Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 8

Ashwatthwama surrenders his crown1

In the battle of Kurukshetra, the Pandavas and Kauravas had a rule that they would fight only during the day. Unfortunately, one night the Kauravas broke this rule. After the death of his father Dronacharya, Ashwatthwama entered into the tent of the Pandavas and killed the five sons of Draupadi.

When Draupadi found that her sons had been killed, she cried and cried bitterly. She told Bhima, “Bhima, I am not going to eat anymore until you kill Ashwatthwama and bring his crown to me. If you cannot do this, then I will starve. I will sit here and do nothing until you do my bidding.”

Bhima ran out to kill Ashwatthwama, with Yudhishthira and Arjuna following closely. They heard that Ashwatthwama was hiding on the bank of the Ganges, pretending to meditate amongst the sages there. He had taken the disguise of a sage and sat near Vyasa.

With great difficulty Bhima, Arjuna and Yudhishthira found him. As they approached, Ashwatthwama took out his most dangerous arrow, the Brahmashira. Arjuna also had this same arrow. Before Ashwatthwama and Arjuna began battle with these dangerous arrows, the great sages Narada and Vyasa, as well as many others, stood up and said, “Stop! Stop! Withdraw those arrows! Otherwise, thousands of people will be killed! You can’t do that. You must have some compassion for innocent mankind.”

Arjuna said, “I am ready to withdraw, because I don’t want to kill unnecessarily, especially not innocent people.”

Ashwatthwama said, “I will also withdraw.”

Arjuna was able to withdraw his arrow because of his spirituality. He had practised spirituality for so many years and had become good in hundreds of ways.

But Ashwatthwama could not withdraw his arrow and it killed Arjuna’s grandson. Every one cried. They were in a sea of tears.

But Sri Krishna smiled and, with his yogic power, revived Arjuna’s grandson.

Bhima had not forgotten Draupadi’s request and said, “You are the loser. Arjuna defeated you by bringing back his arrow. You are now at our mercy. Give us your crown. If you do not do this, we shall kill you here and now.”

Poor Ashwatthwama, what could he do? So he gave his crown to Bhima and Bhima took it to Draupadi.

Draupadi’s grief diminished a small amount because she saw that the pride and glory of Ashwatthwama had fallen. She placed the crown on Yudhishthira’s head saying, “You deserve this. You are the head of the Pandava family. If I see this crown on you, I will be happy because it means we have conquered him and he has surrendered to us.”

Yudhishthira said, “If that makes you happy, I will wear it. But remember that it is painful for me to wear his crown because he is wicked to the backbone. He cruelly killed our children at night.”

Draupadi said, “You are right. You are right. Now that Bhima has brought us the crown, let us throw it out. We don’t need it. His pride is at our feet. Let us throw the crown away.”

GIM 141. 4 February 1979

Ashwini's receptivity2

Ashwini is the name of a star. This particular star looks like the head of a horse. Therefore, it is called Ashwini because Ashwa means horse.

The moon has twenty-seven wives, and Ashwini is one of them. Ashwini is very, very close to the moon. It is also the first star that became visible near the moon. Some of the stars were terribly jealous of Ashwini because she had tremendous beauty and because the moon had special fondness for her.

One day the moon said to all his wives, “For two reasons I have special fondness for my Ashwini. First, she came into my life long before all of you. Secondly, the beauty that Ashwini has pleases me most. Everybody has a special beauty, but Ashwini’s beauty gives me the most joy. For these two reasons she has become closest to me.”

“My Lord,” said Ashwini, “I am beautiful, I am close to you, I came first to you, not because I deserve to, but because your compassion allowed me to. It is because you pour your own beauty into me that everyone sees beauty in me. If you take away your beauty, then I will be uglier than the ugliest. Your compassion is unparalleled. It will always remain so.”

The moon said, “Yes, my compassion is unparalleled and, something more, unconditional. But I would like my other wives to become receptive like you. Then I will be very happy. Otherwise, my unconditional, unfathomable love-beauty will be of no avail. There should be others to receive it like you. Receptivity is of paramount importance. Otherwise, we remain where we always have been.”

GIM 142. 5 February 1979


Arundhati, the wife of the sage Vashishtha, was extremely learned and extremely spiritual. She developed occult and spiritual powers by the grace of her husband. She was extremely devoted to Vashishtha.

In the Mahabharata it is said that if one becomes virtuous and totally devoted to her husband like Arundhati, then one can easily go to Heaven and there she will be worshipped.

In the sky there is a special star called Arundhati. It shines most beautifully beside Vashishtha. It is said that whoever cannot see Arundhati in the sky will have a very short life. Those who cannot see Arundhati are unfortunate people. How can these people accomplish anything when they have such short lives?

In India when a marriage takes place, at night the village priest shows the Arundhati star to the bride so that she can become as beautiful, as learned and as spiritual as Arundhati. Arundhati is the ideal of the young girls and also of married women. To all women Arundhati represents woman’s aspiration, woman’s realisation, woman’s beauty and woman’s devotedness to the husband, plus spiritual power and occult power in infinite measure.

GIM 143. 5 February 1979


In the time of the Mahabharata there was a great sage named Arishtanemi. He had a beautiful young son who was conversant with the Vedas. The father was extremely proud of his son.

