Big pot, little pot

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The bribe

A businessman had a long-standing lawsuit. A friend of his had sued him because he owed him a large sum of money. The businessman was denying that he owed the money, so his friend got fed up and finally sued him. The case went on and on for months. Then it neared the last day in court when the judge would make a decision. The defendant said to his lawyer, “Can you tell me the name of the judge and where he lives?”

The lawyer said, “Why do you have to know the name of the judge? I am the expert. I am the lawyer.”

The businessman said, “That is true, but I just want to know for the sake of knowing.”

“His name is Anderson,” the lawyer said.

“And where does he live?” asked the defendant.

“In Liverpool,” answered the lawyer.

“Thank you. That is enough for me,” said the businessman.

“But can you tell me why you wanted to know his name and where he lives?” the lawyer asked.

The businessman answered, “No reason in particular. I just wanted to know it. And also, it is good to bribe people.”

“What!” cried the lawyer.

“Then they do you a favour,” explained the defendant.

“This judge is so honest,” said the lawyer. “He will never accept a bribe. O God, if you try to bribe him, then definitely you will lose the case. For months and months I have been working very hard for you. So please don’t do this if you want to win the case.”

“All right,” the businessman finally said. “I promise that I won’t try to bribe him.”

In two days it was the time of the judge’s final decision. The defendant and his lawyer, as well as the friend and his lawyer, went to see the judge. The judge went through all the papers to make sure they were all proper and asked questions of both the lawyers. In the end, the judge said he was totally convinced that the defendant did not owe the four thousand dollars. He felt that it was all lies, so the businessman won the case.

Afterwards the defendant’s lawyer said to his client, “Now you can give me my fee.”

The man said, “Certainly, I shall give it to you.”

The lawyer said, “You should be so grateful to me that you should give me a little extra.”

“What for?” asked the man.

“I prevented you from trying to bribe the judge,” the lawyer reminded him. “If you had tried to bribe the judge, he would have decided against you. Also, I saved you the money that you would have spent to bribe him.”

“You fool,” said the businessman, “I did bribe him.”

The lawyer said, “You are such a liar! I asked you not to bribe him and you promised not to.”

The man said, “You are such a fool! I did bribe him, but I bribed him in a different way. I sent him most expensive wine and cigarettes and many, many things — all in my enemy’s name and with his return address. Therefore, he lost the case. So you were wrong in saying that I should not bribe him. You were right in saying that he is an honest man. When he received the package, he got so furious that someone had attempted to bribe him, that I won the case.”

The drunk policeman

One day a policeman was a bit drunk, and he was doing quite a few crazy things. At one point he was driving behind an old man in a small Volkswagen. When they came to a red light, the old man stopped. But the policeman, of all people, kept going and smashed into the back of the Volkswagen. The old man came out of his car and started screaming at the policeman: “What are you doing?”

The policeman totally denied that he had hit the old man’s car. He said, “No, you came back when you saw it was a red light. You were going at a fast speed. When you saw the red light, you were already entering into the intersection, so you stopped abruptly. Then, very cleverly you were backing up when you hit my car.”

It was a total lie, and the old man became furious. Others who had seen the accident took the old man’s side. Finally the old man said, “Let me forget what you did. When we do something wrong, you always fine us. But I will just forget about what happened.”

The policeman said, “If you had not been there, I would have done something else. So it is totally your fault.”

“What do you mean?” asked the old man. “What would you have done?”

The policeman said, “I would not have waited for the green light. I would have gone through the red light. You were an obstruction. If you had not been in the way, I would not have hit you. So it is your fault. I am a policeman. You should always give me the right of way.”

The old man said, “Where is the rule that says that? You weren’t even using your siren or horn.”

The policeman said, “No, you should always look in the rear-view mirror to see who is coming. You should have given me the right of way.”

“Where is the rule?” screamed the old man.

“If you see that a policeman is coming,” said the policeman, “you should go against the red light. I would not have fined you if you had gone against the red light.”

The old man cursed the policeman because he had ruined his car. He wrote down the policeman’s license plate number and drove away.

