Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The Story of Milo (A Baba Dada Tale)
There once was a boy name Milo who was afraid of his shadow.
He believed his shadow was after him, and that if it ever caught him, it would do terrible things to him. He believed other shadows were also after him.
So whenever he saw his shadow, or any shadow, he would run as fast as he could to find a safe place to hide. Some days he would stay in hiding until the sun went down or it was so cloudy there were no shadows. He would huddle away from the light, crying. The other boys and girls, and even many adults, laughed at him and would say cruel things.
Gradually, Milo went out of his home less and less, then not at all. His parents tried everything they could to get him out. Coaxing. Bribes. Yelling. Threats. A wooden spoon.
So they turned to Baba Dada.
Baba Dada sat with Milo in the living room.
“You are afraid of shadows, my little sprout?” Baba Dada said.
The boy warily nodded his head.
Baba Dada leaned close and said in almost a whisper, “I am afraid of shadows.”
Milo’s eyes widened.
“But,” Baba Dada continued, “I AM a shadow. So are you. So are your parents. So is that stuffed aardvark on the coffee table, which is also a shadow.”
Milo looked puzzled.
“We live in a world of shadows,” Baba Dada said. “And as shadows other shadows can hurt us.”
With that, Baba Dada pinched Milo’s arm. Milo yelped.
“The shadow that is me hurt the shadow that is you,” Baba Dada said.
But then he turned on a lamp next to the chair where Milo was sitting. He moved his hand between the lamp and Milo, the shadow of his hand touching Milo. Baba Dada pinched the air, the shadow of his hand closing on Milo's arm.
“Did you feel that?” Baba Dada asked.
Milo nodded no.
“That is a shadow of my shadow,” Baba Dada said. “A shadow can hurt a shadow, but a shadow of a shadow cannot hurt a shadow. Shadows of shadows are two manifestations away from reality. Do you see?”
“Shadows of shadows are harmless,” Baba Dada explained. “Shadows are dangerous to fellow shadows. And reality? Hoo Boy! But ours is not to worry about reality, only to seek it and know it and ignore it, and to understand and live with the shadows that we are.”
There was a glint of understanding in Milo’s eyes.
"So your shadow cannot harm you," Baba Dada said. "But the shadow you can hurt that shadow."
He turned off the lamp, and the shadow of his hand disappeared.
"Poof. I have control over my shadow."
"So you see, sprout, you have nothing to fear from your shadow. But it has much to fear from you. Growl at it!"
Baba Dada turned on the lamp and pointed to the wall. Milo saw his shadow there.
"Growl," Baba Dada said.
"Now turn off the lamp."
Milo did. The shadow was gone.
"Poof," Baba Dada said.
Milo laughed. "Poof! Grrr."
“And now,” Baba Dada chuckled, “I think milk and cookies are what we need.”
“Shadow milk and cookies,” Milo said, smiling ever so slightly.
“Ha!” Baba Dada laughed. “We have a Baba Dada shadow in training!”
They spent the next hour drinking milk, eating cookies and playing shadow games on the wall.
Baba Dada showed Milo how to make many creatures’ shadows.
Milo was very good with rabbits and fish.
Pax et bonum