Gopal's eternal brother and other stories for children
Gopal's brotherThis is a very beautiful story. It is a story about Krishna. Krishna has another name, Rakhal Raja. Raja means king, and Rakhal means cowherd, one who takes the cows to the pastures to graze. Krishna was a king, and he was also a cowherd, so he was called Rakhal Raja, King of the Cowherds.
Once there lived an elderly man who was kind, generous and pious. He used to pray to God every day. When he became very old, and was about to die, he said to his wife, "I am dying. I will leave you here on earth, but don't worry. God will take care of you."
His wife replied, "You are going to Heaven, but don't worry. God will take care of you there."
Now, this elderly couple had only one child, a little boy named Gopal. He was seven years old when his father died. This little family had always lived in the forest, and they were very poor. After Gopal's father died, his mother, who had only one cow, used to sell the milk from the cow to get some money. With this money she fed Gopal and herself. Although she was very, very poor, she was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. She prayed to Lord Krishna twenty-four hours a day. She never forgot him for a moment. Her entire life was a prayer.
Because Gopal was seven years old, he had to begin going to school. He lived in the forest, and the school was quite far from his home, so he had to go through the thick of the forest to get there. There were wild animals all around, and naturally he was afraid of these animals. He went to school in the morning with great fear and difficulty, and when he came back in the evening it was worse. At that time there was little light, and he was even more afraid. He came home trembling and practically weeping with fear.
One day he said to his mother, "I am not going to school any more. I am afraid. You have to send someone with me or I will not go any more."
His mother replied, "My child, tomorrow you will have your elder brother with you. I have another son. He stays in the thick of the forest, and you will see him with the cows. When you call him, he will come and play with you. He will take you right up to the school and he will bring you home again."
Gopal was so happy. He asked his mother, "What is the name of my brother whom I have not seen?"
"Your brother's name is Rakhal Raja," said his mother. "Rakhal Raja is his name."
The following day when Gopal entered the thick of the forest on his way to school, he called out, "Rakhal Raja, Rakhal Raja, where are you?" Rakhal Raja immediately came. He looked like a real king, with a crown and a peacock-feather.
So Rakhal Raja met Gopal and they went together to the school. When they came near the school building Rakhal Raja said to Gopal, "Now you go, and I will come to take you home when your school is over." In this way every day Rakhal Raja took Gopal to school in the morning and brought him back home safely in the evening. Gopal was delighted with his new brother.
One day his mother asked him, "Gopal, does Rakhal Raja come?"
"Yes, he comes," said Gopal.
"I told you he would come. He is your elder brother," said his mother.
Both Rakhal Raja and Gopal were very happy together. They played all sorts of games in the forest. Rakhal used to bring nice sweets and all kinds of good things for his little brother, so Gopal was always happy and pleased. When he came home late, his mother was not worried because his elder brother Rakhal Raja was taking care of him.
After a few months, Gopal's schoolteacher lost his mother. In India, when somebody dies, we have a festival at the end of the month. Everybody comes and has a feast. You eat as much as you can, and if you don't want to eat, they will force you. You have to eat. So a month after the schoolteacher's mother died, there was a feast for the schoolchildren, and naturally, all the students were bringing presents to the teacher. Gopal knew that everybody was going to bring a present for the schoolteacher, but poor Gopal didn't have any money. He asked his mother sadly, "What can I do? I wish to take something to my teacher, but we are so poor. What can I do?"
"Ask your Rakhal Raja," said Gopal's mother. "He will give you something to give to your teacher."
In the morning while Rakhal Raja was taking Gopal to school, Gopal said to him, "Rakhal Raja, today everyone will give a gift to the teacher, but I am too poor. Can you give me something?"
Rakhal Raja said, "I am also very poor, but I will give you something." Gopal was happy to have anything that he could give his teacher.
Rakhal Raja, who was really a god, immediately placed before Gopal a small pot of sour-milk, or curd. It is something like what you call yoghurt. "Take this," he said. "Your teacher knows that you are very poor. He will not mind."
Gopal was happy that at least he had something to give to his teacher, but, poor boy, when He brought it to the school, he saw that his fellow students had all brought expensive and beautiful things. He was very sad. He stood at the door like a thief. He did not want anybody to see him because he had brought only a little sour-milk in a small pot. He was very embarrassed. But the teacher was extremely kind. He took the little pot from Gopal and poured the sour-milk into a large pot. He thought that his servants would soon bring sour-milk for the festival and that it could be added to the small potful of sour-milk in the large vessel.
But what happened? When the teacher emptied the sour-milk from the little pot into the big pot, the sour-milk suddenly increased in quantity and filled the big pot to the brim! The teacher was astonished that this tiny little amount of sour-milk was now so vast.
During the festival the people who ate the sour-milk from Gopal's little pot kept exclaiming about how good it was. "We have never tasted anything like this!" they said. "It is so fragrant and delightful! The flavour is delicious! It is simply excellent!"
The teacher said, "Gopal brought it for me. It was Gopal's gift." Then he asked Gopal, "Where did you get the pot of sour-milk that you gave me?"
Gopal replied, "My Rakhal Raja gave it to me."
"Who is your Rakhal Raja?" asked the teacher.
"Oh, Rakhal Raja is my brother. He is my most intimate friend. He always comes with me to school and takes me back home," said Gopal.
The teacher knew that Gopal had no brother. He had only one relative, and that was his mother. So he asked, "Can you show me your Rakhal Raja?"
"Yes," replied Gopal. "He is most beautiful. He has a crown, and he has a peacock-feather in his crown. He is so beautiful!" Gopal promised the teacher that he would take him to Rakhal Raja. "Yes, you come with me, Sir," he said. "I will take you to my Rakhal Raja."
In the evening, when the festival was over and everybody had eaten and gone home, Gopal took his teacher along with him to the forest. At the usual place where he used to meet his older brother, he cried out, "Rakhal Raja, Rakhal Raja, Rakhal Raja!" But Rakhal Raja did not come to him.