One day Arishtanemi’s son was playing in the forest. It happened that a prince was hunting in the forest at the same time. Alas, he mistook the boy for a deer and killed him.

When the prince found out that he had slain the son of Arishtanemi, he was smitten with sorrow. He went to see Arishtanemi and beg for forgiveness. He did not know where Arishtanemi’s home was, so he had to make inquiries. Finally, he came to the cottage of the boy’s father and said, “Forgive me, forgive me.”

“What have you done wrong that I have to forgive you?”

“Oh, your son!”

“My son? Do you need my son?”

“Arishtanemi, your son is no more.”

“Who says my son is no more? My son is resting in his room.”

The prince asked, “Are you sure your son is in his room?”

“Yes, he is.”

“Then...” said the prince, bewildered.

“Then, what?”

“That means I have killed somebody else’s son, not your son.”

“Do you want to see my son?”

“Yes, can I see him?”

Arishtanemi called out, “Son! Come out, my son!” The son came out of his room.

“Oh! This is the boy! This is the boy that I killed!” said the prince. “How can he be alive? I saw him lying in the forest!”

Arishtanemi smiled and said, “O prince, how can my son be dead? You thought he was a deer and you aimed your arrow at him by mistake. You thought you killed him, but the soul of my son came to me and asked me to revive him. For me, this is like drinking water. I have occult power. I have spiritual power. As soon as his soul came, I revived him.”

“But what about the wound? He was bleeding.”

“That is also nothing. You did not remove the arrow, but with my occult power I removed it.”

Oh, forgive me! I did not even remove the arrow!”

“I easily removed it and you cannot even see any wound.”

“No, I can’t,” marvelled the prince.

“When I revived him, my son came to his senses and ran home. He reached here long before you.”

“How can anyone do this?” asked the prince.

“You have to practice spirituality. God’s Power is infinitely stronger than man’s power. If you can kill someone, then God can give new life to that person. Again, if God wants someone to die, you cannot keep that person alive. My will has become one with God’s Will. God wanted my son to remain on earth. Therefore, I was able to revive him. But if God had wanted my son to die from your arrow, I would have accepted my fate cheerfully. When you have implicit oneness with God’s Will, you can do the miracle of miracles. But at that time, there is no such thing as a miracle. It is all perfectly natural. God’s Will is the only natural reality in God’s entire creation.”

“Will your son forgive me? You may forgive me, but will your young boy ever forgive me?”

The son said, “The question of forgiveness does not arise. I am so grateful to you.”

“How can you be grateful to me? I hurt you.”

“I am grateful to you because I always wanted people to know of my father’s spiritual power. Today you were the instrument which permitted my father to show his spiritual power. You are the prince. Everybody knows you. You will go to the palace and tell your father. Then the entire world will come to know who my father is. He has such tremendous occult and spiritual power. So you have done me a favour unconsciously. Therefore, I am most grateful to you.”

The prince said, “O God, good people do live on earth. I thought that there were no good human beings on earth, for I always see people around me of my own standard. Now I see that there is another standard, in which people can be as nice as you. We shall always walk in the footsteps of good people like you two. Forgiveness is your choice. Oneness is your choice. You forgive mankind because you are one with God’s Will. Again, because you are always one with God’s Will, God does everything in and through you in His own Way. How I wish I could accept spirituality. But, unfortunately, my life is full of desire.”

Arishtanemi said, “Prince, I am very pleased with you. There is an hour for everything. When your hour strikes, you will enter into spirituality. At that time I will be of real help to you. One day you will become as spiritually great as you are now physically great. The hour will definitely arrive for you to become spiritually great, too. Just wait! Have patience and I assure you that I will help you far, far beyond your imagination, for to help you at that time will be to fulfil once again my Beloved Supreme’s Will. In His own Way I shall fulfil Him at His chosen hour.

“There is nothing divine you cannot do when you become one with God’s Will. He is omniscient. He is omnipotent. He is omnipresent. He does not want to maintain His omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence only for Himself. He wants to give them away to all those who truly care for Him as their own, very own. Love Him, adore Him and fulfil Him in His own Way, for He is everything. Try to please Him in every way and do not hanker for your own fulfilment. At that time, whatever you will automatically becomes God’s Will too.

“Now we are crying to fulfil God in God’s own Way. A day will come when, by virtue of our own constant oneness with God’s Will, whatever we will shall automatically become God’s Will, for our will and God’s Will can never be separate. The drop knows what the Source wants and the Source always knows what the drop wants. In pleasing the Source continuously, the drop becomes fully aware of the Source’s Will. Again, if the drop does something spontaneously, even without being aware of God’s Will, the drop will carry the Will of the Source.”

GIM 144. 5 February 1979

A Brahmin's inner fire5

Dangsha was a great demon who was very, very undivine. One day he stole the wife of the great sage Brighu. When Brighu discovered this, he cursed Dangsha, turning him into an insect. “You will be a most powerful insect. You will no longer be a demon,” he said.

The demon became a most destructive insect and his name was Alarka. This insect used to bite people and cause them tremendous, tremendous suffering.

Parashuram, the great hero, taught his student Karna how to fight. One day, after instructing Karna for a long time, Parashuram was resting on the ground. Karna placed his teacher’s head on his lap and said, “You should have some comfort. You are so kind to me. It is a great honour for me to place your head on my lap.”

