The Old Man's Cure For The Maidservant's Vanity

A young maidservant came regularly to clean the house of an old man. One day, the young lady was crying and crying.

The old man said, "Why are you crying? I will gladly give you money, if that is what you need."

"I do not need money. I am upset because I am so vain. Since I feel I am very beautiful, every day I look at myself in the mirror. I appreciate my beauty and adore myself. This is not good at all!"

The old man said, "Please do not worry!"

"But I know that it is a sin to appreciate one's beauty excessively. I spend so much time looking in the mirror. I look at my eyes, my hair and everything. How beautiful I am! But it is such a sin to be as vain as I am."

The old man replied, "No, no! It is not a sin. It is only a mistake. Just do not make the same mistake again."

The maidservant said, "I cannot get out of this habit. Every day I have to spend so much time appreciating my limbs, hair, nose, ears, eyes — everything. What can I do?"

The old man offered his advice. "You know that I am an old man. I have lost all my hair, and I am not at all beautiful. In a few years, I shall die. I am so old! You love me so much, and I love you so much. What you can do is, when you look in the mirror, immediately think of me. Imagine that my face is on the other side. Imagine my face with wrinkles everywhere. See my bald head and think of my eyes and my face."

She said, "I have such love and admiration for you. You are my boss. You know how much I love and adore you. How can I do that?"

"No, you can do it. If you think of me with all your love, you will be able to see me in the mirror and not yourself."

The maidservant said, "I simply cannot do it."

The old man said, "All right. Do not listen to me. Go and appreciate your beauty for hours. What I do not understand is how you can come on time every day."

"Every morning I get up very early so I will have plenty of time to look in the mirror and see just how beautiful I am; then I come to your house. Every day I have been committing so many sins!"

Her boss said, "I already told you that this is just a mistake. Do not worry about it. If you really want to solve your problem, then do exactly what I have suggested."

She said, "All right. Tomorrow I shall try."

The following morning, the maidservant looked in the mirror and thought of her boss. Then she saw an old face, with wrinkled skin and no hair. She said to herself, "This is terrible! I do not want to see this!"

When she got to work, the maidservant said, "Boss! Boss! You have saved me! Today I did not spend any time in front of the mirror. On other days I usually spend at least half an hour appreciating my beauty. Today, as soon as I looked in the mirror, I was able to see you. Then I lost all my inspiration to look in the mirror. While we are here together, I see how kind, compassionate and loving you are. But while I was looking in the mirror, I did not like what I saw at all!"

The boss said, "I am so happy. I have given you the medicine. Every day, when you look in the mirror, I will solve your problem. You will see me there — just how ugly I am — and you will not have to waste your precious time. You will definitely be able to fully overcome your vanity."

Sri Chinmoy, The mind-jungles and the heart-gardens of life.First published by Agni Press in 2001.

This is the 1399th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book The mind-jungles and the heart-gardens of life, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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