Untimely fruits

There were two kings. Throughout every year the more powerful one used to receive very, very expensive gifts from the inferior one, especially on the occasion of his birthday. There came a time when some subjects of the inferior king said to him, “You are in no way inferior to that king. You must not send him gifts any more, and you do not have to be loyal to him. We shall demonstrate your supremacy. We shall fight for you.”

So the inferior king began preparing himself and his army to fight against the superior king. When the superior king heard about this turn of events, he said, “That fool is still in the world of preparation, while my army is well equipped. Let me go and challenge him before he is fully ready. I shall easily destroy his army.”

The prime minister of the superior king did not agree. He said, “O King, this is not the time to attack. It is winter. At this time it will be difficult for us to defeat him and destroy his army. Let us wait for better weather.”

The superior king became furious at this advice. He said, “To conquer someone, why should we depend on the weather? Any time is the right time. You have to go now. This is my order.”

The prime minister surrendered and said, “All right. We shall get ready.”

The following morning the king saw his son, the prince, standing in front of a huge mango tree. The prince himself was watering the mango tree. The king said, “My son, I thought you were extremely wise, but now I see that you are a fool. I am already old, and the time has come for me to retire. I thought that I would give my kingdom to you, but how am I going to do that? You do not have the wisdom to rule like a king.”

The prince said, “Father, what is wrong? I am watering this mango tree to expedite the arrival of the fruits.”

His father said, “It is the rainy season. Can you not see that it rains heavily each day? As a matter of fact, it may rain at any moment.”

The prince said, “It is the rainy season, true. But if I water the tree in addition to the rain, then I will get the mango fruits sooner.”

His father said, “How can it be? You will get the fruits at the proper time and not before.”

The prince said, “Father, in exactly the same way, this is not the proper time to wage war. What the prime minister is saying is so wise. You think that in spite of the weather if you can attack your enemy quickly, you will be able to conquer him. No, you cannot. In this weather, your soldiers will suffer tremendously. They will suffer, and they may even be defeated, because very few soldiers will be able to enter into the other kingdom. Who knows, your enemy’s small army may be able to destroy you. So if you, the king, are doing something untimely, why is it wrong for me to do something untimely? In winter if I am trying to expedite the arrival of the mangoes, will I be successful by watering the mango tree to get fruits sooner? No, it is absurdity on the face of it. In exactly the same way, if you go there, you will not be able to win. On the contrary, you are bound to lose.”

The king said, “My son, today you have shown me what true wisdom is. I shall definitely follow your advice and postpone the attack. What is more, I shall give my kingdom to you in the very near future. You have laid all my fears to rest.”

Who is superior: husband or wife?

This story is about a husband and wife. As usual, they were on ‘wonderful’ terms! Each one tried to exercise his superiority. Day in and day out they would quarrel and fight, quarrel and fight. The husband always used to say that he had made the most deplorable mistake of his life by marrying his wife. And the wife said the same. Then she used to add that if she had not made this kind of mistake, by this time she would have married somebody who was richer than the richest. So it went on for years and years.

One day a very great and wise scholar came to their house. He felt sorry for this couple because they were constantly quarrelling and fighting. They appealed to him, “Can you not solve our problem?”

The scholar said, “How can I solve your problem? Both of you are so good to me. True, you fight like cats and dogs between yourselves, but to me you have been extremely kind. So whose side can I take? But I can tell you about a dream I had many years ago. That dream is applicable to you both. In the dream I saw that a husband and wife were going to a distant place. It was the home of one of their relatives. They were walking and walking. On the way, they became very tired, especially the wife. The husband also needed some rest. The countryside through which they were walking was full of banyan trees. They decided to take rest at the foot of a banyan tree. On this day, for some reason, the wife became very kind and generous. While her husband was sleeping on the ground at the foot of the tree, she raised his head and put it on her lap. Then she, too, started dozing.

“All of a sudden she woke up and saw that a branch was shaking. It was about to fall on her husband’s head. She raised her hand and said, ‘Stop, stop, stop!’ and because of her command, the branch did not fall onto her husband. It did not even bend. So that is my story. Now you decide who was superior — the husband or the wife.”

The wife immediately said, “Here is the proof! The wife was definitely superior. She was able to stop the branch from falling down. Otherwise, her husband would have been killed or seriously hurt. Inwardly, she was the stronger of the two. She was superior in every way.”

Then her husband said, “Stop, stop! You are absolutely wrong. It was because the wife knew that her husband was her master that she did this. A wife has to be loyal to her husband. To save him is her duty. It is not that she was superior. It was her duty to save her master. He is her lord.”

Both of them interpreted the dream in their own way. Thus the great scholar made both of them happy.

No homes for the idle

There was once a king who was kind, pious and self-giving in every way. He felt miserable that while he was the king, there were many, many homeless people in his kingdom. So he said to his prime minister, “You must bring all the homeless people here to the court and I will see what I can offer them. I will definitely give each one a house in which to live. Each one will receive a house at the very least.”

The prime minister went from village to village making the announcement, and on the appointed day countless homeless people came. When the king saw the long queue, he said, “How can I give so many people houses? O God, You gave me the heart to be of help to the poor people, but You have not given me the capacity. I made a promise and I want to keep my promise, but where is my capacity? I was so moved by the plight of these homeless people, but I never imagined that there were so many of them in my kingdom. What shall I do? I am unable to give them all shelter.”

The king felt very, very sad that he was not able to keep his promise. Then the prime minister said, “Oh, no, no! You can still do it.”

The king asked, “How?”

The prime minister said, “I will solve your problem.”

“If you can solve my problem,” said the king, “I shall remain eternally grateful to you.”