He called again, "Rakhal Raja, why are you so naughty? You know that my teacher will think I am a liar. Every day you come here even if I don't call you. Today I am crying for you and you are not coming. Why are you so unkind to me? Why are you so cruel? My teacher will not believe me. He will think that I am a liar. Please come, Rakhal Raja, please come." He cried and begged, but Rakhal Raja did not appear.
The teacher said, "You are a liar. Somebody else has given this to you."
Gopal shook his head and said, "No, no, my Rakhal Raja has given it to me. I don't know why he is angry with me today. I don't know why he is not coming to me." And again he started calling, "Rakhal Raja, please, please, come!" But Rakhal Raja would not come.
Then Gopal and the teacher heard a voice from the forest saying, "Gopal, today I won't come. I come to you because of your mother. Your mother prays to me every day. She prays to me all the time. I am extremely pleased with your mother, and that is why I come to help you and play with you. But your teacher has never prayed to me. Why should I show my face to him? He also has to pray to me like your mother does. Your teacher does not deserve me. You deserve me because your mother prays to me every day, all day. I am only for those who pray to me, for those who need me. Your teacher has never prayed to me, so I will not come."
The teacher, who was a grown-up man, understood, and he was extremely pleased that Gopal's mother was so spiritual. He could not see Lord Krishna himself, but he knew that there was somebody who could see him because she prayed to him every day, and that person was Gopal's mother.
You too can pray, in the morning and in the evening. If you pray in the morning and in the evening, then God will be pleased. Pray for five minutes in the morning and in the evening. Your mother or your father will teach you how. When you do it, you will see that you will get your own Rakhal Raja to help you whenever you are in difficulty or danger.
In the story you saw how Rakhal Raja came and helped Gopal. In the same way, God is bound to come to you when you are in real difficulty, if you pray regularly. If you pray every day, then you will see God's most beautiful Form. Now you see a beautiful flower or picture and you say to your mother, "Look, how beautiful!" But when you see God face to face you will be surprised, because He is infinitely more beautiful.
To see God you don't need anything. In order to buy something you need money, but in order to see God you don't need money. You only need to pray, and this is as easy as drinking water. Just pray and you will get Him. When you get Him, He will give you everything.
Sweet, sweeter, sweetestSweet is my Lord.
Him I have realised as the Eternal Truth.
Sweeter is my Lord.
Him I have realised as the only Doer.
Sweetest is my Lord.
Him I have realised as the Enjoyer Supreme.
Who is the highest?Once there was a very pious Brahmin who was utterly devoted to his family deity. He worshipped this deity every day, sitting cross-legged in front of the shrine in his home.
One day during his meditation, he observed that the prasad or food offered to the deity, which is customarily eaten by the devotee after worship, was snatched away by a mouse and eaten in front of his very eyes. The Brahmin was astonished to see this and concluded that the mouse was more powerful than the deity. Otherwise, how could it dare to eat the offering? So he grabbed hold of the mouse, and tying it with a string to the place of worship, decided to worship this creature instead of the deity.
He removed the picture of the deity from the shrine, and started worshipping the mouse. One day his cat, jealous of the attention the mouse was receiving, pounced upon the tiny creature. The two had a terrible fight, but of course the poor mouse was killed in the battle.
Now it was quite clear to the Brahmin that the cat was more powerful than the mouse, so he started worshipping the cat whom he had previously neglected. This continued for some time until one day the Brahmin's dog entered the room of worship. Seeing the attention that the cat was getting from his master, the dog became furiously jealous and violently attacked the cat. The unhappy cat was bitten and scratched all over and bled in many places. When the Brahmin considered the situation, it became quite clear to him that the dog was more powerful than the cat.
So he removed the cat from the place of worship and placed the dog there instead. He now began to worship the dog, who was tied with a rope to the shrine. The animal's continual barking, however, was a source of great irritation to the Brahmin's wife. One day in utter exasperation, she threw a brick at the barking dog. It landed on his head with a thump. The poor dog was in great pain and cried piteously over his wound. The Brahmin, hearing the whimpering of the poor dog, came into the room, and seeing what had happened, concluded that it must be due to the superior power of his wife.
So he decided to let the dog go and to worship his wife. He said to her, "At long last I realise that you are the most powerful. Only you can be the object of my adoration!"
The wife was thunderstruck at these remarks, to say nothing of being puzzled and embarrassed. How could she be the object of his adoration, she thought, since all her life she had been made to feel like his servant, constantly at his beck and call? She finally consented, however, since she had no alternative.
Now the Brahmin's wife had become his object of adoration and worship. He addressed her with words of devotion and praised her divine qualities. So devoted was he that he had the impulse to worship her even when she was asleep. He would awaken her and make her take her place at the shrine where he could adore her. Or if she were in the shower, he would call her to come out. No matter what she was doing she would have to stop and come to the shrine to be worshipped.
Finally the Brahmin's wife became so fed up with this farce that she told him the whole thing was nonsense. At this he became furious. "Nonsense?" he echoed. "How dare you criticise my wisdom?" And he slapped her violently. The poor frightened woman began weeping bitter tears.
Now, seeing his own power, it became very clear to the Brahmin that he was the strongest of all. So he started worshipping himself, saying, "I am God, I am the greatest, I am everything."
But it did not take him much time to realise that he was merely a prey to his desires. It was his desires that were compelling him to action, either good or bad. So since his habit was to worship the most powerful force, he started worshipping his desires. But he quickly gave this up, for he saw immediately that his desires had no strength of their own. It was his senses that compelled the desires to possess and be possessed.
Then the Brahmin started worshipping the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. He was now pondering deeply on these subtle things which he was worshipping. After much thought, he concluded that it was the mind which was responsible for the functioning of the senses.
So he began worshipping his mind, and felt proud that he had progressed so far from the ignorant animals he had worshipped only a few months before. But he found that his mind was far from satisfaction, and even farther from perfection. So he entered into his heart.
The heart, in spite of having peace and joy and harmony, was still lacking in absolute fulfilment. He was yearning for the supreme power. He concluded that the heart was not enough, so he entered into his soul.
