Two buffaloes and an invisible rope

We hold ourselves in bondage to repeating patterns of behaviour through the invisible rope of our mind, just like it was for the two buffaloes in this fable. 

Once upon a time there was a farmer. Each day he would go out to tend his fields with his two buffaloes. As mid-day approaches he would stop for a simple meal and a short rest but before that he would unyoke and then tie each of his buffaloes to a nearby tree with a rope around its neck. That way they wouldn’t wander off while he was sleeping.

One day, as he was tying up his buffaloes in the usual way, he found one rope missing. He could only tie one of the buffaloes to the tree and the rope wasn’t long enough to tie the other one as well. He was scratching his head as to what to do with the other buffalo when an idea popped into his head.

“Why don’t I go and borrow a rope from Swamiji?”, he thought. There was an ascetic who lived in a small hut in the forest nearby. So off went the farmer.

When he got to the hut, he explained his predicament to the swami who then said, “I have no rope to lend you but tell me, do you always do the same thing with the buffaloes every single day?”

The farmer said, “Yes, Swamiji.”

“Then the solution is very simple. Just bring your buffalo to the tree and pretend to tie him. Go through the motions as you would every day and it will be all right”, said the swami. 

The farmer hurried back to his buffaloes and did exactly as the swami advised. And lo and behold, the buffalo quietly and docilely sat down and did not move from its spot. Just like it did every day when tied to the tree with a rope, it sank down to rest. The farmer then ate his lunch and had a good nap knowing his buffaloes would be where he had left them.

After he woke up, the farmer first untied the one buffalo with a rope around its neck but to his horror, he couldn’t get the other buffalo to move. The one without a rope round its neck yet it wouldn’t budge no matter what the farmer did. He made clicking sounds. He gestured. He pushed. He threatened. Nothing worked. Oh dear, oh dear, said the farmer as he rushed back to the swami’s hut.

“O, Swamiji, what is this powerful spell you have put over my buffalo? It is now time to get back to the field yet it will not get up. It refuses to do what I want it to do.” said the farmer.

The ascetic looked at the farmer and with great patience told him, “I have cast no spell. All you have to do is pretend to untie him. It will work.” 

True enough, it worked just like what the swami had said. The farmer was very pleased indeed and marvelled at the amazing powers of the swami. “What a great holy man!”, he would later tell his wife. 

So, the moral of the story is that our mind is just like that of the buffalo. We hold ourselves in bondage through the invisible rope around our neck. The limiting beliefs we have and the filters and blinkers we often wear keeps us tied to repeating behaviours we repeat again and again. Thus forming deeper and deeper samskaras that keep us coming back incarnation after incarnation. So, how to break out of the cycle? Discover the answer for yourself as you listen to Swamini Vimalananda in this video.