The prime minister said, “O King, listen to my plan. As you know, when you own a house, you have to do jobs around the house. If you have a house, you cannot be all the time sleeping. You have to do some housework, or you have to go out to buy food or things to furnish the rooms. Everybody has to do some work in order to live in a house. So the best thing is to ask each homeless person to do a small amount of work. I will tell them that in the very near future, each one will get a house from you. Just outside the palace is a very small hill. Those who want a house should only go up the hill and come down. That is all. And you will be thrilled to see how many people are eager to have houses.”

The king was very pleased with the prime minister’s proposal. Again, he was feeling miserable at the same time. If all of them climbed up the hill, then he still would not be able to fulfil his promise.

The prime minister made a general announcement explaining the situation to the homeless citizens. Then he said, “Now all of you go.” Alas, only ten or twenty people remained to climb up the hill. The rest all left. The king was simply shocked. He could not understand why so many people had disappeared.

The prime minister said, “O King, those vagabonds do not need a home. They are wallowing in the pleasures of idleness. Only the ten or twenty individuals who have remained behind really want to live inside a home. They will do the needful.”

The king was quite satisfied and convinced. He gave each of the people who had remained a large home. This was how the wise prime minister solved the problem. The other homeless people wanted the houses, but they did not want to do anything to earn them. Very few needed houses and deserved them. They were the ones who went and climbed up the hill.

In life, if you need something, you also have to deserve it. If you do nothing to deserve it, if you feel that something will come to you out of the blue, you will not value that thing when you get it. If we want to receive something from God, then we have to be fully prepared. We have to feel that it is our bounden duty to take care of that thing.

The farmer and the priest

There once lived a very good and pious priest. One Sunday he told his congregation, “Next week I shall give an excellent sermon. It will be quite a long sermon, and it will be all-illumining. I believe it will help you all immensely. So do come and listen to my wonderful sermon.”

The following Sunday, he came to the church. Alas, nobody was there except one old man! The priest could not believe his eyes. He had informed everyone in advance that he would give a wonderful sermon which would illumine them. How is it that the church was not full to overflowing? He was shocked.

He said to the old man, “I have prepared such an excellent sermon. Now you are the only one to hear it. Tell me, is it worthwhile to give the sermon to one individual?”

The old man said, “What can I say? You are a priest and I am a fool. I have come here to receive illumination from you.”

Then the priest said, “It is not worth giving illumination to only one person.”

The old man said, “Father, I have something to tell you.”

“What is it?” asked the priest.

The old man said, “Father, I am a farmer. I have quite a few cows. Every day I go to the cow shed and take lots of fodder. But some days when I go to the cow shed, for some reason, only one cow has come to eat. There should have been many cows, but on that day there is only one cow. Still I do my job. I feed the one who has come. Then I go back home.”

The priest understood the old man’s point. That was his first illumination — not to count how many have come to hear his message. Even if only one person has come and that person is sincere, he should be taken seriously.

So the priest gave his long sermon to his audience of one person. Unfortunately, from time to time the farmer started sleeping soundly. At the end of the sermon, the priest asked him, “How did you enjoy it?”

The farmer replied, “I enjoyed it very much.”

The priest persisted, “But tell me more.”

The farmer said, “All right. I shall tell you my opinion. When I go to the cow shed with a lot of fodder and I see there is only one cow, I do not force that cow to eat all the fodder that I have brought. It would die. I bring a large quantity, but it is up to the cow how much it eats. I do not force it to eat beyond its capacity. In your case, you came with a large quantity of wisdom, but I was the only one to receive it. You delivered your entire sermon all the same. How was I going to digest the whole thing? How was I going to understand it? It was far beyond my capacity. I was literally dying while listening to your long sermon. To be perfectly frank, I have not learned anything.”

The priest realised his mistake. That was his second illumination.

Now it happened that in a few years’ time, both the priest and the farmer passed away on the same day. When they went to Heaven, St. Peter was waiting for them. St. Peter said to them, “What have you both been doing throughout your life?”

The priest said, “I have been preaching and preaching and preaching.”

Then the farmer said, “I have been farming and farming and farming.”

St. Peter said to the priest, “Oh, I remember you. You are a fool! For the fools Heaven’s door is closed.”

To the farmer, St. Peter said, “You are truly a wise man. Heaven’s door is always open to the wise. Come inside.”

Then he turned once more to the priest and said, “You go back to earth and change your profession. I want you to be a farmer and learn how to feed cows. Then you will acquire some wisdom.”

Then to the farmer he said, “You stay in Heaven for a number of years. Then I will send you back to the world and I will make you a priest, so you can spread your wisdom. People come to church for wisdom. This fellow has no wisdom, but your wisdom has pleased me. You will go back as a priest and illumine people in your church.”

We need money-power to live on earth

There were two very close friends who lived in the same village. The time came when one of them, for some reason, had to go and live in a distant village. Inwardly the two friends maintained their love for each other, but outwardly they were unable to be together. Finally, after twenty years, the friend who had gone away returned home for a visit. Both the friends were so happy and delighted to see each other.

“Ahh!” one friend said to the other, “You look so nice! Twenty years ago you did not look so smart. You look healthy. How did you become so strong? As a matter of fact, you look younger after twenty years than you did previously! You look so much younger and very, very strong!”

The other friend said, “To tell you the truth, I suffered so much for nineteen years. Only last year something happened, and that made me very happy and very strong.”

“What was it?” asked the first friend eagerly.

“Let me tell you the whole story,” said the second friend. “I opened up a shop and it failed. Then I went into other businesses and failed. I only failed and failed in my attempts to make money. Then I decided that I would not think of money any more. I decided to live a very simple life. The moment I gave up the idea of becoming very rich, I was inundated with peace. Peace entered into my mind and my body. I immediately became healthier. I look so much better because I gave up the idea of becoming rich. If you give up the idea of becoming rich, you have no worries or anxieties. You become very peaceful, happy and strong.”

