The temple is set on the outskirts of a small town, with a pond right next, many trees around, and a lot of open area. People from the town and nearby villages visit this temple and more do on this auspicious day. It is a busy day for the priests and admin staff, everyone is running around to make last-minute adjustments to the arrangements.
A famous Swamiji is expected to arrive soon, priests are waiting to receive him outside the temple. People who completed their prayers are also staying back to get a glimpse of him.
Half an hour is passed, everyone is patiently waiting. Then there is a cloud of dust, honks, and vehicle sounds signaling the arrival of the Swamiji.
There comes the convoy of vehicles, everyone runs to them. Swamiji steps out of the car, with a divine smile and greets everyone with a Namaste.
He goes into the temple, performs special pooja, comes out, and sits under a huge 100-year old tree. His disciples are standing around, hundreds of people are gathered to see him, many are coming to him, taking blessings.
The whole visible world at that temple is centered around him - he is the center of that small universe.
Swamiji is attending the people one by one, handing them a small flower as a blessing and making their day.
Swamiji's eyes fall on the stray dogs nearby, some sleeping, some walking around. There is a particular dog that caught Swamiji's attention.
The dog is completely immersed in his own world, playing on the ground, running around, running behind other dogs, sleeping for a minute, getting up, and playing again.
Swamiji gets so curious and sets his full attention on the dog completely ignoring the people coming to him.
His disciples and people are surprised and they also look at what Swamiji is seeing.
The dog runs around chasing other dogs for a while, suddenly stops for a split second, looks at Swamiji and looks away, gets back to his play.
Swamiji is totally surprised, the whole world is standing around him and the dog doesn't care?
He cannot believe it, falls into total silence, sitting there for few minutes, gets up, walks to the car and the convoy leaves to the ashram.
At the ashram, Swamiji cancels all the rituals for the day, sitting just in silence.
His disciples are confused and finally take the courage to ask him, "Guruji, what happened? Ever since you saw that dog, you are not yourself, what is bothering you?".
Swamiji opens his eyes, looks at his disciples with a smile, and says "It is not bothering me but has brought me a true realization".
He continues, "What a life the dog is leading, just in his own world, not caring what happens around him, no matter how powerful a person is nearby, he just doesn't care. That is true renunciation, true sainthood".
Disciples look at each other not believing what they are hearing but pay attention.
Swamiji declares "I want to become a dog and experience that kind of a life".
"What?" all disciples shout at once in disbelief.
Swamiji understands their concern, looks at them, "Do not worry, I will do so just for one day".
A few minutes pass in total silence in the hall.
A disciple comes to him, "Guruji, with your powers, you can turn into anything. However, if you carry this wisdom and the information of this life, you will not truly experience what you intend to".
Swamiji thinks about it, nods his head, and agrees, "you are right, for that one day, I will just be the dog, completely giving up what I am".
Disciple continues, "Guruji, if you turn into a dog in front of us, we will follow you wherever you go, and you do not truly enjoy that one day".
Swamiji agrees to this as well, "yes, tonight when everyone is sleeping, I will take the dog's life. If you do not see me tomorrow, you know why, just wait for one day".
Disciples agree to this and leave the hall.
That night, past midnight, when everyone is sleeping, Swamiji comes out of the ashram, sits on a bench, and performs prayers to turn into a dog with a clock set to turn back into the Swamiji in exact 24hours.
There, he becomes a dog, a real dog, completely losing the sense of Swamiji's life.
A dog is a dog.
He looks around, finds nothing interesting, walks around all the streets nearby, finally bumping into his colleagues in one of the streets.
The local dogs look at the new entrant with a surprise, then with a smile, start chasing him. Our new dog is shocked with the welcome, scared looking at all the colleagues behind him, runs around for a safe place.
They finally catch up with him, start attacking him.
He is fiercely defending, the whole street is full of dog fights with a lot of noise.
It is early morning and the fight is disturbing the people who are just getting into a deep sleep.
Some people come out and start hitting the dogs with sticks and stones. A smart person simply calls up municipality authorities.
After some time, a van comes by, takes away all the dogs including the new entrant.
The day goes by with some time spent in the van around the town and the rest in the shelter.
The clock is ticking.
Some dogs are sleeping and some are still awake.
The clock slowly and finally ticks to the exact hour of the day marking 24hours.
There, suddenly the dog turns into the Swamiji.
Swamiji comes alive, sitting in a cage, and looks around in disbelief. It takes a minute or so for him to understand and get a sense of what exactly happened and why is he here.
The dog friends look up at the Swamiji, initially with a surprise and then with happiness.
Swamiji gets up, scared looking at all the stray dogs around him, fear all over his face. He doesn't know what to do, no one nearby.
All the dogs slowly start walking towards him.
Swamiji screams out loudly.
Moral of the story: Use your powers wisely, where they are needed and how they are needed.