THE VALUE OF SATSANGA
November 21, 2002
Waukegan Mandira

Given in Swami Ni Vato 3/61 and Jaga Swami Ni Vato 2/8, once a shepherd was tending his herd and he found a beautiful, shiny rock in the grass. The shepherd picked up the rock and tied it around the neck of his favorite goat. A few days later, a businessman from a nearby town saw the goat grazing in the field. He immediately noticed the rock, and thought that it must be a valuable stone. When he saw the shepherd tending the goat, the businessman offered to buy it. The shepherd was initially reluctant, but when the businessman raised the price, he eventually agreed, and parted with his favorite goat. The businessman happily left with the goat, and when he was a little distance away, he untied the rock and let the goat free. He then brought the stone to a jewelry expert in a nearby city. The expert recognized the rock to be a diamond and bought it for several thousands of dollars. In the same way, the stone was exchanged multiple times for increasing amounts of money, with each owner recognizing it to be of greater value than the previous owner. One day, the son of a very rich diamond businessman came across the diamond. He inquired about it from its current owner and was told that it was very expensive. The son bargained with the owner and finally, a deal was reached that in exchange for the diamond, the owner had from sunrise until sunset to take anything he wanted from the father's personal treasury. The following day, the owner arrived with men he had hired and proceeded to remove truckloads of jewels, gold, and other treasures from the safe. The citizens laughed at the son's foolishness and wondered how upset the father, who was away at the time, would be when he returned.

Soon after, the father arrived and heard of his son's bargain. After seeing it, to everyone's astonishment, he exclaimed that his son had bought the stone for close to nothing, and its value was far greater than the cost. Even the son did not understand, and the father promised to make everything clear the next full moon night. When that night arrived, everyone gathered underneath the palace balcony. The father and son emerged with the diamond, which they had placed in a golden tray, and held it aloft toward the moon. Suddenly, the diamond lit up and with a brilliant flash, a fountain of diamonds flowed out of the original. The diamond was in fact no ordinary stone, but the legendary chandramani, which exuded many perfect diamonds every full moon night. Everyone now understood the value of the mystical stone, which had initially been hung around the neck of a simple goat. In the same way, the association of God and His saint is of unlimited value, but we only appreciate it to our limited individual capacity. The more we understand the value of satsanga, the more priceless and beneficial it becomes. Otherwise, like the goatherder, we will trade it for close to nothing.

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