Chapter 16: Surprise Me!
His elder son was in the fields, in the gardens working the whole day; he did not know what was happening at home. Somebody told him, “Look, this is unfair! You have been always obedient, always followed your father’s footsteps, you have helped the old man in every way, but a celebration has never happened for you, no feast has been given for you and now that your brother is coming back - he has lost all the money in gambling, prostitution, drinking - that vagabond is coming back, and your father is arranging a feast. Sweets are being prepared, the whole village has been invited - because the son is coming back, back home.”
Of course, the elder brother was angry, enraged. He rushed home. He shouted for the first time at his father: “What is this? I have always been obedient to you, always serving you, always following you. I have never said no to you, and never was a feast given for me, never a celebration! You have not been fair! And you are giving a feast for that no-good son of yours? Do you know what he has been doing there?”
The father wept, tears came to his eyes. He said, “You don’t understand. You have been with me. I know your love, your trust, your surrender, and my love has always been showering on you - but he had gone astray. Now that he is coming back he needs to be received well so he can gain his dignity back, so he can again feel part of the family, so he can again feel the love, so he does not feel a stranger, so he does not feel that he has done anything wrong, so he does not feel guilty. This feast is arranged to remove his guilt. You don’t have any guilt, hence no feast is needed. Every day is a feast for you, every day I have showered my love.
“But if he is not received well, not welcome, he will feel that he is back home but this is no more his home. He has sent the message ‘Accept me only as a servant.’ He has to be accepted as a son, not as a servant. And what does it matter that he had gone astray? What matters is that he is coming back!”
In India we have a proverb: If a man who gets lost in the morning comes back home by the evening he is not called lost. It is natural.
And the father said, “You know perfectly well that if a shepherd comes home with all his sheep and counts them and finds that they were a hundred and they are now only ninety-nine - one sheep is lost somewhere in the jungle - he leaves all the sheep, goes back in the dark night, to search for the lost sheep. And when he finds the lost sheep he rejoices, and he brings the lost sheep back home on his shoulders because the one who had gone astray, who had fallen into danger is back. It is almost a new birth.”
So I say to you, when Somendra comes.. I have given him the message “Finish all your programs that you have booked and then come back home.” When he comes, receive him.
This can happen to anybody because this is how the mind functions, the ego functions. The ways of the ego are subtle.