Keeping Good Company From Shree Vasant's Teachings

This is a true story about an emperor of India about three hundred years ago. He was a religious man, and as you know, proper religious people cannot accumulate things. He was staying in Delhi and in those days some yogis used to sit on the bank of the river, true yogis. But not now.

One day this emperor and his private secretary went to see these yogis. Yogis will never come to an emperor’s palace. The emperor says, “If any one of these yogis will accept the gifts I give to them, that will do wonderful things for me. I’ll go to heaven if they just accept my gift, but they think I’m not fit enough to give them gifts.” Then he says, ” Let me take a chance and see what happens.”

So he goes to the river bank with his secretary and they see some yogis sitting there. The emperor bends before one yogi and says, “I would like to give you gold, diamonds, jewels, land, everything. Please accept it.” The yogi replies, ” I’m not interested.” Nine yogis were sitting there and each refused.

There was also a very clever man there and he observed the whole thing. He thought, if I had known this before, I could have sat there. Then he hears the emperor say, “Next week at the same time I will come back.”

The young man was very happy. Without losing a moment, he goes to a makeup artist and gets wonderful hair, an artificial gray beard and beautiful things like a yogi. The next week he sits at the river from sunrise to sunset. The nine yogis were there again and he was number ten. The emperor comes the next week and the same thing happens. The nine refuse and then he sees the tenth person. He bows before him. The man, being a clever person, thinks, if all of a sudden I say that I will accept, they might suspect me because nine have refused. So he says, “No, I am not interested.”

When the emperor starts walking away, he says, “Listen, sir. Do you hear me properly? I really don’t want it, but with a little sacrifice on my part I will take it. If the emperor of India is going to get some happiness, I am prepared to make that sacrifice. I’m ready to accept your gift.”

The private secretary was also a clever man. He told the emperor to go away; this was suspicious. The private secretary said, “The emperor will come again sometime. “
The young man thought, now I have spent so much money on makeup and all that, so I must wait for another chance. But he never said when he was coming. Maybe he comes tomorrow or maybe next week, I don’t know. Then from sunrise to sunset he begins to sit there every day.
The emperor comes after one month and he sees the same ten people. He asks each of them, “Please accept my gifts.” The nine yogis refuse, so he then goes to the tenth person.
This young man tells the emperor, “I am a thief. I heard you the first day when you said you were coming after one week, so I put on this makeup and then I started sitting here. But I have been in the company of these people for one month and now I tell you, I do not want to accept your gifts.”
This is what happens, and quickly, too. What cannot be achieved by reading a hundred books can be achieved quickly in “good company.” The whole idea is that we have to employ intelligent methods to train the mind, and for that you will find this Agnihotra is a wonderful tool. It works in two different ways. One thing is the effect on the atmosphere and second is its effect on the functioning of Prana. Exactly at the time of sunrise when things are changing, our breathing system changes. At that time you are breathing in medicinal air. So simply by making use of this wonderful tool called Agnihotra, you can get that same benefit of sitting in the company of yogis. Then nothing troubles you if you really go into it. When you practice this, you should learn not to blame yourself. Just try to smile at yourself. Everybody has weaknesses.