There, in union with his own soul, he got the first glimpse of his divine fulfilment. He plunged deep into the spiritual life. But the individual soul, he found, is not all-pervading or all-fulfilling. He aspired for the highest. He went even deeper. Deep within he discovered the Supreme Self.
Here, at the end of his journey, the Brahmin saw that the Supreme Self is the most powerful. The Supreme Self, which has neither beginning nor end, is all-pervading and all-fulfilling. The Supreme Self, which is both Creator and creation, is the Highest.
My name - my age - my homeAt last I know my name.
My name is God's eternal Game.
At last I know my name.
At last I know my age.
My age is Infinity's page.
At last I know my age.
At last I know my home.
My home is where my flame-worlds roam.
At last I know my home.
Blessing or curse?Briksha was a very powerful and cruel king. He used to torture people and kill people for no reason. He killed hundreds of innocent people just for fun. Briksha wanted to be the most powerful king on earth.
Now, in India we believe in one main God, and under Him many little gods, or lesser gods. It takes a long time to please some gods, but other gods are very easy to satisfy. One of the gods is called Shiva, and Shiva is very easily pleased.
Shiva used to meditate in the Himalayas. He would sit and meditate on the top of the highest mountain. Briksha went to the Himalayas and prayed to Shiva for a few years. He sat with his eyes closed and prayed most devotedly, repeating Shiva's name: "Shiva, Shiva, Shiva, Shiva, Shiva…" Sometimes he didn't take food. He fasted and he practised austerities.
After a couple of years, Shiva was pleased with him, and came and stood in front of him. But Briksha had his eyes closed while he was repeating Shiva's name.
Shiva said, "I am standing in front of you, but you have your eyes closed and you don't see me." But Briksha didn't believe it, and he continued to pray and chant.
Shiva said, "You have pleased me, and I am willing to grant you a boon. What do you want?"
Finally Briksha opened his eyes and saw Shiva standing in front of him. He was surprised and amazed. "Oh, you have come!" he cried.
"Now, what boon do you want?" Shiva asked again.
"I want to be able to bless someone in a certain way. I want to be able to put my hand on someone's head and immediately burn him to ashes."
Shiva said, "All right. You have your boon. I have granted it."
Then Briksha said, "I want to see if you have actually done it. Let me touch your head."
When he came near, Shiva started to run, and Briksha followed him. Shiva ran very fast to the house of Narayana, another god who was Shiva's friend.
Narayana is a very clever god. Narayana said that he would protect Shiva. They were standing together at the door when Briksha came up.
Briksha said, "He gave me the power to burn somebody to ashes, and now he won't let me test it on him."
Narayana said, "When you come to visit a god, you should be clean-shaven and neat, with clean clothes and your hair combed. But look at you! I thought you were a great king. Look at your clothes. Your clothes are torn and soiled. Look at your hair. Your hair is all dirty and matted."
Putting his hand up to his head, Briksha said, "What's wrong with my hair?" and was immediately burnt to ashes.
What do we learn from this? Pray to God only for good things, divine things. Don't pray for anything destructive. Then you will never harm anyone. If you pray for something bad, God may give it to you, but you will be ruined by it.
The best prayer is to pray to God to give you what He wants you to have. If you can't do that because you are really fond of something, the next best prayer is, "God, please give me this. I want this, but only give it to me if You want me to have it."
If you ask your mother for a knife, she won't give it to you. Why? Because if you were angry with someone, you might stab him with it. Or you might accidentally cut yourself or someone else. And if someone were stronger than you, he might take the knife away from you by force and hurt you with it.
If you ask for something destructive, you can hurt somebody with it, and also you may be hurt yourself. Pray to God for good things — Love, Peace, Joy. Those are the things that God always wants to give to everybody. If you ask God for Love, Peace and Joy, you will get as much of them as you sincerely cry for.
WhenWhen Peace once sang
My world became my Father's Light.
When Love once sang
My world became my Father's Delight.
When Truth once sang
My world became my Father's Height.
Silence liberatesThere lived a pious man in Bengal, India. Every day a Sanskrit scholar would come to his house and read aloud a few soul-stirring spiritual teachings from the Gita, the Upanishads and the Vedas. The master of the house was an aspirant. He would listen most devotedly to these discourses.
The family had a bird called Krishna. Krishna was kept in a cage in the room where the discourses were given. It also listened to these talks.
One day the bird spoke to its master, "Could you please tell me what benefit you actually derive from these spiritual talks?"
The master answered, "O Krishna, you don't seem to understand that these spiritual talks will liberate me, free me from bondage!"
The bird said: "You have been listening to these discourses for the last few years, but I don't see any change in you. Would you kindly ask your teacher what will actually happen to you?"
On the following day the master of the house said to his teacher, "Guru, I have been listening to your spiritual talks for the last ten years. Is it not true that I will get liberation and freedom?"
The teacher kept quiet. He scratched his head, pondered over the question, but found no reply. He just remained unhappily silent for about an hour and then left the house.
The master of the house was stunned. His Guru could not give an answer to the bird's question, but the bird found an answer. The Answer.
From that day on, the bird stopped eating. It stopped even its usual chirping. It became absolutely silent. The master and his family placed food inside the cage every day, but the bird would not touch anything.
One day the master looked at the bird, and seeing no sign of life in it, took it gently out of the cage. With a tearful heart, he placed his Krishna on the floor. In a twinkling, the bird flew away into the infinite freedom of the sky!
The bird taught. Its master and his Guru learnt:
WhereWhere Peace once sang
I became my Father's flowing Grace.
Where Love once sang
I became my Father's glowing Face.
Where Truth once sang
I became my Father's master Race.
Silence forgives, silence awakens, silence illuminesA young man of twenty-eight opened a stationery shop to make better use of his idle hours. Monetary gain was, for him, secondary. He was a great aspirant and had a famous spiritual Master as his Guru.
