A Tale of Two Boys and a Hermit

Once upon a time, there lived two young boys, who were best friends.

They seemed to enjoy each others’ company, but the only thing causing a rift between them was that one was a theist, he believed in God, and the other was an atheist…

They’d often argue over God with conviction. Each had his own justification for the belief they held.

This went on for a few years, and one day, the atheist decided to settle the argument.

He said, I know of a man who lives in the mountains not far away, and since he is a hermit, he must be wise enough to help us clear the confusion.

Both decided to head to the mountains, and reached the place where the hermit was.

On arriving to the cave where the hermit lived, they both felt a little afraid, they didn’t know how the man would respond to their predicament, but nevertheless they had come all this way, so they went inside.

“Who are you?” Asked the hermit, to which the boys fumbled, but spoke out their names.

“And why are you here?” Asked the hermit again.

“We are here to ask you something very important,” said the atheist.

“Ask away, what do you wish to know?” said the hermit.

“My friend thinks God exists, but I don’t see any reason to believe that. The problem is we want to settle the argument, and would like to gain your insight,” said the atheist.

“I see, so this is why you’re here,” said the hermit, and turned to the atheist, and asked.

“So what’s your name again?”

“I’m..I am Raghav,” The atheist spoke out his name, a little nervously.

The hermit then turned to his friend, and asked for his name.

He said, “I’m Mahesh.”

“So Raghav and Mahesh, you want to know whether God exists?” said the hermit.

To which both of them nodded.

The hermit took a couple of deep breaths, and with a slight smile, said, “All right, here’s the answer,” And he turned to Raghav the atheist as he spoke, “Raghav, God does exist, his existence is more real and apparent than your’s. He exists in spite of your beliefs, in fact your beliefs make no difference whatsoever to that which is the eternal truth. Reality has no need to conform to your ideas. You can continue to be an atheist all your life, yet, it makes no difference whatsoever, the question has never been does God exist, the question is do you exist?

Ask yourself the question, ‘Who am I?’ And sincerely tell me do you know who you are? You simply have no idea, so I tell you, I know that God exists, but I am not sure if you, Raghav, truly exist? For if you are real, then how come you have an end? How come you die, and disappear, for that which is real, is eternal. Only the unreal is temporal. Now the question is no longer about God, it is about you. Seek to know yourself, and you will have known everything worth knowing. Lastly, I’d like to say, your friend is right, God does exist.

He then turned to Mahesh, and told him, “There is no God, who speaks of such non-sense? There are birds, trees, flowers, and stars in the sky, there is a whole dance of life going on, but sorry, no God to be found. You must have made a mistake. I have been a hermit all my life, and I’ve been seeking him, but never found him the way you describe him. So you must have made an error, but that’s all right, it’s okay, God is irrelevant, just seek to know yourself, that would be a wiser use of your intelligence. And yes, your friend Raghav is right, no God exists.

This left both Raghav and Mahesh even more confused, than they were before they had met the hermit. To one he said, God exists, and to the other he said, he does not. How can that be true? Either he exists or he does not?

They were starting to think the hermit had truly lost his mind, but still told him, “You have confused us greatly, how can he exist and not exist both at the same time?”

To which the hermit laughed, and said, “Why are you so worked up about God? Forget him, he’s not important, just remember what I told you, seek to know thyself, that’s more important. Don’t ask the question if God exists, simply ask, ‘Who am I?’ and you will have your answer through experience, which is far more valuable than borrowed knowledge. Whether I tell you that he exists, or does not, makes no difference whatsoever.

You must find out for yourself, no one else in the world can give you that answer. People want a shortcut for everything. They want someone else to do the work, so they can have the reward. Sorry, there are no shortcuts here, you will have to do the work, the painful, critical work of knowing yourself, unless you do this, you will only keep going in circles.

Truth is a personal experience, not one borrowed from society.

Oh, and before you leave, never let your ideas come between your friendship. Always know, who you are to each other is more important than your ideas about life. Never sacrifice your friendship for your ideas, for if you do, the only friends that will remain to give you company, will be your stupid ideas about life.”

Both Raghav and Mahesh, felt like a ray of new sunshine had reached the shores of their heart, giving them a new longing, not like anything they had felt before. The question of God had totally disappeared from their mind. They both thought they knew what friendship was, but only after meeting the hermit they realized that they were in fact two sides of the same coin. One an atheist, and one a theist, and now both of them had totally disappeared, and transformed from questioners, to seekers.

Moral of the Story

There are two morals to this story:

  1. Never ask if God exists, just seek to know thyself. For if you seek, you shall find.
  2. Your ideas about life are not more important than your relationships with people.