On his deathbed, the father said to his sons, “I wish both of you to be happy after my passing. Always be together and be peaceful. Be kind to each other. If one of you needs something, the other one should help him. I am distributing my property and land equally to each of you. Also I am keeping a large amount of money in the bank for both of you whenever you need it for an emergency.”
Since the older one was the kinder and wiser of the two, the father wanted him to be responsible for the money. He told the older brother, “Since the older one is more responsible for things in a family, you will be the one to judge when either of you really needs the money. At the time of your real need, you yourself will use it, and you will give the younger one money when he needs it.”
Soon the father died. Both the sons got large portions of land. The younger one was a real lazybones. He was a good talker but not a doer. The older one was a hard worker and he cultivated his fields. Since the younger one was not doing anything, eventually he became poverty-stricken.
The younger brother went to the older brother and said, “I am so poor. Can you not help me?”
The older brother said to him, “I can give you money, but your real problem is that you do not work. You have to work. Otherwise, people will ridicule you.”
The younger one said, “Certainly I will work. But first, can you not do me a favour?”
“What is it?” asked the older brother.
He said, “Your fields are now yielding a bumper crop, whereas mine are growing nothing. Can you exchange fields with me? You take my land and I will take yours. My land you will cultivate. Then, once it starts growing fruits and vegetables, at that time I will take it back and give you back your land. From that time on, I will be extremely careful and work as hard as you are working now. In every way I will become a good and diligent person.”
“All right,” the brother finally agreed, “Father asked us to be kind to each other, so I will do it. But remember, you promised that as soon as your fields are cultivated and everything is in proper shape, you will return my land to me.”
The younger brother said, “I promise you, I promise you!”
So the older brother started cultivating the younger one’s fields. One day he was feeling sorry for the younger brother. He said to himself, “True, my brother has got my land. But perhaps he will need a little more money since he is still poor. Let me go and give him half the money that Father has left for us.”
He went to his younger brother and said, “I feel that this is an emergency. Although I have given you my fields, it will take a long time for me to make your fields as fruitful as mine. So take half the money that Father has left for us.”
The younger one said, “I have some special news to tell you. You will be very pleased to know that I have sold all your fields. So you don’t have to worry about my money problems. Now I am really rich. You can do anything that you want to with my fields.”The older brother buried his head in his hands.
One day the rich brother’s wife was wearing a beautiful gold necklace. Her husband had lots of money, so naturally she could afford expensive things. The wife of the poor brother was very jealous of her. When she saw the necklace, she went home and insulted her husband because he did not have as much money as his brother.
Then the poor wife went to her sister-in-law and said, “I have invited some guests over tonight, and I would like to wear your beautiful gold necklace. Could you possibly give it to me for one or two days, and then I will return it to you?”
The rich wife said, “Of course, I will gladly lend it to you.”
The poor wife took the necklace home and wore it that night when her guests came. They all appreciated the necklace, but she didn’t tell them it was borrowed.
Two days, three days and then a week passed, but still the poor wife didn’t return the necklace. The rich wife felt sad that she didn’t have her necklace back, so very apologetically she went to her sister-in-law and said, “Could you kindly return my necklace?”
The poor wife said, “What! When did you give me your necklace? You are just telling lies to make me feel that I am very poor and you are very rich. I have no idea what you are talking about.”
The poor brother begged his wife to return the necklace. He said, “We are poor, but we can’t be dishonest.” But his wife wouldn’t listen to him.
When the rich wife told her husband what had happened, he said, “O God, keep your mouth shut. If the villagers come to know that my brother’s wife is such a liar, it will bring terrible disgrace to the family.
The wife said, “No, I have to get this necklace back.”
The next day she went back to her sister-in-law. Before she could even mention the necklace, the poor wife said, “This time, if you tell any lies, I will insult you. I have not taken anything from you!”
When the rich wife told her husband what had happened this time, he said, “She is right. Stop telling lies.”
The wife got mad. “She has to give me the necklace,” she said.
The husband said, “What can I do? I don’t want to hear that my brother’s wife is so bad. I will give you another necklace. If we say anything about this, it will reflect on our family.”
A few days later the rich wife’s daughter came to visit her. The mother was still very, very sad about the necklace. Her daughter asked her why she was so sad, and the mother told her.