Parashuram was resting peacefully on Karna’s lap when suddenly this insect, Alarka, bit Karna most powerfully. His thigh began to bleed profusely, but he remained silent because he did not want to disturb his master’s peace. Still, the bite was very painful.

After some time Parashuram awakened and saw that Karna’s thigh was bleeding profusely. He said, “What happened? What happened, my boy?”

“Master, while you were sleeping an insect bit me. But it is nothing. It doesn’t matter at all. I am so happy that you were able to take rest for as long as you wanted to. You are always so kind to me. It gives me so much joy when I am able to serve you. You are teaching me to become a great hero, so I am so grateful to you. This small insect bite doesn’t bother me at all.”

“Karna, you are so good and divine. I will destroy this insect.”

In a fleeting second Parashuram destroyed Alarka. Then he said, “I am grateful to you because you are really kind to me, but I am mad at you because you have deceived me.”

“How? How have I deceived you?”

“Karna, you cannot be a Brahmin. You came to me as a Brahmin and that is why I taught you. But if you had been a Brahmin, you would not have tolerated this. A Brahmin’s inner fire comes to the fore whenever there is any injustice. A Brahmin will not attack anybody, but when there is an injustice, a Brahmin will not tolerate it. When this insect bit you, it was a terrible injustice; yet you tolerated it. A Kshatriya can tolerate many things. Although Kshatriyas are heroes of the highest order, they have the slave mentality and, when necessary, they can tolerate anything. In your case, you have tolerated this. So from today I will not keep you as my student. You have to leave my house.”

After some time, Karna did become a very great hero who played a significant role in the Mahabharata.

GIM 145. 5 February 1979

Vyasa becomes freed of depression6

Vyasa was the great sage who wrote the Mahabharata. One day he was terribly depressed. He thought, “What am I going to do with my life? I am all depression, depression, depression. I have read the Vedas. I am an authority on the Vedas. Everyone comes to me for knowledge. I am the greatest of all the sages, but today I am so depressed. What am I going to do? In the Mahabharata I have written so many stories to console people when they are depressed. And now I myself am dying of depression.”

Narada appeared before him. Narada was a great sage who sang the glories of Vishnu everywhere. He was a great seeker, the greatest singer and the greatest devotee, but sometimes he would act very undivine. He would become jealous of people who were very happy and would then create problems for them. For this reason, people called him a problem-maker.

When Narada appeared, Vyasa said, “O Narada, save me, save me! I am in trouble!”

“You are in trouble? Everybody says that I am the problem-maker,” said Narada. “I can only make more problems for you. What kind of help do you need?”

“Narada, please tell me how I can have peace of mind. I am so depressed today.”

“You are depressed? You have given consolation to thousands of people. Who will believe that you are depressed?”

“You must believe me and you must save me!”

“But you always call me the problem-maker!”

“Yes, but at the same time you are closest to Vishnu. Vishnu can console anyone. So can you not ask Vishnu to console me?”

“I cannot ask Vishnu that. He will laugh at me if I tell him that you, of all people, need consolation. He says that you are the wisest person on earth. He won’t believe that you have become a victim of depression.”

“But I am suffering. Please tell Vishnu. He will cure me.”

“I can tell Vishnu, but it is not necessary. I myself can tell you how to be cured.”

“Then please tell me. I have faith in you.”

“You have written the Mahabharata. You know everything that is in the Vedas, but are you doing the right thing?”

“What have I done wrong?”

“Have you written one book that is only about Lord Krishna?”

“Oh no.”

“Then start writing! Write the Bhagavatam, which will be all about Krishna from beginning to end. Then there will be no depression in your life. Your soul wants you to write a new book only about Krishna.”

“All right, I am starting,” he said. As soon as he started writing, his depression was transformed into delight, delight, delight.

GIM 146. 5 February 1979

The theft of the Syamantak diamond7

Krishna had many wives. One of his wives was named Satyabhama. Satyabhama’s father had a special diamond named Syamantak. Whenever anyone touched the diamond, immediately it produced hundreds of gold coins. Because of that diamond. Satyabhama’s family was quite well-to-do, and her father was very fond of the Syamantak diamond.

There was a very greedy man named Shatdhanwa who became envious of Satyabhama’s father, so he killed him and stole the diamond. When Satyabhama heard of this, she cried bitterly and said to Krishna, “You have to get this diamond back and kill Shatdhanwa.”

“Definitely I shall do so,” said Krishna. “How could Shatdhanwa do this kind of thing!”

So Krishna began searching for Shatdhanwa, but Shatdhanwa kept running away from him. Then, quite unexpectedly, Krishna suddenly found the diamond. His uncle, Akrura, had been meditating when all of a sudden somebody had dropped this diamond on his lap. When Krishna came, he found the diamond on Akrura’s lap while Akrura was still in deep meditation.

“How did you get this?” Krishna asked.

“I don’t know. My eyes were closed,” answered Akrura. “You know I have not stolen it. Somebody put it in my lap and ran away very fast.”

“Are you going to keep it?” Krishna asked.

