There was a forest, with a monkey who loved cherries. There was also a hunter, who captured monkeys. He realizes the animal’s love of cherries, and lays his bait—a large and juicy cherry, placed inside a glass bottle. The unaware monkey finds a beautiful, narrow-necked bottle lying on the ground, a strong rope tethering it to a stake in the ground. Inside, was the largest cherry he had ever seen. He picks up the bottle, and shakes it to take out the big fruit. But the hunter had selected the bottle and cherry carefully.

The neck of the bottle was just the size for this cherry to be gently pushed inside, but the fruit now cannot roll out.

The monkey thrusts his hand inside the narrow bottle, and takes hold of the cherry. As his fist closes around the fruit, the narrow neck now entraps the monkey too. The only way to escape was to let go off the cherry, and withdraw his hand. But he just cannot give up the cherry, and soon the hunter arrives to capture the monkey. He retrieved his bottle and the cherry as well.

As one examines this allegory, it throws up multiple meanings. An obvious one is the dangers of obsession with worldly possessions, as represented by the cherry. My teacher interpreted it to teach that the bottle represented our body, also called pinda in many Indian languages. The cherry inside represents life, the jiyo. Together, they comprise of all creation that we perceive.

The wise do not allow themselves to be trapped, for they know that both the pinda and the jiyo are His gifts, and to Him they will return. So they let go of their obsessions, and gracefully withdraw from the bottle.

The Guru Granth Sahib guides us:

I pray to You, all jiyo and pinda is Yours;

It is Your creation, nobody knows even my name.

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