The daughter said to her mother, “Don’t worry, my aunt knows that I have come to visit you. She likes me very much, and she will definitely come here to see me.” Then the daughter instructed her mother to say a few things when the aunt came.
The poor brother’s wife arrived, and her sister-in-law served her a very nice meal. Everyone was having a wonderful time. Then the daughter said to her mother, “You wrote to me a few weeks ago that you had a most beautiful necklace. Where is it? Why are you not wearing it to show off?”
The mother said, “It was a stolen necklace. I bought it from someone who had stolen it. The police caught the thief and he told them that he had sold it to someone in this neighbourhood. Fortunately, the thief couldn’t remember the exact house where he sold it. Now the police are making an investigation.”
The daughter said, “So what has happened to the necklace?”
The mother said, “In the meantime, your aunt came to my house and borrowed it, because she was having guests over. But after the guests left, she misplaced it. She would gladly have given it back, but she misplaced it. Anyway, I am so glad that I do not have it anymore.”
“Why is that?” asked the daughter.
The mother continued, “The police can come and search my house, and still they won’t find it. At the same time, even if they go to your aunt’s place, they won’t find it there either. I am so glad that the stolen necklace is now lost.”
When the aunt heard this story, she ran out of the house and went home. Then she put the necklace in a box and gave it to her servant. “Go and give this to my sister-in-law, but don’t put it in her hand. Just throw it at her,” she said.
The servant said, “How can I do that?”
The lady said, “Such disrespect! You must obey me!”So the servant went to the rich woman’s house. But instead of throwing the box at her, he threw it at her feet. This is how the rich wife got back her gold necklace.
When the king arrived with his entourage, he asked his cook to prepare a delicious meal. The cook prepared the meal, but he did not have enough salt. The king said to the cook, “Go and get some salt from one of the villagers, but make sure you pay for it.”
The cook said, “O King, how will the villagers accept money for the salt if I tell them that it is for you? Even if I don’t say it is for you, if I ask them for a small quantity of salt, they will not ask for money.”
The king said, “If they don’t ask for money, no harm. Just ask for the salt and then give them double the amount of money that you would pay for it at the market.”
The cook said, “I will do it, O King, but I can’t understand why I should pay them. You are the King and you are coming here to visit them. They are deeply honoured that you have come.”
The king said, “These are poor people. You have to pay them! I have to think of my son and my kingdom. To protect my kingdom I have to make my son wise. No matter what I do, my son always imitates me inwardly and outwardly and tries to surpass me. If I take some salt without paying for it, then one day my son will come here and take something that is very expensive without paying. If I take something for free, then he will force these people to give him something for free that is very expensive.“That is why I am paying double the amount for the salt. I tell you, one day my son will come here and pay four times the amount that something costs. That is what I want. I want my son to be generous. I want my son to surpass me in every way in good qualities, but not in bad qualities. Now I am showing my generosity, so that one day my son will come and show even more generosity.”
When the princess came out of the river, she saw that the diamond ring was missing from the box. She looked around and asked, “Who has taken my ring?”
Nobody wanted to confess. The princess said, “The two or three guards were quite far from the box. I know that they didn’t do it. My maids have all been with me for years. But one of them must have taken it. This is such an embarrassing situation. How am I going to catch the thief?
“My father has such faith in astrologers. Some astrologer will be able to tell us secretly which maid has taken the ring. Then that person will have to give it back. But I don’t want to embarrass that maid. Once I get it back, I won’t blame the thief. I will be happy just to have my diamond ring back.”
Then the princess said to the maids, “I am giving you one last chance. Tonight whoever has stolen the ring can put it in my room. Otherwise, tomorrow I will ask an astrologer who the culprit is.”
The princess thought that since the maids had such faith in astrologers, the culprit would return the ring. But the following day the ring was still nowhere to be found. So the princess called in an astrologer and said, “Yesterday I was swimming, and when I came out of the river I discovered that my diamond necklace was missing. But nobody wants to confess that they have taken it. This is a very embarrassing situation. Can you tell me who has taken my necklace?”
The astrologer looked around and said, “Your maids are all nice people. They are very faithful and devoted. The thief was somebody else who was walking by. I can see him. He is now in another village. If you want, I will be able to concentrate on this person and catch him.”
