The Speaking Tree

03 Nov

There was once a powerful King who ruled over the Kingdom for a very long time. He was quite successful and his reign was beneficial for the People of the Kingdom. He did many good deeds, helping the People when he could. Like everyone else, he made mistakes but they were overlooked as on the whole, people were happy with him as their ruler and praised him a lot.

A soldier by profession, the King had risen from the ranks by his impressive defeats of powerful opponents. He was swift, agile and skilled with the sword. People often praised him to be the best sword-bearer of the land.

Over the years, the King grew in pride. Every significant win added to his sense of achievement. He grew in size and arrogance of his skill. At first, not many noticed the apparent increase in his height and the significant darkening of his complexion. It wasn’t until rumors of his ill-deeds started haunting the dark corners of the city that the People took notice.

Not that the People were able to do much about it. Indeed, many didn’t even wish to, as the King’s reign brought good fortune and trade to the land in the past. Few who tried to approach the King with a challenge, met with a swift and fierce end. Soon, many attempted to challenge the King to duel, with each challenger sooner or later, meeting his demise. The King declared, “Until someone defeats me here in the Duel Room, until I am killed, I shall continue to be the supreme ruler of the land.”

How the King would defeat someone in a duel was truly bizarre yet would seem utterly powerful to an onlooker. Regardless of whether the opponent praised the King for his skill with the sword, or challenged him for a weakness, they wouldn’t be able to defeat him. Many soldiers, some who trained harder than the King and claimed to know greater tricks than him, still failed. No one who challenged him seemed to have the power to defeat the Dark King. He continued to rule the land; his reign getting darker and darker.

People of the Kingdom knew they needed help. In desperation, they turned to an old fable which spoke of an Old Man in White, who could use his magic to get rid of the darkness. Although they weren’t sure of whether such a man existed, in foolish hope, a group of men set out to find this man. After searching for a while, they found him out of great Desire and brought him back to the Kingdom, explaining to him their predicament along the way.

“You must defeat him”, they said.

“Is that so?”, was all that the Old Man in White said and agreed to face the Dark King.

They took him to the Duel Room to challenge the Dark King. The King, upon glancing at this old man, laughed hard. “You don’t even have a sword! How do you plan to kill me?”

The Old Man in White replied softly, “I don’t need a sword… for I know I cannot kill you”.

The Dark King laughed even harder “Why are you here then? Just to die like the others?!”

The Old Man in White just smiled slightly in reply.

This annoyed the Dark King. “Very well then”, he said. He swiftly walked towards the Old Man in White, his sword raised, screaming, “I am the best in the land! Neither you nor anyone else can EVER DEFEAT me!” All the People screamed and looked away, not being able to bear to see the Old Man’s impeding plight.

The Old Man in White, however, didn’t move. He stood right where he was; unmoving and unflinching and continued to gaze upon the Dark King, with the slight smile on his face.

And miraculously, the King’s sword, which was swiftly approaching the Old Man in White; the sword which had killed hundreds before, did not land on the Old Man. Instead, it slid away smoothly.

The Dark King tried again and again and again and yet each time the sword would not touch the Old Man. It was as if there was an extension of Space between the Dark King and the Old Man in White – an invisible wall.

As the Dark King grew more and more frustrated, he grew in size – to an extent that he was as big as the Great Hall of the Duel Room. He stuck with his sword again and again, not once touching the Old Man in White, who stood in silence, watching the King grow darker and darker.

The Room’s glasses shattered, the walls broke down in rubble; the whole Palace shook. There was dust and debris everywhere as the Giant King grew and grew in size, all the time destroying everything around him, but the Old Man in White.

Suddenly a dust storm gathered, blinding everyone. The entire Kingdom seemed to be swept in the King’s ever-growing wrath. The earth shook in protest, destroying almost all of the city’s structures. The earth parted and swallowed the Grand Palace – the entire area except for where the Old Man in White and the People stood.

With a final roar of pain, anger and humiliation, the Dark Cloud, which was once a fair and agile King of the land, vanished into nothingness.

Almost instantly, the dust cleared and the Kingdom was restored back to normal, with everything except the Grand Palace, which was nowhere to be seen. The Old Man in White and the People now stood on a lush green patch of ground, which used to be the Palace.

“What did you do? How did you defeat someone so powerful who could control all of us? How did you defeat him, without even attacking him?”

People were amazed and were very happy to see the Dark King vanquished forever. They wanted to know how he did it.

The Old Man in White smiled and replied, “Oh he’s not gone forever – he will be back.”

Everyone was aghast. “Why? How will he come back?”

“Because that is his true nature”, said the Old Man. “He lives through us and so long as we live, he lives on as well”.

Crestfallen faces around him inquired dejectedly, “So there is no defeating him EVER? He will be back and take over us again! How did you defeat him anyway? What can we do when he comes back?”

The Old Man in White replied, rather animatedly, “You need not worry about him coming back, for that is inevitable. What you must remember about defeating him is this – do not fight him. Do not worship him either. Acknowledge his presence, but after that, merely observe him. See him for what he is. Look at him, his power, his sword, his darkness. But that’s it. Don’t reply back to his taunts. If he tells you he is the most powerful person around, neither agree nor disagree with him. Don’t tell him that you can defeat him (even if you now know how to).”

“The Dark King feeds on attention- good or bad. You stop feeding him with that and he will turn into what he truly is – which is simply nothing. Keep this in mind and he won’t be able to touch you as there will always be enough Space between you and him”.

And with this, the Old Man in White walked back to where he came from.

The Kingdom lasted for centuries. The Dark King would return occasionally, just like the Old Man in White predicted. Sometimes, the existing Ruler would be able to defeat him; other times he would fall for the Dark King’s bait and get trapped. But eventually, everyone would remember the Old Man’s teachings and would successfully vanquish the Dark King.



The Dark King – The Ego (Collective dysfunction of Humanity), manifested by Self, associated with Form

The Old Man in White – Consciousness, the Being or Presence (the Immortal Soul)

The Space between – The higher-level of Presence, the disassociation with Form

Kingdom, Rulers – The Human Mind

People – Thoughts generated in the Mind (prone to manipulation by The Ego)

Image Courtesy: and

Posted by on November 3, 2012 in Philosophy


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2 responses to “The Speaking Tree

  1. Atul

    November 4, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    All ur childhood reads and perceptions do get back at u in realtime– well written

  2. rohit3kshirsagar

    August 21, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    Wow… you could write a book Ina, a very captivating one if you decide to.
    As for this piece, very well written.


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