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After sharing nearly 1,000 stories over the last 15 years, these are the 20 spiritual stories that have been read the most by our visitors.
Along with each story, we have included an explanation of the spiritual message & moral, as well as personal reflection questions, so that you can go deeper with the story, and more importantly, within yourself.
These parables come from many diverse spiritual paths, written by famous authors as well as people who are virtually unknown. Regardless, they all are as relevant now as when they were originally written.
We hope you enjoy them as much as we do, and be sure to share them with friends and family – they'll thank you for them!
Top 20 Favorite Spiritual Stories
Story #1: The Freedom Parrot
After creating the original Top 10 list, five new ones have been added, including our audience's #1 new favorite. Here's how it starts…
A man, a great man, a fighter for freedom was traveling in the mountains. He stayed in a caravanserai for the night.
He was amazed that in the caravanserai there was a beautiful parrot in a golden cage, continually repeating “Freedom! Freedom!” And it was such a place that when the parrot repeated the word “Freedom!” it would go on echoing in the valleys, in the mountains.
The man thought: “I have seen many parrots, and I have thought they must want to be free from those cages… but I have never seen such a parrot whose whole day, from the morning to the evening when he goes to sleep, is spent in calling out for freedom.”
He had an idea. In the middle of the night, when the owner was fast asleep, he got up and opened the door of the cage. He whispered to the parrot, “Now get out.”
But he was very surprised that the parrot was clinging to the bars of the cage…
Story #2: The Drowning Man and God's Messages Of Hope
While out to sea, a large boat became shipwrecked and there was only a single survivor. This man prayed and asked God to save his life. Soon thereafter, another boat came by and offered the man some help.
“No thanks,” he said. “I’m waiting for God to save me.”
Story #3: The Struggle of the Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole at the end.
Eventually, the butterfly stopped making progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. The man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
Story #4: The Three Laughing Monks
In China they are only known simply as “The Three Laughing Monks.”
They did only one thing: they would enter a village, stand in the marketplace, and start laughing. Suddenly people would become aware and they would laugh with their whole being.
Then others would also get the infection, and then a crowd would gather, and just looking at them the whole crowd would start laughing. What is happening? Then the whole town would get involved, and they would move to another town.
Story #5: The Chicken and the Eagles
A long time ago in a remote valley, there lived a farmer. One day he got tired of the daily routine of running the farm and decided to climb the cliffs that brooded above the valley to see what lay beyond.
He climbed all day until he reached a ledge just below the top of the cliff; there, to his amazement was a nest, full of eggs.
Immediately he knew they were eagle’s eggs and, even though he knew it was profoundly un-ecological and almost certainly illegal, he carefully took one and stowed it in his pack
Story #6: Waiting On God
Has God ever spoke to you “through” another person? I would venture to say that most of us have experienced this, although some of us may not have been aware of what was happening. This recently happened to me as I was in the process of responding to an e-mail sent to me by a dear sister in my church.
She was concerned about how hard it is to wait on God. I usually use events from my own life to help in ministering to other people. I told her that one of the hardest things in my life is also waiting on God.
Story #7: The Elephant and His Old Blind Mother
Long ago, in the hills of the Himalayas near a lotus pool, the Buddha was once born as a baby elephant. He was a magnificent elephant, pure white with feet and face the color of coral. His trunk gleamed like a silver rope and his ivory tusks curled up in a long arc.
He followed his mother everywhere. She plucked the tenderest leaves and sweetest mangoes from the tall trees and gave them to him. “First you, then me,” she said. She bathed him in the cool lotus pool among the fragrant flowers. Drawing the sparkling water up in her trunk, she
Story #8: A Man and His Dog
A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
Story #9: Gandhi's Shoes
As Gandhi stepped aboard a train one day, one of his shoes slipped off and landed on the track.
He was unable to retrieve it as the train was moving.
To the amazement of his companions, Gandhi calmly took off his other shoe and threw it back along the track to land close to the first.
Story #10: Forgiveness of the King
Once upon a time there was a King in a country who was on a tour with his Ministers, including his royal security and others. He was taking rest, under the shade of the mango tree at the mango garden with his team when suddenly a stone hit him directly on the forehead. Immediately he started bleeding.
The king had no idea who threw the stone at him, but he did know that he was experiencing an intolerable pain. The royal securities left right away to find the person who threw the stone at the king. After searching they found only one old lady there, and they asked if she had thrown any stones recently.
“Yes,” she replied.
Story #11: The Moonlit Prophecy
The rain pounded against the ancient windows of the British Library, as Professor Samuel Winslow meticulously examined an old manuscript. His gray eyes flickered with a mix of excitement and apprehension. It was a stormy night, aptly reflecting the turmoil within his mind. The manuscript he held, rumored to be the lost Gospel of Judas, had the potential to change the course of history. It was said to contain not only a spiritual message but also a prophecy that could alter the future of mankind.
Samuel, a renowned biblical scholar, had dedicated his life to decoding ancient texts and uncovering their hidden truths. However, the task before him felt different, more significant. The words on the page seemed to beckon him, challenging him to uncover their secrets and embrace his destiny.
Driven by a sense of urgency, Samuel set off on a journey that would take him to the heart of Jerusalem, a city steeped in religious history and mysticism. Armed with his vast knowledge of the biblical texts, he explored the narrow streets and hidden corners, seeking clues that would unlock the mystery of the prophecy.
