Circling Bodies

Sami walked around Guru Baba, who himself walked around a tall fir tree. This was meant to illustrate the workings of our solar system – the fir was the sun, Guru Baba the earth, and Sami the moon whizzing around, showing its restless devotion.

As Guru Baba completed a quarter circuit of the fir, Sami lost his footing and collapsed at his feet. It was an embarrassing moment for both of them. Sami was on his knees to his holy bossman, who despite being a sage, disliked sycophantic behaviour. He saw himself as teacher of peers. They all taught him something too.

Guru Baba decided to make light of the situation and said, “You were meant to be the moon not a comet! This isn’t a Bruce Willis film.” Sami arose from the boggy ground, leaving a crater. “Okay, let’s stop now. Time for rest. Why don’t you lie down for a while?”

Sami said, “Guru Baba, I need to return home. Preferably to bed, but if not, then at least to change my clothes. Can I go now?”

A flash of anger crossed the sage’s face but then was gone. He said, “You can go if you wish to. However, if you do that you can never come back.”

Sami had heard such threats before, but they continued to surprise him. Did Guru Baba really mean it? Did he value his assistant’s devotion so lightly that a minor disagreement must result in termination?

This crazy old man was the wisest person he’d ever known. He was the grandfather he’d never had, maybe also the father he barely remembered.

It was a nasty threat. Should he comply yet again with his unreasonable request, or this time call his bluff? Sami decided enough was enough.

“Sorry, Guru Baba, I am cold, wet and tired. I’m going home.”

“Okay,” said Guru Baba. “Good night Sami. Thank you for your help this evening. I really enjoyed it.”

Sami began walking towards town but he didn’t seem to be making progress. Every step he took continued his circuit around Guru Baba. He became confused and angry, then bemused and began laughing. Something strange was going on here. He no longer felt cold and tired.

“What’s so funny?” said the sage.

“Maybe I will lie down for a while.”

Gazing up at the sky, Sami saw a black spot transit the moon. He rubbed his eyes, it must be dirt, but it was still there. He said, “What’s that, Guru Baba?”

“I was wondering when you’d see that. It’s another moon. Yes, yes, another moon. Can’t the moon have a moon too? Everything has something circling it. The centre of the galaxy has the sun, the sun has the earth, the earth has the moon, the moon has an asteroid, the asteroid has a rock, the rock has a grain, the grain is made of atoms, circled by electrons, and so on and so on!

“And I must circle you?”

Guru Baba acknowledged the question but didn’t answer directly. “The moon is in motion for a reason. It wants to maintain its relationship with earth. If it stayed still that relationship would end. Moving is loving, and loving is living. Now, Sami, you can get up and go home.”

Sami arose and smiled, till Guru Baba said, “Please change and come back soon. Remember I gave you the day off because tonight you’d be working.”

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