Once upon a time a frog lived in the sea and enjoyed the freedom of the large body of water and endless beach. When he came out of his watery home, he would take a sun-bath on the silver sands. Often, as he dozed happily on the beach, he would hear the croaking of brother-frogs in a neighboring well.
Curious, one day he hopped over to the well to take a look at his brother-frogs. As soon as he looked into the well, all the well-frogs greeted him in frog language saying, “Hey, you homeless derelict, jump in and enjoy our spacious home.”
The sea-frog smiled but shook his head, gently declining and saying, “Some other time. Not now, friends.”
On the way back, the sea-frog nearly burst out laughing as he recalled Mr. Big-Talk, the narrow-eyed leader of the well-frogs saying, “Come into our huge home.” The sea-frog pitied the frog-leader’s ignorance and was disturbed to see the frogs living like sardines in the little well.
The sea-frog thought, “Maybe here’s a chance do some good. Perhaps I can help the over-crowded well-frogs by bringing them to my spacious home.” Thus thinking, the sea-frog retraced his footsteps back to the well. The well-frogs croaked out another welcome.
The sea-frog jumped into the well and, instead of falling into the water, landed on the back of a brother-frog. The well was so crowded that the frogs covered every inch of the water. Mr. Big-Talk, the frog leader, came hopping on the backs of a few slave-frogs and greeted the sea-frog.
After entertaining his guest with delicacies, the frog leader asked, “My friend, whence comest thou?”
The frog of the sea replied, “From a very vast place called the sea.”
The well-frog then asked, “What is your purpose in honoring us with a visit?”
The sea-frog replied, “To take you all to my sea home, where you won’t die of suffocation and can live in freedom and security.”
In response, the proud frog leader answered, “But pray tell me first the size of your sea?” Jumping the distance of one foot, he asked, “Is your sea as big as that?”
The frog of the sea replied with a slight smile, “Nay, nay, my friend, the sea is much bigger than that.”
The well-frog, with a smile of superiority, jumped two feet and asked, “Is your sea as big as that?”
The sea-frog, smiling more than ever, replied, “Nay, nay, my friend, it is much bigger than that.”
The well-frog then jumped from one side of the well to the middle and hoarsely asked, “Is your sea as big as that?”
The frog of the sea, now laughing loudly, said, “Nay, nay, nay, my friend, it is much bigger than that.”
Then the poor well-frog puffed up in wrath to his full strength and jumped from one side of the well to the other and said, “Can your sea dare be as big as that?”
The frog of the sea, restraining his laughter, confidently replied, “Nay, nay, nay, my friend, my sea is much bigger than sextillion wells like yours.”
The frog of the well was completely beside himself because he could not inflate himself with more wrath. He shouted, “Imposter! Impossible! Nothing could be bigger than our great big well!”
After many hours of word-battle in frog language, the sea-frog persuaded the frog of the well and his brother-frogs to visit the ocean.
The frog of the well, upon seeing the great body of water, bowed at the feet of the sea-frog and exclaimed, “Mighty brother-frog, indeed your watery mansion is much larger than we ever could conceive. We never would have known this if we had remained in our confined little home in the well. It is only by comparing our home in the well with your huge sea home that fortunately, we now understand the littleness of our own homestead.”
The frog of the sea shook hands with the frog of the well, and all of his brother-frogs, and they all lived happily in the sea forever afterward.
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The above story illustrates how worldly people live in the over-crowded “well” of sense-happiness, clamoring and shouting for a little room for peace. The sense-bound man cannot comprehend the inner experiences of the spiritual man who communes with God and roams in the sea of Bliss. Only if the materially minded man actually launches his consciousness into the ocean of Bliss, which is reached by meditation alone, can he understand the limitations of his meager happiness.
Similarly, a bigoted religionist gets a little joy from following a hide-bound religion, but he can never even imagine the boundless happiness of seeing all churches as one church of God, all religions as one Truth, and all religionists as the children of the same one God.
The dogmatist in life lives in a prison of limitation, and after he passes the portal of the grave, he can only expect to live in another prison of dogma there. However, a wise man, after death, finds each speck of space a temple of Spirit, each spark of wisdom a tabernacle of His Presence, and each heart the sanctum of the Infinite.
Leap out of the well of limitation and plunge into the sea-bosom of unending wisdom and bliss, which is continuously roaring on the banks of your inner silence.
This article first appeared in print in Winter 2009: “A Story of Two Frogs,” Swami Kriyananda, Clarity Magazine.
From the Praecepta Lessons, 1938.
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Great story! How true!
nice post. thanks.