Digging Deep

I have been reading some articles about personal, deep, meditative japa (soft chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra on one’s meditation beads).

I chant everyday, and I found this little story to be very instructive.

The famous Indian Saint Shri Madhvacarya (pictured below) also demonstrated the analogy of “digging deep” until one finds the waterbed. The story goes that he and a few brahmacari (celibate) disciples were trekking through some rugged territory in India when they were stopped by the local prince, who demanded that they contribute labour in digging for water at a construction site.

Shri Madhva was a tall and imposing figure, and he told the ksatriya prince that he was used to being a teacher. So if the prince would join him, then he would teach him how to dig. Humbled and impressed, the prince got out of the soft comfort and shade of his tent, and joined the surprised labourers along with the new party of monks.


They dug in the rocky terrain all day, in the scorching sun. As time went on, the uncomfortable prince had to remove some of his clothing accessories one by one. At the end, the exhausted prince said to Madhvacarya in a sweet voice, “Thank you so much for your contribution, I really learned a lot from the experience. Please come and take rest at my palace, before you leave tomorrow.”

To his embarassment, Madhvacarya said that he and his disciples would be taking rest at the work site, and that the incomplete work would have to continue tomorrow. The implication being that the prince was expected to join in tomorrow as well. There was muffled chortling from some of the brahmacari disciples on observing this stinging rebuke to the prince, and the look on his exhausted face.

The next day the digging continued. This time the prince was dressed in simple, more practical work clothes. In his inner self also, he was more humble and diligent in digging along with the commanding Guru, and was resigned to doing so for as long as the Acarya decided was necessary.

He now had a spiritual master, and a sense of special purpose. After many long hours of digging along with his spiritual master, they finally found water. That’s when Shri Madhva turned to him and spoke the first words of spiritual instruction to this disciple.

In the same way, we should dig deep in our meditations, and in the process all our false, external and burdensome identifications and our unnecessary attachments will naturally fall away, and we will become eligible for real spiritual life.

maha mantra:
Posted by Kurma on 2/1/07; 2:46:05 PM

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