Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Arrogance of the Puffed-Up Frogs

My love you, my grandchildren, my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters.
It is twilight now, and the sun is low in the sky. Shall we go out for some fresh air? Come with me. This park is a very nice place. Everybody comes here to breathe in the fresh air and feel healthy. Do you see the well over there? People can draw water from it when they are thirsty.

Let’s go closer and look inside the well. Oh, look at all the frogs down there! They eat germs and bacteria in the water, making it cleaner for drinking. Look at them jumping up and down, leaping here and there, and pulling on each other. They seem to be fighting. But why? Are they fighting over food? Are they competing for insects? Let’s watch some more and see if we can discover why they are fighting. Ah, there is the cause! It’s not food they are fighting over. The two biggest frogs are both claiming that they are the greatest. Each one thinks he should be the leader. All the other frogs are frightened by their size and are diving deeper into the well to escape. But the two big frogs are challenging each other. They are full of pride and the qualities of the I.

Look, my grandchildren, they are trying to swallow each other! But both of them are the same size. What do you think will happen? Let’s watch and see. Don’t chase them away. If we break up the fight now, they will only start another fight later. Let them finish their quarrel, or they will never have any peace. Look, the first one has a good hold on his opponent and has swallowed his front legs. Do you see how his stomach is beginning to swell? But the second one has also swallowed the hind legs of the first and he too is puffing himself up. Now both of them have lost all the strength in their free legs, which are tiny and useless in comparison to their inflated bodies. Neither of them can jump anymore. Each frog has swallowed half of the other, and they can’t breathe. Oh, no! Both frogs have died! They tried to swallow each other, and as a result both have suffocated and are floating belly up in the water.

My grandchildren, sometimes men also try to swallow each other, like these puffed-up frogs. And just like the little frogs who dove deeper into the well, good people become afraid and try to escape when they meet a man who is puffed-up with pride and the arrogance of the I. It does not take long, however, until another arrogant man comes along to challenge him. They each boast, “I am the greatest!” Then, just like the big frogs, each man catches hold of the other and swallows half of him. They torture each other, and in the end they both die. Frogs challenge each other out in the open, one on one. But men torment each other in a devious, vengeful, and jealous way. One person kills another, then a third person attacks the winner, and soon they all die, just like frogs.

My grandchildren, a female frog lays so many millions of eggs, and hundreds of thousands of them hatch. They all live together, but then, because of their arrogance, they fight with each other and die. Like this, animals and human beings have been slaughtering each other for two hundred million years. And this destruction has been growing worse all the time. You have seen this fighting, haven’t you? You must be very careful not to catch this disease.

Do not be arrogant or conceited. Don’t be jealous of others. Do not let doubt creep into you. Do not become vengeful. Do not plot against others. Do not lie. All these qualities are destructive, deadly diseases. Each man causes his own death by letting them grow inside himself. Eventually, someone else with the same disease will come looking for him, and soon both will die from their arrogance. When you see arrogance, do not confront it. Why should you point out people’s arrogence to them? Their time will come, and they will destroy themselves. Those with wisdom who are devoted to God and trust Him must hide from the karma, arrogance, illusion, and pride of the world. Like the little frog who dove deep into the well to escape from the big frogs, you have to hide. People with wisdom must dive into God, truth and wisdom. They must escape by disappearing into love, peace, and tranquility. This is what you must do in you lives, my grandchildren. Become human beings and search for the qualities of peace.

Arrogance will always take on new forms, so you must be alert and do your best to escape. Hide in the truth. Hide yourselves in the quality of the One who is unfathomable grace. Take on the natural and beautiful light form which is God’s compassionate, just, and loving form. Reflect wisely and try to fil yourselves with good thoughts. You and I must try to live in God’s protection. My love you, my grandchildren. God is sufficient for us. He will protect us. Amin. Amin.

 (Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. “Come to the Secret Garden”. Fellowship Press, Philadelphia. 1985.)

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