost giraffe. However, much to the relief of Sheikh Raunqi Ram, it was located, roaming around in a far away meadow. Somehow, the Giraffe was brought back to the pen.
“Oh, God it was really a narrow escape”, thought Sheikh. “I nearly lost my job. I will have to be more careful.” So he now got the wall raised to 40 feet. The height of the gate was also raised. “The giraffe cannot jump out this time”, he was certain.
The next morning, however, proved him wrong yet again. The giraffe had escaped. Raunqi Ram was shocked and also surprised. “I did not know that the giraffes can jump so high. Oh god, give me another chance. This time I will be more careful.” His prayer was answered. The Giraffe was found again, enjoying the meadows, and was brought back to the pen.
“Enough is enough”, thought a determined Sheikh. “This time I will prove myself. I will raise the wall’s height to 60 feet.” So indeed he did, and went to sleep, smiling to himself. “Let me see how the stupid giraffe can outsmart me now.”
Next morning he woke up and walked to the pen, with an air of pride. “60 feet is too much for any one to jump over”. He was sure. In his mind he was already relishing the satisfaction of seeing the giraffe roaming around within the pen.
But his joy was short-lived. There was no sign of the giraffe in the pen. He had run away yet again. Sheikh Raunqi Ram was all sweats. More than the fear of losing his job, it was the ignominy of having failed that perturbed his mind.
However, after a long search operation, the giraffe was located and brought back again. A stung Sheikh Raunqi Ram could not control himself this time. He implored the giraffe with folded hands, “Have mercy on me my friend! Why do you want me to lose my job! Tell me how you manage to jump over the walls so high?”
“Simple”, grinned the giraffe. “While you were all occupied with erecting the high wall, you never paid any attention to fixing a latch on the gate.”
The giraffe had a point. Sheikh Raunqi Ram was dumbstruck.
How foolish he had been, he thought. Even the best padlock is useless, if there is no latch on the door. In such a case, the walls, however high, will serve no purpose.
Sheikh had been a satsangi and had associated himself with great seers and ascetics. “Now I understand”, said he to himself, “Why despite all that we do, we cannot have control over our mind. Why we cannot get rid of our anger and greed.”
“We will have to fix the latch of Guru’s Aagya (the will of the Guru). Unmindful of loss or gain, we will have to rotate the key of abhyasa (practice) in the lock of Gurumantra. Only then, will the high walls of rules and regulations be of use. Only then shall we be able to restrain the giraffe of Mana (the mind) from wandering about in the jungles of Raga-Dvesha (worldly attractions and repulsions). Only then Sheikh Raunqi Ram’s job will remain safe. Only then will one be able to remain the true servant of the almighty.