“Never, never!” said Akrura. “I don’t want this. Since you have been looking for it, you take it. It belongs to Satyabhama’s father and Satyabhama and you are one, so please take it.”

Krishna said to him, “Once you came to me and warned me of a plot against my life. You came and told me that Kangsa was going to kill me. At that time you proved to be my best friend. And here again you have done something most significant. When you got the diamond, you could have easily hidden it. But you conquered your greed and for that I am most proud of you. You have been on God’s side from the very beginning. So for these two reasons I am giving you a boon.”

“Please,” said Akrura, “I do not want a boon. It is enough that I have been able to serve you twice in this incarnation of mine. For that I am so grateful to you. It is you who are working inside me. Otherwise, I would not have happened to overhear King Kangsa’s plan to kill you. And now, because of you I have this diamond. You have been searching for it, and because it was put in my lap I am again in a position to serve you.”

Akrura bowed down to Krishna. “You give me the inspiration to conquer greed. It is all your inner doing. Outwardly I am doing things and the world is giving me credit. But I know that you don’t need me to save you and you don’t need this diamond as your property. I know that you have been inspiring me to help you. I am so grateful that you have utilised me on these two occasions. They will remain immortal in my life.”

Krishna said, “Friends I have, admirers I have, dear ones I have. But how I wish to have people like you. You have proven yourself to be one of my dearest ones. My outer blessing is my inner gratitude, and my inner gratitude is my soul’s only satisfaction.”

Akrura said, “You are right, you are absolutely right, Krishna, my Krishna.”

GIM 147. 5 February 1979

Saturn defeats Indra8

Once Indra and Saturn (Shani) had a serious argument over who was greater. Indra said he was the greater of the two. Saturn said, “No, I am greater. Prove your supremacy.”

Indra said, “No. It is beneath my dignity to prove it. Everybody knows that I am the King of the cosmic gods. Therefore, am I not greater than you, you fool?”

“Say whatever you want to,” said Saturn. “I feel that I am greater.”

“Greater in what respect?”

“I can do anything I want to,” said Saturn.

Indra laughed and laughed.

“Tomorrow I shall take hold of you,” said Saturn. “Let me see how you can save yourself.”

“All right,” said Indra. “You will see what I can do.”

The following day Indra went into a forest and hid. He said, “Let me see how Saturn will catch me.” He did not come out of the forest the whole day. The next day Indra went to Saturn and said, “Look, Saturn, you could not keep your promise, so how can you be greater than I?”

Saturn said, “Can’t you see? You were afraid of me. That is why you hid the entire day. If you were brave, you would have come and stood in front of me. From this can you not see that I am greater and more powerful than you?”

Indra accepted defeat and felt deeply embarrassed.

GIM 148. 6 February 1979

She lends money with wisdom9

There was a very rich man who was extremely cruel and miserly. His wife was very kind-hearted and affectionate, and full of sympathy for everyone. Nobody liked the husband, but everybody liked the wife. However, she said, “God gave me this bad husband, so what can I do? Nobody likes him, so at least I have to like him. Somebody has to like him.” She was very kind and affectionate to him and served him day and night.

Once a famine struck the region where they lived, and many villagers came to them for help. The wife gave money to everyone and showered all the people with affection and sympathy. Her husband did not mind her generosity, even though he was so miserly. He said, “As long as I don’t have to personally give, I am satisfied.” His wife was very grateful for this.

When she gave money to the people, they said, “We are only borrowing this money. We will pay you back.”

She said, “No, no. You don’t have to pay it back. This is a gift. You just take it.”

They said, “No, no. We shall repay you when the famine is over.”

She said, “If you really want to repay me, then give me the money the day my husband dies.”

Some of the people were shocked to hear the wife talk like this. Others thought that when her husband died, she would have many expenses for the funeral and so forth, so that was why she said this.

One of their sons happened to be present when his mother said this. The son loved both parents dearly, but upon hearing this he was very displeased, disappointed and angry. He went to his father and said, “Mother is asking people to repay the money she is giving them after your death.”

The father could not believe this. “How can she say this? She always gives money freely, so why is she now asking them to return the money and why does it have to be on my death?”

The husband went to the wife and asked her, “Please tell me why you are saying this to these people?”

She said, “You don’t understand. You see, people don’t like you. They hate you. Everybody wants you to die today. But many people have taken lots of money from me, and by nature people don’t want to return money. Although they say they are taking it as a loan, they don’t want to return it. So, from now on, instead of thinking of your death, they will pray to God to keep you alive so that they don’t have to return the money. I want you to live on earth for many, many years. Who knows? One day you may also become very affectionate, kind-hearted and sympathetic.

“So, I played a trick. I want them to pray to God every day that you live. Previously they prayed to God for your death. Now they will pray to God for you to live on earth. This will make me very happy. Who cares for the money? I want you to live for a very long time.”

The husband was extremely moved by his wife’s wisdom. The son was also very pleased with his mother.

GIM 149. 6 February 1979

Viksha's boon10

There was a King Viksha, who was very cruel and unkind. Nobody liked him. He wanted to conquer everybody. He said, “There are many ways to conquer people — with weapons, or deception, or other means. But in my case I want to conquer in a different way. I will conquer by touch. Whomever I want to kill, I will touch the head of the person and he will die immediately. How can I do this? I am undivine, but I do have faith in God. Among the cosmic gods I know Shiva is very easy to please. So I will pray to him.”