The first friend said, “You are a radiant example! I should also do the same. I must not think of money and all kinds of material things. Then I will look younger and I will become stronger and happier. My difficulty is that my wife will not allow me to lead a simple life. My wife wants to be very rich. Now that I have learned from you about the benefits of leading a simple life, I also want to do the same. But I know the nature of my wife. My wife will be pleased only if I make lots of money. How I wish I was not compelled to earn so much money!”

“You have my complete sympathy,” said the second friend. “I gave up the idea of becoming rich, but my wife now wants us to open a new business. She wants to become very, very rich. I know that she will not be peaceful and happy like me by leading a simple life.”

The first friend said, “Both our wives want to become rich and we want only simplicity. What are we going to do?” Then he had a brilliant idea. He said, “I have the solution! Let the wives stay together. Since we do not want money, you and I will live together. We can be happy and peaceful in our own way and they can be happy in their own way.”

So the two friends went and informed their wives of their wonderful proposal and the wives gladly agreed. Both the wives were quite smart and they felt that they would manage far better without their husbands. So the two wives lived together and the two husbands lived together. The two husbands had next to nothing. They survived on very little money, but they were very happy and they had peace of mind. Meanwhile, the two wives were struggling under the pressure of running their businesses.

In the course of time, the husbands became quite old, and they developed all kinds of ailments. Eventually they needed to go to the hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, the hospital did not want to accept them. The hospital authorities and the doctors said, “Unless you pay, we cannot treat you.”

The two husbands said, “We do not have money. We are poor. We do not even have insurance. What are we going to do?”

But the hospital authorities were adamant. They did not want to accept them. Then the authorities asked, “Do you have any relatives?”

“We have wives,” said the two husbands.

“What are your wives doing?” asked the authorities. “Can you not take help from them?”

“Oh no,” said the two husbands. “We wanted to become happy by remaining poor. So we separated from our wives.”

“But are you happy now?” asked the authorities. “You have all kinds of diseases. You badly need medical treatment and you cannot afford it.”

The two husbands said, “We know we need medical treatment, but what can we do? We are helpless.”

So the doctors went to the two wives and said, “Your husbands are suffering so much. Do you not feel obliged to help them?”

One wife said, “They are fools!”

The other wife said, “We do not care for them. They left us. They said they wanted to have peace. Let them have peace! Why should we be responsible?”

“But now they are both suffering from diseases. They are in dire need of your help,” said the doctors.

Finally the wives began to feel sorry for their husbands, so they decided to pay their husbands a visit. When they saw their poor husbands, they said, “You fools! Who wanted you to become very, very rich? Not us! You had the wrong impression, so you left us. Now you have nothing. It is not good to be greedy, but as long as we are on earth, we need money for our basic daily needs. Now we have to save you. If we pay for your medical treatment, then only can you be cured.”

So the wives paid for their husbands, and the husbands were cured. Then they went back to their respective wives, and both couples again started living a normal life.

The wives said, “We shall give you whatever money you need, and you will help us to run our business. We need money not only to keep you alive but also to keep both our families alive. We are not asking you to be extremely rich, but each of us should have the money that we need to live on earth.”

So this was how the two husbands received illumination from their wives. In the beginning, both the wives did want to become very rich. That is why they gave up their husbands. But then wisdom dawned on them. They realised that too much money creates problems in our lives. We need money-power to live on earth, but we should not constantly cry for more wealth.

What anger can do

There was once a very strict boss. People who worked under him were always afraid of him. He used to say, “I do not want any idlers in my office. They will be fired!” If anybody was slow, he became furious. If anybody was idle, he insulted them badly.

One day this boss saw one of his workers loitering outside in the corridor. What is more, the worker was enjoying chewing gum. The boss was infuriated. He marched up to the man and said, “I cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour. I want my workers to be very, very active and dynamic. What do you think you are doing? You are such a bad fellow. I do not want you to be in my office any more. By the way, how much money do you get? I have a little sympathy for you and for your family. Tell me, how much money do you receive?”

The worker said, “I get one hundred rupees a month.”

“All right,” said the boss. “I am giving you one hundred rupees. Now go and find somewhere else to work. One month’s salary I have given. I have sympathy for you, but I cannot keep you here because you are a bad example to my other workers. Now kindly leave my office and never, never come back.”

The man left and the boss was very, very happy that there was nobody in his office to idle away time. Then the boss went out for lunch. He had a very nice meal and after two hours he returned to the office.

As soon as he came into his office to work, he thought he saw the same man standing in the corridor eating something. He was consumed with anger. He sent for his assistant and said, “This fellow is so ungrateful! I gave him money for an entire month. I told him, ‘Go out and find another job. I am giving you one hundred rupees so that you and your family will not suffer.’ Now what is that bad worker doing here? He is ruining the atmosphere in my office. Others will follow his example and they will also become lazy. He should be punished! Bring him here.”

So the assistant brought the man to the boss. The boss was so angry that he could not even look at the man. He exploded, “You are impossible! When I fired you, I gave you so much money! Why are you still here? What are you doing?”

The man calmly took a letter from his pocket and gave it to the boss. The letter was from a friend of the boss inviting him to come for dinner that evening. After reading the letter, the boss looked more closely at the worker and realised that this was not the worker he had fired. It was somebody who worked in his friend’s office.

So this is what anger can do. At first the boss was very strict. He did not want anybody to be idle or to waste time. Then, when he fired the lazy worker, he was generous to some extent. He showed his compassion. Finally, when he thought the lazy worker was still lingering, he became so furious that he did not even look at the worker properly. He thought that it was the same person. His anger was so great that he could not see clearly. Anger does not allow us to see the right person or do the right thing.

The inveterate smokers

There were two villagers who were very, very good friends. One day they were returning from the market. They found a short cut to come home, so they were very happy. On the way, one of them said, “I have to smoke. Really, I need it badly.”

