He went in a boat. He reached the island. Those three simple people, they were sitting under a tree and doing their prayer. He listened to the prayer and laughed loudly and said, “You fools! From where have you learnt this prayer? I have never heard such nonsense even in my life, and I am the greatest priest of this country. What type of prayer is this?”
All three started trembling in fear and they said, “Forgive us! We don’t know, we have never learnt. This prayer we ourselves have created.” The prayer was simple. They said, “We are three” – and Christians believe in the trinity, so they said – “We have made a prayer: `We are three, you are also three – have mercy on us!’ We ourselves have made it: We are three, you are three – have mercy on us! This we continuously do, but we don’t know whether this is right or wrong.”
The priest said, “This is absolutely wrong and I will teach you the right, the authorized version.” It was a long prayer of the church. Those three people listened, trembling. The priest was very happy. He went back thinking that he had done a virtuous deed, a really good work: he had converted three pagans to Christianity. “And these fools! – they have become famous. Many people come for their darshan, they touch their feet and worship them!”
When he was coming back, very happy that he had done something, suddenly he saw something that looked like a storm coming on the lake. He became afraid. Then he looked: those three saints were coming, running on the water. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Those three saints came and they said, “Please, tell the prayer once more because we have forgotten! It is too long and we are simple folk, uneducated. Just once…?”
It is said, Leo Tolstoy writes, that the priest fell at their feet and he said, “Forgive me! I have committed a sin. You go your own way. Your prayer is right because it has come out of your heart. My prayer is useless because it has come out of my learning. Don’t listen to me. Simply go and do whatsoever you were doing.”
Prayer cannot be learnt. You have to pass through life with open eyes, with an understanding heart, and you will come to pray. And the prayer will be yours. It will come out of your heart, it will pour out of your heart. Words don’t mean much – it is the heart that is behind them. But you can learn much through the mind; you can completely forget the heart – because heart grows through experience, and mind grows through?…thinking. And thinking is just dead. There is no growth through thinking. You can go round and round in the mind. Mind is just a computer, a biological computer; it collects information. The same can be done by a computer even better than your mind. But the heart is not a computer. The heart is totally different from the mind: it doesn’t collect, it has no memory – it simply lives moment to moment; it responds to the alive moment in an alive way.
I have known a person; he was a colleague of mine in a university. He was ill and always something or other was wrong with him. So I told him, “Why don’t you go to a doctor? Why don’t you ask some doctor about your body? You are always complaining about this and that.” So he went.