It was monsoon period and there was incessant rain and tumultuous winds. A crow was asleep at the top of a big tree beside a large river. During the night the wind was so strong that the tree was uprooted. It fell into the fast flowing river and was swept away. The crow, however, remained fast asleep and had no idea that the tree was being swept out to sea. The wind subsided and the sun shone brightly. The crow awoke and was startled to find that he was surrounded by water. In all directions all he could see was water. He wanted to find land but didn’t know in which direction to fly. Finally the crow decided to fly east. He didn’t find any land in this direction so he decided to fly west for an hour or so. Not finding any land to the west, he decided to fly south. He flew south, then north, but still couldn’t find any signs of land. He felt very tired and then he realized that there was no place where he could rest. All he could see was water. The crow immediately thought of the tree. But where was it? Instead of looking for land the crow now desperately sought the tree from which he had started his search. After some time and effort he found the tree and rested. The crow was an intelligent bird, it learned from previous mistakes and experiences. Therefore, when it again felt strong enough to continue the search for land, it carefully remembered the location of the tree. It flew north and found no land, so it would return to the tree and rest. Then it would explore the other directions, always returning to the tree to rest. Eventually it sighted land and was able to fly directly to it and forget about the tree. The tree had served a purpose and was no longer necessary.
The crow represents the practitioner of meditation. The ocean is the mind. The tree is the psychic symbol and the land is meditation. At first the crow tried to find land haphazardly without maintaining awareness of the position of the tree. It nearly got lost in the great expanse of ocean. In the same way, if a person tries to explore the mind without the help of a psychic symbol, then he will surely get hopelessly lost.
Sure Ways to Self-Realization
Swami Satyananda Saraswati