A little later the same policeman did something crazy in another place. There was a sign that said parking was free between six p.m. and nine a.m. It was eight o'clock at night and a man was driving out of a parking spot. The policeman gave him a ticket because the meter had run out.

The man said, “After six p.m. parking is free, and it is now eight o'clock.”

The policeman said, “My watch says that it is five o'clock.”

The man asked somebody else what time it was, and the person said, “Eight o'clock.”

“Do I have to ask anybody else?” said the policeman. “I am the policeman. I am the authority. It is five o'clock, you rogue.” And then he gave the man a ticket. The man took down the policeman’s license plate number and drove away cursing the policeman.

In another place there was a sign that said “Slow,” not “Stop.” There was another sign indicating that a right turn was permitted but not a left turn. A car stopped at the sign that said “Slow,” and then made a right turn, which was allowed. The policeman stopped him and asked for his license. The man asked, “Why? I am allowed to turn here.”

The policeman said, “It says you can make a right turn, but you have made a left turn.”

The man said, “How?”

The policeman had come from another direction, so for him it was a left turn, although for the driver it was a right turn. This time when the man started barking at him, the policeman suddenly came to his senses. The first two times he had argued and had not surrendered. This time he said, “Please, please, don’t tell my superiors what I have said. If you do, they will fire me. My boss will fire me if he comes to know that today I could not distinguish left from right. As you can see, today I am a little bit drunk.

“In this life, I will never fine you, no matter where you put your car. I will tell you which are the places that I usually watch. Also, I will tell my friends not to fine you. I will give them your license plate number. So please, I will never fine you and I will tell my friends not to fine you. Only you have to forgive me and save my job and family.”

The brilliant student

At a particular college a professor of history was quite well known. He was a good professor and also he showed a personal interest in his students. If students didn’t come to his classes, he would send for them and inquire why they were not coming. Everyone was very, very grateful to him for his kindness.

One student came to his class the first day of the school year. Then he did not come again. The history professor sent students to inquire what was wrong. Nobody ever found him at home, so they couldn’t give any news of him.

Four months later, on the day before the examination, one young man in the history class met this particular student on the way to the college. He asked him, “Are you going to come tomorrow to the history exam?”

The student said, “Of course I will come.”

The young man started laughing out loud because this student had come to class only once. But the following day the student did come to sit for the examination. The kind-hearted teacher was mad and sad. He was mad because this student had not come even one more time after the first day. And he was sad because he felt that this fellow would fail miserably.

Some naughty students were there. When they saw this student, they all started laughing. For so many months he had not come. How would he answer any questions? He had not studied at all, so what could he know?

The teacher said to him, “Do you really want to take the examination? Will it not be better for you to take it next semester?”

“Oh no,” said the student, “let me try. I may pass the examination. If you are very kind, I will definitely pass.”

The professor said, “No, I am kind only in that I show personal interest in my students — seeing which students are coming and noting their behaviour. But when I am correcting the examination papers, I have to be strict.”

But the student said, “You are kind in other ways. As a human being, you are kind. Are you not going to pass me?” In this way the student pleaded with the teacher.

The teacher said, “I am legally obliged to allow you to take the examination, because you sent in your fee. I can’t ask you not to take the examination. But I'm not obliged to pass you.”

Then the teacher passed out the examination. The students were allowed two and a half hours to complete it, but this particular student finished everything in an hour. So, again, all the students started laughing, thinking, “This fellow! What could he have written in an hour?” Outwardly the teacher didn’t laugh, since he was a respectable man, but he did laugh inwardly.

After the examination was over, the professor collected all the papers and took them home to correct. O God, this fellow had answered all the questions perfectly except one. All the other students had made many more mistakes than he had. Some failed totally because they didn’t know the subject at all, while others did well, but not as well as this young man. He far surpassed the rest of the students. The professor wondered how this could be. The student had been sitting in front of him, so he could not have copied. The others all saw that he was not doing anything unfair. The teacher could not figure it out. In a few days’ time the professor informed the students that they could come to get their papers. When the professor saw this one student, he asked, “How could you do so well when you had not been coming to class at all?”

