ALCHEMY: RISING ABOVE THE GREED FOR GOLD

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A true story

There lived in a small town in Tamil Nadu, India, an old man who was considered to be a practitioner of the highest form of Yoga. It was said that the Yogi was a powerful man with superhuman qualities. The Yogi was a practitioner of a form of Yoga which dealt only with breathing and breath control as well as channelising the breathing into channels which the psychologist Timothy Leary under the influence of LSD had termed "Tunnel realities". Unfortunately what Leary had mentioned under the influence of LSD had been misunderstood and misinterpreted by succeeding generations of psychologists who merely used the term in a figurative or abstract manner without understanding that there truly existed tunnels connecting the various nerve centres or Chakras as practitioners of Yoga called it.

It was rumoured that the Yogi could even create gold through what the ancients called Alchemy out of mere rocks and stones. This Yogi had nine young men who were his disciples and who would spend every evening at the feet of their Master asking him various questions about life, God, relationships and most importantly about the Yogic exercises which the Yogi had prescribed according to their respective requirements.

The Yogi used to expound that "When mastery of the art of breathing can even create gold through what the ancients called Alchemy out of mere rocks and stones man is trying to discover new chemicals and toxic substances, which harmfully affect and effect the environment. Man has the best super computer within him but wants to out beat each other in creating a gigantic super computer in the material world. Indeed man is spiritually rich but materially impoverished and dissatisfied."

However, his disciples were only human and were easily swayed by the passions of common men. They were disappointed that their Guru the Yogi did not make any money using his supernatural powers while he could easily do so. They kept telling their Guru that there was no need for them to live in poverty and he could help them relive their suffering so that they could practice his teaching in the required comfort so as to fulfill their obligations as a student.

The Yogi never even bothered to respond to their requests and would spend his time in silent contemplation and meditation. However, the disciples were the kind who never gave up easily and it was indeed this quality of theirs, which had made the Yogi accept them as his disciples in the first place. They continued to pester their Guru about using his powers to make some money for themselves so that they could then fulfill all their worldly duties and then enter into meditation as a full time pursuit. However, the Yogi just used to ignore their pleas and move on to discussing some other subject

One evening during his regular discourse with his disciples the Yogi casually touched upon the subject of Alchemy and how only a person who has successfully managed to erase all forms of selfishness and greed from their existence would be permitted by God to even venture into learning the subject of Alchemy. This immediately resulted in the disciples questioning their teacher if he knew alchemy and if so whether he could demonstrate his knowledge of alchemy by converting rocks into gold.

The Yogi felt sorry for having raised the subject of Alchemy since his disciples were not interested in the valuable spiritual discourses that he had to offer and were only interested in the materialistic benefits that his spiritual practices could bring to them. He therefore tried to evade their questions about alchemy, but the students were adamant. They continued to question their teacher about alchemy for over three months and the guru continued to evade the issue.

Finally, after contemplation, the Yogi spoke to his disciples softly, but seriously. “Alchemy is not something which one plays with. Only a person who has dismantled his ego and has understood his true self can learn alchemy. Such a person will not seek anything for himself or his dependents. The most important thing about performing alchemy is the intent behind the practice. Even if one were to learn the procedure and processes of alchemy and tried to execute the same it will have dire consequences for those with evil or selfish intent.” 

The disciples therefore tried to assure their master that they were trying to learn alchemy only with a good intent. Yet, they could not fool their master who could see through their intent and therefore did not want to teach them the same. However, as a teacher, he was duty bound to teach all that he knew to his students and he felt sad that his students were not living up to the standards that he expected them to adhere to. He therefore decided to only show them a demonstration of the art of alchemy without explaining the procedures behind the same.

After having decided on the date and time for the demonstration, the Yogi requested his disciples to fetch him a small piece of the best quality granite that they could find. He also requested his disciples to maintain physical purity prior to the demonstration and come clean after a purifying traditional oil bath on the day of the demonstration. Closer to the day of the demonstration the Yogi went to the nearby hills and the forest therein and collected several herbs and leaves of a few rare trees which were found there. 

Finally, the chosen day dawned bright and all the disciples gathered eagerly at the chosen venue, which was the grove of a nearby temple. Shortly thereafter, the Yogi appeared and began to set up a square area of about two feet on all sides around which he placed three layers of newly baked bricks to cordon of the two square feet area.

Inside the brick enclosed space the Yogi began to strew the herbs and leaves which he had collected while he mumbled something to himself. He then asked his disciples not to come too close to the brick enclosed space and maintain a distance of at least two feet from the area. He also ordered them to remain silent and calm and not get excited about anything which may happen within the brick enclosed space. He once again warned his disciples that the demonstration, which he was going to perform, was a very dangerous and serious one and any noise or excitement displayed by the disciples during the demonstration would have dire consequences for them.

