GETTING WHAT YOU WANT
AND OTHER DIFFICULTIES
I once knew a very strong willed German man who had practiced a type of mind control for a long time. After many years of such discipline, he began to manifest in his life many of the objects of his desiring. Once he desired and wished for a large sum of money and it was given to him. But, shortly afterwards, he learned that the money had been obtained illegally. He gave it back, but this experience made him realize that he could not see or envision every aspect of his desire or of a situation.
There are two things that we must consider here:
The first, is that the individual, (as considered in the East and contrary to what people like to think in the West), is limited in his imagination. We cannot envision every aspect of a thing, anymore than we can envision every aspect of the digestion of our food or the beating of our heart. And, if we cannot imagine this thing or situation, we cannot see what it implies or consider it fully. And, whatever we cannot see or imagine, according to Carl Jung, will seem to happen to us as the result of an exterior or superior force, or what may be said to be fate or God or the Devil.
The second thing we must consider , is that the very nature of life itself is made up of opposites. We cannot have up without down, good without bad or happiness without sadness. The very 'things' that the mind can imagine are by their nature composed of opposite qualities. Inherent in the conception of peace is war. It is interesting to consider that bliss, or Ananda, as it is called in the Indian tradition, is not just supreme pleasure. To understand what that word means is to understand that it transcends both pleasure and pain. It is written that the alternation of pleasure and pain, in which we are trying to avoid pain and attain pleasure has been resolved in a natural surrender to what is and the constant alternation of attraction and avoidance has reached the speed of light and that is Ananda.
The Indian culture believed that an enlightened person was possessed of miraculous power or siddhis. Among them was the power to manifest whatever one desired. This was one reason that the Hindu's, when hearing of the miracles of Jesus from early Christian missionaries, took him as a foreign version of one of their own. They believed him to be an Avatar or God-Man-when he raised the dead or healed the sick. In addition, it was also believed in India, that even outside of Spiritual Realization, through various ascetic practices, one could also bring about such extraordinary powers or "siddhis".
We read about these in the ancient tales of the Puranas such as the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. Even today, throughout India, we still find a rare few who engage in extreme 'tapas' or austerity such as holding ones arm up in the air or standing on one foot for twelve years, all to gain siddhis.
Ascetic on bed of nails in Benaras
But siddhis when attained for their own sake, independent of Spiritual Realization were also traditionally warned against as dangerous. Why was this so? Because, in the state of Realization the mind is no longer driven by limited personal desiring. This is the same realization that the German came to by his practice of mind control. To attain to siddhis that are then directed by a limited mind and vision was considered to be dangerous. To attain siddhis through sheer willpower or by ascetic practice, which they consider possible, or even to attain siddhis by "luck", is to court disaster.
The idea of controlling ones destiny and the idea of fate have been considered for thousands of years in India. Controlling our destiny by the will, seems to place our life within our control. The concept of destiny and fate places life outside our control. The story I relate below considers and lends insight to this paradox and dilemma.
There are stories in all the traditions of the world both East and West about a Wish Fulfilling Tree but the one that I will relate here is unique in its message. I first read this story in the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, an exquisite record of the life and teachings of this great Indian God-man. The story illustrates the power or siddhi of having one's thoughts and desires fulfilled immediately. It dramatizes the potential power of the mind to manifest whatever it desires and it shows that this power to manifest whatever one imagines, is not all that it seems to be . . . it is more, much more. The story is called,
The Kalpa (whatever you desire) Taru (tree) or The Wish-Fulfilling Tree
Wish Fulfilling Tree (Tibetan)
It is a story about a wondrous tree and an ordinary man.The man is ordinary, like me or you and ‘lucky'; The tree is most extraordinary and wondrous like life itself. . . it is the Kalpataru tree, the Wish fulfilling tree, the legendary tree that grants all the desires of those who chance to sit beneath its branches. Here is how the story goes:
THE WISH FULFILLING TREE
Once a man, a woodcutter, went off into the forest to cut some wood. On this particular day he went deeper into the forest and further than he had ever gone before. As he walked, the sun rose higher and higher in the sky and the day grew very hot. At last he saw a tree that spread its beautiful branches in perfect grace and he went to rest himself in its shade. He put down his ax and sat wearily against the tree.
"Whewwww," said the woodcutter as he began to relax. "It sure is hot today", and it was hot.
"I wish I had some cold, clear water to drink," he thought to himself. . .and immediately there was water. . . cold and clear, exactly as he imagined it, even in a clay cup like he had envisioned.
Now the woodcutter was amazed. "Where has this water come from?", he asked himself . . . And it was revealed to him immediately. . . He was sitting underneath the Wish Fulfilling tree!
Whatever he wished for, indeed, whatever he even imagined would immediately come to pass. Right away, he wished that his wife was here to share in his good fortune. . . and she was there. He told her all about the wondrous grace that had befallen him and he continued to wish and desire.
He wished for a beautiful palace with gardens and flowers, beautiful rooms and hallways, with soldiers and servants, with dancing girls, peacocks, elephants and attendants. . . and it came to pass. He enjoyed it.
He wished for beautiful music to be performed like he had once heard as a child and had thought 'this must be heaven'. . . and it was like heaven. He enjoyed it all.
There was exquisite food and drinks of ambrosia. He wished for wealth and money all to be brought before him. . . and it was done so. He enjoyed it all.
He wished that all his friends might share with him this happiness and they were there, rejoicing with him in his good fortune. . . And they all came and had a splendid night of celebration, dancing and talking and laughing. He enjoyed it all.
It grew late and fatigue came upon him. He retired to his beautiful bedchambers for his bath. After the most sensual bath, given by beautiful young maidens, (he was a guy after all), he went to his bed.
It was a splendid, magnificent bed that looked out at arbors of jasmine and moonlight with a river below. He reached out and held his wife close and they looked deep into each other's eyes and there was happiness between them and they made sweet love together and he was happy.
And as he lay there before drifting off to sleep, he thought to himself, "This is so, so, so beautiful, so wonderful, so glorious.
What if a terrible tiger came and ate me?"
And a terrible tiger did come and ate him . . . . . .
And it was so.