One day, while he was in his shop chanting his favorite verses from the Upanishads, a stocky man of about forty-five walked in. His complexion was unusually ugly and although his name was Hanuman, the monkey-Chief, his face resembled that of a tiger. He was the conductor of the local opera company and everyone hated him for his rude manner. He shouted aggressively at the owner of the shop, "Stop singing! Stop singing! You so-called pious man!"
The aspirant became silent.
"When are you going to return my money?" continued the intruder. "How many times have I asked you to give me my money back? Isn't it a pity that I have to remind you so many times about my money!"
The young man remained silent.
"I hear that every year you go out on a pilgrimage. You visit temples and spiritual places to acquire virtue. How do you reconcile your outer life with your so-called spiritual life? Your outer life is so full of deception!"
The shopkeeper said nothing.
"It is a pity that God tolerates a scoundrel like you," the man continued his tirade. "In His name you do so many evil things — deception being the least of them! We who admittedly have very little to do with God care much about maintaining a moral life, a life of integrity. But you who are constantly uttering the name of God, you who are intoxicated with words like "divinity", "love", and "mercy" are far more apt to deceive people — not just once, but day in, day out!"
The attack mounted, the customer's voice becoming louder and more pugnacious. "It is beneath my dignity, in fact, even to speak to you. I knew your father who was also a man of unscrupulous character. No wonder — like father, like son!"
It happened that the youngest brother of the shopkeeper, an athlete twelve years of age, was at the back of the store, busily pumping air into his football. Until now, this boy had tolerated the insults of the customer, but upon hearing his deceased father's name besmirched, he flew into a rage and came running to the front of the store. He was about to lunge at the customer and punch him in the nose, but the forgiving eyes of his elder brother, looking at the man with deep compassion, abruptly stopped the boy.
The customer, in a tone that was now quick and trembling, demanded again, "Why don't you give me my money back…I just want to have my money back and that is all. My time is as precious as yours."
The boy, puzzled, spoke out on behalf of his elder brother. "What money? When did you give it? How much? And to whom did you give it?"
With a defensive smile, the customer said, "Young man, I shall answer all your questions, one by one. How much money? Two hundred rupees. When was it given? Two years ago. To whom was it given?" There was a momentary pause as the customer struck his own chest with his fist. "To this rascal!" he cried, indicating himself.
The next instant he flung himself at the feet of the shopkeeper. "Forgive me! Forgive me!" he cried, his eyes flooding with tears. "I have never seen, and perhaps will never see again a man like you who is forgiveness incarnate. It is I who am the culprit. I have been trying in every way to trick you, to arouse anger in you, to make your blood boil, but I must confess that I have failed.
"I have also failed," he continued, "to keep my promise to you, my promise of two years ago. When you loaned me money, I said I would return it in two months' time. Never have you reminded me of that loan, never!" The customer continued in bitter remorse, "I have had many experiences in taking loans, and all my creditors became Shylocks. It is here for the first time that I have seen the magnanimity of forgiveness.
"You have forgiven my ignorance. You have awakened my soul. You have illumined my life."
Another dayAnother day, another day.
My Lord Supreme is far away.
Another day, my heart can be
The all-giving breath of patience-tree.
Another day, my life can feed
My soulful world with its crying need.
Another day, I own to hear
God's Voice of Light and feel Him near.
Another day, another day.
My tears shall win His blue-gold Ray.
Another day, another day.
And then, no more my ignorance-clay.
Another day, I'll be God's Love
Within, without, below, above.
The wish-fulfilling treeA young aspirant was sitting at the foot of a tree in the summer heat. Fortunately or unfortunately, the tree he happened to be sitting under was the Kalpataru tree, the tree that fulfils all desires, but he did not know this. After a while the heat became scorching and he said, "How I wish somebody would come and fan me!" Right away a young boy came and started fanning him. First he was very surprised. Then he began to think that whatever he wished for would be granted. So he said, "This is a young boy. I don't want him. Let me have a beautiful girl." Immediately a beautiful girl came and started fanning him. After a while he said, "Now I would like to have food here. I am very hungry." The young girl went and fetched food for him. He ate his fill and then said, "Oh, how beautiful this place is. But I don't see any animals here. I am in a forest, but how is it that there are no animals? A forest should always be alive with animals. How I wish to see at least one tiger in front of me!" In no time a tiger appeared — only to devour him!
So, as George Bernard Shaw said, "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire, the other is to get it." In this story, the young aspirant got it!
Never the same againNever the same again
Lost peace restored
Never the same again.
Never the same again
Lost joy regained
Never the same again.
Never the same again
Lost power reborn
Never the same again.
Nanak and the two villagesNanak, the founder of Sikhism, came with one of his disciples into a village where most of the people were very nice, sweet, generous and religious. Nanak and his disciple were extremely happy to see this village where people were so pious. Nanak was very pleased. He said, "Let this place be extinguished. Let this place have no existence."
"How can you do this?" said his disciple. "This is such a wonderful village! All the villagers are so devoted to God. Is this how you show your compassion?"
Then Nanak took the disciple to another village where the people were corrupt and evil and there was all kinds of fighting and quarreling. Nanak said, "I wish this village to prosper."
"What is this? This is the place that deserves to be destroyed and you are saying it should prosper!"
Nanak replied, "Look here. I said that the first place should be destroyed. This is why: The people there are so good, so spiritual. When the village is destroyed, those people will be scattered. One will go to one village, another to another village, another to some other place, so that each person will be able to spread his good qualities. In destruction good will be spread, so there is no real destruction. In the second village, which is very bad, I said, let them prosper. Let them not go outside the boundaries of their own village or otherwise their evil will spread everywhere. Let them prosper here. This is divine justice. If we go deep within we will see the larger reality and then we will understand the divine dispensation. Otherwise, we will be really confused."
Ever the same againEver the same again
My lost Truth rediscovered
Ever the same again.
Ever the same again
My forgotten Self remembered
Ever the same again.
Ever the same again
My lost Goal regained
Ever the same again.
