A man was on his mission in search of the truth. He met an old man who was sitting under a tree outside his village. He seemed to be the first religious person whom he encountered. On approaching him, he told him of his mission and asked him as to where he can find his true master and what his characteristics would be.
The old man's answer was simple. He explained that the seeker would find him sitting under a particular tree, in such and such posture with such and such gestures and said that was suffice to know the true master.
The seeker began his search and wandered far and wide for the master. Thirty years passed and he returned to his own village meeting failure in finding the true master. As he was returning, he found the same old man who directed him thirty years back with the descriptions of a master. To his amazement he found the same old man who directed him, with himself bearing all his descriptions of a true master. The seeker sensed his folly and fell at the feet of the old master.
The seeker enquired, " Why did you not reveal yourself to me when I first met you? Why did you misdirect me thus to wander fruitlessly for thirty long years?"
The master replied, " I was very much here fitting myself exactly to all the descriptions that I gave you, sitting under this very tree. But just that you would not see me!”
The master pointed out, "You were more interested in searching than the very truth itself!" He continued, " You were not ready to listen. You were not ready to come home without all your wanderings, that you knocked on different doors before you ultimately came here. Your mind lay in searching elsewhere than seeking me right here! You were not alert enough. Imagine my condition, waiting for you for thirty long years, trying to maintain my posture for your arrival, as I knew you would be coming! But what if I had passed away?!
Quite often we miss out 'the truth' which is ever present within us in seeking to know 'about the truth'. When one's attention is turned inwards, the truth shines there eternally, where the seeker merges with it in realisation. The seeker in this short story misses the truth in his search by focusing his attention outwards in his wandering. At the end of the fruitless search he comes upon it when he turns 'homeward,' in his very 'own village'.