The princess got mad at the astrologer. She said, “I didn’t lose a necklace. It was a diamond ring! What kind of astrologer are you?”
The princess told her father what had happened and the king told his guards to thrash this useless astrologer. The astrologer cried out, “Please don’t thrash me. I will be very sincere. The maids bribed me. That is why I said that somebody else was the thief. Since I could not save them, the best thing is for me to give them their money back.”
The king immediately fired all the maids and ordered the astrologer to leave the palace. Then the king sent for a different astrologer.
This time the princess said to the astrologer, “I had a necklace and also a diamond ring in a box near the river where I was swimming. There were a few more items in the box, but these two things were missing when I came out of the river. Please tell me if one of my maids was the thief or if the thief was somebody else. Although father has fired the maids, they have not yet left the palace. We want to know who the culprit is.”
The astrologer went deep within and said, “Princess, you are wrong. You didn’t lose a necklace. Your necklace is still inside the box. But your diamond ring is missing. Please look inside the jewellery box. I am sure your necklace is there.”
The princess knew that the necklace was there, but she pretended to go to her room and look in the box. She returned to the astrologer, pretending to be quite happy that she had found her necklace. Now she had all faith that this astrologer would be able to tell her who the actual culprit was.
The astrologer said, “The culprit is in the palace. But before I embarrass that person, will it not be advisable for us to leave the room so that whoever has stolen the ring can secretly put it here? Then the princess will get her ring back.”
The king got furious. “The maids are such bad people. They bribed the first astrologer because they thought that I would be angry at their negligence. If any one of them saw the culprit stealing, why is she not telling us?”
At that time the real culprit came and fell at the feet of the king and placed the diamond ring before him. She said, “O King, forgive me, forgive me.”
The king said, “Now I have got my daughter’s ring back. Either I can continue my anger or I can forgive you. Now that I am happy and the princess is happy, I will forgive all of you. You can again work at the palace. But never steal again!”So the king forgave the maids and allowed them to work at the palace once again.
One day a friend came to the zamindar’s home and saw that he was very sad. The friend asked, “Why are you sad?”
The zamindar answered, “I am sad that my wife and I are not getting along because of this servant. Both of us have different opinions about him.”
The friend said, “Don’t worry. I will be able to solve the problem and tell you whether he is good or bad.”
One day while the servant was watching the goats in a field, the master’s friend came up to him and said, “This particular goat is so beautiful. Will you sell it to me for five rupees?”
The boy answered, “No, I am sorry. I cannot sell it.”
The friend asked again, “Will you sell it for ten rupees?”
The boy said, “No, I am sorry.”
“Twenty rupees?” the friend asked.
The servant said, “If you want to buy the goat, you will have to go to my master and give him the twenty rupees. If my master says he will sell it, then I will give it to you.”
The friend said, “Who wants to go to your master? His house is quite far. Let me give you thirty rupees. I am sure that your master does not give you enough salary. Keep the thirty rupees and tell your master that the goat was stolen. Your master has so many goats. He won’t even know it is gone.”
“Oh no,” the boy said, “I can’t do that. My master will know. And even if he didn’t notice, I know how many goats my master has, so I would know if one were missing.”
The friend said, “Just take thirty rupees and give me the goat. Then go and give your master the money and tell him you have sold it.”
The boy said, “No, I am sorry. I can’t sell it without my master’s permission.”
“If I give you one hundred rupees, will you give me the goat?” the friend said. “Then you can keep all the money.”
“I am not a thief,” the servant said. “I could never keep the money.”
The friend said, “You could give him seventy rupees and keep thirty for yourself. Or you could just tell him the goat was stolen and keep all the money for yourself.”
“That I could never do,” the young man said.
Since the man was insisting, the servant finally said, “If you really want to give me a hundred rupees for one goat, then I will accept the money and give it to my master.”
The zamindar’s friend was very curious to see what the servant would do with the money. He thought, “Either he will give his master a little less or tell him the goat was stolen. No matter what he does, I will be able to tell his master the true story.”
