Long time ago, there used be a rushi by name Vedasaagara. He knew all Veda, Shaastra, Puraanas. His aashramam was on the banks of the Kaaverii-Nadi. Following his sva-dharmam, he used to spread his knowledge by teaching many Shishyas. However, since any Daanam must be given only to a Satpaatra (one who deserves), he used to examine the Vidyaarthi before accepting him as his Shishya and do Vidyaa-daanam.
One day, two Vidyaarthis by names Raama Sharma and Krishna Sharma came to Vedasaagara. Vedasaagara asked them to stay in the aashramam till he finishes the exam and accepts them. As a first lesson, he told “Gururbrahma, Gururvishnuh, Gururdevo Maheshvarah, Gurussakshaat Parabrahma, Tasmai Shri Guravenamah”.
On one Ekaadashi, Vedasaagara woke the two Vidyaarthis very early and told “today is Ekaadashi. It is the priya-tithi for both Paramashiva and Mahaavihnu. You must do Upavaasam today. Also goto the Devaalayam in the far off hill and come back by Saayam-sandhya”. Both of them started off for the Devaalayam. By the time of Maadhyaahnika-Sandhyaavandanam, they reached the Devaalayam. They were completely exhausted and were very hungry, thirsty and tired. After Daiva-darshanam, the Devaalaya-puujaari offered them Prasaadam and Tiirtham. Raama Sharma remembered his Guru-aagnya and hesitated to take. Then the puujaari said “at such difficult times you need not follow your Guru-aagnya. That too how will he know that you didnt obey him? So take it”. Krishna Sharma, unable to bear the hunger, ate; however Raama Sharma chose to stick to his Guru-aagnya.
One day, when Vedasaagara was teaching the two some lesson, forest-fire surrounded them. There was only one way out: use the boat (which could carry atmost 2 people) and cross the river. Vedasaagara immediately said “you both take the boat and go. Looking after you is my Kartavyam. I am old, it doesnt matter if I loose my life. Also you are very young”. Krishna Sharma immediately went and sat in the boat.
However Raama Sharma didnt move and replied “O Gurudeva! Kshama for not following your aangya. As you told us, a Shishya’s prathama Dharmam is Guruseva and rakshana. That too the society wont loose anything if a agnyaani like me dies. Uttama Guru like you is very important to the society. So please take the boat”. Saying this, he forcibly made Vedasaagara sit in the boat.
Immediately all the fires vanished. Vedasaagara said “I created all this with my Tapas-shakti to test you two. I was only the puujaari at the Devaalayam. Raama Sharma qualified both my tests and hence I accept him as my Shishya.”.
Morals in the story:
- The Guru-shishya anyonya-sambandham is well shown in this story. Guru wanted to save the Shishya and the Shishya was worried about the Guru.
- Whatever happens one must always keep up his word. That too a word given to a Guru. Raama Sharma though he was very hungry, followed his Guru-aagnya and continued his upavaasam.
- The amruta-vaakyas of Vedasaagara and Raama Sharma (during their conversion when forest-fire came) reveals the unnata-aadarshas of Bhaarateeyas. As shown in their conversion, they always think about what is Dharmam, what is useful to the society and then act.