The Brahmin's lie

Ramesh was the son of a Brahmin. He was a very good student and he had a few extremely close friends. One of his friends was a young girl. She was the daughter of a farmer and she did not have any education, but Ramesh liked her very much. He wanted to marry her, but he was afraid of breaking the news to his parents because he knew they would be horrified. In India, Brahmins are the highest class. This farm girl came of the lowest caste. Ramesh knew that his parents would not approve of his marrying someone from the lowest caste, so he became sadder and sadder day by day.

Ramesh spoke about his situation to several of his other friends and they said, “Go and tell your father. Who knows, he may change his mind when he sees how much you care for this girl.”

Ramesh said, “No, he will never give up his old ideas. Let me play a trick on my father. That is the only way he will agree to this marriage.”

“What kind of trick?” they asked.

Ramesh said, “I will bring my girlfriend home to meet my parents and I will tell my father that she belongs to our caste.”

“That is an excellent idea!” his friends responded. “There is no reason for your father to doubt that she is also from a Brahmin family.”

So Ramesh brought his girlfriend home and introduced her to his father. He said, “Father, we like each other very much and we want you to give us your blessings so that we can get married. You do not have to worry. She also belongs to our Brahmin caste.”

As soon as Ramesh had spoken these words, his girlfriend cried out, “Oh, no, no, no! How can you say that? I am of the lowest class. I am not of the Brahmin class at all. I come of a Shudra family. We are only farmers. I do not know why Ramesh is trying to deceive you.”

“My son, how can you tell me this kind of lie!” cried the father. He was absolutely shocked and horrified by his son’s behaviour.

But the worst was yet to come. Ramesh’s mother was so deeply shocked by this revelation of her son’s character that she had a heart attack and died then and there.

In spite of his suffering, the poor father then said to the farmer’s daughter, “You are a true Brahmin because you had the courage to tell the truth. I am going to visit your father and beg him to allow you to marry my son.”

So the Brahmin went to the farmer and said, “You and your family are true Brahmins. My son and I are Shudras. In spite of this vast difference in our caste, will you allow your daughter to marry my son?”

The farmer could not believe his ears. He knew that the Brahmin had deliberately reversed their castes. He asked the Brahmin, “Why are you pretending to be of a lower class?”

The Brahmin replied, “Whoever tells the truth is first-class. It is the duty of Brahmins to tell the truth. My son deliberately lied to me, but your daughter told me the truth. Therefore, yours is the true Brahmin family.”

The farmer saw that the Brahmin sincerely wanted this marriage to take place, and so he gave his permission.

Ramesh married his girlfriend and they were very happy together. The Brahmin was also happy at first. Then he began to feel miserable because he had lost his wife. He felt that his life was empty. One day he said to Ramesh, “My wife has died. I hold you fully responsible. You are the culprit who had to tell me a lie. Now there is nothing here for me. What is the use of staying on earth?” Then he had a heart attack and died.

Ramesh was completely shattered by his father’s death. He said, “Because of my one small lie, my mother died and now my father has died. What is the use of my staying on earth? I know that I shall never be happy in this life.” Then Ramesh himself had a heart attack and died.

After her husband’s passing, the poor wife went back to her father’s place. She cried, “Father, Father, what have I done? By telling the truth, I have become responsible for my mother-in-law’s death, my father-in-law’s death and now the death of my beloved husband. What is the truth worth if it can destroy so many lives? Why did I have to open my mouth?”

“No, my daughter, you did the right thing,” said her father. “Brahmins are expected to tell the truth, but Ramesh consciously told a lie. Now he and his mother and father have all had to pay the price of that one lie. You told the truth. Therefore, you did the right thing. Do not let this experience ruin your life. You are still very young. If you want to marry someone else, I will find somebody suitable from our class. I really want you to find happiness.”

His daughter looked at him sadly and said, “Ramesh loved me and I loved him, but I did not know he was going to tell a lie. Life is full of suffering. I do not wish to marry again.”

So the young girl remained a widow.