The student said, “Sir, when I came here the first day, I saw that your students were all idiots. I felt that it was not necessary to come here every day. I decided that I would come only for the examination, and I knew I would pass. I had the book, and also I have a private tutor who teaches me higher courses. Next year I will go to another university to study. But this year I have been studying with private tutors because the students here are all fools.”

The professor asked, “Why did you make that one mistake,”

“That is my fate,” replied the student.

“What do you mean?” asked the teacher.

The young man explained, “I attended your class one day, and you confused me. If I had not come to your class that day, I would have answered that question correctly. You have idiot students, and the way you explained it to them created confusion for me. So I could not answer that question correctly. It was all because of what you did on that day. If you had not discussed that particular matter, I would have answered that question correctly, as I did all the rest.”

Big pot, little pot

There were two neighbours who were very kind to each other. Quite often they exchanged things — whenever one was in need of something that the other had. This borrowing and returning things went on for months and years.

Human life is such that jealousy never remains fast asleep for long. One of the neighbours suddenly became very rich. The other one became very sad and mad, because she and her husband were still quite poor.

One day the poor one went to the rich one to borrow a big pot because she was inviting some of her friends over to eat. Of course, she was also inviting her rich neighbour. She took the pot and used it to cook.

A few days later she brought her neighbour back a very small pot. The rich one said. “We gave you a big pot; yet you are giving us back a small one.”

The poor woman said, “God wanted to increase this family. This big pot has given birth to a small pot.” Out of gratitude, she was giving the little pot to the neighbour as a gift. “I am giving you a gift. You please take it,” she said. “I will return your big pot very soon.”

The little pot was very cute, and the rich woman was very happy that she was getting a new pot in addition to her own pot that her neighbour promised to return. “It is very nice of you to give us another pot,” she said.

Some time went by, and still the lady did not return the big pot. The rich neighbour was embarrassed to ask for it because her friend always returned things. She said to herself, “This time perhaps she has forgotten. Let me wait for a few more days.”

Finally the rich lady said, “Sorry to remind you. You must have forgotten that you still have my big pot; otherwise, I'm sure you would have returned it. We are such good friends. We always return things.”

The friend said, “I could not return it to you because something happened. When I borrowed your big pot, it gave birth to a little pot. But then, after a few days, it died.”

The neighbour said, “Pots can’t die.”

The poor friend said, “If you believed me the first time — that your pot had given birth to a little pot — can’t you believe this time that your big pot has died? If you believe in new life, how is it that you can’t believe that old life can die?”

The neighbour had dropped the pot and broken it.

The T-shirt

A rogue wanted to buy a beautiful T-shirt. He went to three or four stores but no T-shirt satisfied him. He was bothering the shopkeepers, saying, “You don’t have nice T-shirts. These are all rags. You don’t have nice taste.”

The shopkeepers would get annoyed at him for insulting them and he would get annoyed at them because they didn’t have the T-shirt he wanted. Then the owners would ask him to find somewhere else to shop. In this way he was asked to leave several stores because he was only criticising everything.

Finally he went to a store and found a T-shirt that he liked. Before he selected that T-shirt, he picked out a pair of trousers, a sweater and a few other things. Four or five items he got. He kept those four or five things in one place and the T-shirt in another place. The salesman who was dealing with him asked, “Why are you keeping the T-shirt separate?”

The rogue said, “I have a special purpose. Look, when someone gives you four things, do you not give him one thing free? If I gave you four things and I asked you for one thing, what would you do?”

The man said, “If you gave me four things and then asked for one thing, then definitely I would give you the one thing free.”

The rogue said, “I know that this much common sense you have. If I gave you four things for free, you would definitely give me one thing free.”

Finally the salesman said, “Don’t waste my time any more!” The customer picked up the four things that he had kept aside and threw them in the face of the salesman. Then he ran away with the T-shirt that he liked. Since he had given these four items to the salesman, the rogue felt that he could easily have one thing free.

