Late one afternoon, Master and Brother Anandamoy were walking behind the retreat at 29 Palms. Master pointed to the rear gate and said: “Could you pour a slab of concrete by that gate?”
Brother replied: “Sure, I’ll do it first thing in the morning.”
“Do it now!” was Guruji’s response.
Brother said: “But, sir, that is impossible. In just a little while the sun will set and it will be dark. There is not enough time.”
And Master concluded their conversation by saying: “You can do it.” Then he left.
Brother doubted that he would be able to finish in time. But he figured that he could always sledge-hammer the slab, break it up, if it didn’t work out. However, wishing to be obedient to his Guru, he immediately got busy. So he dug up the ground, built the frame, mixed the cement. And he didn’t have a cement mixer. He had to mix the sand and concrete and water by hand. And then, not having a wheel barrel, he had to transport the fresh cement with buckets. But even though he worked as fast as he could, he just wasn’t able to complete the job in time. The sun had set and it was too dark to continue.
Brother sat there beside his buckets of hardening cement and felt utter despair. His consciousness was a whirlpool of dejection. He had not fulfilled his Guru’s wishes. And what’s more, Master had even told him he could do it.
Then, all of a sudden, Brother noticed it began to get lighter. And still lighter. He couldn’t believe it. “How can this be happening? It’s night-time.” In the next moment the full moon rose from behind the trees. “Oh, no!” Brother thought, “I forgot about that stupid moon! But Master didn’t. He knew there would be a full moon.”
Quietly Brother walked over to the retreat and peeked into the window. Master was engrossed in dictating his commentaries on the Gita. Brother sighed in relief and thought: “Master is so busy with his work that he wasn’t aware of my plight, my frazzled consciousness, my lack of faith.”
Then Brother Anandamoy got busy pouring the cement before it became too hard. Finally he troweled the surface and triumphantly stood over the finished slab. His consciousness was as clear as a mountain lake. He turned and started to walk over to the retreat to let Master know he had fulfilled his wishes. Halfway there he ran into Master, who had this knowing smile on his face. Before Brother could get out a word, Guruji began to give him a long lecture on the value of even-mindedness.
(Key: Learning to surrender in the face of something we think we can’t do. Realizing that if we’re willing, it won’t be that bad, the moon will come up, Master will help us.)
Story shared in the SRF Devotee Newsletter