Dangerous Kite Flying

Every year on January 14th comes the Spring Equinox. Known in India as Makara Sankranti, it is a holiday that is often accompanied by gusts of wind. One on occasion, a young prince was on the flat roof of his palace, hoping to take advantage of the strong breeze. In his hands was a brightly-coloured kite made of bamboo and paper. After a few attempts to launch it, the kite lifted into the sky, dipped a few times, then soared and twisted, edging slowly upwards. The young prince smiled with joy, and his gaze held fast to his kite, lifting higher and higher into the sky as he tugged on the string.

The roof of the palace was several floors up, and the prince was not looking around him as he moved, step by step, towards the edge of the roof. Despite being warned never to go up to the roof he had managed to escape the watchful eye of his nanny, and was there all by himself. Down in the street, a man passing by happened to hear the squeals of delight and looked upwards. Alarmed, he saw that the child, although enjoying himself, was only looking upwards to the kite and was about to walk off the edge. Surely he would now fall to his death?

Without thinking whether it was correct for him to raise his voice to a prince, the man shouted out a warning. At that very same moment, the palace nanny came onto the roof, looking towards the young prince, who was still laughing with joy. She was so absorbed in the prince’s laughter, she too could not see the imminent danger he was in. Hearing the loud shout from the street, yet not knowing the reason, she called back in response: “Hey you! Who are you to shout at this child? Do you not know that he is a prince? Know your place!”

Moral: The young prince is the materialistic enjoyer, looking up to the source of his pleasure yet unaware of the danger; the nanny is the ordinary religious person, protective yet interested in preserving the status quo of mundane happiness; and the man in the street is the guru. The guru sees the actual situation and, though he speaks strongly, he does so with the best intention. Both the materialist and the ordinary religious person may not thank him, but his message is the best.


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