One day an old rabbit was day-dreaming under the boughs of an old apple tree. “The earth has been our home for all these years,” he considered, “but nothing in life is permanent. Things break all the time. Surely the earth is also like a big ball that could break someday. What would happen to us if we were swallowed up in its belly?” As this train of thought gained momentum, a chilling sense of fear began to race through his body.
Suddenly, a ripe apple dropped from the tree and onto his head. Believing that his imaginings had come to pass, the panic-stricken old rabbit opened his eyes and run, passing his family and friends on the way. Naturally, they wanted to know what the fuss was about.
“The earth is about to break,” he yelled out, “We have to find a safe place to hide or we will all die!”
The rabbits started to run behind him, until they passed some giraffes grazing from the tops of the trees. They looked down and asked what the fuss was about, and when they heard that the earth was about to collapse, they galloped after the rabbits. Soon they were followed by many other animals: gazelles, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs and tigers all joined the race to find refuge from certain doom, yet with no sense of direction.
The king of the lions heard the rumpus and raced atop the nearest mountain to see what was going on. His roar echoed through the valley, and he demanded to be told know what the fuss was about.
None of the tigers could answer him. Neither could the cheetahs, who asked the elephants why they were running. But the elephants couldn’t recall the reason either and asked the giraffes. They in their turn consulted the gazelles, who pointed to the rabbits, until finally the old rabbit emerged to the front of the group to explain himself.
“How can this be possible? Let me think for a moment,” said the lion, and there followed a hushed silence. “Since it is my duty to save you all, I will go with this old rabbit whilst you wait here. He can take me to the place where he felt that the end of the world was coming.”
When the lion saw the ripe apples hanging from the tree where the rabbit had been resting, he understood. He returned to tell the other animals that they had been following nothing but a baseless rumour.
I’ve heard three main responses from Guruji to the most typical questions posed about 2012. Firstly, Guruji has said that because of all the earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and so on, people are extremely worried about this world and what is going to happen, and often ask, “People are saying that we are all going to die. Is it true?”
It was the impulse for the story of the old rabbit which I have just retold here, and this was Guruji’s afterword:
‘It sometimes happens to us in daily life, that like the rabbit, and without seeing reality, we follow other people without analysing first,’ he said. ‘But why would you waste your time listening to gossip which has come from people who don’t know the truth of the matter?
‘You are worried about worry! But you can’t do anything about calamities; if they happen we won’t exist, so what is the use of worry?! To listen to worries is a useless waste of time! Think about what is good and helpful for you before you start following what others are doing or saying.’
Secondly, Guruji has said that people frequently ask him, “In this time of disasters, what can I do to help?”
‘We can pray and we can meditate,’ Guruji replies, ‘but first of all it is important to think, “Who am I and how much can I give to others?” I mean to say, if you are weak yourself, you cannot help anyone. You have to recognise the defects in yourself and correct them. Tune yourself first, and then others. Once you become very strong yourself – and if you develop compassion, then you can give.’
Guruji’s words about the four ‘ages’ will be coming next week.