The servant went to his master and gave him the hundred rupees. He said, “Master, forgive me. Without your permission I sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I knew that the goat was only worth five rupees, but this man insisted on giving me one hundred rupees for it. I thought that you would be very happy to get one hundred rupees for a goat that is worth only five rupees. Now you can buy many more goats.”
The wife said to the servant, “I wish to speak to my husband privately for a minute. Would you please go away from here now?”
Then the wife said to her husband, “I suspect him. I tell you, he must have sold it at an even higher price and he is giving us only part of it.” She did not know that it was the zamindar’s friend who had bought the goat.
Just then the zamindar’s friend arrived at his house and asked, “What is happening?”
The zamindar said, “Our servant says that he has sold a goat for a hundred rupees. I don’t suspect my servant, but my wife, as usual, suspects him. She feels that he has sold the goat for a still higher price and kept some money for himself.”
The friend said, “You will never find anybody in your lifetime as honest and sincere as this servant. It was I who bought the goat for one hundred rupees. I tested him in so many ways. In so many tricky ways I tried to persuade him to keep the money for himself. But each and every time he proved to me that he is extremely sincere. I have examined him thoroughly. He is sincerity incarnate.”
The zamindar said to his wife, “I told you so!”
The wife said, “It is always good to test people in this way. Now I am changing my opinion. From now on, I will take this boy as my own son.”The zamindar said, “I have already taken him as my own son. Unfortunately, my son is not and will never be as faithful to us as this servant is.”
One of the king’s ministers was very sad and miserable. He said to himself, “He is such a rich king and he has got so much food. He has everything in boundless measure, but he won’t give anything away free.”
The minister decided to play a trick on the king. He said to him, “O King, since you won’t give anything away free, do you not think that people are criticising you?”
The king said, “Who cares?”
The minister said, “It is good to get appreciation and admiration from people. Then you get joy. If people criticise you, do you get joy?”
The king said, “No, I don’t get joy.”
The minister said, “If you want admiration, then do one thing. People are dying of starvation. Can you not sell them your excess grain at a low price?”
“Of course, of course!” said the king.
The minister continued, “In the neighbouring kingdom they also need food badly. Can we not also sell them grain at a low price? Then they will be eternally grateful to you.”
The king said, “Certainly, we can do this.”
“Then let us send the grain on a few ships,” the minister said, “and inform the neighbouring king that it is coming. Let us say that whatever price he can pay, we will be very happy to accept.”
The minister arranged for the king’s extra grain to be brought to the pier. At the same time, he informed all the poor people to also come to the pier. Then the minister freely distributed all the grain to the poor people.
Then the minister returned to the king and said, “O King, something terrible has happened!”
The king said, “What has happened?”
The minister told him, “We put all the grain on the ships, but the ships sank. I feel so sad. Our neighbouring king didn’t get the food, and we didn’t get any money. Here our own poor people who are starving didn’t get anything either. We are so unlucky that our ships sank.”
The king said, “Don’t feel sorry. Perhaps God is punishing me because I have not been kind and generous.”The minister said, “O King, God doesn’t punish us; He only illumines us slowly and steadily. God has already illumined you by inwardly telling you to sell the grain at a very low price. Previously you didn’t want to part with any of your grain. Then you agreed to sell your grain to the other king at a low price. A day will come when you will want to give everything for free. So God never punishes us; He only illumines us.”
When his wife died, he lavished all his affection and love on his only daughter. The daughter also lavished much affection and love on her father. When the daughter came of age, the father wanted to find a suitable person for her to marry.
The daughter told him, “Oh, I have already chosen my future husband. In fact, I am in love with him.”
The father was surprised. He said, “Please let me meet the young man.”
After the father met the young man, he said to his daughter, “He seems to be a good person, but how can I trust him since I haven’t known him very long? The best thing is for me to observe him for six months. If I am pleased with him, then you can marry him. Even if I am not pleased with him, if you still love him, there is every possibility that I will allow you to marry him. Since you are my only daughter, my love for you is blind.”
Now the father had three or four ships, which he used to import and export merchandise. One day he came to his daughter and the young man shedding bitter tears. He told them, “There was a hurricane and two of my ships have sunk. I have lost thousands and thousands of rupees’ worth of merchandise! What am I going to do? Soon the people who paid me for the merchandise that they ordered will start asking me for their money back, and I have nothing to give them.”