The disciples agreed to comply with the Yogi’s instructions and stepped back some distance from the brick enclosed space to witness the proceedings there from. The Yogi then sat with legs folded on the ground in front of the brick enclosed square in such a manner that he was facing the West. He then tucked his left leg under his right leg and placed his right leg on the upper thigh of his left leg. He carefully took the small piece of shiny granite which his disciples had brought and then gently placed it inside the brick enclosed square on top of the herbs and leaves which he had strewn inside the enclosure.

Having done this the Yogi with his two hands placed on top of his knees closed his eyes and began meditating. The disciples realized that their guru was meditating and therefore maintained complete silence so as to not disturb him. They gazed intently at the block of granite which was placed inside the enclosed square and after about fifteen minutes they realized that the granite stone was beginning to gradually glow bright with a different kind of yellow lustre than what is normally found in a granite stone. 

As the granite began to glow with a yellow lustre the atmosphere in the grove turned electric & the palpable tension there made the disciples break out in a sweat. The silence weighed on everyone as the granite clearly and unmistakably turned to gold. As it became clear that the Yogi had been able to prove what he had set out to do, the disciples began to look at each other and smile amongst themselves.

Not being able to contain himself, one of the disciples burst out laughing. The sound of the laughter brought back everyone gathered there to the reality of the situation while the Yogi abruptly stopped his meditation, opened his eyes and glared at the disciple who was laughing uncontrollably. He stood up and turned away from the brick enclosure within which a miracle was in process.

The moment the Yogi opened his eyes and stood up the block of granite, which had now turned to a light shade of yellow, stabilized and the glow from within the stone did not intensify any further. However, the disciple who had broken out into laughter did not cease laughing and his laughter turned eerie as it echoed amongst the trees of the grove. The other disciples were shocked at the sudden turn of events and tried their best to control their fellow disciple and stop him from laughing any further but found their efforts were futile.

The Yogi then turned to his disciples and softly said, “ I had clearly warned you all to remain silent but it looks like my instructions were not taken seriously by your fellow disciple. Unfortunately, he will have to pay the price for his disobedience for his greed has made him loose his sanity and I will not be permitted by the Almighty to make him normal again. Therefore take him home and ask his family to take care of him for he will be a burden unto them for the rest of his life”.

On hearing this, his disciples were shocked and a couple of them led the uncontrollably laughing disobedient disciple away to his home. The Yogi looked at the others and ordered them to dismantle the bricks, which he had assembled to form an enclosure and throw them away as rubbish along with the herbs and leaves, which now appeared withered and dry. However, the granite had now turned into an impure form of gold and he therefore asked the disciples to put it into the Temple hundi (solid metal container kept for collecting the offerings of the devotees) nearby. He then walked away without turning back to look at them.

The disciples then carried out the instructions of the Yogi and began clearing the remnants of the demonstration. One of the disciples picked up the granite which had by now turned to a block of impure gold and walked towards the temple near the grove to deposit the block of impure gold in the hundi. However, when he reached the temple hundi he had second thoughts about obeying his Guru for though the block of granite was only impure gold it would still be valuable and fetch several thousands in the bullion market. He therefore quietly slipped the block of impure gold into his pocket and returned to where the other disciples were clearing up the area. The disciples were under the impression that he had dropped the impure gold in the hundi and therefore never bothered to question him whether he had done so.

The Yogi disappeared from the scene and was not found at his usual haunts much to the disappointment of his disciples who searched for him at their usual meeting place every day. Meanwhile the disciple who had put the block of impure gold in his pocket took the gold to a goldsmith after a couple of days and wanted to sell the same. The goldsmith tested the gold and fond that it was 222 grams of eighteen-carat gold. He was surprised by the size and shape of the block and was therefore curious to know about how and where the disciple had obtained the gold. The disciple tried to evade the question since he did not wish to reveal the truth about what had happened. The goldsmith not being satisfied with the answers told the disciple that he will bring cash from the bank and called up the police from an adjoining room. The police reached the goldsmith within minutes and arrested the disciple.

Inspite of the disciple’s protestations a case of dealing in stolen goods was booked and with the usual adjournments for which the Indian judicial system is famous he was made to run from pillar to post for two years before he could come out on bail and clear his name.

Meanwhile, the Yogi returned to the town after two years and the eight disciples resumed their learning after apologizing to the guru for their mistakes. The ninth disciple who became insane was sent to several asylums and institutions by his family but to no avail. Finally, after three years his family members brought him to the Yogi and pleaded that he save his disciple. The Yogi accepted their pleas and cured him by tapping a nerve behind the base of his skull. The disciple instantaneously became normal and now lives a complete life.

All the nine disciples have now become serious in their spiritual pursuits and have completely cured themselves of their greed and avarice for they now know how much harm such greed could cause.

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