A philosopher, a businessman, a politician, an engineer, a teacher and the master attended a famous violinist solo-concert. He performed such wondrous music on his violin and did things no other violinist has ever done before. As he was performing, different thoughts ran through the heads of the audience.
The philosopher thought, “Why does his music move me so?”
The businessman thought, “How much time did he invest in practicing?”
The politician thought, “How do I get him to play at one of my parties?”
The engineer thought, “How does he make the violin produce those sounds?”
The teacher thought, “Who tutored this man into such greatness?”
But the master simply cheered and clapped his hands in sheer delight.
Teranis the Great, conqueror of the eastern lands, had heard of the master. One day, he came to the master with his royal guard, seeking wisdom.
When the master came out of his hut to see his guests, a guard announced, “You now stand in the mighty presence of Teranis the Great.”
At this proclamation, the master looked at the conqueror and began to laugh at him.
Teranis was seized with fury and drew out his sword. He pointed the sword at the master and growled, “Why do you mock me so? Explain yourself or I shall cut off your head.”
The master replied, “I laugh because anyone who sees the need to call himself great really isn’t. Anyone who needs other people to announce his mighty presence really does not have one.”
At this, the master calmly reached out with one hand and pushed the sword point away from his face. “And lastly,” he said, “Anyone who needs to point a sword and threaten another to gain respect is the most pitiful soul of all.”
The master was riding a cruise ship with some very religious people.
Before the ship left, they all said their prayers for safety, protection, and so on. All of them except the master, who was visibly enjoying the the sea breeze on deck.
During meal times, the same people would bow their heads and mutter a prayer before eating. But the master would simply dig in with almost childlike delight as the food was served.
At certain times of the day, the religious people would gather and sing hymns and pray together. The master would sometimes just watch them from a corner.
One night, they hit a sudden storm and ship rocked dangerously to and fro. The people panicked and began praying. They kneeled, wept, cried aloud, all in fervent supplication. All except the master, who sat calmly and watched the lightning and rolling waves. Then some of the other people gathered around him and said, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you praying? We know you are a holy man and if you prayed, surely God would listen to you and stop the storm.”
The master smiled and calmly replied, “To pray out of fear is to miss the entire point of prayer.”
“Well, why weren’t you praying, then, when we were not in trouble. We noticed that you never uttered a prayer?” one person asked.
“I am always in prayer, even now. My life is a prayer. How can I utter a prayer? That would be like telling a fish in the water to take a bath. Prayer is not a verbalization of your thoughts. Prayer is a way of life. It is acceptance, peace and gratitude. ” replied the master.