Mark: 4: 1-9, 13-20

11. Parable Of The Lost Sheep

A man had a hundred sheep. He had taken them out for grazing. As he was returning, he found that one of them was missing. He immediately left the ninety-nine and ran searching for that missing sheep. He knew the ninety-nine would safely reach home. He found the missing sheep. He rejoiced and put it on his shoulders. As soon as he reached home, he called out to his neighbours: "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost."

Even so the man-of-God is intent on reforming the sinner and bringing him over to the path of divine life, though this means a lot of hard toil for him. He knows that those that are righteous will reach the Home—God—safely. When even one sinner is reclaimed, the gods and the Maharshis rejoice.

12. Parable Of The Talents

A man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.

After a long time, the master returned and wanted to settle the accounts. The servant who received five talents had traded with them and made five more. He placed these ten before the master and explained what he had done. The master was highly pleased, and said: "Well done, a good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much: enter into the joy of your master." Similarly, the servant who had received two talents placed four before the master and received similar praise. But the servant to whom the master had given one talent returned it to him, saying that he knew the master was strict in his dealings and since he (the servant) did not want to lose the talent, he had hidden it safely away and brought it back now. The master was annoyed and said: "You wicked and slothful servant! You ought to have invested the money with the bankers." To others he said: "so, take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten. And, cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness."

The significance of this parable is obvious. By God's Grace man acquires a certain amount of piety, charitable disposition, spiritual leanings, etc. These virtues must be augmented by constant exercise. Life, human birth, is a golden opportunity, to do so. He who thus augments virtue becomes the Lord's beloved and enjoys Bliss with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven. He who wastes this life, and does not make any use of his innate virtue, loses even that and comes to grief.

Be positively and vigorously good and righteous.

13. The Parable Of The Prodigal Son

The younger son approached his father and said: "Father, give me here and now, my share of the property." And, as soon as the father had done so, the young man went away to a distant country. Soon the money was spent in luxury. A famine struck the country. The young man was very miserable. He thought of his father and said to himself: "I shall go to him and tell him—Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants." Even before he had reached his home his father had seen him from a distance. He rushed forward to embrace the son who pleaded to be treated as a hired servant. But the father had the best clothes brought for the son, all ornaments, and the best food. The return of the young man was celebrated as a festival. The elder son on returning home from the field was told of the festivity; he was angry. "Lo," he said "these many years I have served you; and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!" But the father replied: "son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."

This parable, too, has the same moral as the Parable of the Lost Sheep. The wicked man—his life and his energy are also the gift of God—squanders his life and his energy in evil ways. He comes to grief. Disease and old age assail him. Then he returns to God. The celestials and saints rejoice exceedingly when such a one returns to the path of righteousness: for, a wayward man has been reclaimed to the path of Truth.

14. Parable Of The Hidden Treasure

"Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

This is a beautiful small parable pregnant with spiritual significance.

The Bliss of the Soul, the Peace that passeth understanding, is the hidden treasure. It is in the very innermost recesses of man's heart. It is revealed to man by the preceptor, the master, the Guru.

Overjoyed at this spiritual initiation by the Guru, the spiritual aspirant sells all that he has. He renounces the little pleasures of the world. But all the time he keeps the initiation well "covered." He does not boast about it and about the hidden treasure. He keeps silent; and works silently to possess it.

After renouncing the world and its petty joys, he purchases the field—spiritual life, divine life, service of the Guru and study of scriptures—and now he comes in possession of the hidden treasure, too.

15. Parable Of The Seed And The Harvest

"The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day; and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."—Mark 4:26-29.

All the actions of man are like the seeds sown; in the Kingdom of God they germinate and grow into plants; in due time they ripen and produce fruits; and when they are ripe, man harvests them in a subsequent birth. As you sow so shall you reap. Mysterious is the law of Karma.

Or

Man repeats the Names of the Lord. He meditates and engages himself in spiritual practices. His piety, righteousness and charity are the seeds that are sown in the Kingdom of God. In due time, they yield the delightful fruits of wisdom and God-realisation. The harvest is immortality and eternal bliss. The spiritual growth is not apparent; but the harvest is unmistakably evident.