The Crest Jewel Lies Hidden Within
by Sri Goswami Kriyananda from Advanced Guide to Meditation
I would like to relate a story that has great symbolic meaning and to recommend that you practice the technique suggested in the story.
Once upon a yogi time, there was a powerful king. He was exceedingly wealthy and successful. One day he thought, “Because my life has been so full, I should make a pilgrimage.” Normally his servants carried him on a palanquin, but on this pilgrimage he was determined to walk. Also, he decided to fast and abstain from water.
On the day he began his pilgrimage, it was 100 degrees in the shade. Because he was not accustomed to walking and fasting, he became quite hot in a short time. He kept thinking, “I would really like some water. But if I ask for water, my servants will not admire me.” So he continued walking. At high noon, he came to a bend in the road and saw a pond of water. This was too much! He could not contain himself! He was so thirsty he did not ask his servants for water but immediately ran to the pond and scooped up water with his palms. In his rush to do this, the crest jewel was ripped from his turban and fell into the pond.
Crest jewels are giant-size jewels, the most perfect of gems. They have immense value. Thus, the king immediately screamed to one of his servants, “I have lost my crest jewel! Come find it!” A servant jumped into the water and started looking for it. The king screamed again and another servant jumped into the pond. When these two servants could not find his precious crest jewel, other servants jumped into the pond to search for the king’s treasure. The king sat down and lamented, “My crest jewel, my most valuable possession. I’ve lost it!”
Then, out of the corner of his eye, the king saw a little yogi walking down the road toward him. The king thought, “This yogi will help me.” He called to the yogi, and the yogi came over and asked, “Your majesty, how might I serve you?”
The king replied, “I’ve lost my crest jewel!”
“Oh, that’s nothing. I can find it for you.”
“Yes. It’s no problem.”
The king thought that the yogi had given him the power to find his jewel. Therefore, the king jumped up and started to run toward the water. But as the king stood up, the yogi requested, “Please sit down, your majesty.” Thus, the king sat down.
The yogi continued, “The first thing you must do is order your servants to get out of the water.”
“No,” the king said, “Let them continue looking for the crest jewel, while you help me find it.”
“No, no, get them out of the water! That is a requirement.”
“No, no!” responded the king.
“Goodbye, your majesty. I can’t help you if you will not listen to me,” said the yogi as he stood up and started walking away.
The king pleaded, “Please sit back down and help me!” In desperation, the king decided to remove all of his servants from the pond. At this point, the yogi pulled out a little book from his pouch. At first the king became very excited thinking that it was a book of charms for finding lost objects. But then the king saw it was the Gita, and he asked, “Are you going to read some magic chants?”
“No,” said the yogi. Hearing this, the king ordered his servants back into the water.
Again, the yogi said, “If they go in the water, I leave!” Thus, the king ordered his servants to sit back down and he sat there in desperation. As the yogi read the Gita aloud for a while, the king became very interested, exclaiming, “That is really fascinating.” After some time, the yogi put the Gita away and said; “Now the crest jewel can be found.”
Surprised with the way the yogi abruptly stopped reading, the king ask, “Aren’t you going to read more?”
“No. The crest jewel awaits,” replied the yogi. They both stood up and walked toward the pond. Because the yogi had been reading for quite some time, the mud in the water, which had been stirred up by the servants looking for the crest jewel, had had time to settle. The water was now clear, and as the yogi looked into the calm pond he could see the fish swimming around. He could also see the footprints the servants had made. And in the clear still water he could see a little round hump of mud.
The yogi said to the king, “Look! You can see all that is in the water. You can even see the contour of the bottom of the pond. And from the mirrored surface of the pond, you can even see the sun above.” He then reached into the water and pulled the hump of mud out of the water. It was the king’s most precious treasure, his crest jewel.
This simple story, like all yoga stories, is didactic. It illustrates, symbolically, that the mind is a pond and that the crest jewel is our self-awareness that we lost. In the thrust to quell our thirst, our desires, we have lost our most precious treasure! Thus, we immediately throw our servants, our thoughts, our emotions, and our will power – into the pond to find it. These servants activate and disturb the mind. Then we throw in more thoughts and more emotions arise, which only muddy the water more.
I am not saying, “Don’t think” or “Don’t study.” I am saying that if you wish to find your crest jewel, your self-awareness, you must be able to remove all the thoughts and emotions that muddy up the waters of your mind. Give the waters of emotion time to settle. In time, you will be able to see not only into the pond, but from its mirror-like surface, you will also be able to see what exists above the pond, even if you are looking down.
The Zen monks relate the wisdom of this story in their own fashion when they say, “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes!”
We need to slow down so that we can become attuned to nature, which moves at a much slower pace. We need to allow nature to quiet us. When we permit this to happen, our perceptions of everything become clearer on all levels. We have clarity instead of confusion.
Yogis and mystics have always said that education is a powerful tool and that you should avail yourself of as much education as possible. However, formal education is often a matter of memorizing data, and though data certainly is valuable, we must all learn to think. Think! It is one of the greatest abilities we possess. Think, but do not emote! Use your mind, but cultivate the ability to turn off your “emotional button” and to keep it off. You should be able to quiet your mind at will so that you can enter into the outer fringes of Samadhi and thus expand your horizon of awareness and resolve any problems that arise in life.
Quieting the mind is a prerequisite technique to advanced meditation.
Copyright © 2012 Goswami Kriyananda