The Citadel of Jerusalem, lithograph, 1839
Now, let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, in Bulgaria, there was a young schoolteacher. He was not very big or strong, but he was an intelligent, sensible young man. One day he was with some friends in the village square and one of them, a big, hulking fellow who was not very bright, did not agree with something the schoolteacher said and started to argue with him.
When the schoolteacher began to get the better of him with his intelligent arguments, the colossus lost his temper and let fly: one, two, and our hero was flat on his back! Of course, the others laughed and applauded the winner. After all, he was a real heavyweight, and physical prowess is always much admired.
We sometimes do not notice the results of daily spiritual practice
The poor young teacher went slowly and sadly home, the laughter and jeers of his friends ringing in his ears. But then, wonder of wonders, when he got home he found that his cow had calved and there was a lovely little calf in the meadow. He bent over and stroked it and then picked it up in his arms and hugged it, forgetting all about his recent humiliation.
The next morning, and every morning after that, he would go and pick up the calf and pet it. This went on for several months. The calf was rapidly growing into a full-sized bullock but the schoolteacher never noticed. He just went on picking it up.
Until one day we discover our strength
Then, one day, he suddenly realized that his muscles had developed enormously and he decided to go down and join his friends in the village square, once again. When he got there, there was the bully who had knocked him out, bragging and preening himself, as usual. Going up to him, our hero asked him, ‘Do you remember me?’ ‘I’ll say I do,’ said the bully; ‘You’re the little chap I knocked out.’
Without a word the schoolteacher stooped, grabbed him by the leg and held him up, at arm’s length, over his head. ‘Make your peace with God,’ he said; ‘Because I’m going to throw you to the ground and smash you to pieces!’ Well, of course, the big bully started to whimper and beg for mercy: ‘Forgive me, forgive me. I’m sorry I hit you. Don’t kill me.’
Never accept being defeated
‘Very well,’ said the teacher; ‘As long as you’re sorry…’ and put him gently down on the ground, whereupon the bully took to his heels and ran. All the other young men laughed and cheered and the teacher went home feeling very pleased and proud of himself: a true hero!
So you see, you must never let yourselves be defeated and trodden underfoot because you will not help others to be any better that way. They will just go on bullying you and misusing their strength.
To be continued…
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
The Bonfin, September 12, 1963
Complete Works, Volume 12, Cosmic Moral Law
Chapter 20 Turn the other cheek
Image: Lithograph by David Roberts, April 1839, the Citadel of Jerusalem, without the city walls