Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar

Once upon a time, there was a Zen master who lived in a small temple in the mountains. One day, a young monk came to the temple. He was curious to know the fundamental nature of the human mind. He asked the Master to teach him about the mind.

The Master told the young Monk to go to the nearby pond and look into it for a few minutes. When the Monk returned, the Master asked, “Tell me what all you saw?” The young Monk said there were ripples and reflections of the trees and the sky. I could also see moving clouds and a few birds. And yes, a few tadpoles were seen swimming at the bottom.

The Master sounded happy. He then asked the young Monk to go back to the pond and again look into it, but this time, he was instructed to look much deeper into it. When the Monk returned, the Master asked to tell him what he saw. He said, “When I looked deeper, I saw my reflection. I stayed there for some more time and could sense the reflection of my mind and thoughts. I saw how this mind constantly created ripples of thoughts and emotions, just like the water in the pond.

The Master then explained the nature of the mind to the young Monk. He said, “Our mind is like the pond; it reflects the world around us and creates its own reality”. He taught him that by understanding the nature of the mind, he could learn to control his thoughts and emotions and find true inner peace.

Impressed with this learning, the young Monk practised meditation and mindfulness. As he looked deeper into the pond, he realized that the mind is like the water; it can be calm and still or ruffled and disturbed by the winds of our thoughts. He learned that by being mindful of his thoughts, he could let clean the negative ones and cultivate positive thoughts. The young Monk spent many years at the temple, studying and practising under the Master’s guidance. Eventually, he attained enlightenment and realized that the mind is not something to be controlled but to be understood. He
realized that by understanding the nature of the mind, one can find freedom, inner peace and true happiness.

Years passed, and the young Monk transformed into the New Master of the hermit. Then came a time, in a nearby village nestled in the mountains, a young boy named Laddu lived. Laddu was a curious and adventurous child, always eager to explore the world around him. But despite his desire for adventure, Laddu was plagued by a deep fear of mountains that held him back.

Laddu’s fear was rooted in a traumatic event from his childhood, in which he had narrowly escaped a landslide. Ever since that day, Laddu had been haunted by thoughts of danger and fear, which made it difficult for him to enjoy life to the fullest.

One day, as Laddu was wandering through the forest, he came across the New Master who lived in that temple on the edge of the village. The New Master could quickly notice Laddu’s troubled state of mind. He invited Laddu for tea and asked him to share his mind. He calmly listened as Laddu shared all his fears about the mountains.

The New Master did the same pond exercise with Laddu. He convinced Laddu that his thoughts held the key to unlocking his fears. Thoughts are powerful things, the Master said. “They have the power to shape our reality and control our actions. Our thoughts reflect only those images which we have stored inside for ages. I advise you to start thinking good about these mountains, and soon you will wash away all your fears.” The new Master further said, “remember, we humans have the power to tame our thoughts, and by doing so, you can overcome all your fears.”

Laddu was sceptical at first, but the Master’s words resonated with him, and he decided to put them to the test. He began to focus only on positive thoughts, and slowly but surely, his fears began to fade away. With his newfound confidence, Laddu embarked on a journey to explore the world beyond the village. He climbed the highest peaks and saw the world from the top of those mountains. All the while, he kept his thoughts focused on the beauty and wonder of those peaks. His fear was nowhere near.

Today Laddu is the senior teacher in his village, recognized as the wise man. He proudly shares his story of thought-based transformation with his colleagues and students. Whenever someone falls short of courage, strength and resilience, they come to Laddu. Friends, we all have gained many lessons in our life journey. Why not transfer wisdom and make our future generations wise.

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India