The other friend said, “I also want to smoke.”

The first one, from his pocket, brought out an Indian cigarette. We call them bidis. Then he said, “Oh, I do not have matches.”

The second friend said, “I have matches, but I have only two sticks, so we have to be very careful.”

The second friend struck one stick against the matchbox. Alas, there was no flame — nothing! It did not catch fire. He threw the stick onto the ground. Now there was only one left. He closed his eyes and started praying to God that this time the matchstick would work. For two minutes he prayed most intensely. With his eyes closed he prayed and prayed and prayed. The first friend was so happy that his friend was praying to God. He was positive that this time God would definitely allow the match to light. The first time his friend did not pray; that is why the matchstick did not work, but this time he had done the needful.

After praying, the second friend opened his eyes. He was cocksure that this time it would work. Alas, it did not work. For a few moments both of them were so sad. Then they started laughing.

The first one said, “I saw such sincerity in you! The second time, while you were praying, how is it that God did not listen to your prayer?”

The second friend said, “This is why I say not to pray to God. God never listens to my prayers. He simply ignores them.”

The first friend agreed, “It is true! God does not listen to my prayers either. For years and years I have been trying to give up smoking. I pray to God to help me, but God does not listen. Now today you wanted to smoke and He did not listen. Here is the proof that God does not listen to our prayers.”

The second friend said, “Let us stop praying to God. Let us become atheists.”

The first friend said, “Before giving up our prayer-life, let us go to the village priest. Perhaps the priest will have some advice.”

They went to the village priest to ask his advice before they gave up praying. When they saw the priest, the first friend said, “For years I have been praying to God to help me stop smoking, but God does not listen. I just go on smoking.”

The other one said, “I pray to God to enable me to smoke whenever I want to, but something always happens. Either I do not have the money-power or there is some other obstacle. Here is the proof: today I wanted to smoke, but God did not listen to my prayer.”

The priest said to the second friend, “You say that God does not listen to your prayers. I tell you, God does listen to you. I shall prove it to you. You can come to my place to smoke any time. We shall enjoy smoking together. And do not worry about paying. I have plenty of bidis here. Just come whenever you want to smoke with me. You see, God is listening to your prayer. I am telling you that in the future you will never have any problem with smoking.”

To the first friend the priest said, “In your case, it seems that God is not listening to you. But I will send a message to St. Peter to see what he can do about your problem. Come back and see me in a week or so.”

This friend was so happy that the priest would speak to St. Peter on his behalf. After one week had passed, he came back, hoping to receive good news. He said to the priest, “Please tell me what St. Peter said.”

The priest answered, “St. Peter says he is very busy. He has more important things to do than worry about your smoking.”

The first friend was so disappointed and disheartened. He said, “Then I will not be able to stop?”

The priest said, “You will be able to stop.”

The first friend said, “How will I be able to stop if St. Peter does not listen to my request?”

The priest said, “I will give you a piece of good advice. I gave your friend good advice and it is working very well. He can come and smoke with me any time. I am always available. In your case, I am telling you to start smoking as much as you can for as long as you can, as many times a day as possible.”

The man was dumbfounded. He said, “I want to give up smoking, not to increase it! By smoking so many times a day, how will I be able to give up smoking?”

The priest said, “Just smoke and smoke to your heart’s content. Then you will fall sick. If you fall sick, then how will you be able to smoke any more?”

Your problem is my problem

There were two friends who were dearer than the dearest to each other. Because of various circumstances, they had not seen each other for a long time. One day, quite unexpectedly, they met in the street. One friend said to the other, “I understand that you have become very, very rich. Is it true?”

The second friend said, “Yes, it is absolutely true. I have acquired a very large amount of money. But what can money alone do? I have been suffering from back pain for many months. I have spent so much money going from doctor to doctor, but no doctor can cure me. Money cannot cure my back pain, and I have been suffering unimaginably.”

The first friend said, “I tell you, I can make a very sacred and secret ointment. If you use it for three months on a regular basis, you will be completely cured. But the ingredients are extremely rare and very difficult to obtain. Plus, they are quite expensive. I have to go to so many places to get them. But if you are ready to give me the necessary money, I am ready to go to all this trouble. Your problem is my problem and my problem is your problem. If one of us can solve our problem, at least half of our problems will be over. I cannot guarantee that you will be cured completely, but I assure you that you will get considerable relief. I am happy to know that money is no object for you. If you send me one hundred rupees a month, I will send you the ointment. Then half our problems will be over.”

So the rich friend sent one hundred rupees every month, and in return he received the ointment. He had such faith in his friend. Alas, alas, three months passed and his back had not improved at all. He was very sad and mad. He asked himself, “What kind of deception is this?”

One day the two friends met again on the street. The rich man was very angry. He said, “You took money from me, but still I am suffering severely from back pain. Your ointment is useless.”

His friend said, “Did I not tell you that half our problems would be over?”

“What do you mean by half our problems? I do not understand,” said the rich friend.

His friend continued, “I needed money desperately, so this is how I was able to get it from you for three months. I told you that your problem is my problem and my problem is your problem. Now my problem is over, which means half your problems are over. To solve the other half of your problems, I advise you to go to a good doctor.”

The rich man was so shocked. He decided to punish his friend for being such a rogue. This rich man had various other ailments which were already being treated by an excellent doctor. Because of the doctor’s medicines, the rich man’s condition was improving very gradually. The rich man did not blame the doctor for his slow progress. He knew the doctor was trying his best and, besides, the doctor had never claimed that he would be able to cure the rich man completely.

The rich man went to this doctor and narrated the whole sad story to him.

The doctor said, “I know this fellow. He is also a patient of mine. He is such a rogue. Do not worry. I will teach him a lesson.”

