Fetching water for Buddha – Story

“Just sit by the stream of your mind. Don’t do anything; nothing is expected from you.”


This is the story…

Buddha is going from one village to another, and on the way – it is a hot day, summer – he feels thirsty. He is old, so he asks Ananda, “Ananda, I am sorry but you will have to go back. Two or three miles back we have left a small stream of water, and I am very thirsty: you go and bring water.”

Ananda said, “There is no need to feel sorry. This is my joy – to serve you in any way. I am obliged; you are not obliged. You rest under this saal tree, and I will go.”

He went back. He knew exactly where the stream was; they had just passed it. And when they had passed by the side of the stream, it was crystal-clear – a mountain stream has a clarity of its own. But when Ananda returned to take the water, two bullock carts had passed through the stream, and the whole stream was muddy; all the mud that was settled on the bottom had risen to the surface. Old leaves, rotten leaves, were floating on top. He could not think that he could take this water for Buddha to drink.

So he came back and said to Buddha, “This is the situation. I could not bring that water for you, but don’t be worried. Four miles ahead you can rest; I know a big river, and from there I will bring the water. Although it is getting late and you are thirsty, what else can I do?”

Buddha said, “No, I want the water from that stream. You unnecessarily wasted time; you should have brought the water.”

“But,” Ananda said, “the water is dirty and muddy; rotten leaves are floating all over it. How can I bring it?”

Buddha said, “You go and bring it.”

When the Master says so…. Ananda went back reluctantly, but was surprised: by that time the leaves had moved. The water was continuously flowing, and it had taken the leaves away; the dust and the mud had settled down – just a little was left. But Ananda got the message; he sat by the side of the stream.

That’s what Buddha had meant: “Go back.” And seeing that things had changed…. If he had just waited, soon the crystal-clear water would have been there.

He waited, and soon the water was there. He brought some back.

Buddha said, “Ananda, did you get the message?”

Ananda was crying. He said, “Yes, I got the message. In fact, I had not told you: when I went the first time and saw this whole thing – those two bullock carts passing just ahead of me, just in front of me, disturbing the whole stream, I went into the stream to settle it. And the more I tried to settle it, the more it became unsettled. The more I walked into it, the more mud came up, more leaves.

“Seeing that it was impossible to settle it, I came back – I did not tell you this. I am sorry, I was foolish. That was not the way to settle the stream back into its natural way. I should have simply waited by the side, I should have simply watched.

“Things happen on their own. The leaves were going down the stream and the mud was settling. And just sitting there watching the stream, I got the message, that this stream is the stream of my mind – of all rotten thoughts, past, dead, mud – and I am continuously trying to settle it. Jumping into it makes it worse than before and creates a pessimistic attitude that ‘perhaps in this life I am not going to attain what Buddha says – the state of no-mind.’

“But today, seeing that stream, a great hope has arisen in me: perhaps the stream of my own mind is also going to be settled in the same way. And just sitting there I had a little glimpse.”

Buddha said, “l am not thirsty, you are thirsty. And you were not sent to bring water for me, you were sent to understand a certain message. While we were coming I had seen those two bullock carts on top of the hill and I knew by what time they would be passing, so l had sent you right in time to bring water.”

Just sit by the stream of your mind.
Don’t do anything; nothing is expected from you.
You just keep quiet, calm, as if it is none of your business. What is happening in the mind is happening somewhere else.
The mind is not you; it is somebody else:
You are only a watcher.

Osho, From Misery to Enlightenment,  Ch 24, Q 1 (excerpt)

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