Chapter 1: From Dependence toward Truth
Enchanted by the song of a bird singing happily on the branch of a tree, a king had it caught and kept in a cage. Even singing is wrong in the presence of wrong people. The poor bird could not have imagined that his song would get him behind bars! The bird that flew in abandon in the free skies and flitted from one branch to another as he wished, now found himself in a golden cage, inlaid with precious stones to one who has tasted the freedom of the skies? A cage is a cage, whether of gold or iron.
The bird cried and cried, but the king and his courtiers thought he was singing aloud with joy! Some people can cry only like the bird did but to those who cannot perceive the cry would be an expression of joy. The bird was filled with agony and anxiety and he began to think: “Will my wings remember how to fly if I remain in this cage too long?” If he forgets the sky then of what use even if he were to be freed from the cage!
Only those that have the knowledge and the joy of freedom within their souls know what it is. By merely becoming independent, freedom cannot be known. The bird longed to be free before he lost memory of the sky.
One morning the bird heard a Fakir sing: “For him who seeks liberation, there is only one way - the path of truth. For him who seeks freedom there is only one way - the way of truth. And what is truth?” The mendicant asks in his song. “Truth is to see things as they are; to know things as they really exist and try to live with them as they are and reveal them as such - this is truth; and he who attains truth is liberated.”
This was the fakir’s song. Thus he sang in the streets each day. No one heeded him except the little bird, for a bird still knows the joy of vast spaces through its flights. Man does not know it any more. Man is completely oblivious of the wings he has which can take him to some unknown space.
And so the saints and seers of yore tirelessly called out to mankind but who hears? But this little bird caught the fakir’s message and that very day it decided to try..
The king was in the palace when someone came to see him. He sent word through his servants to say that he was not within. The bird shouted: “No, no! The king is in his palace and he has ordered his guards to say he is not at home.” The king was angry.
People tend to be displeased when truth is spoken, for all people live in untruths and falsehoods. And those who are the sovereigns, be they of kingdoms or wealth or religion; those that wield power of any kind are displeased with truth, for power is always installed on the throne of falsity. Therefore those that hold power always crucify truth, for if a truth is allowed to live, it becomes the cross for the governors.
The king ordered that this bird be removed immediately - how can truth reside within palaces? Truth can have a place on the branch of a tree, but within the precincts of the royal abode - it stands no chance. The bird was thrown out of the palace - but that was its cherished desire! He began to dance in the open and said: “The fakir is right - if you want to be free, truth is the only way.”