Man in the Moon

Guru Baba stood in a field near his house, staring at the moon. There was the Mare Imbrium, and Mare Serenitatis, looking like a pair of eyes; smaller M. Vaparen and M. Insularum, joined into a nose; M. Cognitum and M. Nubium forming a mouth. There he was, formed of dark seas and bright highlands, the Man in the Moon. His monochromatic light play had amused humans since the dawn of their time.

He motioned to his assistant, Sami, who walked right over. “Are you wondering why I brought you here?” he said.

“Sort of,” he said. “But I’ve stopped wondering about most things since I began working for you.”

Guru Baba’s face dropped. He wondered, what did he mean by that?

Sami continued, “The things you say and do defy explanation, so there’s no point wondering. I’ll never understand.”

“You must never stop wondering!” shouted Guru Baba. His voice was harder than Sami had ever heard it before. He realized he had made him very angry. Guru Baba’s next words, however, were calm.

“Come, look at the moon with me.” Guru Baba became silent for a while, wondering if Sami was ready. Was he ready to be taught? He could end up like a Russian shaman he knew, stuck in the moon. It was spiritually rather than physically, but that was just as bad, if not worse. He decided that this one bad egg – whose ego exceeded his skill – should not be his benchmark. There were many better stories. Had he not succeeded himself?

He said to Sami, “What do you see?”

“I see the moon,” he said. “And the Man in the Moon.”

Ah good, thought Guru Baba. He is attuned. “But what is the Man in the Moon?”

“Well, I remember my Grandma’s stories. She loved folktales and myths. She said he was a man punished by God for gathering sticks on the Sabbath. She also said he’d been banished for stealing his neighbour’s hedgerows, and other people’s sheep. There was a Chinese story of a woman who drank a double potion of the Elixir of Life and then lived there with her rabbits. She was the Woman in the Moon. Polynesians said he was the world’s greatest sailor, riding a boat of light in the sky…”

“Very good,” said Guru Baba, thinking what a fine choice of assistant he’d made. “They are all true. But the real Man in the Moon is greater than all of those together. Look at his light and dark parts, expressing the duality of the universe. Look deeper. What do you see? That’s right; he holds the Taijitu – the Yin-Yang symbol. See his dark parts to the top and left, and bright parts to the bottom and right. They swirl around each other. He takes the light of the sun and reflects it wholly, but also holds shade. The Man in the Moon is our supreme teacher. Are you ready to learn his lessons?”

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