The old man and his house

An old man was sick of his house. His wife and children had died there, and all his animals had also died. He said perhaps it was his karma, or perhaps it was just that his house was very bad. Since he did not want to blame himself, the man blamed the house. He felt his house was the cause of all the miseries in his life, and he wanted to sell it. But nobody wanted to buy it because of the high price he was asking. What the man thought was reasonable, others considered too much.

Four years went by. The old man missed his children and wife and all his dear ones who had died, and he cursed the house. At the same time he had no other place to go. He was retired, and he did not have to spend much while living in the house. He had learned how to cook from his wife, who had been the best cook in the world. But still he was miserable in every way.

One day he decided to go to a real estate agency. He told the agent that he would give him a commission if he could sell his house. The agent asked what price he wanted, and he told him.

The agent said that nobody would buy it for that price. When the man said that he could not lower the price, the agent said he could not sell the house for him. Finally the man agreed to lower the price to $40,000 and the agent accepted the challenge.

The agent put an advertisement in the newspaper and a few other places. He made the house seem very beautiful. The description he gave to the house the owner could not believe. He said, “O God, all my life I wanted to have a house like this. How can my house be so beautiful and spacious in every way?” He read the advertisement again and again. Finally he went to the real estate agent and asked, “Is it true that my house is so beautiful?”

The real estate agent replied, “Am I telling lies? Yes, it is.”

The old man said, “If it is so beautiful, let us raise the selling price to $50,000.”

The real estate agent said, “You can raise the price, but then it will take much longer to sell the house.”

The man asked, “How many days will it take to sell the house if I raise the price?”

The agent replied, “If you raise the price, it will take two months.”

The man said, “Can’t you speed it up?”

The agent replied, “No, I cannot.”

The man said, “I will feel very sad if I don’t get $50,000 for such a beautiful house. All right. This is what I will do. Let me give you the $10,000 extra that I had asked you to add to the price of the house. Then you will sell it for $40,000. After it is sold, you will give me the $40,000 plus the $10,000 I am giving you now. In that way I can feel that I sold the house for $50,000.

The real estate agent exclaimed, “Of course!”

So the man gave the agent $10,000. Then the agent said, “Now that you have lowered the price to $40,000 instead of $50,000, I will make a smaller commission. Since this beautiful house is easily worth $50,000, you have to give me the commission for $50,000.

The old man agreed to give him the commission on $50,000, but on the condition that he sell the house in ten days. The real estate agent said, “If I sell it in three days, will you not give me a higher commission?”

The man replied, “I will give you $1,000 extra.”

The agent said, “It will be all sold in three days.”

The man said, “All right, I will give you $500 now and then I will give you the extra $500, plus your commission, when the house is sold.”

The real estate agent took the money, closed down shop and disappeared with $10,500.

The impersonator

Once there were two men who were very good friends. They were on very good terms with each other in every way. Their wives were also good friends. Both the families had very good feelings for one another.

One day, one of the men said to the other, “Today is my wife’s birthday. She wishes to celebrate by having you and your wife come out to dinner with us. She wants to treat you.”

His friend replied, “I have no idea whether my wife has made any plans already. I will speak to her.”

The first man said, “What! It does not matter if she has any other appointments. She must come! After all, it is my wife’s birthday and it is her request that the four of us go out to dinner. We are such good friends!”

“All right,” said the second man.” I will call up my wife now and tell her, but I am not sure if she is at home at this moment. I think perhaps she is taking our youngest son to school.”

The man’s youngest son was thirteen years old. He had a knack for imitating his mother’s voice with such accuracy that people could never tell whether they were speaking to the mother or not. When the phone rang, the son answered it and pretended that he was his mother. The man had no idea that he was actually speaking to his son, so he proceeded to explain about the invitation. The wife-son readily agreed that it was an excellent idea to go out and celebrate their friend’s birthday. The husband mentioned what time they would be going. Then he asked, “But what will we do with our son?”

