The Mango Monkeys

Monkeys with fruit

Yoga Sūtra 1.13 “Ardent effort to retain the peaceful flow of mind free of the roaming tendencies is abhyāsa.”Pandit Tigunait

 Yoga Sūtra 1.14 “That (stithi—peaceful flow of mind) becomes firmly grounded when carefully attended to for long periods of time.” Christopher Chapple

The Mango Monkeys

Raj, king of the monkey tribe and descendent of the great Monkey God, Hanuman, eyed the clearing in the mango grove.  Several juicy golden fruits had fallen to the ground, ready to be eaten.   A moist breeze swayed the branch he perched upon, stirring the leaves overhead.  But below, all was still.  The Orchard Keeper was nowhere in sight.

Glancing over his shoulder at his cousin, Sugreev, and the rest of the tribe perched in the surrounding canopy of leaves and branches, he nodded.  As one, the monkeys clambered down from the trees and loped across the grassy clearing, all the while keeping a sharp eye out for the orchard keeper, who was a good shot with the rocks he kept stacked up in neat piles around the edge of the grove.

Raj scooped up a ripe fruit, biting through the skin to the sun-warmed, nectar-laden flesh inside.  Sticky juice dribbled down his chin and onto his hands.  Oh, how he loved sweet mangos!

Dropping the first one, he reached for another, taking a bite before dropping it and moving to yet another, riper fruit.

Thwack!  Stars fizzled in front of his eyes.  He dropped his mango, clutching his head.  Another rock pelted his side.

“To the trees,” he called to the other monkeys and they scampered out of reach of the Orchard Keeper’s stones up into the safety of the leafy canopy above.

The monkeys chattered wildly amongst themselves.  The Orchard Keeper had come out of nowhere.  And why did he have the right to control the mangos anyways?

“I know what we need,” Raj announced.  “We need our own mango tree.”

Sugreev cocked his head.  “But where would we find one?”

“We shall grow one,” said Raj.  “I’ve watched the Orchard Keeper put a seed from a mango fruit into the ground and give it water.  After a while, a small mango tree appears.  All we have to do is plant a seed and wait.”

The monkeys agreed this sounded like a good plan and waited until the Orchard Keeper, who sat propped up against the gnarled trunk of an old tree, had nodded off for an afternoon nap before sending one of the younger, quick monkeys to fetch a mango for its seed.

Raj led the tribe to a sunny patch of dark red soil near the river and there they planted their seed.  Cupping river water in their hands, they watered their tree-to-be then sat back to wait and watch.

“When will it be a tree?” asked the young monkey who had braved the wrath of the Orchard Keeper to bring back the seed.

“Soon,” said Raj.

“I can’t wait to taste our very own mangos!” said Sugreev.

The monkeys spent the rest of the afternoon waiting and watching, but no tree appeared.

The next morning, there was still no tree. Some of the younger monkeys grew restless and decided to return to the mango grove.  But Raj again assured the rest of them that soon a tree would appear.  Again they brought water from the river and sat down to watch and wait.

When by the third morning, there was still no tree, Sugreev suggested that perhaps they should dig the seed up and check on it.

“No,” said Raj.  “We must be patient.”

But by evening, when there was still no sign of a tree, Raj consented.  Sugreev dug down to uncover their precious mango-tree-to-be.  Pulling it from the loamy earth, he knocked off the fragile green start of a sprout that had sprung from the seed.

Raj sighed.  They had not waited long enough.  Even the King of the Monkey tribe could not make a mango tree appear overnight.   But such is the nature of monkeys, not inclined towards patience.   Already dreaming of the sun-warmed fruits scattered across the clearing in the mango grove, the tribe scampered back to join the youngsters who had left earlier and to spend another day watching and waiting and dodging the Orchard Keeper’s sharp rocks.


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