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Aruni And Upmanyu

Once there were two disciples of Rishi Apaddhoumya. Their names were Aruni and Upmanyu. Both were young and very quiet. They obeyed the Guru in everything. Once the Guru decided to test them to the full. He sent them to the forest to graze the ashram's cows. He also ordered them, ''Don't eat anything.'' Both disciples always obeyed the Guru, and so they ate nothing.
But whenever they felt hungry they would milk a cow and drink some milk.

After some days the Guru asked, ''What do you eat?'' They replied, ''We eat nothing cooked but do drink milk.'' The Guru said, ''From now on, don't drink milk either.'' The disciples agreed and went happily off to the forest to graze the cows. In the afternoon both felt hungry, but the Guru had ordered them not to drink even milk now. And so they went to a village and begged pieces of fruit and ate them. Thus they began to do this everyday. A few days later, the Guru asked ''What do you eat?'' They replied, ''We beg pieces of fruit from the village and eat those.'' The Guru instructed,
''We should never beg in this way.'' So the two promised never to beg again.

Aruni and Upmanyu again went to the forest to graze the cows. Never did they find fault with their Guru. For three to four days they managed to survive without food. But hunger grew and they could bear it no longer. The Guru had commanded not to eat or drink milk. So they ate some wild berries. The berries were poisonous and the two became blind. As they made their way back to the ashram holding each other's hand they fell into a dry well one hundred hands deep. Seeing the cows return alone to the ashram the Guru became worried. Where were Aruni and Upmanyu? He set out in search of them.

He searched the jungle calling, ''Hey Aruni, Hey Upmanyu.'' He couldn't see them anywhere. However, the two disciples heard their Guru calling and shouted a reply from the bottom of the well.
''Where are you?'' the Guru shouted. ''Over here, in the well,'' they called back.

The Guru had some people climb down into the well and bring the two disciples up. When he saw them he realised they had become blind! He asked the reason for this. They humbly answered, ''You commanded us not to eat or drink anything, but we were so hungry that we ate some wild berries. They were poisonous and then we became blind. And as we tried to make our way back to the ashram, we fell into this empty well.''

The rishi was extremely pleased with their devotion to him. He called Ashwinikumar, the physician of the demi-gods. He gave them potent medicine and so both boys could see again. The Guru so tested his young disciples, but they were not discouraged. They did not run away and leave the Guru. It is because of this that the Guru was pleased with them. Nowadays are we tested in this way? No! We should be quiet and meek. Never pamper the body. Involve the body rigorously in katha varta and seva. We should with enthusiasm and ardour strive to please our Guru and God.

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© 1999, Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Swaminarayan Aksharpith