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"The Greatest Pleasure known to Mankind"

(This is a story from the Hindu tradition of guru/disciple storytelling ,which was the source of many of the best loved Osho stories. To my knowledge, Osho never told this one. - Phil)

On a warm night in ancient India, a guru sat with his three disciples.

The guru, to better understand them, or maybe just out of curiosity, asked them: "what,in each of your opinions is the greatest of the pleasures known to man?"

`The drinking of wine and the eating of pork` offered the first

`The love and favours of a beautiful woman` said the second

The guru turned to Narada,a lazy and sometimes impossibly willful young fellow.

`Well?`he asked

`Lies, hearing lies is the greatest pleasure known to mankind`said Narada

The others laughed loudly in unison.

`How absurd` they said.

`I will prove it to you`said Narada.

`How?`asked the guru, with some level of reproach in his voice.

`You will see how, just give me one year, I will show you` answered Narada.

Well amused at the young fellow`s impertinence, the guru agreed to this strange challenge, or maybe he could clearly see that the fellow had no aptitude for the spiritual life and was glad to see him go.

Narada left the guru`s Ashram.

In the coming days and weeks, he gathered together a group of various fellows of low and lost caste, and ruffians of uncertain parentage. Then one day the group left town.

They travelled to a holy city at some distance from their home town.

On arrival, Narada ordered his men to seek out a suitable hall, of sufficient size to contain a large throng.

This was quickly found.

Narada then ordered his disciples, as he had now begun to call them to spread the word that Vishnu himself had been reborn and was now resident in the town. Furthermore, he would commence to give darshan on the very next day.

The news spread like wildfire.

`Krishna himself has come to our city`

`Vishnu is amongst us`

`A new Yuga is beginning`

The townsfolk, having up to this point been in the grip of famine, war and spiritual ignorance, were now gripped with religious fever.

The hall was opened to the public.

Narada placed his men, who by this time had grown luxuriant beards, and were looking every inch the part of disciples of the avatar, and instructed them them thus: `everyone is permitted to have darshan with Vishnu. Tell them simply, that, on entering the hall they must take a solemn vow in the name of their own deity to tell all people that they meet without fail, that they have seen for themselves the very face of god. This way can the glory of god be brought to all, and the evil ways of men change. They must vow never to sway from this path`

This was done, and the people, in their burning thirst for the divine, understood well the generosity of the avatar and the importance of his incarnation.

A spiritual revolution was under way.

In a short while, the news of the avatar had spread far and wide and when Narada`s former guru and disciples came to hear of these extraordinary events, they set out on pilgrimage to seek darshan with Vishnu himself.

They arrived at the darshan, took the vow – a small price to pay for seeing the face of god himself. They knew well that they could never repay it, but then how can god be repayed? they mused.

Imagine their shock as they entered and saw Narada on the podium, serene and surrounded by adoring disciples!

After the darshan was finished the guru pushed his way through the crowds and met Narada as he was leaving the hall,

`What is the meaning of this?`the guru mouthed with difficulty, being almost completely overcome by the emotion of the occasion

`Narada replied` firstly Sir, may I remind you of your vow to tell all that you meet, without wavering, that you have seen the face of god himself, secondly,look at these people...` he gestured grandly at the rows of men lost in blissful silent meditation and the colourful crowds of women gently swaying and dancing to the beautiful melodies of the singers and musicians.

`...and about the greatest pleasure known to mankind,`Narada continued

- `It must be clear to you by now, that I have spoken the truth`