Experience is the best teacher, so a Guru used it for imparting a valuable lesson to his disciple. “ Go and bring me the filthiest thing in the world,” said he.
The disciple went searching but did not search for long as he soon found it, filthy human excreta.
As he bent down to scoop it up the excreta said, “Oh you filthiest thing, don’t you touch me.
I was wonderfully beautiful, bursting with nutritive and lustrous green leaves and fragrant colourful flowers, and I danced with joy in the sunlit fields to the rhythm of softly flowing zephyrs. I breathed life-giving oxygen into your lungs and supplied nutritive sap to your body.
But, what did you do you a filthy thing! You turned me into what I am now. All that you touch turns to filth, therefore you are the filthiest thing.
Pure oxygen into carbon dioxide, sparkling water into urine, sweat and mucous, and beautiful fruits and vegetables into smelly excreta!
The air expelled from your body turns foul, even the clothes that you wear need constant washing as does your own body!
Generation of filth seems like your true occupation! Shamefacedly the disciple returned and presented himself to the teacher as the filthiest thing.
The teacher then said, “Don’t be dejected dear one. So long that you believe that you are this body, you are certainly filthy.
The body ‘belongs’ to you, it is not you!’ You are eternal, blissful, pure existence.
You are that which makes all beauty possible. Your sublime thoughts and loving actions sanctify life.
“The body is like a fruit, the beauty or ugliness of its exterior is not the last word in its nutrition, taste, and edibility.” The lesson went home.

Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi.
Email: prarthnasaran@gmail.com