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« Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined* | Main | Survey Says! »

September 10, 2011


East Coast

Just a wonderful story, it reminded me of Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson, the key point being: In our lives, we are never alone.

In Bar Harbor today, the weather is beautiful (see the pic). I am sorry you could not join us.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.
This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”


Appropriate timing. This is a great tribute to Jon Tumilson and his life long companion. Great story.


Bali shadow puppet telling of the story found here:
(I had hoped to locate a clip from the story excerpted from Peter Brook's epic adaptation, but in fact this one is quite nice).
The story of Yudisthira is one of the most memorable of the Maharbharat (for me at least). Even the great Arjun is seen perishing (due to his arrogance). I think the story represents the importance of a quality that I call "seeking the bottom", which is also a central theme in the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu in China. Other human qualities such as ambition or self-confidence may lead to success in life, but they are not enduring or "robust". They are finite.

Seeking the bottom is my term, but the Tao as translated by D.C. Lau has it as such:
(The sage) does not show himself, and so is conspicuous;
He does not consider himself right, and so is illustrious;
He does not brag, and so has merit;
He does not boast, and so endures.
It is because he does not contend that no one in the empire is in a position to contend with him.
'Bowed down then preserved' is no empty saying. Truly it enables one to be preserved in the end.


Great Anology and a great story about friendship, love and loyalty.
Yudhisthira was a great warrior. John Tomilson was a Navy Seal. Both men fought in an ideological war. Both stood true to their principles and sacrificed in the service of thier cause. Both stayed loyal to their friends irrespective of status.
Is fitting that this story is published on this weekend.The journey of such people is an inspiration to the world and beautifully summed up in your reflection "The dharma, represented by the dog in this story is the representation of the only way a person can attain peace. And within this story, the path is found through righteousness not because of what Yudhisthira will attain but because of the intrinsic value of doing what was right."


Here is another lovely story about standing by your friend in need.
Dog watches over injured dog friend after tsunami hit


Thanks for sharing – beautiful story!

Fellow Traveller

I will always remember and admire how you treated the taxi driver in Philippines.

Random acts are highly valued by the receiver, doer and observer .

On the other hand, I also remember and despise those who used their advantages to intentionally hurt others emotionally and physically.


Beautiful story to ponder in a world that is turning increasingly to "me only".



Don't get me wrong. Yidhishtira was a brave warrior with a tremendous sense of duty. But, I wonder- If Yudhishtira had even one other brother survive with him, on that last Stretch, and the dog had joined up with them, would he have done the same thing? And do note that this was not a dog that did nothing for him. In my mind, it was the dog's companionship that helped him make it thru. So to have left him behind would have been ungratefulness. Remember the movie" Cast Away"? Tom Hanks would risk his life to get back"wilson"- because the companionship offered by that object kept him sane. So although I agree with the reflection- that doing what is right/following your Dharma will bring peace. I beg a different question: Whether we do good things out of gratitude? or to get gratitude? You can judge a person's character by the things he does when no one else is looking.


Tough choice between heaven and the dog . . . something to ponder

California Guy

Interesting. Makes me wonder whether heaven is a destination with a capital "H" or the on-going self discovery during life's journey.


Great story! I heard this story as a kid growing up in India.

For those who are not familiar with the Indian epic, Mahabharata, here is a bit of notes on the characters cited above.
Yudhisthira - the oldest of the five brothers known as Pandavas.
Indra - God of the sky (like Jupiter)

FR team

These comments are from repeat posting of this article in December 2018.

A Scottish version:

Posted by: ManufacturingPro | December 06, 2018 at 06:31 PM

Sujat (received by mail and posted by FR team)
I m glad to read this story again written so nicely.Thank u.

"This begs the question of whether we do good things because of what we feel it will bring us: appreciation or reward." - Is always the crucial question. - As logic should guide us, a mind quite refined would choose to do right & noble more for the [feeling of satisfaction or fulfilment of nobility in itself] rather than with any other anticipatory motive.

Nonetheless, interesting is, that even such a choice in harmony with human Dharma.... driven by emotionally noble & loving energy.... is still a consciously made choice. And whenever a choice is involved, it necessarily implies the existence of the Mind-identity(ego), which again implies that the noble choice is for the core benefit of one's own self - i.e. the innate feeling of satisfaction or fulfilment of nobility in itself.

Yet such emotional energy & choices that surely help our mind's evolution & eventual dissolution/liberation from the physical world are what we gradually learn to choose, because intrinsically, that is the very purpose of each & every mind.

All our choices necessarily
are self-centred choices, where eventually the self must realise that it was never
the individualised illusion that it lived as.

This is simply my personal extended reflection in this context which had taken form in my mind a couple of years ago, and I felt like sharing it with u.

Posted by: Sujat (received by mail and posted by FR team) | December 06, 2018 at 09:48 PM

This is a wonderful story and I being a student of Mahabharat knew the story. I too was touched to see the Bush dog in front of the casket. Good send

Posted by: Ashwin | December 07, 2018 at 05:57 AM

Thank you Anand, such a beautiful story. I hope to remember it always. 🙏

Posted by: Mina | December 07, 2018 at 06:04 AM

Thanks for sharing this story, Anand! 🙂

Posted by: FE | December 07, 2018 at 06:15 AM

Meaningful reminder to all of us. Sometimes, power is treated as some force to conquer evil but it can also be a force to lift somebody. In fact, when one tries to use their positional power to influence, it fails as you have to pull people to you out of compulsion. But using relational power is magic. It attracts the other person to you and don't have to exert much.

Posted by: Sam | December 07, 2018 at 12:14 PM

Humble Warrior
Well said.. reminds me of the samaritan women at the well who gave waterto Jesus or the parable of the good samaritan... beautiful

Posted by: Humble Warrior | December 07, 2018 at 01:15 PM

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