Just as he had said, his clients started coming to his house and asking him to return the money they had paid in advance. The merchant was in a very deplorable financial situation.
After a few days the young man said to him, “I am so sorry that this has happened. You are suffering so much. When my father died he left me a small estate with a large house. I am going to sell my estate and also my house and give you all the money. I don’t want you to be embarrassed like this. I want you to be happy and I want your daughter to be happy. Please don’t feel that I am trying to bribe you in any way. What I have I will give you, but you are under no obligation to give your daughter to me.”
The merchant immediately shook hands with the man and said, “You are the only one who deserves my daughter. This whole story about my ships sinking was all lies. My ships are in good condition, and those people who came to me for money are my friends. It was all a plot to test you, and you have indeed passed the test.”So the merchant’s daughter and the young man were married, and the family was very, very happy.
One night, after they had gone out stealing, they met in the street. One of them had a beautiful golden cup. The other thief said, “How did you get that?”
His friend said, “I stole it from a hermit’s house.”
The first thief said, “How could a hermit have such a beautiful gold cup?”
His friend said, “That I don’t know, but the hermit has many disciples. Perhaps one of his disciples gave him this. The hermit does not care if he has a gold cup or an earthen pot. Most of the time he just stays at the foot of a tree near his small house and prays and meditates. He doesn’t care about his possessions. His disciples put expensive things in his house, but he is above all that. He is not attached to any material things.”
The first thief was very jealous that his friend had got such a beautiful gold cup. Finally he said, “Well, I have decided that I will give up stealing.”
His friend said, “What! What are you talking about?”
The first thief continued, “Stealing is not a good thing. I have decided to return all the things that I have stolen to their rightful owners. True, some things I have already sold, and those I cannot give back. But whatever I have that I know belongs to certain individuals, I am planning to return. And I shall confess that I have stolen it.
“Everybody looks down on me because they know I am a thief. Therefore, I have decided that I want to give up stealing. Then people will appreciate me and love me. I want appreciation from people, so I will become a good person. This is a new idea for me, and I am going to start tomorrow.”
The other thief was amazed and jealous that his friend had thought of this idea first. He said, “You are starting tomorrow?”
“Yes,” said the first thief.
“Then I am starting right now,” said his friend. He ran to the hermit’s hut and entered into it. Bowing down, he said, “Please give me some advice. During the day I was very busy. That is why I am coming at night to ask for your advice. Actually, it is not my problem; it is somebody else’s problem. If you can solve my friend’s problem, I will be very grateful.”
“What is his problem?” asked the hermit.
The man said, “My friend is a thief. Now he says that he is going to return the things that he has stolen and lead a new and better life. What should he do now?”
“What do you mean?” asked the hermit.
“Suppose I have stolen something from someone. If I want to give it back, am I doing the right thing by telling him that I have stolen it and making a confession?”
The hermit said, “You are doing the right thing if you make a confession and give back the things that you have taken. Then God will forgive you.”
The thief said, “In case the owner does not want to take it back, what should the person do? The owner may get disgusted and think that the object is polluted because it had been stolen by a low-class thief. A thief is impurity incarnate.”
“In that case,” said the hermit, “the thief can keep it. It is up to the owner whether he takes it back or not. If the owner does not take it back, then the thief cannot be blamed for keeping it.”
The thief then took out the cup and gave it to the hermit. The hermit asked, “Where is it from?”
The thief said, “From your house.”
The hermit was always in trance so he did not recognise it. He said, “You have taken it from my house?”
“Yes,” said the thief. “Now please take it back.”
The hermit said, “Since you have got it now, it is your possession. You need it more than I do. Otherwise, you would not have taken it. I pray to God and meditate on God. Why do I need this kind of expensive thing? Any kind of earthen cup is more than enough for me. I am not saying that you are impure. You are also God’s child. I want to see purity in everyone. But I didn’t know this cup was mine and I don’t need it. In every way it should be yours. I don’t have any claim on it.”
