Two Birds

February 2, 2011 Comments Off on Two Birds

Two Birds

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Upon the same tree there are two birds, one on the top, the other below.

The one on the top is calm, silent, and majestic, immersed in his own

glory; the one on the lower branches, eating sweet and bitter fruits by

turns, hopping from branch to branch, is becoming happy and miserable by turns.


After a time the lower bird eats an exceptionally bitter fruit and gets

disgusted and looks up and sees the other bird, that

wondrous one of golden plumage, who eats neither sweet nor bitter fruit,

who is neither happy nor miserable, but calm, Self-centered, and sees

nothing beyond his Self. The lower bird longs for this condition but

soon forgets it, and again begins to eat the fruits. In a little while,

he eats another exceptionally bitter fruit, which makes him feel

miserable, and he again looks up, and tries to get nearer to the upper bird.


Once more he forgets and after a time he looks up, and so on he goes again and again,

until he comes very near to the beautiful

bird and sees the reflection of light from his plumage playing around

his own body, and he feels a change and seems to melt away; still nearer

he comes, and everything about him melts away, and at last he

understands this wonderful change.


The lower bird was, as it were, only the substantial-looking shadow,

the reflection of the higher;

he himself was in essence the upper bird all the time. This eating of

fruits, sweet and bitter, this lower, little bird, weeping and happy by

turns, was a vain chimera, a dream: all along, the real bird was there

above, calm and silent, glorious and majestic, beyond grief, beyond sorrow.


The upper bird is God, the Lord of this universe; and the lower bird is the

human soul, eating the sweet and bitter fruits of

this world. Now and then comes a heavy blow to the soul. For a time, he

stops the eating and goes towards the unknown God, and a flood of light

comes. He thinks that this world is a vain show. Yet again the senses

drag hint down, and he begins as before to eat the sweet and bitter

fruits of the world. Again an exceptionally hard blow comes. His heart

becomes open again to divine light; thus gradually he approaches God,

and as he gets nearer and nearer, he finds his old self melting away.


When he has come near enough, he sees that he is no other than God, and he

exclaims, “He whom I have described to you as the Life of this universe,

as present in the atom, and in suns and moons — He is the basis of our

own life, the Soul of our soul. Nay, thou art That.” This is what this

Jnana-Yoga teaches. It tells man that he is essentially divine. It shows

to mankind the real unity of being, and that each one of us is the Lord

God Himself, manifested on earth. All of us, from the lowest worm that

crawls under our feet to the highest beings to whom we look up with

wonder and awe — all

are manifestations of the same Lord.

Swami Vivekananda



Tags : God, Soul, Jnana – Yoga


Path : Hinduism






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