The mother-son exclaimed, “Oh, don’t worry about that. I will take care of all that! But we have to go out with them. After all, they are such good friends of ours.” The son was talking all about the friends’ good qualities when, in the middle of the conversation, he hung up the phone abruptly. His mother had come into the house looking for him and he did not want to get caught impersonating her.

The father was very startled, thinking that he had been disconnected. So he called his wife back. This time the wife herself answered the phone. When he asked her why they had been disconnected, she was puzzled. He repeated their conversation to her again, but she exclaimed that she was hearing all this for the first time.

She said, “I was supposed to take our son to school, but he was hiding from me. I searched the house and then I saw him fooling around outside, so I went out to get him. By that time he had come back and was hiding inside. When the phone rang, I came into the house only to discover that he had already answered it.”

The father then asked to speak to the son, but by that time he had run away. The father telephoned again after one hour and then an hour later, but still the son had not returned. The mother got worried because her son had not eaten dinner. She knew that their best friends wanted to take them out for dinner, but how could she go if the son did not come back?

Finally, in the early evening, after the father had come home, the son called. His mother hid her anger and frustration and asked him calmly, “Where are you?”

The son said, “If father forgives me, I will come home.”

The father said, “Tell him I forgive him. He just wanted to have joy by fooling me. We will leave the front door open for him and go out to the birthday dinner. When we come home, later tonight, we will talk about it. He should not worry. Tomorrow is a new dawn.”

Stories narrated to children

The remaining stories in this book were told by Sri Chinmoy to a group of his disciples’ children. His conversation with the children as well as the stories follow.


Sri Chinmoy: What is the difference between man and God?

K: God is more powerful.

D: God is more kind.

N: God is an enlightened man.

M: Man is trying to reach what God already has.

J: God is the Creator and the Father, and man uses God’s creation.

Sri Chinmoy: Now suppose God says that He has ten million dollars that He is ready to give you right away. He asks whether you want ten million dollars or you want Him. Do you want to have ten million dollars or do you want to have God? Which do you prefer? You have to choose between the two: ten million dollars or God Himself.

[All the children choose God.]

Sri Chinmoy: Very good. Now I wish to tell you a few stories.

9. The job hunters

Sri Chinmoy: Three men were desperately looking for work, but they could not find jobs anywhere. Finally, one day they went to a place where the boss was very nice. He said, “I will give you all jobs. For the first three months I will pay you $500 per month and then, after three months, I will give you $700 per month.”

One man said, “Then I shall start work after three months, so that I can get $700 per month. Why start at $500 per month? I want to get $700 per month.”

The second man was afraid of what would happen after three months. He said to himself, “Who knows what will happen? I don’t trust anybody; I don’t even trust myself. I am such a lazy fellow. After three months this boss may fire me because I am very bad. Even if I work hard he may not like me. So I had better not wait. The best thing is for me to accept the job at $500 per month. After three months God knows what is going to happen.” Then he told the man that he would start right away.

The third man said to the boss, “I am a very good worker, believe me. I assure you that I will work at least six months, and you will definitely be pleased with me, because I know what a wonderful worker I am. Such being the case, can you give me a $1,200 loan? I am badly in need of money. Easily I will be able to pay you back when I work for you. You will give me $500 per month during the first three months, and then I will continue to work for another three months for $700 per month. But right now please give me a $1,200 loan. Then I will definitely please you.”

Which one would you like to be? Would you like to be the one who wants to start after three months, the one who wants to start right away, or the one who wants to take a loan and then start working?

M: The one who starts in three months.

Sri Chinmoy: So you want the $700!

[All the other children want to be the one who wants to start right away.]

Sri Chinmoy: Everybody wants to start right away except M. Do you think that if for three months you don’t work, the boss will then give you a job?

The naughty boy

Sri Chinmoy: Now I want to tell you about a naughty boy. You are all very nice, good children, but this particular boy was very naughty. Every day after school he used to go to a park and play for hours with his friends. The park was only ten minutes away from his house and he knew it quite well.