When the thief returned, his friend was still waiting for him. The friend was surprised to see that he still had the beautiful gold cup. The thief said, “I went back, but the saint didn’t want to take it back. He said he did not need it and that I need it more than he does.”The friend felt miserable that the other thief still had the beautiful gold cup. He had not really been planning to turn over a new leaf and return all his stolen goods the next day. It was only out of jealousy that he had tried to trick his friend into returning the cup by making him feel that he himself was planning to become good. But his philosophy didn’t work.
The relative was frightened to death. Even though the pain was unbearable, the relative said that he was ready to suffer the pain rather than undergo the operation. “Perhaps it will burst on its own and I will be cured,” he said. But the carbunkle was not bursting at all and everybody was quite worried.
The Muslim servant went to his master and said that he could cure the relative. The master said to him, “Nobody trusts you, but you are so confident. Do you really think that you will be able to cure him?”
The servant had such respect for his master. With folded hands he said, “How can I tell you lies?” So the master agreed to let the servant try.
The servant got an eggplant and scooped out the pulp. Then inside the eggplant he put all kinds of things: leaves, mustard oil, ginger and other things that one can get in the kitchen. Then he took the whole concoction and placed it not on top of the carbuncle, but around it. Then he said his own mantra. What happened? The carbunkle burst. It didn’t even take ten minutes!
The patient’s family wanted to give the servant some money, but he said, “I can’t take anything.”
The servant’s master said, “You have to take something!”
The servant’s master was like the head of the village and everybody appreciated him. So the servant said to his master, “If you want to do me a favour, then please tell others that I know a little bit of medicine. I am always ridiculed and insulted because people think I am ignorant. Whenever anybody criticises me, if you just say that I know a little bit of medicine, then that will be more than enough.”So the master told everyone how the servant had cured his relative, and from then on people in the village took the servant seriously.
Many people heard about what the old man had said. But who could afford to spend fifty thousand rupees, except someone very, very rich? Finally the king himself heard the story. He said, “If it is something truly invaluable, then fifty thousand rupees is nothing for me. I will buy it.”
His minister asked, “What is it?”
The king said, “What does it matter? The old man is selling something for fifty thousand rupees. I want to buy his invaluable heirloom. Then it will be my possession and he won’t be able to brag any more. Anything really precious I should have. Who else should have it? Now go and bring the man to me.”
When the minister brought the man, the king asked, “What is the thing that you have that is worth fifty thousand rupees? I have heard that you are bragging and bragging about it. Now I want it.”
The man said, “O King, it is absolutely true that what I have is worth at least fifty thousand rupees. But will you not have faith in my judgement? If I am asking fifty thousand rupees, then I must have something very great.”
The king said, “Why do you have to waste my time? If I give you fifty thousand rupees now, will you give it to me?”
The man said, “Of course, of course. If you give me fifty thousand rupees and I do not give this heirloom to you, then I know that you will punish me.”
The king said, “You are right. I will hang you.”
The man said, “Then will you give me the money first?”
The king said, “Take it!” and immediately gave the man fifty thousand rupees.
The man was carrying a bag with him. He opened up the bag and took out a blanket which was full of holes where rats had eaten it. He said, “O King, I have been preserving this blanket for many years. My father’s father told me that it had been passed down for three generations before him. If one can preserve something for five generations, then naturally it is invaluable. So King, you take it. I give it to you. You will have blessings from five generations of my ancestors. They will all bless you.”
The king said, “O God, I am not a king. I should go out in the street and tell everyone that I am this kingdom’s worst possible fool for giving you fifty thousand rupees before even seeing your invaluable treasure. Since I am king, I always brag about how wise I am. Now you have fooled me. I should get a prize for my stupidity.”
The king didn’t take the money back. He said, “I deserve to lose the money for my stupidity. Once I give money to someone, I don’t take it back. But now that I have pleased you by giving you the money, will you please me by doing me a favour?”
The man said, “Certainly I will please you.”The king said, “Take back your five-generation-old blanket full of rat holes. Give it to your sons and let them preserve it for generation after generation. I cannot pass this down to my own children and grandchildren. My children and grandchildren will not be so stupid as to want a blanket full of rat holes, and I don’t want them to preserve the memory of this foolish thing that I have done!”
From:Sri Chinmoy,Is your mind ready to cry? Is your heart ready to smile? part 9, Agni Press, 1981
Sourced from https://srichinmoylibrary.com/mrc_9