Mother, I live!Madhu, a young man, suddenly died of cholera. He was the only son of his parents. His death threw his mother and father into a sea of grief. Friends and relatives came to console the stricken family. A neighbour, Sadhika, consoled Madhu's mother, Manjuri, with most profound words:
"Do not cry, do not weep," said Sadhika. "Our dearest Madhu has gone back to his eternal Father. We all loved him deeply and we shall continue to love him. But He who loves him most, that is, his compassionate Father, his Divine Father, wanted him to go back to His infinite Love, Peace and Light. I beg you not to shed bitter tears. What I say, you yourself will feel to be true in the course of time."
Manjuri was greatly consoled. She thanked her neighbour with deep feeling and Sadhika left for her own home, quite happy that she had been of some help to the poor woman who had lost her only son.
The irony of fate! The following week Sadhika's daughter, Malati, suddenly died of heart failure without having been ill at all. Sadhika had five children. Malati was her third daughter. The entire household was overwhelmed with grief at this sudden blow. Friends and relatives hurried to comfort the bereaved family. Sadhika went practically mad from the sudden shock. Her friend Manjuri, whom she had consoled so movingly just a week before, sympathised more deeply than anyone else. Manjuri used practically each and every piece of heartfelt advice that she had received from Sadhika only the other day when she had lost her son. "Malati's Divine Father wanted her to go back to His infinite Love and Peace…"
Sadhika paid no heed to her consolation. On the contrary, she became furious. "Stop your philosophy. I hate your philosophy. This is not the time for me to learn philosophical theories from you!"
Poor Manjuri, in a soft, apologetic voice said, "This is not philosophy. These are precious truths which I learnt from you just the other day. I felt them to be absolutely true. I am offering these precious thoughts to you at the time of your own need. My heart is so grateful to you for all that you did the other day when I had lost my dearest son."
Sadhika flew into a rage, her eyes emitting fire. "Stop your preaching, you stupid woman! You forget that it was your son and not mine. That is why I was able to offer you philosophy. I had nothing to do with your son. I was quite detached when I spoke to you. But now it is I who am the victim. It is I who bear the loss. So stop your philosophy and go home. This is neither the time nor the place to preach!"
At this cruel treatment, Manjuri was stung by sorrow and humiliation. She uttered the name of her neighbour's dead daughter, Malati, three times, her voice full of aspiration and prayer. Lo! Malati's disembodied soul was observing the whole situation in the room where the mourners were sitting. Suddenly the deceased girl's soul entered into Manjuri, who in no time felt a kind of uneasiness all over her body. She felt a premonition of some catastrophe and immediately left for home.
While Manjuri was walking along the road, the dead girl's younger brother Bhupal, aged twelve, saw her and cried out to his mother, "Look! Look! Malati is there! I see her in that woman. Look at her back, look at her movements, look at her feet…it is Malati, only Malati!"
The mother scoffed at her son's foolishness, but the boy insisted. "Look! Look! Just watch her!" Then, to her utter astonishment, Sadhika saw her dearest daughter Malati, fully alive, in Manjuri's body.
Both mother and son cried aloud, begging Manjuri to come back, but she paid no attention to their pleas. Then they ran up to her. Now Manjuri lost control and said, "This road is not your property. How dare you follow me to disturb me further after having humiliated me so mercilessly? The God within me forgives you, but I simply cannot. May God console you, Sadhika, in His own Way."
As Manjuri was saying this, both Sadhika and her son Bhupal saw the very eyes of their dear Malati shining through her eyes. Then Bhupal saw his elder sister blessing him and heard her voice saying, "I shall love you, Bhupal, I shall think of you and help you from the higher worlds from now on."
Sadhika felt her daughter embracing her and heard Malati's voice saying, "Mother, I live!" At that moment both mother and son saw a ball of red light shooting from Manjuri's head and piercing the western rim of the sky.
Lo! Malati's soul was on its way home. Manjuri was on her way home, too. Sadhika and her son likewise returned home carrying Malati's soulful message for her family:
"Mother, I live!"
My God is still aliveMy God is still alive,
Again His Soul will thrive.
My God is still alive.
I've now the real medicine —
Surrendered love genuine.
I've now the real medicine.
Ever God and I will live.
I shall Be and He will Give.
Ever God and I will live.
KabhulThere was a young boy named Kabhul. He was twelve years old. He used to play football extremely well. (What you call soccer here is what we call football in India.) He was the captain of his team.
One day after the game was over he went to a cafeteria and wanted to drink a cup of tea. The waiter gave him a cup of tea and a small quantity of milk and a spoonful of sugar. He asked the waiter to give him one more spoonful, and the waiter gave it to him. Then he said, "Can you give me one more, just one more?"
The waiter said, "You greedy fellow!"
The boy was simply shocked to hear the word greedy. How could he call him greedy? He said to the waiter, "Don't call me greedy!"
"Instead of one spoonful of sugar you need three spoonfuls. What else shall I call you? You really are a greedy fellow!"
Kabhul was very sad and shocked, but he drank the tea anyway and then he asked for a cup of milk. The waiter brought it to him. Kabhul said, "I wish to have one more cup of tea, and please bring me three spoonfuls of sugar. I will pay for it if I have to."
The man said, "All right, if you want to pay a little more I will give you three spoonfuls instead of one. Usually I give only one spoonful, but since you are ready to pay, I will give you as many spoonfuls as you want."
Kabhul drank half of the milk by the time the man brought him the tea. Then he said to the man, "Now bring me a small quantity of milk for the tea."
The waiter said, "You fool, here you still have so much milk. Can't you pour a little milk from here?"
Kabhul asked, "Why? Then why should I pay for the milk that you are supposed to give me with the tea? You should give me that."
The waiter said, "You fool!"
Kabhul said, "I am a fool! And you are a rogue! You have to give me the milk."
The man brought him a small quantity of milk and said, "You are a rogue, and you are a greedy fellow, and you are a fool."
Then Kabhul said, "Now I am making a promise. I promise to you that in this life I will never, never, never drink tea again. Today you have called me a greedy fellow and you have called me a fool. Just for this, I'm not going to drink tea any more in this life. I take an oath."