One day, after playing in the park, all his friends left and went home. But he did not want to go home. He just stayed in the park and started crying and crying. A policeman saw him and said, “What is the matter?”

The boy said, “I don’t know.”

The policeman said, “How did you come here?”

The boy said, “With my friends,” which was a lie.

The policeman said, “Do you know where you live?”

The boy said, “I don’t know.”

The policeman said, “What are your parents’ names?”

The boy told his parents’ names correctly, so the policeman got the address and brought him home in his car.

The boy’s mother gave the policeman some gifts because he was so kind to her son. After the policeman left, she asked her son, “How is it that you didn’t come back home by yourself? Every day you go to and from the park and you know the way well. You went all by yourself. You could easily have come back alone. For the last two years you have been coming back by yourself. What is wrong with you today?”

The boy said, “I was very tired. I didn’t want to walk home. So I cried and told the policeman that I didn’t know the way.”

So, are you going to be that kind of naughty child? If you go to a park and do not want to come back with your friends, will you be sincere and tell the police that you are tired, exhausted, or will you cry and lie to the police so that you can get a ride? Will you fool the police or will you be sincere enough to tell the police that on that particular day you are tired and you need a ride? Which will you do?

[All the children say they will tell the truth.]

Sri Chinmoy: Very good, very good. I am happy to hear that. Always tell the truth to the police.

The eight donkeys

Sri Chinmoy: Now I will tell you a story about a man who had seven donkeys. You have to tell me whether the man was intelligent or stupid.

One day this man happened to be sitting on one of the donkeys in a field, and the other donkeys were nearby. It was getting dark and soon he would have to go home. So he looked around and started counting the donkeys. Every time he counted he got only six donkeys.

An old man was passing by, and he said to the old man, “Please, please tell me where my seventh donkey has gone. I brought seven donkeys here, but now I see only six. I am missing one. Can you tell me where the seventh donkey is?”

The old man said, “You fool! You say that you have only six donkeys here, but I am seeing eight!”

The other man said, “Eight? O my God! Please, please tell me where the eight donkeys are! Every time I count I get only six. But this morning I know I brought seven.”

Now, one by one, you tell me, where were the eight donkeys?

K: He was so dumb that the man was calling him a donkey.

[Most of the children agree with this answer.]

The old man with the umbrella

Sri Chinmoy: Around ten o'clock in the morning an old man was walking along the street with an umbrella. The umbrella was not open; he was just carrying it like a cane. A young man saw him and said, “You are an old man. Now have you become blind too?”

The old man got mad at him and said, “Why do you ask if I am blind?”

The young man said, “Why do you have to carry an umbrella? It is not cloudy; it is not going to rain. And the sun is not too bright, either. So why do you have to carry an umbrella?”

The old man said, “You fool! I am killing three birds with one stone.” Now, one by one you have to tell me how he was killing three birds with one stone.

J: The old man could have used the umbrella for a cane. And in case it started raining all of a sudden, or if the sun came out really bright, he could use it to cover himself.

Sri Chinmoy: Marvellous, marvellous! This answer is perfect.

The old man was killing three birds with one stone. He was using the umbrella as a cane because he was an old man and his legs were weak. And if the sun got too bright or if it rained all of a sudden, then he would have protection. Good! You are all intelligent people.

The delicious Russian meal

Sri Chinmoy: Sometimes Americans and Russians don’t get along, but anything is possible in God’s creation. There was once an American who had a good friend who happened to be a Russian. One night, instead of eating dinner at home, the Russian went to visit his American friend. When he arrived it was around ten o'clock. Ten o'clock was quite late in those days; now we say it is only evening. The American friend had finished his supper and his children had gone to bed — not like you people. Nowadays children don’t go to bed; they watch TV But in those days there was no TV and they were able to go to bed by ten o'clock. Only the cook was still awake.

The American said to his Russian friend, “How I wish I could give you a Russian meal! But my cook does not know how to cook Russian food, and the Russian restaurants are all closed. The next time you come, I hope I will be able to give you a Russian meal.”

The cook said, “No, no, no! I will be able to make a Russian meal. I will be able to give your friend a most delicious meal.”