In the course of time, the rogue-friend fell sick. Now that his financial problems were over, he did not hesitate to go and consult the excellent doctor. The doctor examined him and prescribed certain medicines. When the patient received the bill, he found that it was double the normal amount. On his next visit, he said to the doctor, “How can your bill be so high? All of a sudden you have raised your fee!”

The doctor said, “Everything nowadays is more expensive. Just look around you. Is anything the same price? Even at the market, everything costs more. I need more money to pay my bills. If you do not want to pay the fee, go to some other doctor. Everybody says that I am the best doctor. But if you do not believe it, then go to some other doctor. I do not care. I do not need you as a patient.”

Now it happened that the doctor’s medicines were working and the patient was getting a little better. Since he was getting better, he did not mind paying double the amount to the doctor. So the doctor was getting much more money than usual by charging this particular patient double.

When the doctor had collected three hundred rupees extra from this patient, he informed him, “From tomorrow my fee will be reduced. I will charge you half the amount.”

“Why?” asked the patient.

“You are such a rogue,” said the doctor. “You took three hundred rupees from your friend for some useless ointment and now I am returning the money to him.”

The doctor gave the money to the rich man and said, “Please take your money. You are sincere, but your friend is a real rogue.”

Those who are rogues will eventually be caught. Today they may fool us, but tomorrow they are bound to be caught.

Doctor, cure thyself!

There was a very great doctor named Ram. According to many, he was by far the best doctor. But he was extremely humble. He used to say to his patients and admirers, “It is your faith that cures you. I know that there are many doctors who are as good as I am, and also there are some who are far better than I am.” His admirers and patients did not believe him. They felt that he was simply being modest.

One winter, it happened that Ram fell sick. His relatives tried to cure him, but day by day, he grew weaker and weaker. Clearly he was getting much worse, and the case was becoming very serious. In India and elsewhere as well, doctors usually do not take medicine from their dear ones. If they are a doctor, they prefer to go to other doctors.

Ram’s son-in-law happened to be a doctor. But how could Ram take help from his son-in-law, who was so dear to him? The son-in-law said, “You will not take my medicine, I know, because I am your close relative, but I am suggesting another doctor. His name is Shyam. He is a very good doctor.”

Ram said, “Oh, definitely. I thought of him when I first became ill. Quite often I think of him, but now I should go to see him.”

Ram’s son-in-law took him to that particular doctor. Unfortunately, Shyam was not at home. Ram asked, “Where has he gone?”

His family members said, “He has been very, very sick. Ten days ago he went to a nearby village to see another doctor. That doctor’s name is Rabi. He has gone to him because he has faith in that doctor, and he does not want to treat himself.”

Ram and his son-in-law said, “Then let us go to Rabi. Dr. Rabi is definitely a great doctor. Perhaps he is the best. Even Dr. Shyam has gone to Rabi.”

Ram and his son-in-law travelled to Rabi’s village. When they arrived, they saw all the village people crying. Ram said, “Ah, that means some patient has died.”

They made inquiries, and the villagers said, “No, no, not a patient. It is the doctor himself who has died.”

Ram and his son-in-law felt miserable. They realised that these were all Rabi’s friends who had come to console Rabi’s son. Rabi’s son was so sad and heartbroken. He said to the two visitors, “You have come here? Just two days ago my father said to us that in a day or two he would go to see you to ask you for your medical advice. He was getting ready for us to take him to your place. Then all of a sudden he died.”

Ram himself was dying and Rabi had wanted to come to him for advice! He told his son-in-law, “Bring me home. I am not going to any other doctor.”

His son-in-law asked, “What will you do now?”

Ram said, “I am going to cure myself. I lost faith in myself. That is why I wanted to go and ask another doctor’s opinion. We must always have faith in ourselves. The Indian theory is that if you are a relative, it is not good to accept treatment from that person. I do not agree with that theory. I have regained my faith in myself. You will see that in a few days I will be completely cured.”

And Ram did cure himself.

The king’s awakening

There was a king who was very, very rich. He passed his time wallowing in the pleasures of richness. All the pleasures of the world he had at his command. To some extent, he was neglecting his kingdom, but he had amassed so much wealth that he did not care. He was extremely greedy. In spite of having so much wealth, he wanted to become infinitely richer.

One day a young man came to his palace and said, “Your Majesty, you are so good, so great, so kind. Your reputation for greatness and goodness has spread throughout the length and breadth of the entire country. But I want to inform you that there are three other kings like you. Of course, they are inferior to you in every way, but they do have some wealth. They may not be as rich as you are, but nonetheless they are quite rich. At the present time, they are neglecting their kingdoms; they are ruining everything. Would you not like to have their wealth by conquering them? You can easily conquer those three kings.”

Since the king was greedy, he said, “Definitely, definitely! I shall ask my commander to get ready as soon as possible. He will go and attack these three countries and conquer them. Then they will all become mine.”

The young man said, “It is a splendid idea. But you may take a few days to prepare.”

The king said, “Yes, of course, I will take a few days.”

The young man told him, “When you are ready, you will send for me. Summon me and I shall come and show you where these three kingdoms are.” Then the young man disappeared.

In a few days, the commander of the king’s armies was fully prepared. He came to the king and said, “Now please tell us who the young man is and what is his address.”

The king said, “I completely forgot to ask him his name and his address because I was in such a state of excitement. What can I do? I never realised that I was such a fool.”

The king’s minister and his commander began consoling him. They said, “Oh, it happens to everybody. We all make mistakes. We are, after all, human beings. We ourselves have made that kind of mistake many, many times.” They were sympathising with the king and minimising his mistake.

The king said, “Now you have to go and find him. I am sure he came from my kingdom. You have to find out who the young man is.”

The minister and commander went on a wild goose chase. They were looking everywhere for the young man who had given the news. Nobody dared to come forward and say who was the one who had given the news about the other countries, and so their search was in vain.

