The Story of Chitta and Manus
High above the wintery cold of the mighty Himalayas, where few have ever dared to explore, is a beautiful, magnificent temple. It was crafted by the magic of a mysterious order of high monks, it was carved in such great and elegant detail, it was furnished with the most exquisite tapestries, artworks, and sculpture. The entire temple and its surrounding gardens floated in mid air. It was lit by globes of pure thought, created by monks who had mastered the forces of matter under the direction of mind. At night the temple glowed with warmth, protected by the sentinels of the great mountain peaks, and crowned with a blanket of stars. Through artistry and magic a golden and jeweled temple had been created. It was named after a beautiful Goddess known to have transformed the darkness itself into light.
Few attempted to venture there, fewer still survived the cold and treacherous journey. They were led onward by the dream, by the inspiration from legends they had heard, and the glowing and colored lights faintly seen in the Wintery night sky above the most distant Himalayan peaks.
The order of monks passed their days practicing mind over matter. They brought forth magnificent works of art, great and inspiring poetry that adapted itself in a rhyming harmony to the speaker with each retelling; beautiful natural landscapes that came alive when one gazed at them, and food, incredible vegetarian delights. Each meal was a work of culinary genius, a feast of color, taste, health, perfect balance and moderation. And the desserts they dreamed up! Like nothing else on this Earth. Chocolate we know has no comparison to the finer mocha they confected. Each was a little work of inspiring art, flowers, gentle forest creatures, filled with fluffy cream or syrupy fruit, coffee fondant, all things we may have tasted here in some way, but there, of an absolutely higher and much more entrancing quality. And non-addictive. You ate one, were in ecstasy, but had no craving for a second, at least, not until tomorrow’s lunch.
Manus, a young and courageous seeker came. He had been enthralled by the dreams of a finer world here on Earth. He wanted to find the underlying harmony that made a life of joy and creativity possible. He served the temple for ten years. He was a most attentive and enthusiastic student, self-effacing, ever appreciative, and in awe of all things.
One day the high Priest, Chitta, asked to have Manus brought before him. This was a great honor. As Manus entered the immense hall of the high priest, surrounded by light and art, immaculate and beautiful, he watched as Chitta was completing a new work. The Priest turned a large teak tree into a fluid floating in air, changed its shape, color, texture into a great and intricately carved maple desk. Just inches above the desk floated a large sheet of clear and lavender tinted crystal, to be used as the desktop. On the front of the desk was a marble slab where little forest animals appeared in carved relief to be scurrying about happily collecting nuts.
Chitta smiled at his creation, turned to Manus with a grin, happy to see him, came up and placed an arm around Manus’ shoulder and asked “What do you think?”
Manus replied “Your powers are remarkable, your highness!”
But, having said this, Manus’ was reminded of his own shortcomings, and his expression fell just a little. He had worked very hard but had not performed a single act of magic. He had tried to hide his own disappointment in happy service to the others. No one else was disappointed in him. They were a compassionate brotherhood and marveled at Manus’ discipline, his efforts and his kindness towards all, willingness to serve in any way, especially his generosity with the animals that lived around the temple.
At some point, a few years back the brothers stopped encouraging Manus to attempt magic, to merge his mind with the objects of matter, and these with the images created by his concentration. They would ask him only “Did you give thanks, today?” Manus would say “yes,” and they would smile and walk on.
Manus always thought they pitied him, but he could never tell. They treated Manus as an equal and acted as though they genuinely believed he was making exactly the right progress, despite his failed attempts.
Still, the holidays were not always happy for Manus. Each of the brothers would make magnificent magical presents for the others; a doorway to tropical islands; a moose that was a loyal and enthusiastic, a chess player willing to strike up a game at any hour, who was a fine conversationalist; a tea so smooth and fragrant that it brought springtime to your heart in the dark dead of winter.
Manus had nothing of this caliber to offer. He made little tickets for services: A week of doing someone’s laundry; drawing a hot bath for someone each day for a week, Firewood brought daily to your room, etc….
Of coarse no one had the heart to tell Manus that each of these could be done with little more than the blink of an eye, and that it was more work to let Manus perform these services than if he hadn’t. They did quite the contrary. They went to a great deal of trouble to make sure Laundry needed cleaning, water needed heating, wood needed chopping. These were many tasks, and some difficult for Manus, who happily spent himself in the cold of winter to do them. They gave him purpose, and helped him to feel that he was doing something to justify his stay in the temple, for the love of his brother monks. He might not be able to do great things himself, but he could help them to do so.