The American didn’t believe him, but the cook said, “Please give me an hour.”

The Russian friend said, “Why just an hour? Take as long as you want I will be very happy to have a Russian meal.”

The American was very proud of his cook and had a lot of confidence in him. He said, “Take an hour.”

The cook had never cooked a Russian meal, but in an hour he came with a most delicious Russian meal. The Russian friend was so pleased, and the American friend couldn’t believe it. How did he do it?

N: He found a Russian cookbook.

J: He could have gone to the Russian friend’s house.

Sri Chinmoy: Very good! The cook went to the Russian friend’s house. The Russian had not eaten at home that night because he went to visit his American friend. So the cook went to the Russian friend’s house and begged the man’s wife to give him the food that she had cooked for her husband. The cook brought the food from the Russian friend’s wife. That is why the food was so delicious.

J is the cleverest! How many adults would have thought of that?

The Japanese Servant

Sri Chinmoy: You know you have a Japanese brother here: Yasu. He is very good, very nice, very kind — an excellent boy. The Japanese are extremely polite and very kind-hearted.

One day an Indian went to Japan. The Indian was a very rich big shot and he had many servants. The servants were all bad. They never pleased him and he was really disgusted with them. When he saw how polite the Japanese were, he hired a Japanese man to be one of his servants. The Japanese servant pleased him very much.

Every day the Indian would get up at ten o'clock. One day he had something very important that he had to do early in the morning. So he said to his Japanese servant, “Please, tomorrow wake me up at six o'clock in the morning. I am telling you this because I know that you will not make any noise. You always do things so quietly, politely and nicely. You never show off. I have so many servants, but you are the one whom I am asking to wake me up early in the morning. But be sure not to make any noise and don’t disturb my sleep!

So what did the Japanese servant do early in the morning?

D: Put him in the car and drove him to the office while he was sleeping.

M: Didn’t wake him up — let him oversleep.

Sri Chinmoy: I said that the Japanese servant was so polite and quiet. The boss said he could not make any noise. How would he do the needful at six o'clock?

K: Wake him up and then tiptoe out?

Sri Chinmoy: I have told you about all the good qualities of the Japanese. So this was what the Japanese servant did. At six o'clock on tiptoe he went into the room and very nicely on a piece of paper he wrote down, “It is six o'clock, Sir. Please get up.” Then he put the paper on the pillow underneath his master’s head. He said to himself, “If he touches the piece of paper, the message that it is six o'clock will pass through his brain. So immediately he will get up.”

Unfortunately, the message did not register. The Indian big shot got up at eleven o'clock!

The boy with the flowers

Sri Chinmoy: As I have told you before, you people are very nice — not naughty. Never be naughty! This story is about a little boy of your age who was very, very naughty.

One day at around noon an old lady was enjoying her siesta. The naughty boy came to her with a very big bouquet of flowers. He said to the old lady, “I come of a poor family. I am very poor. Will you buy some flowers? I shall sell them to you for a very cheap price.”

The old lady said, ”I feel so sorry for you because you are poor. But I have plenty of flowers just like these in my garden. If I didn’t have my own flowers, then definitely I would buy this bouquet from you. Such beautiful roses you have! But I also have roses in my garden, so I don’t feel like buying these. I'm sure there are others who will buy from you. Your flowers are so beautiful. I tell you what — tomorrow morning you come here, and I will give you the most beautiful rose from my garden.”

The boy said, “Oh no, you will not be able to give me the most beautiful rose from your garden. You won’t find it tomorrow.”

She said, “Certainly I will be able to give it to you tomorrow. Come with me. I will show you.” But the boy just disappeared with the bouquet.

The following morning the lady went to the garden, hoping that the boy would come to take the most beautiful rose from her garden. But to her wide surprise she didn’t see the rose she was looking for. In fact, all her roses were missing except for one which was at the entrance to the garden. She did find another very beautiful rose, but this was already lying on the ground. The rest of her roses had been picked. The naughty boy had stolen the most beautiful rose and the rest of the flowers as well.

