Once upon a time, in a remote village of the Deccan Plateau in India, there was a carpenter called Pradibi. He was very poor and hardworking. His shop was a simple bench placed around a huge neem tree in the middle of the village. These were very arid lands, so the tree was indeed a blessing for Pradibi and the exhausted passersby who ventured into those lands of nobody.
One day, as Pradibi was busy toiling, he noticed that an old saintly looking old man was approaching the tree. Respectfully, Pradibi abandoned his work and went to meet him offering a glass of water and something to eat, out of his own meager food supply. The old man gently refused the food, drank the water and said- thanks my dear son but I am on my way to see God and I am so excited I cannot bear any food in my stomach now-but your glass of water and your allowing me to sit under this shade, that is enough to recover my strength.’ Pradibi, upon hearing that the old man was on his way to see God, said ‘you are going to see God master, please if you have time tell him that sometimes I think about Him but that usually I am too busy to do it, but that once in a great while I do think about Him, and tell Him that I am really thankful for all He has given me.’
The old man smiled and said-I will tell Him my son- and continued his journey. Miles later he came across a forest where a renowned yogi had been practicing austerities for 40 years, meditating daily and repeating God's name, upon seeing the old man he recognized his saintly stature and fell down at his feet saying - Master bless me and teach me- the old man smiled and helped him up while saying, nothing to teach you my son’ and ‘besides I am in a bit of a hurry because I have an appointment with God’ Master-said the Yogi- I beg of you please tell God that I have been meditating and repeating His name for 40 years, ask Him when He is going to give me realization please-will do my son- said the old man- I promise I will’ and he went deeper into the forest than no one has ever known.
Time passed by, and one day the Yogi sees the old man returning from the heart of the forest, his face radiant like the sun, songbirds surrounding him singing melodious songs, he looked as if he was floating ecstatically off the ground. Master, master he interrupted the old man's savoring of the divine, did you ask Him, did you ask Him how much more is my wait? The old man was startled by the desperate insistent voice, and came out as if from a dream, and smiled saying- yes, my son God told me to tell you that in just 40 more years you will realize Him. WHAT! shouted the Yogi, 40 more years after all that I have surrendered, I can't believe this, oh no! and he vented his frustration in vain, as the old man recovered his ecstatic poise and continued his journey in enchantment.
He now approached the old village, where Pradibi was working hard on a big order from the wealthiest man in town, that he had to finish by that evening, that day Pradibi had no time to waste. But upon seeing the saint, he could not avoid stopping his work and greeting him, offering again to him something to drink and eat. But the saint told him-thanks my son- but I cannot bear anything except this cool shade, I was just with God and my body is still detached from my soul. And he sat down for just a little rest under the enormous foliage of the shade tree. ‘By the way son, God told me to tell you that He also remembers you and that, in as many lifetimes as leaves has this tree, you will come to realize Him.’ What! said Pradibi, falling to the ground in tears, amazed that God remembered him, -I am most fortunate that One like Him- remembers one like me, and he sobbed with love at the message conveyed by the old man.
It is said that that then, out of nowhere, a powerful wind from the East blew, with such a force that all leaves in the shade tree were blown away. And that at that instant Pradibi became Light.