The waiter said, "You nuisance, who cares for you? Who cares whether you drink tea or not? Who cares? You nuisance!"
Kabhul got furious. He said, "I am a greedy fellow, I am a fool, I am a nuisance!" He paid the waiter the money and left the cafeteria very sad and depressed. He said to himself, "I come of a rich family, and in one day this fellow has to insult me like that three times! At home when I eat, my parents, especially my mother, always insist on my eating a lot of food. The more I eat, the more money I get from them. Here, the more I eat the more I have to pay. At home with my parents I get their love, affection and everything. And in addition, the more I eat, the more they give me money. I get all love, all affection from my parents when I eat. Here people are so indifferent and so careless! They don't care for me at all, and I have to be the one to pay."
When Kabhul got home, he said to his mother, "Mother, how I have been insulted today by an ordinary man! A waiter insulted me and told me that I am a greedy fellow. Then he said I am a fool. Then he said I am a nuisance."
Kabhul's mother heard the whole story from her son. Then she said, "Look, my son, how many times have I told you not to drink tea! Tea is not good for you. I told you that tea is not good for anybody's health, so we don't drink tea. I don't allow you to drink tea here at all, and I have told you repeatedly not to drink tea outside, but you don't listen to me. So you see, when you don't listen to me, how people insult you."
The boy said, "Mother, I shall always listen to you. From now on I shall stop drinking tea. And in the future I shall not do anything that you ask me not to do. I shall always listen. Whatever you want me to do I shall do, and whatever you ask me not to do, I won't do. I shall always try to please you. And I shall always obey. If I obey you, then nobody will insult me."
"My son," his mother replied, "nobody will dare to insult you if you always listen to me."
My sky and my soulI have a sky, I have a sky.
Alas, no wings have I to fly.
Yet I have a sky, I have a sky.
I have a soul, I have a soul.
Alas, nowhere I see my Goal.
Yet I have a soul, I have a soul.
The ideal of forgivenessOnce there was a great king named Vishwamitra. One day he learnt that there was a saint in his kingdom whom everybody adored. The name of this saint was Vashishtha, and everyone gladly touched his feet. Now, although Vishwamitra was a very great king, nobody used to come and touch his feet. People were afraid of him, and they would tremble before him. But with Vashishtha it was different. People gladly touched Vashishtha's feet with deepest appreciation and admiration. So Vishwamitra was extremely jealous of Vashishtha.
Vashishtha was a very great saint. After praying to God for many, many years Vashishtha had realised God and could speak to God face to face. Vishwamitra knew that this was the reason why everybody was adoring Vashishtha instead of him, so he too started praying to God. He prayed to God for a couple of years very seriously, often fasting, but still he did not realise God. Then he became impatient. He went to Vashishtha and said, "You have realised God, but I have not been able to. I wish you to tell the world that I have also realised God, like you."
Vashista replied, "How can I say that?"
"You can say it," the king insisted. "If you tell people everybody will believe you, because you yourself have realised God. You know who God is; you speak to God. Tell everyone that I have realised God. Otherwise I shall kill your children!"
Vashishtha said, "You can kill my children, but I cannot tell a lie."
Vishwamitra was a most powerful king. One by one he had the hundred sons of Vashishtha killed. The hundred sons were very well-educated, kind and spiritual. They had studied the Vedas, the Upanishads and other religious and sacred books. Nevertheless, the notorious king killed them all.
Even after doing this Vishwamitra was not satisfied because Vashishtha still refused to announce that he had realised God. After a few months he thought, "This time he has to tell the world that I have realised God, or I shall kill him!"
With this idea in his mind he went to Vashishtha's small cottage. Before knocking at the door he stood outside quietly listening to the conversation inside. Arundhati, one of Vashishtha's wives, was saying to her husband, "My lord, why don't you say that Vishwamitra has realised God? If you had said it I would still have all my children. They were such nice, kind, devoted children. They were all jewels. But just because you wouldn't say that he has realised God, he has killed all my children, and who knows what he will do next!"
Vashishtha said, "How can you ask me to do that? I love him. He has not realised God. How can I tell people that he has realised God? I love him and that is why I cannot tell a lie." Even though Vishwamitra had killed the hundred sons of Vashishtha, the father could still say that he loved him!
When Vishwamitra heard what Vashishtha said, he came running in and touched Vashishtha's feet, crying, "Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me, my lord. I never knew that anyone on earth could love a person who had killed all his children."
Vashishtha placed his hand on Vishwamitra's head and blessed him. He said, "Today you have realised God, because today you know what love is, what Truth is. God is all forgiveness. I am forgiving you because the God in me is forgiving you. Today you have realised God."
What do we learn from this story? We learn that the ideal of forgiveness is the supreme ideal. When we pray to God we see God's qualities: love and forgiveness. When we receive love and forgiveness from God we can behave like God towards other people. Vashishtha's hundred sons were killed, yet even then he loved Vishwamitra. Then, when Vishwamitra begged for forgiveness, Vashishtha gave it immediately, as well as giving him his inner Light, Joy and Power. Like Vashishtha, we always have to forgive people when they do wrong things. In this way we give them our Light, our Truth, our Joy.
From this story we also learn the importance of associating with holy men. When we are in the company of a spiritual person, even for a second, what transformation takes place in our life! Our life is changed in the twinkling of an eye.
My taskI ask, my Lord Supreme, I ask:
What is my task, what is my task?
"My child, try and cry to change thy face,
And tell the world My Name is Grace."
Shall I succeed, can I succeed?
"Why not, why not?
My Breath shall feed
Your life of love, devotion pure,
Victory all-where when surrender sure."