The king was miserable. How could he have been such a fool? The minister and commander reassured him. They said, “One day the same person is bound to come back. Perhaps he thinks that you are going to take a longer time. That is why he is not coming. But we are all ready. Any time he comes, we shall take your army and conquer those three countries.”

The king was so sad and miserable that he fell sick. He could not stop thinking of those three countries that he was supposed to conquer and the wealth that he would have acquired. Day by day the king’s case became worse, until his days were numbered.

A very old man came to the palace and said, “I will be able to cure the king.”

Nobody believed him. Everyone thought he was just a feeble-minded old man. They asked him, “Are you a doctor?”

The old man said, “No, I am not a doctor.”

“Then how can you cure him?” they asked mockingly.

He said, “I am a man of prayer.”

Everybody laughed. “A man of prayer? Do you have occult power? Do you have spiritual power?”

The old man said, “No, I do not have occult or spiritual power.”

“Then how are you going to cure him?” they asked. “You do not have occult power or spiritual power. You are not a doctor. How can you cure him?”

The old man insisted, “I know I can cure the king.”

The king was desperate for a cure. When he heard the old man’s message, he said, “Forget about his so-called lack of occult power or spiritual power. Since he says he will be able to cure me, let me give him a chance before I die. You people have brought me all the doctors, and nobody can cure me.”

The old man was brought to the king’s bedside. He said, “I will be able to cure you, my King, but first you have to answer some questions. If you answer my questions correctly, immediately I will be able to cure you.”

The king said, “Yes, I am answering your questions, before I die.”

The old man said, “O King, you have a bed, a most comfortable bed, a king’s bed. Do you not appreciate your bed?”

The king said, “I used to appreciate it, but not now. Now I am so sick. I do not find anything comfortable. Everything is miserable, miserable in my life. There was a time, for years and years, when I enjoyed my bed. It was so comfortable. But now I am extremely sick. Nothing comforts me.”

The old man said, “All right. When you were very happy with your bed, at that time if I had brought you three beds exactly like the one that you have, would you have been able to use the four beds at the same time?”

The king said, “You fool! How could I enjoy four beds at the same time?”

The ministers and commanders were all getting annoyed with the old man. What kind of silly questions was he asking?

The old man continued, “Now you are wearing some clothes. Tell me, if I bring three sets of clothes for you all exactly the same, will you be able to wear them all at the same time?”

The king said, “What kind of absurd questions are you asking? How can I use four sets of clothes at the same time?”

The old man said, “All right, all right. O King, this is my last question. You have a crown. It is the most beautiful crown that people have seen on earth. Suppose I give you three more crowns exactly the same. Will you be able to wear these four crowns at the same time?”

The king became furious. “You idiot!” he exclaimed. “What kind of question are you asking me? How can I wear four crowns at the same time? Get out! Get out of my palace! Here I am on my deathbed and you are asking me absurd questions.”

The old man said, “I am not asking you absurd questions. I wish to tell you that you have answered my questions most satisfactorily. You cannot enjoy four beds at the same time. You cannot wear four sets of clothes at the same time. You cannot wear four crowns at the same time. In exactly the same way, if you had conquered those three countries, how could you have enjoyed all those countries the way you are enjoying your own country? You could not have been in four countries at the same time. You can be only in one country — either in your own country or in another country. You could not have been in four countries simultaneously to enjoy their respective wealth.”

Then the old man bowed and disappeared. Meanwhile, the king was awakened. From that moment on, the king’s health began to improve and he was eventually cured. It was all because he now realised that he could not enjoy four countries at the same time. When the king had regained his health, he gave up his greed for the pleasure-life. He said that from that time on he would be satisfied with his own kingdom, with his own country, and he would pay very special attention to all his subjects.

The girlfriend who illumined the whole world

There was a seeker who was unimaginably curious. His great desire was to have occult power so that he would be able to show off. He used to pray to God only for occult power — not for peace, not for joy, not for any spiritual quality — only for occult power. He did not care for spiritual power at all.

God eventually came to him and asked, “What kind of occult power do you need?”

The seeker replied, “The occult power that people will be astonished by. Jesus Christ came back in three days’ time, but Jesus Christ was dead. In my case, I will be happy if I can be buried alive so I can prove that I have more occult power than Jesus Christ. I would like to be buried under the ground for quite a few hours.”

Because he had been praying to God for occult power, God said, “All right. I am giving you occult power.”

The seeker immediately wanted to demonstrate his newly acquired power. He arranged to be buried alive for twelve hours. After twelve hours, the villagers were supposed to dig him out and he would emerge alive. The police were present to record that nobody would be responsible for him if anything unfortunate happened. Many, many villagers went to see the spectacle. Some people stayed and watched. They were curious to know whether he would come out alive. The seeker’s mother, father, brother and other relatives and dear ones were also watching. Since they could not stay for the entire twelve hours, they would go back home for a short while and then they would come back again. They were also extremely curious as to whether he would come out alive.

After twelve hours had passed, people dug up the ground and uncovered the young man. To everybody’s amazement, he was quite all right. Everybody shook his hand. Absolutely hundreds of villagers were applauding and admiring him. But he was looking and looking for someone in the crowd. His poor mother, who had been worrying and worrying for hours, was so happy, delighted and excited to see her son alive. She was absolutely sure that he was searching for her, so she came running to him and cried, “I know that you are looking for me, my son.”

Then she embraced her son with such love and affection. The son said, “No, no, I am looking for somebody else.”

The mother was shocked. She asked, “For whom?”

He said, “I am looking for my girlfriend.”

The mother was sad and mad when she found out that her son was not looking for her. She said, “What is this? I have given my whole life for you. I am the one who gave birth to you, and you are so ungrateful! You love her more than you love me. I have sacrificed my whole life for you, and you love your girlfriend more!” She was so disgusted that she went home.