When the lady saw the naughty boy selling flowers again the following day, she said to him, “I wanted to give you my most beautiful rose, but unfortunately I do not have it any more.”

What would your answer have been if you had been the naughty boy who had stolen the flowers? You should not steal at all. But if you had, what would you have done?

D: Get new flowers and plant them.

Sri Chinmoy: Would they grow overnight? If that were possible, then whenever we need roses, Kanan would not have to go to Manhattan to the flower market any more!

M: I would take the ones I stole and put them back.

Sri Chinmoy: But they were already plucked.

L: I would have given her a big pink rose.

J: I would have told her that she didn’t have to show me her rose, because I had a flower for her that was more beautiful. Then the next day I would go and ask my mother to buy me a rose, and I would go and show her that the rose I had for her was more beautiful.

N: Just give them back.

Sri Chinmoy: The naughty boy’s answer is coming. The thief knew that he was caught. First he started to ask her for her forgiveness. But when he saw that she was not going to forgive him, he just threw down the flowers and disappeared.

The Prime Minister

Sri Chinmoy: All right, this will be the last story. It takes place during the Second World War. There was a first world war, and then a second; we hope that there will not be a third, or then we all will go to God.

During the Second World War the Prime Minister of an important country had to give a message to his countrymen over the radio. This Prime Minister was a very great, very powerful and very good man. He used to memorise his speeches and, very often, when he was taking a shower, he used to say them aloud.

The Prime Minister was supposed to give his talk at a very well-known radio station. As a matter of fact, it was the most famous radio station in the country. So, in order to be ready for his talk, he wanted to go to the station an hour early.

The Prime Minister had a car. It was very big, very beautiful, very expensive and very comfortable. But for some reason on this particular day his chauffeur was missing. So he had to go to the radio station by cab.

When he came out of his office, he saw a cab and asked the taxi driver to take him to the radio station.

The taxi driver said, “Oh no! I have to go home as soon as possible, and that radio station is on the other side of town. I want to drive north and you want me to go south. I can’t do that. Our Prime Minister is going to give a very important speech in an hour. I can’t miss it.” The taxi driver did not know that it was the Prime Minister himself who was asking him to take him to the station.

Then the Prime Minister’s ego came forward. He thought, “Even a taxi driver appreciates my speech.” But he still had to get to the radio station, so he took out a pound note from his wallet and told the taxi driver he would give it to him if he would drive him to the radio station. In those days a pound talked very loudly.

When he saw the money, the driver signaled him to come into the cab and said, “Who wants to hear the Prime Minister’s silly talk!” But he used a curse word when he said it. Then he took the Prime Minister to the radio station.

Who was the Prime Minister, can you tell me?

N: Gandhi?

Sri Chinmoy: Gandhi never accepted any post at all.

A: The Chairman of England?

Sri Chinmoy: This is the best answer! See, he is correct, only he is saying Chairman instead of Prime Minister. Prime Minister Churchill wanted to go to the BBC, and the taxi driver didn’t recognise him. He wouldn’t take him because he wanted to listen to Churchill’s speech! But when Churchill gave him a pound, the taxi driver changed his mind. All right, I have told many stories — all about naughty boys and clever people. I don’t want you people to be clever; only be intelligent. It is good to be smart, but you shouldn’t deceive anybody or tell lies. When you become extra-smart, you will deceive people. Don’t deceive anybody, and don’t tell lies. Again, I don’t want you to be fooled by anyone. Be intelligent.

Most of the stories that I have told have rogues and stupid people in them. So I don’t want you to be rogues and I don’t want you to be fools. I want you to be intelligent.

Editor's preface

In this group of amusing tales, adapted from traditional stories for children, a spiritual Master of the highest order offers an illumining perspective on some of the dreams, desires and foibles of the myriad characters that parade past our eyes on earth's cosmic stage.

The second part of this book includes a number of stories which were told by Sri Chinmoy to a group of his disciples' children and includes his conversation with the children along with the stories.

Translations of this page: Russian
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