“Chandu has bought a parrot, who can recite mantras”- the news spread like wild fire.

Chandu was Sheikh Raunqi Ram’s neighbour, famous for his love for parrots. He would pay anything for a parrot with some specialty.  This time it was the ‘spiritual-ness’ (not to be mistaken with ‘spirituality’) that appealed to him. So the parrot was brought home at a hefty price. Now, since the ‘spiritual-ness’ was involved, Sheikh Raunqi Ram’s inquisitiveness was inevitable.  So off he went to Chandu’s house, as soon as the news reached him.

Chandu was excited about the parrot.  So with the impatience of a child, he brought the parrot, as soon as Sheikh Raunqi Ram entered.  “See, how well he recites” he said, as he pulled the right leg of the parrot – “Om namah Shivaay”, pat came the squeaky reply from the parrot.

“How wonderful!” exclaimed Sheikh Raunqi Ram.

“Wait till you see more”, said Chandu, as he pulled the bird’s left leg.

“Sattnam Shri Waheguru”, came the mechanical voice again.

Chandu’s delight was apparent on his beaming face. “He must be an incarnation of some ascetic or a sage. I am gratified to have him at my humble house. I must have done some noble deeds in my previous birth, to deserve his blessings. He has converted my modest house into a temple. See, so many devotees have already come to seek his blessings”, he said pointing towards the crowd that had gathered outside his house, standing with folded hands.

Sheikh Raunqi Ram was not really impressed. A parrot, after all is a parrot. He cannot become a gyani, no matter what mantras he is made to mug up. Sheikh Raunqi Ram decided to assess the true worth of the parrot. “Can I handle the parrot?” he asked Chandu.

“Why not”, said Chandu, somewhat reluctantly, as he handed over the parrot to Sheikh Raunqi Ram.

The Sheikh, pulled the parrot’s, right leg.  “Om Namah Shivaay”, out came the squeaky rendering.   “Sattnam Shri Waheguru”, said the same voice same as he pulled the parrot’s left leg.  Chandu was standing by, his hand folded with reverence – towards the parrot.

Then came the anticlimax!

To the dismay of Chandu, Sheikh abruptly pulled both the legs of the parrot.  The result was startling.

“Don’t you drop me, you scoundrel, nincompoop” shouted the ‘spiritual’ parrot, in a charged high pitched voice. The Sheikh let go of the parrot, instantly, lest the angry bird should pounce at him.

While every one, including Chandu, stood  nonplussed, the Sheikh, as usual, began to muse.

Are we any different from the ‘spiritual’ parrot?  We also keep cramming up the scripture texts, mantras etc.  We recite the crammed texts,  if our will (pulling of right or left leg) desires so, but we do not desist from condemning  any one , our near ones,  even our Guru-God, if  any thing goes against our malevolent will and in accordance with the Almighty’s  benevolent will (when uprooted from both our legs).

On our own sweet will we may happily fast for days together, but  get furious if  our meals are delayed for even a minute, due to some one else.

On our own will, we do not hesitate in  squatting on the ground for hours,  but  if  some one else is responsible for not providing us a chair, at a gathering,  sitting on the ground even for a second seems to be the greatest predicament on the earth.

On our own will we happily squander millions, but otherwise, loss of even a rupee is enough to make us vociferously doubt the integrity of others, even our dear ones.

On our own will, we may spend the entire night making merry,  but otherwise even the softest moan of pain from the neighbour’s house, disturbs our sleep, making us go wild, squirming in the bed, and twisting our pillows.

On our own will, we proclaim ourselves to be the true servants of the society, but otherwise even the slightest provocation makes us mad at others.

On our own will, we hale our complete submission to the Guru, but otherwise, even in the Guru’s  domain,  the slightest dent, even inadvertent , on our ego and selfishness, agitates us to the extent of casting aspersions on none other than the Guru, whom we otherwise proclaim to be God himself.  In the heart of our hearts we do not even desist from entering into rivalry with the Guru.

Ironically, the bickering amongst the guru bhais (proclaimed brothers, by virtue of being the disciples of the same Guru), will be the most where, on the face of it, the discussion about gurubhaava and the atmabhaava is the most ostensible.

Very much like the ‘spiritual’ parrot of Chandu, even in the midst of our supposed meditation or chanting, the slightest disturbance (equivalent to pulling both our legs together) would be provocative enough to make us spew out expletive for the source thereof, however innocuous it may be.

The Sheikh’s musing continued.

Can we realize God through a meditation dictated by the wishful whims of the mind, driven by the ego?

Can we purge our inner self through ‘service’ chosen by the mind as per its own fancies and comforts, charged with the ego?

Can the penance organized by the mind and powered by ego generate humility?

All such meditations, service and penances are nothing but mechanical renderings of Chandu’s parrot, triggered by pulling one leg at a time.

True meditation, service and penance do not owe their sustenance to the power of ego, but on the contrary, they strike to annihilate it.  This can, however, happen only when these are performed with complete and total deference to the ordains of the Guru, even if in totally disagreement with the fanciful cravings of the mind.

Is this possible?

Yes it is: If we steadily march ahead on the path of realization and true selfless service – uncomplainingly and unfazed even in the face of the worst adversities, and with a calm, composed and collected mind.