Ananda was the dear most and very prominent disciple of Gautam Buddha. Many scriptures are filled with their conversations. Through their conversations, we got to know some of the basic teachings and doctrines of Buddhism.
The relationship between Guru and his disciples has always been a revered one in India. The place of Guru has always regarded as on top in Indian society. Even Ram and Krishna who is God himself has to go to their respective Gurus, who imparted in them the real Knowledge.
Recently I came across, one such instance where this tradition was on full display and it was awe striking to me.
One Guru (in His late 60s) was traveling in First Class AC compartment along with one of his dearest disciple (in his 40s). Both got their seats in the same compartment. The seat was allocated in such a manner that the upper berth was for the Guru and the Lower Berth was for the disciple.
As the night arrived, Guru told his disciple that even though the berth allocated to him was Upper One, yet since he was feeling body pain hence he wanted to sleep in lower berth and asked His disciple to take the upper seat. The Disciple, who has relinquished all his material possession and a lucrative career of a Doctor only to serve his Spiritual Master, would have hardly disagreed to this insignificant proposal. He massaged the feet of his Spiritual Master till he felt asleep.
Night was passing as if it is in competition with the speed of the train. Sometime in mid night eyes of the Guru opened and he saw his disciple was lying on the floor of the train and was in deep sleep. The upper berth was empty. Since he saw his disciple in deep sleep ,the Guru didn’t disturbed him but he himself, was unable to sleep whole night.
At 3:30 AM, as usual, the disciple woke up to engage himself in the service of the Supreme and His Spiritual Master.
But as soon he turned towards his master, he saw him already woken up. He felt ashamed. He asked to his master, was he facing any problem in sleeping? Did he needed something? Why didn’t He woke him up?
His master asked to him “why you slept on the floor and not on the reserved upper berth as I told you?”
Disciple initially remained silent but the Guru again asked the same question. The the disciple replied, “how could I take or sleep on a position which is in elevated position than you, I found the floor of the train much comfortable than the upper berth of the First Class of the train. I had a very sound and blissful sleep, which probably couldn’t have on the upper berth”.
Seeing the dedication and surrenderness of his disciple, the Guru became ecstatic and embraced his disciple and told “please forgive me, because of me you have to sleep on the floor.” Disciple also became delighted.
Sleeping on the floor may not be as bad as it seems. It depends on the purpose.