The young man continued looking, but his girlfriend was not to be found. She had been there earlier in the day, but she thought that this fellow was not going to come out alive. She was absolutely convinced that he would die there, and who wants to see a dead body carried out? She was afraid that if anything happened to him, then people would express pity for her. They would say, “Poor girl, she has lost her boyfriend.” She did not want to be embarrassed, so she left the scene after only an hour or two.

This is what happens when we pray to God only for occult power. God may give us occult power to use to show off. There were so many people there, but the young man was not satisfied. He was not interested in those others. He was only thinking that if so many people came, his girlfriend would see his performance and she would be deeply moved. Then she would be more willing to marry him.

Alas, alas, he did not see his girlfriend. When he found her at home, she told him that she did not want to marry him. He said, “But I showed this performance of occult power! Were you not impressed?”

The girlfriend said, “No, I do not want to marry you. I want to marry either someone who is very rich, to make me happy here on earth, or someone who has renounced everything for God.”

In the course of time, the girlfriend met someone very, very rich, and she married him. Alas, alas, she discovered that marriage-life was full of quarrelling, fighting and misunderstanding. It was a most unfortunate experience. She said, “I have made such a serious mistake by marrying this wealthy man!”

So she left her husband. Then she wanted to marry someone who had renounced the world. Now, if somebody has renounced the world, why should he marry her? Most probably, he has renounced the world after going through this kind of suffering, where the husband and wife quarrel and fight.

The girl went to someone who had renounced everything and asked him, “Are you happy?”

The renunciate said, “Yes, I am truly happy because I have renounced the world. Before this, I went through married life. Truth to tell, my wife made my life miserable. Every day we were quarrelling and fighting. The fighting never ended. I was miserable, so I renounced the whole world. Now I am absolutely happy.”

The young girl said, “I also want to be happy. My experience of married life is the same as yours. It brought me only misery. Now I want to renounce the world.”

The renunciate said, “Do not make the same mistake again. Renounce the world and pray and pray. You will find true happiness.”

So the young girl did not look any more for a husband. Since she did not know anybody who was sincerely interested in the spiritual life and had renounced the world who would marry her, she herself gave up the world of desire. She no longer wanted to have a boyfriend or a husband. She only wanted to pray to God to realise Him. She made a firm resolution: no boyfriend, no husband, only God.

When she renounced the world, she became so happy. That same night, God came to her in a dream and said, “I am your Boyfriend. I am your Husband. I am your Father. I am your Mother. I am your All.”

In one day she received realisation. God came to her in a dream and became a reality in her life.

The occultist’s nature was not transformed in the slightest by his experience. It was his girlfriend who became divine. In the course of time, the occultist’s mother came to know that her son’s former girlfriend had now received illumination, so the mother came to her and saw that she was indeed totally changed. The mother knew her son was useless; he cared only for occult power. But when she saw the spiritual light radiating from the girl who was supposed to have married her son, she was so moved. Then she started praying and meditating with her son’s former girlfriend. The mother became very spiritual, and the girl was able to help the mother make inner progress.

When the occultist observed so many changes in his mother, he also wanted to become a disciple of his former girlfriend. His girlfriend said, “I cannot take responsibility for anyone. God is my Husband, my Father, my Mother — my Everything.”

The young man said, “I do not want to be your husband. I want you to be my Guru. You have received illumination. Now no more occult power for me! I am giving up this kind of display. I want you to be my Guru.”

She said, “No, I cannot be your Guru. My Guru is your Guru. If you accept God as your Guru, I will accept you. But if you take me as your Guru, I cannot accept you. Once upon a time we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Now my Boyfriend is my Guru — God. If you accept God as your Beloved, then I will accept you.”

The young man agreed to accept God as his only Beloved, and all three began to lead most spiritual lives.

So the girlfriend realised God first. Then her boyfriend realised God. Finally the mother realised God. All three realised God. It was the former girlfriend who gave the son and his mother God-realisation. So the girlfriend illumined the whole world.

The unchained lion

There was once a very great artist. His fame had spread far and wide. Everybody admired him. He was by far the best artist in the country. Now, a circus happened to visit his town, and a few people told the owner of the circus all about the great artist. They said that this artist could paint a lion that would be exactly like a living lion. Unsuspecting people would get frightened when they saw the painted lion because it would be so lifelike.

The circus owner liked this suggestion very much. So he went to the artist and said, “Can you paint a living lion for me?”

The artist said, “Yes, I can, but I warn you that people will take my lion very seriously. Children will get frightened when they see it.”

The circus owner was so delighted and excited. He said, “Oh! That is wonderful! How much will you charge?”

The artist said, “I will charge 2,000 rupees. But first I must ask, do you want the lion with a chain?”

The circus owner replied, “Yes, a chain will look nice. How much will you charge for the chain? Is it extra?”

The artist said, “With a chain it will be 4,000 rupees.”

The circus owner said, “Without a chain, 2,000 rupees and with a chain it will be 4,000? For a chain it will be 2,000 extra?”

The artist said, “Yes. It is very complicated to explain. The whole body takes a short time to paint, but when it comes to the chain, it takes a very long time. There is so much detail in the chain. But if you are ready to give 2,000 rupees more, I will do it.”

The circus owner asked, “If there is no chain, will it still look like a real lion?”

The artist said, “Certainly it will look like a lion! Who will care whether or not it has a chain if the body looks like a living lion?”

The circus owner said, “Then I am ready to give you 2,000 rupees for a lion without a chain.”

So the artist painted the picture. The result was extraordinary. It was absolutely like a living lion. Everyone who saw it was deeply impressed. The only problem was that, although most of the grown-ups were very happy to see the painting at the entrance to the circus, some of the children became frightened when they saw the lion and they did not want to go inside. At a distance the lion seemed so living. These little children would see it and beg their parents to take them home again. So sometimes more people attended the circus because at the entrance there was a living lion, but sometimes the circus lost business because children were afraid and did not want to go inside.

