“Mama, how are pearls made?” asked a girl who had already grown up, watching her mother put on a pearl necklace around her neck, getting ready for an evening outing.
Smiling, the mother sat her daughter down, just as she used to do when she was little, and told her the story of the pearl shell.
“You see, my dear,” the mother began, “there is a wonderful Indian story that says that if it rains at the moment when the star Svatī (Arcturus) rises on the horizon and if a drop of rain falls into a shell, that drop will become a pearl. The shells know this; that’s why they climb to the surface when that star comes out and wait to catch the precious raindrops. When a drop falls into them, the shells quickly close their valves, sink down to the bottom of the sea, and patiently transform the raindrops into pearls.”
Not wanting to miss the opportunity to teach her child, the mother continued:
“The shell teaches us to be the best we can be. First, listen, then understand, and then, giving up all distractions, close your mind to external influences and dedicate yourself to developing the truth within yourself. You know, there’s a danger of wasting your energy if you first accept one idea just because it’s new, and then abandon it for some other new idea. Accept one thing and follow it to the end. Don’t leave it before that. Only those who can become obsessed with one idea will see the light in the end. Those who only dabble here and there will never achieve anything. They can, for a moment, tickle their nerves, but that will be all. They will remain slaves in the hands of nature and will never go beyond the senses.”