नागार्जुन और चोर : Nagarjuna and a Thief

buddhaमहान बौद्ध संत नागार्जुन के पास संपत्ति के नाम पर केवल पहनने के वस्त्र थे। उनके प्रति अपार श्रद्धा प्रर्दशित करने के लिए एक राजा ने उनको सोने का एक भिक्षापात्र दे दिया।

एक रात जब नागार्जुन एक मठ के खंडहरों में विश्राम करने के लिए लेटने लगे तब उन्होंने एक चोर को एक दीवार के पीछे से झांकते हुए देख लिया। उन्होंने चोर को वह भिक्षापात्र देते हुए कहा – “इसे रख लो। अब तुम मुझे आराम से सो लेने दोगे।”

चोर ने उनके हाथ से भिक्षापात्र ले लिया और चलता बना। दूसरे दिन वह भिक्षापात्र वापस देने आया और नागार्जुन से बोला – “जब आपने रात को यह भिक्षापात्र मुझे यूँ ही दे दिया तब मुझे अपनी निर्धनता का बोध हुआ। कृपया मुझे ज्ञान की वह संपत्ति दें जिसके सामने ऐसी सभी वस्तुएं तुच्छ प्रतीत होती हैं।”

चित्र साभार – फ्लिकर

There’s another story (version):

There was one great master, a Buddhist master, Nagarjuna. A thief came to him. The thief had fallen in love with the master because he had never seen such a beautiful person, such infinite grace.

The thief asked Nagarjuna, “Is there some possibility of my growth also? But one thing I must make clear to you: I am a thief. And another thing: I cannot leave it, so please don’t make it a condition. I will do whatsoever you say, but I cannot stop being a thief. That I have tried many times–it never works, so I have left the whole sport. I have accepted my destiny, that I am going to be a thief and remain a thief, so don’t talk about it. From the very beginning let it be clear.”

Nagarjuna said, “Why are you afraid? Who is going to talk about your being a thief?” The thief said, “But whenever I go to a monk, to a religious priest, or to a religious saint, they always say, ‘First stop stealing.'”

Nagarjuna laughed and said, “Then you must have gone to thieves; otherwise, why? Why should they be concerned? I am not concerned!” The thief was very happy. He said, “Then it is okay. It seems that now I can become a disciple. You are the right master.”

Nagarjuna accepted him and said, “Now you can go and do whatsoever you like. Only one condition has to be followed: be aware! Go, break into houses, enter, take things, steal; do whatsoever you like, that is of no concern to me, I am not a thief–but do it with full awareness.”

The thief couldn’t understand that he was falling into the trap. He said, “Then everything is okay. I will try.” After three weeks he came back and said, “You are tricky–because if I become aware, I cannot steal. If I steal, awareness disappears. I am in a fix.” Nagarjuna said, “No more talk about your being a thief and stealing. I am not concerned; I am not a thief. Now, you decide! If you want awareness, then you decide. If you don’t want it, then too you decide.”

The man said, “But now it is difficult. I have tasted it a little, and it is so beautiful–I will leave anything, whatsoever you say. Just the other night for the first time I was able to enter the palace of the king. I opened the treasure. I could have become the richest man in the world–but you were following me and I had to be aware. When I became aware, diamonds looked just like stones, ordinary stones. When I lost awareness, the treasure was there. And I waited and did this many times. I would become aware and I became like a Buddha, and I could not even touch it because the whole thing looked foolish, stupid–just stones, what am I doing? Losing myself over stones? But then I would lose awareness; they would become again beautiful, the whole illusion. But finally I decided that they were not worth it.”


About Nishant Mishra

Nishant studied art history and literature at the university during 1990s. He works as a translator in New Delhi, India and likes to read about arts, photography, films, life-lessons and Zen.

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