Two seekers and a skullA young man once heard from a spiritual Master that if anyone meditates with the skull of a dead person on the darkest night of the month, when there is no moon, he will realise God in one single night. (In India people sometimes meditate on skulls or in graveyards to conquer fear.) This man wanted to realise God in one single night, so with great difficulty he managed to get a human skull and went to the forest and was meditating. All of a sudden, a tiger made friends with him. The tiger devoured the man who was worshipping God with the skull. The following morning, another young man happened to pass by. He saw the skull and started worshipping. He was a true sincere seeker. He had not looked for a skull, and he had never prayed in this particular way before. But he prayed, and while praying, he said, "Oh, it will take me quite a few years to get illumination, but I shall try to be honest in my prayer." On that very night this seeker got illumination and realisation.
There was a third person who was observing the whole situation. He saw the first person who was devoured by the tiger, and the second person who was meditating and then got his realisation. So the third person said to God, "What kind of justice is this? The first fellow, with great difficulty, found a skull and started meditating and wanted to realise God. The result was that he was devoured by a tiger. And this second man, who did not take the trouble of finding a skull, just meditated and he realised God right away. Is this your dispensation?"
God replied, "The first man did what he did out of curiosity. He heard that if one can meditate with a human skull, one can realise God, and he just wanted to see what would happen. This kind of curiosity does not belong in the spiritual life. If one wants to enter the spiritual life in order to realise God in no time and to get his world of desires fulfilled, then he is just jumping into a burning fire. The spiritual life, if it is undertaken in order to fulfill countless earthly desires, will be a life of destruction. If one wants to enter into the spiritual life, then one has to minimise so-called earthly desires. But the second person had been meditating for his last few incarnations. In this life he got the opportunity to meditate with the skull, and meditating in that way, he realised God."
God said, "You do not see the past, you only see the present. You have to know what has been accomplished by someone in his past lives. Here, it was not a question of who got there first, but of who was more sincere. It is how much aspiration a particular seeker had in his past lives, or how much aspiration he has in this life, that counts. If out of curiosity one comes to a spiritual Master and jumps into the spiritual life feeling that in no time he or she will be able to realise God, and that all the problems of the world will be easily solved, it is absurd. For such a person, the spiritual life will be a life of turmoil and misfortune."
I rememberI remember ..
My mother loved me, her world.
My father loved me, his dream.
My home loved me, its "supreme".
I remember ..
I prayed with the blooming dawn,
I played with the glowing sun.
My life, the nectar-fun.
I remember ..
I sang with the twinkling stars,
I danced with the floating moon.
All lost, alas, too soon.
I remember, I remember, I remember.
Pray for protectionOne day a young boy of twelve or thirteen was attacked by fifteen mischievous, naughty boys and girls while he was walking home from school. The poor boy was all alone and quite helpless. How could he defend himself against so many naughty boys and girls? He thought of what his mother had often told him: "Whenever you are in difficulty or danger, pray to God." He prayed to God for a second or two, but there was no help from God, and he was cruelly beaten.
He went home crying and crying. His mother consoled him and he said to her, "You told me that if I prayed to God, God would protect me. But God didn't protect me. Look, I am black and blue, and my body is bleeding in so many places!"
His mother said, "My son, I told you to pray to God every day, but you do not. You do not pray every day early in the morning and in the evening. You only pray to God perhaps once a week, and sometimes you don't even pray that often. Sometimes you meditate one day, and then for ten or fifteen days you don't meditate.
"You have to pray to God every day for at least ten minutes early in the morning. Meditation and prayer are just like muscles. If you take exercise one day, and then for ten days you don't take exercise, then you cannot become strong. If you take exercise every day you will become strong. Little by little you will become bigger and stronger. In the same way, if you pray to God every day, your inner muscles will become stronger, and God will protect you. God is bound to protect you if you pray to Him every day early in the morning and in the evening."
From that day on, the young boy started praying to God. He listened to what his mother had said, and he prayed to God every day. Early in the morning he prayed for ten minutes, and in the evening he prayed for five minutes. After doing this for six months he said to his mother, "Yes, prayer works. Nobody bothers me now. I come home every day, but nobody ever bothers me."
His mother said, "Even if anybody does bother you, I tell you, you will be protected because you have been praying regularly every day, and God is pleased with you. God will protect you."
Now, on that very day something happened. When the boy was going home from school, a very tall, big, stout man grabbed him roughly and wanted to strike him. The boy immediately thought, "Oh, God, my mother told me that if I pray to You every day You will protect me," and he started repeating the Lord's name very loudly. "God, God, God, God, save me, save me!"
The fellow who had caught him was a very big, strong man, and he laughed at the boy, saying, "What do you think you are doing by saying 'God, God, God'? Do you think that you can get rid of me in that way? No, you can't."
All of a sudden a voice from inside the boy said to him, "Tell this man that even a ghost leaves when we repeat God's name." The boy quickly said what the inner voice had told him, and the man immediately let go of him and ran away.
Now, the previous night this man had had a dream in which he saw a ghost, and he had been badly frightened. Everyone is afraid of ghosts, even grown-ups. Hearing the word "ghost" reminded the man of the ghost that he had seen the night before. When the boy said, "Even a ghost leaves when you repeat God's name," God made the hoodlum actually see this young boy as the ghost of his dream. God showed him the figure he had seen the previous night in the face of the little boy, so he ran away.
When the man left him, the boy ran home to tell the story to his mother. His mother said, "It is just as I told you. If you pray to God every day, God will save you. He will protect you."
So you see that if you pray daily, God will protect you. This little boy had never thought of a ghost, but God told him what to say. If you pray, God will play divine tricks and He will help you when you are in danger. God will give you some message from within, or He will give the other person some message. If someone attacks you, immediately you will say something which you do not understand. When you say it, the other fellow will be scared to death, and he will leave you. Pray to God every day and when you are in difficulty God will tell you what to do.
God and the worldThe world and God.
How to harmonise?
No wide surprise.
Our Father is God,
The world our Mother.
This living truth,
Our protecting cover.
Father is the Face,
Mother the Smile.
Without the one,
The other futile.
A child's God1Gulu had completed his fourth year and stepped into his fifth. He had been introduced to the alphabet. Gulu's father said, "Well, Gulu, I shall now put you in the primary school of the schoolmaster Aghore."