He prayed for many, many years. One day Shiva came and said, “You have been calling, calling and calling. What do you want? I will give you whatever you want.”

“Yes, I want something, but you can’t give it to me.”

“I can’t give it to you? Then why are you praying?”

“Yes, I have been praying to you, but I don’t remember when I started.”

Shiva said, “Many, many years ago.”

“Oh! I have been praying for many, many years? I didn’t know? I was in trance. So now you have come! I am so glad and grateful. O Lord Shiva, give me the boon that whenever I touch somebody’s head, that person will die immediately. With my touch I wish to be able to turn that person’s entire body to ashes.”

Shiva said, “Wonderful. Wonderful. I am pleased with your prayer so I am giving you this boon. Whomever you touch on the head will die immediately.”

The King said, “I am so grateful to you, so grateful! Now, may I use it on you to see if you are telling the truth?”

Shiva said, “You want to use it on me?”

“Yes! How else will I know if you are telling the truth?”

Shiva started running away. “O God, what have I done?” he thought. He ran to Vishnu’s place, and Viksha was chasing him. With his third eye Vishnu had seen all that had happened and said to the King, “Why are you running? Why are you running? Great King, you are running after Shiva. What has he done? If you ask him to come to you, he will come. Why do you have to chase him? You are the King. We all run after you. You don’t have to run after us.”

This flattery satisfied King Viksha to a great extent. He said to Vishnu, “Look at this liar! I prayed to Shiva for so many years. He came to give me the boon, but he doesn’t want me to test the boon to see if it is real or not.”

“What kind of boon?” asked Vishnu.

“I asked him for the power to burn somebody to ashes just by touching his head. He gave me the boon, but when I tried to place my hands on his head, he ran away.”

“Does it take such a long time for you to prove it?” asked Vishnu. “Just touch your own head and see if it is true or not.”

“But if I touch my head will I not burn to ashes?”

“Oh no. As soon as you are about to be burned, take your hands away. Then you will know if it is true.”

“You are right. Let me just touch my head.” As soon as he did so, he was burned to ashes.

Shiva said to Vishnu, “Oh, you saved me!”

Vishnu said, “You have saved me many times. We are inseparable friends. We shall eternally remain one. When either one of us is in danger, the other will come to his rescue.”

GIM 150. 6 February 1979

Outer beauty, but inner ugliness11

Once a great sage named Eurba was walking along the street with his daughter, Kundala. She was very, very beautiful. As they were walking, another sage, Durbasha, saw them. Durbasha practiced austerities most soulfully, but his temper was of the quickest. He cursed people constantly and everyone knew of his temper.

When Durbasha saw Kundala, he immediately fell in love with her. He asked Eurba, “Please tell me who she is.”

“She is my daughter.”

“Your daughter?”


“Is she married?”

“No. She is not married.”

“She is so beautiful.”

“Yes, she is beautiful, but only physically is she beautiful. Inside she is always quarreling and fighting with the members of the family. Inside she is ugly, ugly, ugly. She is jealousy incarnate.”

“I do not know about her inner bad qualities and I do not care to hear about them. I am so full of admiration for her physical beauty. Please, please, please give me your daughter.”

Eurba said, “No, I won’t give her to you. I don’t trust you. Once you see how quarrelsome and jealous she can become, you may throw her out after you are married. Although she is very undivine, I have that much sympathy for my daughter that I do not want her to suffer this kind of fate.”

“I promise that no matter what she does, I will not use my occult power. I will never destroy her, because I am so fond of her physical beauty.”

Eurba said, “Are you sure you will not destroy her one day when you get angry with her?”

“No, no, no. I promise you, I will give her everything and try only to please her. If she wants me to give up prayer and meditation, I will do so. I will give up everything for her. I won’t even meditate on Lord Krishna, who is dearer than the dearest to me, if that is her wish. Once I get her, she will become my dearer than the dearest. She will be my all.”

Eurba said, “I can’t believe it.”

“Please! Love is blind. I love this girl more than my life. She is so beautiful. Please give her to me.”

Eurba finally agreed and in due course, Kundala and Durbasha were married. Durbasha totally forgot about spirituality. He did nothing spiritual at all. He was always with his beautiful wife, bound by her physical beauty. Kundala was constantly complaining, scolding Durbasha for everything. Even when he had not done anything wrong she scolded him. Durbasha said, “I gave up everything for you. My prayer, my meditation, my Krishna, my Beloved Lord — all I gave up for you, and still you are always scolding me.”

“Who asked you to give up Krishna and spirituality, you fool? Nobody would have married you, but I agreed to marry you.”

Durbasha said, “And nobody would have married you! You are so ugly inwardly. Your father was so right. In spite of knowing how bad you were, I married you.”

“Who asked you to marry me?”

“My love for your physical beauty.”

“Physical beauty? Look what you have done! You have ruined my physical beauty. You said if you married me, you would please me. Are you pleasing me in any way? I am asking you to do many things, but you are not pleasing me. I am asking you to make me very rich.”

“How can I make you rich?”

“You have spiritual power, occult power. Make me very rich. I want to have many servants. I want to have a beautiful palace. If you can’t give me these things, I will go on scolding and insulting you.”

