There was a caterpillar. He was lying in the ruts of carts. Meanwhile a cart appeared there.The caterpillar jumped out of the rut. On seeing it, a saint said, “Hey ! Why did you come out ? It would be better if you had been lying there”. The happiness is in living and not in dying.” “What is happiness in the living of a caterpillar?” said the saint. “This is the real happiness,” “replied the caterpillar. “I will show you a greater happiness,” said the saint. Saying this, the saint freed it from the life of a caterpillar, and gave him a new life at the house of a hunter. The hunter grew up. He lived upon hunting and earned his livelihood. Once again the same saint reappeared there.
“How are you?” asked the saint. “I am in great happiness,” replied the hunter. “ I may show you still greater happiness that this one if you want, “said the saint. Saying thus, the saint freed him from the life of the hunter, and gifted him with the life of a rich merchant. He grew up and travelled far and wide for his trade. He amassed much wealth. Once more the saint met him. “How do you do?” inquired the Saint. “I am really happy”, said the merchant. “I may show you still greater happiness,” retorted the saint. On saying thus, the saint by freeing from the present birth, gifted him with the birth as a royal prince. He became a king. He wore coloured, rich dresses, ate, drank and was merry. His word was a command. Once more the saint met him.
“How are you?” asked the saint. “I am great happier,” said the king. “I may show you, if you wish, still a greater happiness,” said the saint. “There can never be a greater happiness than this,” said the king. “Please see what is what,” said the saint. The saint gave him the life of an emperor. There after he became an emperor. Hundreds of kings served him. Once more the saint met him. He asked “How do you do?” “I am really happy. I am really the happiest man in the world,” said the emperor.
“I can show you still a greater happiness,” said the saint. The saint freed him from the present life and gave the birth at a scholarly rich Brahmin's house The Brahmin grew up. He studied all scriptures. Kings and emperors also honoured him. From the study of these scriptures he realised that “those were his vain attempts at happiness. The real happiness lay somewhere else. I haven't acquired it”, Once again the saint met him.
“How happy you are!” “asked the saint. What happiness? I don't know what is happiness,” said the Brahmin. “Do you want to see the real happiness?” The greatest happiness ? asked the saint. “I will be highly thankful if you kindly show it to me,” said Brahmin. The saint freed him from the present birth and gave him the birth at a poor man's house. He grew up. He surrendered himself to the saint and said, “O Lord, I am really blind even if I have got eyes. Please show me the path,” said the boy. The saint taught him the lessons of knowledge, detachment and devotion. Now his passion had gone up and his mind centred round the ultimate happiness- i.e. God. In a trance he visualised God and he suddenly uttered,” Oh! this is the real happiness. God's happiness is the greatest happiness. I got it because of the saint's favour!
This tale is taken from Gopalananda's book entitled “Shri Gopalananda's Tale. The substance of this lesson is “The real happiness consisted in God.