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April 22, 2012
One day when Dattatreya was still a child the king of a neighboring country came to visit the ashram, and because his parents were away, the boy greeted the guest in the palace. As Dattatreya made arrangements for the visitor's comfort, the king saw an inner joy radiating from the boy's countenance. And realizing that this was a spontaneous expression of the intrinsic beauty of the boy's soul, he was sure that Dattatreya was gifted with great wisdom. Curious to learn how someone so young could be so wise, the king questioned the child, and the following dialogue ensued.
King: You have been studying with your parents?
Dattatreya: There is much to learn from everyone and everything, not only my parents.
King: Then you have a teacher? Who is it?
Dattatreya: I have 24 gurus (spiritual masters).
King: Twenty-four gurus at such a tender age? Who are they?
Dattatreya: Mother Earth is my first guru. She taught me to hold lovingly in my heart all those who trample me, scratch me and hurt me, just as she does. She taught me to give them my best, remembering that their acts are normal and natural from their standpoint.
King: Who is your second guru?
Dattatreya: Water. This force contains life and purity. It cleanses whatever it touches and provides life to whoever drinks it. Water flows unceasingly. If it stops, it becomes stagnant. "Keep moving, keep moving" is the lesson I learned from the water.
King: Your third guru?
Dattatreya: Fire. It burns everything, transforming it into flame. By consuming dead logs, it produces warmth and light. Thus, I learn to absorb everything that life brings and turn it into the flame that enlightens my life. In that light, others can walk safely.
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