Durbasha said, “Enough! Enough! I cannot tolerate you anymore. I am destroying you with my third eye.”

As soon as Durbasha opened up his third eye, Eurba came and said, “My boy, my boy, I told you that my daughter was so undivine. In spite of knowing that, you wanted to marry her, so I gave her to you. But don’t destroy her, don’t destroy her. Give me back my daughter. Since I brought her into the world I will bear the burden the rest of my life. I don’t want her destroyed.”

Durbasha said, “Either take her away, Eurba, or I am going to destroy her immediately.”

Eurba took back his daughter and said, “God gave you to me, my daughter, and God wants me to marry patience. My name will be patience and nothing else. As long as I stay on earth, I will show you my infinite compassion and infinite forgiveness. What else can I do? If God blessed me with you, I shall pay the penalty for the rest of my life.”

GIM 151. 6 February 1979

Krishna's supreme love12

Kangsa was the hostile force incarnate. He was wicked to the backbone. He tortured each and every person in his kingdom. His worst enemy was Lord Krishna. He wanted to destroy Lord Krishna right from the very beginning, even before Krishna was mature enough to fight against him. He wanted to destroy Krishna even when Krishna was only an infant.

Kangsa had a friend who was a great admirer. He was also wicked to the backbone. One day, this friend came to Kangsa and said, “Your worst enemy is Krishna. I want to destroy him and make you happy.”

“If you do this, you will make me the world’s happiest person,” Kangsa said.

“Yes, I will do it.”

One day Kangsa’s friend went to Brindavan where Krishna was playing games with the gopis. The gopis were extremely happy, for they were playing with their beloved Krishna. When this particular hostile force entered Brindavan, the gopis were frightened to death, because his face was so frightening. Krishna remained silent for some time.

The undivine being said to Krishna, “You remain silent because you are doing something wrong. It is undivine and immoral to play with these people. Everybody thinks that you are very spiritual and divine, but you do nothing but play with these gopis.”

Krishna still remained silent.

“Yes, you remain silent because you are not doing the right thing. Had you been doing the right thing, you would have spoken.”

Krishna said, “The right thing is always compassion and forgiveness. I have always been doing the right thing by consoling and listening to you people. But this time I have to withdraw my Compassion aspect. My Justice-Light, my destruction aspect, I have to adopt.”

In a twinkling, in front of all the gopis, Krishna destroyed this evil force. Then he said to the gopis, “My love for you people, the world will not understand. I don’t care if the world understands. Your devoted hearts will always be appreciated by me. Remain devoted to me and I shall always take care of you. Here on earth and there in Heaven, I shall always take care of you, my devoted friends.

“Animal love, human love, divine love and supreme love. Animal love does not know what human love is. Human love does not know what divine love is. Divine love does not know what supreme love is. Animal love is ultimate destruction. Human love is ultimate frustration. Divine love is ultimate illumination. Supreme love is ultimate illumination, ultimate perfection and ultimate satisfaction.

“This supreme love I am offering to you, my earthly friends. If you accept my supreme love in my own supreme way, you will all be nearest and closest to me.”

The gopis offered their gratitude-hearts through their soulful smiles.

GIM 152. 6 February 1979

Balarama forgives Bhima13

Balarama, Sri Krishna’s brother, was a great fighter. He had three principal weapons. Of the three, his favourite was the ploughshare. The other two were the mace and the club.

Bhima, of the Pandavas, and Duryodhana, of the Kauravas, learned how to use the mace from him. When the Pandavas and Kauravas fought, Balarama remained neutral. Once, Bhima adopted foul means while fighting with Duryodhana. This offended Balarama’s sense of fair play terribly. So he immediately seized his club to punish Bhima.

But Sri Krishna restrained him. Sri Krishna said, “True, this time Bhima was wrong, but Brother, many, many times Bhima was innocent when Duryodhana showed tremendous hostility towards him and his brothers. You know, Brother, right from his boyhood, Duryodhana treated Bhima badly. So please forgive Bhima for this misdeed. It is only once he has done this, whereas he has been treated mercilessly so many times by Duryodhana.”

So Balarama forgave Bhima.

GIM 153. 8 February 1979

The aftermath of Kurukshetra14

When the battle of Kurukshetra was over, countless people were killed. Sri Krishna’s family, relatives and dear ones were all killed in the great, unthinkable turmoil and confusion. Even Sri Krishna himself left the body.

When it was Balarama’s time, he sat down under a tree and went to sleep. Soon his soul, in the form of the cosmic serpent, Shesha, whose incarnation he was, came out from his mouth and laughed at Balarama’s lifeless body. He was found on a rock, under a tree.

Poor Arjuna, his dear Balarama and his dearer than the dearest Krishna were no more. Arjuna had to do the final obsequies for these two and also for many, many more. His heart broke, but alas, this is life. Happiness is followed by sorrow. This is an undeniable fact.

GIM 154. 8 February 1979

Lord Shiva is above humanity's curse15

Bhrigu was a supreme sage who was found in many Indian legends and Hindu mythology. Once a terrible quarrel arose between Shiva and Daksha, Shiva’s father-in-law. Bhrigu took Daksha’s side and officiated at Daksha’s sacrifice. Shiva became terribly angry with Bhrigu and said, “How dare you take Daksha’s side!”