As he delved deeper into the labyrinthine streets, Samuel stumbled upon…
Story #12: The Power of Gratitude
Narada, the great Indian mystic, is going to see God. Playing on his VEENA, he passes a forest, and comes across a very old sage sitting under a tree.
The old sage says to Narada, “You are going to God — please ask one question from me. I have been making all kinds of efforts for three lives, now how much more is needed? How much longer do I have to wait? When is my liberation going to happen? You just ask him!”
Story #13: Mary Morrissey's Tragedy, Recovery, and Secret to Success
When Mary Morrissey was just 18 and with a 7-month old baby, Mary was dying. The doctors told her she had, at best, 6 months to live.
There was NO known cure.
Then something magical happened that opened her mind….
Somebody gave her a piece of wisdom…
And a little bit of hope.
Story #14: The Potter and the Clay
A couple went to England to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and shopped at a beautiful antique store. They both liked antiques and pottery,and especially tea-cups,and so spotting an exceptional cup,they asked “May we see that? We’ve never seen a cup quite so beautiful.”
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the tea-cup spoke… “You don’t understand.” It said, “I have not always been a tea-cup. There was a time when I was just a lump of red clay. My master took me and rolled me pounded and patted me over and over and I yelled out, Don’t do that. I don’t like it! “Let me alone,” but he only smiled, and gently said; “Not yet!!” “Then, WHAM! I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. “Stop it! I’m getting so dizzy! I’m going to be sick!” I screamed.
Story #15: The Barbershop and God's Existence
A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation and talked about so many things and various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: “I don't believe that God exists.”
“Why do you say that?” asked the customer.
“Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things.”
Story #16: The Star Thrower
One day, a man was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a young person reaching down to the sand, picking up something and very gently throwing it back into the sea.
As he got closer, he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young person paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the sea.”
Story #17: The Power of Flowers
In our first class, my teacher said that flowers can actually talk, that they each have their own way of being beautiful. They have prana, life force, so you have to pay full attention to them, rather than imposing your own ideas of beauty on them.
So I began to ask the flowers how they wanted to be arranged, what positioning would make them feel most beautiful, and I waited and listened.
Even after the flowers had been set in the vase, I would discover sometimes that in the morning they had rearranged themselves during the night…
Story #18: Muddy Road
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
“Come on, girl” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself..
Story #19: Buddha and the Grieving Mother
A woman lost her young son; just a few days before her husband had died. Kissa Goutami was her name, and now her only son had died. She was in great despair, naturally the child was her only hope.
Buddha was staying in the town; people said:
“Don't cry and don't weep. Why don't you take the child to the Buddha? He is so com-passionate, he may revive him back to life.”
The woman rushed with the dead body of the child….
Story #20: A Useless Life
A farmer got so old that he couldn’t work the fields anymore. So he would spend the day just sitting on the porch. His son, still working the farm, would look up from time to time and see his father sitting there.
“He’s of no use any more,” the son thought to himself, “he doesn’t do anything!” One day the son got so frustrated by this, that he built a wood coffin, dragged it over to the porch, and told his father to get in.
Without saying anything, the father climbed inside. After closing the lid, the son dragged the coffin to the edge of the farm where there was a high cliff.
Story #21: The Trouble Tree
The carpenter's day had been marked by a series of misfortunes—a flat tire, a malfunctioning electric saw, and a stubborn pickup truck. As I drove him home, a heavy silence filled the air.
However, upon arriving at his house, we witness a remarkable transformation unfold before my eyes. The man's countenance shifted from weariness to authentic joy as he embraced his family with love and tenderness.
With a smile, he revealed the secret of his Trouble Tree….
Note: These are just the top twenty spiritual stories our visitors love. If you'd like to read more, we have almost 1,000 from different religions, spiritual paths, authors, and times in history. Click here for more spiritual stories.
Bonus Gift: If you love Paulo Coelho's stories, then you'll love this free eBook (direct download from our website) of 9 Spiritual Short Stories by Paulo Coelho.
About These Spiritual Stories
In a symphony of wisdom and wonder, these top 20 spiritual stories resonate, illuminating our souls with timeless truths. Spanning cultures, religions, and eras, these narratives offer an oasis for the seeking heart.
Drenched in the essence of spirituality, these tales unfurl like sacred scrolls, whispering profound messages of liberation, resilience, and divine grace. From the Freedom Parrot's poignant call for freedom to the poignant tale of The Drowning Man and God's Messages Of Hope, each story dances with the rhythm of the human spirit.
These narratives aren't mere words; they are lanterns guiding us through the labyrinth of life. They provoke contemplation, stirring our consciousness to embrace the profound teachings woven within their fabric.
With each story, we transcend boundaries, embracing the universality of human experiences. Whether it's the butterfly's struggle or Gandhi's profound simplicity in “Gandhi's Shoes,” these narratives mirror our own journeys, offering solace, inspiration, and enlightenment.
Moreover, they aren't relics of the past; they're living allegories pulsating with relevance for today. They beckon us to pause, reflect, and integrate their timeless wisdom into our modern lives.
These stories are treasures waiting to be unraveled, offering potent lessons on forgiveness, gratitude, and the power of resilience. They echo the wisdom of the ages, inviting us to imbibe their essence and share their transformative magic with our loved ones.
Join us in this sacred journey through twenty divine parables, each a gem sparkling with spirituality. Dive into these narratives, share their wisdom, and let them light the path to a more awakened existence.
With these stories, we don't just read; we transcend. We don't just reflect; we evolve. For in these tales lie the keys to unlock the doors of our souls and embrace the divine within and without.