One night there was a severe storm. It rained very, very heavily. Some of the circus tents were badly damaged while others developed leaks. Alas, the rain destroyed the painting completely. Only a few lines of the original painting were visible. The lion was no longer recognisable. So the circus owner became furious. He went to the artist and said, “You gave me a living lion and now the lion has completely disappeared!”

The artist said, “The lion has disappeared? What can I do? You wanted it and I painted it. I am not responsible for what happened afterwards.”

The circus owner said, “No, I will not accept your excuses. You have to paint me another one.”

“The same thing will happen,” said the artist.

“Can you not paint one that will never disappear, even if it rains?” asked the circus owner.

Then the artist said, “It is your own fault! I told you, you need a chain for the lion, to tie it. You said, ‘No, I do not need a chain, since the chain costs 2,000 rupees more.’ It is your own fault because you did not want me to paint a chain. If I had painted the chain along with the lion, then the lion could not have disappeared. It would have remained.”

The circus owner said, “All right. I am ready to pay you extra for the chain. Please paint another lion.”

“Then you have to give me 4,000 rupees,” said the artist.

The circus owner said, “I am ready to give the money if I can keep the lion.”

The artist felt sad that he had fooled this gullible fellow. The first time the artist had used water colours. This time he used oil paints. He painted another lion, and this one was even more powerful and ferocious than the first one. Plus it had a very strong chain around its neck. So the circus owner was very pleased with his chained lion and the artist received the full amount. And, since it was an oil painting, the lion remained permanently at the entrance to the circus.

The stolen bullocks

There was a farmer who had saved up money for years to buy two very strong and powerful bullocks. Finally, he had the necessary amount and he was so happy to be able to buy a pair of bullocks to plough his fields. The day after he purchased the bullocks, early in the morning, the farmer yoked them to a plough and for two hours he ploughed his fields. Then he became tired, so he released the bullocks and allowed them to move around. Meanwhile, he sat at the foot of a tree to take rest. Alas, in a few minutes the farmer fell asleep.

Soon afterwards, a thief happened to pass by. He saw the two beautiful bullocks and he began to lead them away. All of a sudden, the farmer woke up and started screaming, “Those are my bullocks! What are you doing?”

The thief said, “These are my bullocks! They were roaming free and I found them first.”

Then both of them started fighting. The thief claimed that he was the owner of the two bullocks and the farmer said, “They are my bullocks! I paid for them.” The farmer started screaming at the top of his lungs, and the villagers all rushed to the scene.

The thief said, “Two days ago I bought these bullocks. Now I am taking them to my home.”

The farmer said, “No, it is not true! I bought them! These are mine! Just last night I bought them.”

An elderly villager said, “If they belong to you, then you have to prove it.”

The farmer said, “How am I going to prove it?”

The villager said, “Was there nobody who saw you arrive with these bullocks?”

The farmer said, “Yesterday in the evening I bought them, and early in the morning I brought them here to plough my fields. Alas, nobody has seen me bring them here.”

Then the thief said, “I bought these bullocks two days ago and I am taking them home to my village. If you come with me, I will be able to prove it.”

The villagers said, “Where do you live?”

The thief answered, “I live quite far from here, but if you come with me, I will be able to bring forward witnesses to prove my story.” The thief knew that he could easily fool the villagers. He would bring them some distance and then run away in the night, taking the bullocks with him. That was the plan in his mind.

Since the villagers could not settle the dispute, the elderly villager said, “Let us go and get our village doctor. He is very, very wise. Perhaps he will be able to solve the problem.”

So they brought the village doctor to the field. The village doctor said to the thief, “Since you claim to be the owner, I am sure you have fed the bullocks.”

The thief said, “Oh yes, I have taken good care of my animals.”

The doctor continued, “What did you give them this morning?”

The thief said, “I gave them boiled rice, sweets and many, many things. I even gave them fried potatoes.”

Then the doctor asked the farmer, “What did you give them?”

The farmer said, “I am a very poor farmer. With greatest difficulty, I saved up enough money to buy these two bullocks. This morning I gave them only grass. I did not have anything expensive to offer them. I only gave them grass.”

The doctor said, “Now let me see who is telling the truth.” He took some powder and put it into water. Then, after shaking the bottle, the doctor said, “All right. Now let the bullocks drink a little.” As soon as the doctor put this drink inside the mouths of the bullocks, they both started vomiting.

The farmer became so miserable. He said, “O my God! My bullocks will die!” He was panicking because of the way the two bullocks were vomiting.

In the meantime, everybody could see that the bullocks had vomited only grass. There was no rice, no potatoes. So they immediately declared, “The farmer is telling the truth. The other fellow is a thief!”

The farmer was so relieved. He took his bullocks and started leading them away. Then the villagers started thrashing the thief. They beat him up mercilessly because he was such a liar. They wanted to punish him for his crime.

The doctor said, “Listen to me. This is not the only world. There is another world. In this world he has told a lie, and for that you are all punishing him. But wait until he goes to the other world. When he dies, in that world they will punish him far more ruthlessly than you are doing now. So the best thing is to leave him to be punished in the other world.”

The villagers said, “Will he really be punished? Are you sure?”

The doctor was the wisest man in the village and they all respected him. He said, “I tell you, there is another world. People who do wrong things on earth receive punishment in two places. Here you have punished him ruthlessly. He is almost dead. But when he dies, there will be another punishment, and that punishment will be even more severe. So do not punish him any more. Let him return home.”

The villagers listened to the doctor and allowed the thief to leave the place. They were so happy that in the next world also he would be punished for telling lies.