There is a story about a saint who was peacefully meditating under a tree along the banks of the Ganges. At a certain point he heard a rustling overhead and opened his eyes to see a large scorpion moving along a branch overhanging the river.

When the creature reached the end of the branch, it fell into the water below. Filled with compassion, the saint waded into the river to rescue it. Cupping his hands together, he lifted the drowning scorpion and placed him gently on the river’s bank. In return for his kindness, the scorpion stung him.

Unperturbed, the saint then returned to the peace of his meditation. Again he heard a rustling overhead, again the scorpion plunged into the water, and again the saint rescued him, only to be stung.

When this happened a third time, a passerby who had been observing the drama could no longer contain himself. Approaching the saint, he asked, “Sir, why do you continue to rescue the scorpion, when each time he stings you?”

“Well,” the saint replied, his eyes luminous with divine love, “you see, it is the nature of the scorpion to sting. He cannot help himself.”

“That may be so, reverend sir, but knowing this, why do you continue to rescue him?” the passerby asked.

“You see, my child, I too cannot help myself. It is my nature to help him.”

This story provides us with a valuable lesson in how to live. Each of us encounters “human scorpions” filled with venom and spite whose sting can cause us suffering. But whether insect or human being, such creatures are driven by instinct or the compulsions of past karma, and have no choice but to sting whenever they feel threatened.

The saint, by choosing to attune his consciousness to God’s love, had the freedom to express that love under all circumstances. Like the saint, we, too, can choose to align our actions with divine love and peace, no matter what is happening around us.

At first this choice requires an act of will, as the ego tries to protect itself. With repeated effort and determination, however, the choice becomes “second nature.” Unlike the scorpion driven by instinct, we find that the higher path, illumined by a constant flow of divine grace, opens clearly before us.

In a sense, all decisions in life then become very simple. As a great saint once said, “We have but one decision to make in life: whether to think of God or not.” All the rest are details.

the saint and the scorpion

Uniting our efforts, we can create a great realm of light that can guide the world forward into a new era of peace and harmony.

Currently we are enjoying the inspiration of our annual Spiritual Renewal Week at Ananda Village. Friends from all over the world have joined us in a wonderful celebration of Master’s blessings and teachings. The theme for the week is “Uplift Yourself—Uplift the World,” exploring how raising our own consciousness improves not only ourselves but the world around us as well.

Just like the saint, we can choose to express divine love and forgiveness no matter how the world behaves. Then we build an inner fortress of higher consciousness which is impenetrable to the forces of darkness. Uniting our efforts, we can create a great realm of light that can guide the world forward into a new era of peace and harmony.

With joy and blessings in God and Guru,

Nayaswami Devi