Bhrigu said, “I can take whichever side I want to. It is my business, not yours.”

Shiva pulled Bhrigu’s beard off, and poor Bhrigu suffered a lot from the pain.

Bhrigu was married to one of Daksha’s daughters, Khyati. She was extremely devoted to her husband and pleased him in every way. Bhrigu was extremely proud of her.

She was extremely angry with Shiva for pulling off Bhrigu’s beard and cursed him. The curse was that Shiva would become ugly. But Lord Shiva is above humanity’s curse. If he had wanted to be cursed, he could have easily suffered from the curse. But Shiva’s beauty remained unparalleled.

GIM 155. 8 February 1979

The greatest of the deities16

Once the sages wanted to know who among the great deities — Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva — was the greatest. They debated and debated. Finally they appointed Bhrigu to settle the matter. Bhrigu visited Shiva’s place, but he was not allowed to enter because Shiva and his consort were having a serious discussion. Bhrigu got mad and said, “Shiva, you are always like this. Your very nature is to be disrespectful. You do not honour anybody. You are careless and callous. I curse you. No good person will ever love you or adore you, not to speak of worship you. You are so bad.”

Then Bhrigu went to visit Brahma. Brahma was listening to the discourses of the great intellectuals. The intellectuals were appreciating and admiring Brahma’s capacities. He was so engulfed in his own importance that he paid no attention to Bhrigu’s presence. Bhrigu became furious and said, “Brahma, I never knew that you were so undivine. You don’t care for guests. A guest is nothing short of God Himself. I curse you! Now nobody desiring salvation will come to you. You are so undivine. Only bad people, intellectual people, clever people, will come to you. Sincere seekers will not come to you.”

Then Bhrigu went to Vishnu. Vishnu was fast asleep. He heard the sound of Bhrigu’s arrival, but did not pay any attention. He continued to enjoy his sleep. Bhrigu said to himself, “Here is the worst!” and he kicked Vishnu very hard. Vishnu did not become annoyed at all. In fact, he apologized at once for not being ready to receive the sage. He said, “O sage, I am sorry, I am sorry. Forgive me. I am sure you are deeply hurt because you have kicked me. I feel sorry, extremely sorry, sincerely sorry. Please forgive me. I hope that you are not injured. I am so proud that a holy man has kicked me. You are really a holy man and I deserved your kick.”

Bhrigu said, “You are truly virtuous and humble. Because of your humility, not only will all human beings worship you, but the cosmic gods will also worship you. You are great, greater, greatest. Undoubtedly, you are greater than Shiva and Brahma.”

GIM 156. 8 February 1979

Bhrigu's method of casting horoscopes17

Bhrigu was better than anyone else in astrology. He was greatly versed in the mysterious workings of human destiny. He compiled astrological charts giving the horoscope of every person who was born or yet to be born. His charts were infallible. It was he who introduced the use of fire.

There was a young boy in India who was amused to hear of all the astrological capacities of Bhrigu. He almost doubted Bhrigu’s capacities. His elder brother was extremely fond of astrology and was also well versed in it.

He said, “You don’t believe Bhrigu. You think that his method of casting horoscopes is all hallucination. But you are wrong, my dear brother. Let me cast your horoscope according to Bhrigu.”

A few days later the young boy read his horoscope. There it was written that at the age of eleven he would go to a spiritual ashram to stay permanently under the guidance of a very, very great spiritual master. Then, after twenty years, he would start offering his own light to the world.

At that time, the young boy was in Bengal. When the hour came, the boy was taken by the elder members of his family to a great spiritual institute in south India, and there he stayed for twenty years. Then he became a spiritual Master and offered his own light to the world. So Bhrigu’s way of casting horoscopes was infallible.

Another incident which the young boy never forgot was Bhrigu’s explanation of why his maternal uncle had no children. According to Bhrigu’s book, his maternal uncle’s horoscope said that in his previous incarnation he was a great hunter. While hunting one day, he killed a pregnant deer. The pregnant deer cursed him saying, “I would not have cared if you had killed me alone, but I am pregnant and you have killed the child inside me. Therefore, I am cursing you. In your next incarnation you will not have one child. You will see the pain of not having a child in your next incarnation.”

Alas, the curse fell absolutely true, and the boy’s maternal uncle remained childless.

GIM 157. 8 February 1979

Vishma's birth18

There was a great king named Shantanu. His father’s name was Pratip and his mother’s name was Sunanda. Shantanu’s elder brother was Devapi. Devapi became a sannyasi and did not care for earthly name and fame. He did not care for anything. He left the palace and Shantanu had to ascend the throne when King Pratip, his father, died.

Shantanu had a special capacity which nobody else had. When he touched a human being, no matter how old the person was, by his mere touch he could transform that person into a strong and vigorous youth. He did it many times and was always successful.

Shantanu was very beautiful and also pious, truthful, hardworking and dynamic. He was very fond of hunting and was a great hunter. He especially loved hunting deer.

One day, he saw at the bank of the Ganges a most beautiful woman. He became enamoured of her beauty and ran to her saying, “Please tell me who you are. In fact, you don’t have to tell me who you are. Just marry me. I wish to marry you. I am the King. I will give you everything you want just for the asking.”

