The Difficulties of Dromo
Victor Endersby

Dromo, having accumulated enough years for the due testing of life in the Kali Yug, went to Perspax with questions. This Perspax was his preceptor whenever Dromo could spare time to listen to him. Perspax had no house; his cave was warm and dry, needed never any repairs, paid no tax to the King and no monthly toll to a builder. Because of using this cave, Perspax was deemed a fool by men of substance. Likewise, Perspax, having learned to feed on the grain of the field and the fruits of the forests tended by himself, knew naught of the rises and falls of the trading centers, nor of standing in line for food, with swollen feet. For this he was esteemed thrice a fool by those of the city, who by toiling assiduously when work was to be had, could guzzle tavern wine in favorable seasons.

Perspax, ever happy, pointed to the Wisdom. Seeing him happy, many came to hear, departing to remark that Perspax had a nice theory, but for practical men - - ! However, Dromo followed on the Path of the Wisdom - at some distance.

Said he to Perspax: “Am I not a just man?”

“As men understand justice.”

“Then why does not this Karma work with me?”

“Wherein does it fail you?”

“Of all things attempted, none are gained wholly; of those gained, none are found to be what I had thought.”

“It is not a new complaint; but for example?”

“When my fields are full, the price of the crop is low; when rain falls but little, the price is high, the crop small. Neither way do I gain beyond subsistence.”

“Such is the lot of those who till the soil. One may always apply to the King for equalization.”

“Then one must do the bidding of the King in the planting and selling. I wish to be a free man.”

“Such is Karma, which decrees merely that the price be just, whether of freedom or of crops.”

“My desire in marriage was harmonious passion enduring forever.”

“And - ?”

“My wife’s tongue is sharp, and when I desire to arrange my thoughts, her words clatter as the beating of flails in the field.”

“Words sharp and over many are not new, nor confined to women. Ofttimes they mask the emptiness of a neglected heart.”

“My children also. They are an endless care and noisy burden in their smallness. When their minds are sprouted, there is time for a few words - then they are no longer mine. They belong to the world and to their friends.”

“Take thought of your cattle, whose offspring belong only to the herd - and to the butcher - once the last milk is drawn.”

“My son goes to his tasks unwillingly, even though necessary for his own subsistence; often he neglects them to visit the fields of a neighbor, where he works mightily, not as he does for me.”

“No doubt you often remind him that with you he labors for himself, therefore deserves no thanks?”

“Yes. Still he does not see.”

“And by example of duty, you, having undertaken the study of the Wisdom, allow neither snow nor rain nor hail nor the lure of game or playhouse to keep you from the Assembly?”

Dromo blushed.

“And your other troubles?”

“These will do. All are of a piece. Is there no fulfillment in life?”

“Imagine any one of these desires fulfilled to perfection. What then?”

Dromo thought long; then said, sighting: “Alas! Beyond any perfection is only emptiness - or a new task.”

“Well that it is so. With full triumph of the flesh, the Soul would be bound therein until the day of dissolution - and would vanish therewith. This ever falling short is the Soul’s rejection of what men call ‘life’ in their delusions. Especially in this, the Kali Yug.”

“But I could not yet endure the Great Void - even to be free.”

(“The Great Void,” thought Perspax “which some know as ‘The Fullness of Life.’”) “No, for Karma is not yet fulfilled. Observe the word upon which all your complaints were strung, as red beads upon a black string. That word was ‘mine.’ See this oak. How many acorns lie under it?”

“Thousands.”

“How many have sprouted through the years?”

“I see only one sickly seedling.”

“Does the oak care?”

“The oak does not know.”

“The oak does not desire. It knows ‘I am oaken.’ It does not say: ‘I am this oak, of excellent growth and possessing a special place on the hillside.” Its life is the life of all oaks, the failures or successes of its particular acorns of no moment in the forest of oaks. When you learn to say: ‘I am a man,’ you will understand the joyous, indifferent freedom of this being. First comes Dharma. Find you duty. When planting your crops, is your thought of the hungry mouths of the world, or of the gold to be laid to your account at harvest? Before seeking the Great Void, find the nature of the emptiness of heart in which your wife’s too many words are wont to echo. Ask yourself: in raising children, are you raising superior livestock for your own profit, or noble citizens for the world? Of what neglected Dharma of the spirit is your son’s mundane indifference the echo? Man is bound by desire to triumphs ever partial, frustrations ever present. The frustrations march with the desires and must end therewith; the balance must be adjusted by fulfillment, and fulfillment comes by the dharma of perfect understanding.”

Dromo, having of himself come to ask questions, went back down the hill, lightened by a new understanding, but weighted by new responsibilities.

Last Update : January 2009
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