There were once two brothers. Their father had recently died and left his property and money to them. But the brothers were always in the habit of quarrelling and fighting. When their father was alive he could not bring about peace between his two sons. Now, after his death, their quarrelling increased tenfold.
The two brothers had to share their property and divide their money, but they simply could not come to terms. Each one thought that he rightly deserved more than the other, and they could not agree to have equal shares. Each one felt that his father had more love and more concern for him than for the other one, and there was no peace between them.
Finally they decided to take their inheritance to an old aunt who lived in a distant town and let her keep it for them until they could come to some agreement. They went to this elderly woman and said, “Please, Aunt, you keep the money. We cannot come to any agreement about sharing it. After a year or two, when we become real friends, real brothers, we will come back for it. But only when both of us come together will you give us the money. If only one comes, you must keep it until he brings the other.” Their aunt said, “Yes, my sons, I will keep your money. Your father is dead. Now you should live in peace. I will never take a cent of your money. When you come back as friends, I will give it to you with utmost joy.”
After five or six months, the younger brother, who was a great rogue, came all alone to this old lady, crying and sobbing. He said that his brother had died in an accident near their home. The younger brother struck his chest and reproached himself bitterly, saying that he and his brother still had not become friends when the accident happened. “I have lost my brother,” he wept. ‘'Please give me the inheritance now, for I have gone into debt in order to give him a most elaborate funeral. Now he is gone. I have lost forever a divine opportunity. Now my whole family is gone. I have no one; I have nothing.” And he went on crying and crying for his lost brother.
He so completely convinced the old lady that she began shedding tears of compassion for his sorrow. She showered him with motherly affection and concern and gave him all the money that his father had left them.
Then the younger brother brought the money to the little house in the village where he and his brother both lived, and in a few days he started building a very large new house. The elder brother wondered where he had got the money to build such a big house. “Perhaps he has gone to our aunt and somehow brought back some of the money,” he thought. So without telling the younger one, he set out for her village.
When his aunt saw him, at first she thought she was seeing a ghost. But when he spoke to her, asking if his brother had come for the money, she knew that she had been deceived. Still, she had to answer yes to his question.
The elder brother became furious. “Did we not tell you that we had to come together in order to get the money?” he shouted. “We told you that you were not to give up the money if one of us came alone.”
“That is true,” she said, “but if somebody dies, can he come from Heaven to collect money from me? Your brother convinced me that you had died in an accident far away in your own village. How could I have known that you had not died?”
The elder brother started abusing the lady for her credulity. Then he demanded his full share. “You have to give me at least one half of what my father left us. Otherwise I shall sue you,” he threatened.
The old lady replied, ‘'I did you a favour by accepting the money, and your brother came and deceived me. Now what money do I have left to give you?”
In a rage, he began insulting and cursing the poor woman. When a neighbour heard him screaming and shouting, he came to find out what was going on. When he had heard the whole story he said, “She is an innocent lady. You asked for her help, and she did her best for both of you. Since you made the rule that she could give you money only when both brothers came together, then I wish to ask you what you are doing here alone. Go away. Don’t bother this innocent woman. When you and your brother come together, everything can be settled.”
In this way, the neighbour chased away the second brother for being so unkind to his aunt.
What do we learn from this? In the spiritual world if we deceive a sincere person, there will be some cosmic power to come to his rescue. The innocent will eventually be protected by a divine force. In this case the younger brother was the real culprit. The older brother was scolding and insulting his aunt, who was innocent. If he wanted to scold, he should have scolded his younger brother.
You will say that the real culprit has escaped completely. But no, he has not escaped. He has only to wait for the law of karma. At the end of the year, or sometime in the future, he will become blind or lame, or he will suffer in some other way. Right now the real culprit is building a big house. When the building is completed, one day you will see that the architect did not design the ceiling properly. While the younger brother is inside, the ceiling will fall and he will be killed, and his money will go to his elder brother, who was largely innocent.
But the most innocent one of all was their aunt, who wanted to help them, and who was being insulted and scolded for her help. So the Divine Grace automatically came in the form of the neighbour to protect her. The second brother was innocent in the matter of the money, but guilty in scolding and insulting his aunt. His bad karma came to him immediately, for he was chased away by the neighbour, and he got no money. His good karma will come sometime in the future.
In this world, if we deceive someone, either today or tomorrow the cosmic forces are bound to recoil on us and punish us. This moment we may escape, but the next moment we will be caught. It is like destroying oneself.
When I do something wrong to you, I am destroying myself also because you are part of my larger existence. When I deceive you in some way, I am deceiving myself. I have a house. You are one wall, he is another wall, somebody else is a third wall. When, out of jealousy or greed or any other undivine quality, I try to destroy you or create problems for you, that means I am breaking one wall of my house. And then what will happen? When this wall is gone and there is a storm or a heavy wind, the other walls will also fall. But if I keep all the walls in proper condition, the whole building remains safe and perfect.
The cosmic forces will never allow us to cheat anybody. Today or tomorrow we shall be punished. But again, when we do something right or good and help someone in any way, then these cosmic forces will reward us. They will take us closer to our Goal.