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
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
''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
''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