The beautiful girl, Gangadevi, said, “Are you sure you will be able to fulfil me in every way?”

“Yes, I can and I shall. Your beauty has captured my heart.”

“All right then, I will marry you on one condition.”

“Any condition I shall fulfil.”

“No matter what I do, you will not stand in my way. No matter what I say, you will not stand in my way.”

“Never, never! I shall not stand in your way. Just be my wife. I will be at your beck and call. Indeed, you are beauty incarnate.”

They were married and both King and Queen were happy. Alas, when they had their first child, the mother threw the child into the Ganges. They had seven children, and as soon as each child was born she threw the infant into the Ganges.

The King knew that if he scolded her or stood in her way, she would leave him because that was the condition she made. His love for her was boundless, and for fear of losing her, he remained silent.

But when the eighth child was born, he was sad, disturbed and mad. He said, “How can you do this? Are you not a human being? You are the child’s mother. How can a mother do this? The mother is supposed to be flooded with love and compassion for her children. You are so cruel, so undivine. How can I keep you as my wife?”

The wife smiled and smiled, “So! You have failed to keep your promise. I can’t stay with you anymore. I am going and I am taking my son with me. When this child grows into a youth, I shall bring him back to you — I promise you. Now, I have to take care of him, because it is the mother only who can take care of a small baby. But when he grows up, I shall bring him to you.”

She did keep her promise. The name of that eighth child was Vishma, the unparalleled hero of the Mahabharata.

GIM 158. 8 February 1979

Rich people, open up your eyes and hearts19

Four or five young boys belonged to a special club. Each day they went from door to door to collect material objects and money from people. They were taking up this collection so they could do things that would inspire the villagers to lead a better life and fight against the British Government. They put everything in a big bag and, at the end of the day, they brought the bag to their leader.

One day, a young lame boy came and joined them. At first they didn’t want to have a lame boy with them. They were singing songs to Krishna, saying, “O Krishna, you took the Pandavas’ side against the Kauravas and the Pandavas won. The British people are the Kauravas. Please take our side. With your help only will we be able to conquer the British rule.” They were singing this while walking along the street. The poor lame boy also joined them. Since he was singing so soulfully, they allowed him to follow them.

By the end of the day they had gone to many places. They were about to give the bag to the leader without looking inside to see what they had got. The young lame boy said, “I wish to see how much you have got.”

All the boys mocked at him, “You are such a greedy fellow. We never look to see how much we got. We just give the bag to the leader.”

The leader said, “Since the fellow is asking and he is lame, let us show him.”

Still the boys were laughing at him: “This is his sincere love for his country!”

While they were emptying the bag, the lame boy emptied his small bag and said, “Now I don’t have to see. I have seen everything.”

The boys saw that the lame boy had given what he had got from begging door to door for two or three days.

The leader said, “Look, he gave everything that he had and is. We go door to door, but sometimes people won’t give us anything. They are suffering so much from British rule, but even rich people give us next to nothing. If all India had a heart like this beggar, by today India would have been free.”

The leader ran and grabbed the lame boy and embraced him. “You have opened our eyes.”

The lame boy said, “Your heart, your eyes, everything are open. It is we who have to go from door to door now and open up the eyes and hearts of rich people.”

GIM 159. 14 February 1979

Tagore and Gandhi: both are right20

Tagore and Gandhi are two immortals. They were extremely good friends and they had tremendous appreciation and admiration for each other. Tagore used to call Gandhi “Mahatma,” which means great soul, and Gandhi used to call Tagore “Gurudev” — spiritual teacher, Master of inner wisdom and light.

Once, in front of many people, they were having a simple discussion. Unfortunately, the discussion became very heated. Some people took Tagore’s side, while others took Gandhi’s side. A great artist named Nandalal Bose happened to be there, so people asked him which side he was on.

“We are taking sides,” they said, “so you must take one side.”

“I am sorry,” the artist replied. “Please do not ask me to take sides.”

Still, everyone wanted to hear his opinion. “You must be in agreement with either Gandhi or Tagore. We are curious to know what you are thinking,” they said.

Again Nandalal Bose said, “I can’t take any side.”

“What do you mean?” they asked him. “Don’t you have a mind of your own?” Finally Nandalal Bose said, “I am an artist. If you ask me which colour I like most, I have to say that I feel that all colours are good; to me they are all excellent. Here, I have great admiration for these two, so for me both of them are right. I won’t take either side. Both Tagore and Gandhi are right.”

GIM 160. 14 February 1979

Editor's preface to the first edition

Most of the stories in this and other books in this series are Sri Chinmoy’s retelling of traditional Indian tales. On rare occasions the Master has modified a story to make it more acceptable to the Western palate. And a few of the stories are Sri Chinmoy’s own. These tales are not only delicious and nourishing, but also encouraging and illumining. Some are quite entertaining. Others are surcharged with morality-flames and spirituality-fire, which easily enlighten the Western mind, strengthen the vital and quicken the journey of the body-consciousness. Together they represent two trees standing side by side: entertainment-tree and enlightenment-tree. Both trees are at your disposal. Appreciate their flowers and fruits to your heart’s content.

From:Sri Chinmoy,Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 8, Agni Press, 1979
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