Teacher and disciple confront the river

By Paulo Coelho

 
A disciple had such faith in the powers of the guru Sanjai that he once asked to meet him beside the river.

 
‘Master, everything I have learned from you has changed my life. I was able to save my marriage, sort out the family business and help my neighbours. Everything I ever asked for in your name and in good faith I have received.’

 
Sanjai looked at his disciple, and his heart swelled with pride.

 
The disciple walked down to the edge of the river.

 
‘Such is my faith in your teachings and in your divinity that I have only to say your name and I will be able to walk on the waters.’

 
Before the teacher could say anything, his disciple had entered the river, crying:

 
‘All praise to Sanjai! All praise to Sanjai!’

 
He took one step.Then another.

 
And a third step. His body began to levitate and the young man managed to reach the other side of the river without even getting his feet wet.

 
Sanjai looked in surprise at the disciple, who was standing on the other shore waving at him and smiling.

 
‘Perhaps I am more enlightened than I thought I was. I could have the most famous monastery in the region! I could rise to the same heights as the great saints and gurus!’

 
Determined to repeat his disciple’s success, he too walked down to the shore and, as he stepped into the river, he began to cry:

 
‘All praise to Sanjai! All praise to Sanjai!’

 
He took one step and a second step, but by the third he was already being swept away by the current. Since he did not know how to swim, his disciple had to dive into the water to save him from certain death.

 
When both men reached the shore, exhausted, Sanjai remained silent for a long time. Finally, he said:

 
‘I hope you can draw a wise lesson from what happened today. All that I taught you were the scriptures and the correct way to behave. However, none of that would have been enough if you had not added what was missing: the faith that such teachings could improve your life.

 
I taught you because my teachers taught me. But while I thought and studied, you put into practice what you had learned. Thank you for helping me to understand that one does not always believe in what one wants others to believe.’

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Comments

  1. Kathleen says:

    1 Corinthians 13
    The Greatest Gift
    1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

    Along the same lines I think. Words and actions are empty if not done with the conviction of love.
    Kathleen xx

  2. fLUXman says:

    bo0om paulo,
    energies that reveal themselves with the teachers blessings,
    spirits soar at the clarity of guidance,
    go down on my knees and humbly bow to my teacher,
    oh he took the brunt of my mistakes with a smile,
    the horrors of man, tears in my…. eyes,
    monks beaten to death, and the abbot says impossible,
    the generals dwell deeper into the darkness,
    bush pushing up mothers bounty to +80$ a barrel,
    how these souls became leaders , the devil knows,
    may they feel the love…and awaken to the light,
    tell me why, oh tell me why,
    bo0om
    fLUXman

  3. myriam says:

    The ultimate conclusion reminds me the ancient way of teaching Yoga in India : GURUKULA system which means learning by staying with the Guru for 12 years……

    Thank YOU

  4. myriam says:

    Thanks for beeing my dear friends, for your commentaries which are helping me a lot to understang myself better, to improve my egoism and humility…

    Swami Sivananda a great HIndu Saint said “in french fisrt une once de pratique vaut mieux qu’une tonne de théorie”. ENGLISH TRANSLATION : a once of practice is better than a ton of theorie.

    Thank you

  5. Leaf says:

    Hi, Henrik
    That is what you believe….and belief is faith.

    I believe that our revolutionary evolution of mind shall, in future terms, be based on what will be, not what is, because, what is, is not what we want…we all believe in a better future, long or short term…regardless of fleeting happiness in the now moment.
    What is knowledge if we know not Love?
    When we all say we are happy NOW, then it is achieved….love shall prevail.
    Love over all
    Love for all….In our hearts, before our eyes, before our thoughts become what they become…action, faction, distraction…attraction…satisfaction.

    LOVE TO ALL

  6. Kathleen says:

    1 Corinthians 13
    The Greatest Gift
    1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

    Along the same lines I think. Words and actions are empty if not done with the conviction of love.
    Kathleen xx

  7. Henrik Sawela says:

    Our cultural evolution is based on knowledge and reasoning, spiced with a good portion of critical thinking, not on faith.

  8. clarence del castillo says:

    Everyday we receive life lessons. Yet, they are useless if not put into practice. The challenge however, is not knowing the lesson but taking massive action to put it into practice. That, I believe is “living faith”.