The brothers made a big commotion about these service tickets, how valuable they were and traded them with each other, adding all sorts of incredible creations in order to trade for the most desirable service, which seemed to change each day. During the holiday season they made a big deal about wondering aloud which great services Manus’ tickets would be for this year, and what they would add to the bargain to trade for these rare gifts of time and effort. At one point one brother said he would build a magnificent chalet on the upper peak of one of the local mountains for anyone who had gotten a daily firewood ticket from Manus, in exchange for that ticket.
Every single year, Manus’ initial sadness disappeared in the humor and compassion of his brothers. He thanked each one for their fine gifts, but mostly he thanked the Lord for their loving kindness.
When Manus saw the high priest creating such a magnificent desk, and having so little opportunity to speak with him, Manus bravely asked the Priest, “Sir, are you disappointed that I have not been able to perform a single act of magic?”
The Priest’s eyes widened, “Well, Manus, that is why I have asked you to join me today.”
Manus became a little nervous. Was his stay at the temple now threatened? What else would prompt such a meeting with the high priest, especially when Manus had so little to show for his time. Chitta continued, “Manus, you have said something which we both know is not entirely true. You have said that you were unable to perform a single act of magic. You and I know this is not so. You are fully capable, but you chose not to. I would like to hear your explanation.”
The air was growing a little tense for Manus, despite the friendly nature of Chitta.
“Sir, I admit to laziness. As I grew to understand the elements of matter and all the creatures of nature, and the forces of this universe, I realized that another consciousness had already merged with them. Another ancient consciousness was already shaping them, gradually, for purposes I could not always understand.
“Like a deer in the forest, that spirit seemed to flee if I moved my mind too quickly, too forcefully to grasp it, or any object with my mind. I realized that by doing so, I was not simply merging with an object, but cutting through a gentle covering of an ancient love, an ancient soul whose hand was on everything.
“So, I could only watch and find the hand of that great soul acting upon all things, every atom, each ray of sun, each smile, each small little creature, even each thought of kindness. Dear Sir, it is one thing to create a great poem, or a beautiful painting. It is another thing to interrupt a poet, or encroach upon another painter’s incredible canvas. That, I could not do. But, as I listened
to that poetry, as I gazed into that great painting and saw a glimpse of the magnificent painter, I was no longer interested in doing anything else. I became lazy, and I apologize, dear teacher. In time I began to realize that I, too, had been covered by this great soul, who calls out to me.
“I have no other home than here, sir. I apologize that I have failed you.”
“Oh, Manus,” Chitta exclaimed, “you are lucky indeed!
“You see, each of us feeds off the food chain of spirit at different levels. Some at the bottom, feeding off the remains of other creatures. Some feed off of the source of their food, the plants and fruits of spirit. But you, dear Manus, have been called to sustain yourself at the very source, the spiritual sunshine of the Almighty.”
“If you are in awe of all that is around us, then He is drawing you to Him. You will need a better teacher than I, dear brother. I am but a good mechanic, but you are being called to the one who designed all this to begin with, and creates and re-creates it moment by moment.”
So, the brother monks packed Manus with all sorts of re-generating food, incredible desserts, a magic coat that would heat up to keep him warm, and convert to a full tent and sleeping bag at night; boots that would fly Manus hundreds of miles an hour through the air with but a thought, all for the journey to find his Master, the Ancient Soul, the Lord in the flesh. The trials and explorations of Manus, and his glorious and triumphant arrival before His True Teacher are tales for another day.
Many of us here, each has their story of this mighty union. Manus received no telegram, no written map, no letter from God. Each year millions of children and adults write to God, to Santa, to Jesus, to Krishna, and send requests and thanks to Him. But here, each one in this room remembers when God Himself sent us a gilded invitation in the mail. For that sacred document alone, and so much more, we give Thanks.
If you seek to meet God ardently
Become a disciple of a true Master
And sing his praises.
If you follow his instructions sincerely,
You will One day, assume his very form.
By a constant repetition of his Kalma
You will bathe yourself in its beatitude.
The Lord will purify you of all your sins, O Bahu,
If you practice that real Name of God.
Sultan Bahu bait 116
The dog of ego must be slain and minced into bits
By the repetition of God’s Name---
Practiced with love, with every breath of one’s life.
You can realize God with the repetition of the Name,
And your soul can have
The vision of its own divine Essence.
Heaven and earth become slaves of anyone, O Bahu,
Who has realized the Essence within himself.
Sultan Bahu, bait 114