Gulu's joy knew no bounds. Now he would go to school with a satchel under his arm.
Gulu was very intelligent and spoke sixteen to the dozen. He was very fond of stories. He often teased his grandmother to tell him stories. He listened to her words with wonder. The story of Prahlad appealed to him most. He said to his grandmother, "Tell me only the story of Prahlad. I don't want to hear any other story." Gulu listened to the story of Prahlad with implicit faith. The whole story always filled his mind. Gulu said, "How cruel is the father of Prahlad, Grandmother! What tortures he has inflicted on Prahlad! But nobody can slay him who has God for his helper."
One day it occurred to Gulu to find God. "As God is worshipped with flowers, He must be hiding in the roses in the garden," Gulu reflected. "Once I am able to discover God, I will so befriend Him that He will not be able to desert me any more."
Gulu spent the day in the garden, shaking the plants in his search for God. But he met Him nowhere. At last he returned home disappointed.
One day Gulu asked his mother, "I search for God so much. Why do I not find Him, Mother?"
"Gulu, God is fond of playing. So he plays hide-and-seek with us. He is an expert player. He hides Himself in such a way that even the great saints and sages fail to find Him."
"Who then can discover Him, Mother?"
"Nobody can find Him unless He reveals Himself. Still He stays with each and every one and protects all as He did Prahlad. He hides Himself in your heart, too."
"In the core of my heart! Believe me, Mother, when I search for Him in the garden, it seems someone responds from within my heart."
"It is this indweller who is God. Adore Him. Learn to love Him as you love me. He is there not only in your heart but in all hearts. Learn to love all, then He will surely be pleased to reveal Himself to you."
Gulu's mind was set at rest by the words of his mother. He cherished the hope that some day God would come to him.
Gulu visited his maternal uncle's house along with his mother. He returned home on the eve of the Pujas. The train was packed with passengers and there was not enough room. Gulu was not concerned about that. He peeped out of the window to gaze at the scenery. His uncle said, "Don't bend forward like that. You may fall down, Gulu."
"How can I fall? I am holding onto the door."
Suddenly the door somehow opened out. Unable to check himself Gulu fell down below. People inside the compartment raised cries of horror and lamentation. Gulu's mother, under the spell of despair, was about to jump from the train, but someone held her back.
It was night-time. Nothing was visible in the dark. The train was running at top speed. Owing to the excitement no one thought of pulling the chain. Alerted by the confused noise, the passengers in the next compartment pulled the chain. The motion of the train was immediately arrested.
The train went backward. Nobody hoped to see Gulu alive. After some distance had been covered a figure became visible on a bridge. Gulu's mother cried out, "Look, my Gulu is there!"
The train stopped. Gulu's mother rushed up to him and took him in her arms. "Did you get hurt, Gulu?" she cried.
"How can I be hurt, Mother? The moment I fell down, my uncle jumped and took me in his arms."
In a surprised voice the mother said, "Your uncle did not come down. He was there inside."
"Don't tell a lie, Mother. All this time my uncle held me on his lap. As you all drew near he put me down and went that way. You can look for him."
A thrill passed through the whole body of Gulu's mother. She said, "Gulu, your God saved you in the form of your uncle." At the words of his mother Gulu was beside himself with wonder.
GEB 25. By Mridu Bhashini Devi. Translated from the original Bengali by Sri Chinmoy.↩
PreciousPrecious beyond measure is God's Will,
None can undo its Power.
Precious beyond measure are man's tears,
They alone can hug God's Hour.
Precious beyond measure is man's love,
Unveiling his golden face.
Precious beyond measure is God's Gift:
His all-fulfilling Grace.
Editor's preface to the first edition
— Sri Chinmoy"
There is no one who has never felt an inner thrill at the fresh beauty and special charm of a small child. "A lovely child," says Sri Chinmoy, "attracts our attention. We love him because he conquers our heart. But do we ask anything from him in return? No! We love him because he is the object of love; he is lovable." What is it in a child which makes him irresistible to us, and inspires us to offer our love selflessly? It is the divinity in him, the soul, which glows luminously in the first years of life.
Jesus said, "Unless you become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven." The soul itself is a divine child, a part of the Supreme, its eternal Mother and Father. This is why when we live in the soul, we see that the soul's qualities make us childlike.
Just as the human child trusts in every person he meets, so the divine child, our soul, sees good in every human being.
Just as the world appears radiantly beautiful to the innocent vision of a human child, so the soul sees God's Light streaming forth everywhere in His creation.
The human child sees the world only through the eyes of his parents, believing implicitly in all they say. The divine child in us sees reality only through the eyes of the spiritual Master, knowing that his words embody the highest Truth.
For a human child, his parents are his whole world. Apart from them, he is lost in a wilderness. In the same way, the soul of the disciple knows that without the protection and guidance of his Guru, he would be lost completely.
As a small child cries to his mother for food when he is hungry, so the soul cries to God for the food it needs: His infinite Peace, Light, Bliss and Love.
To the spontaneous trust of a child, it has never occurred that his parents could fail to fulfil all his needs. As surely as the sun will rise every morning, every day his mother and father's devotion will be there for him. In the same way, it has never occurred to the divine child that God could ever cease to love us. The soul knows and always feels that the Compassion and Concern of the Supreme are eternal and unconditional.
A human child gets boundless joy in offering to his parents whatever he can create from his child's capacity. He feels that there is no one else on earth to whom he can offer his gift with joy. Our soul rejoices in offering our life's achievements, however small, to God, confident that whatever is offered freely and with joy is received by God with all His Delight and Gratitude.
A child's heart is purity, trust and affection. Like Gopal, whose brother was none other than Lord Krishna Himself, the childlike soul approaches God with utmost faith and simplicity. He has never learnt to tremble before God in reverential awe. His loving nature brings him swiftly into the sweetest and most intimate relationship with the Supreme. He comes to know the One who has brought him into the world not only as Mother and Father, but as his eternal Friend. It is this Friend whose company delights him, who saves him in every danger, who comforts him in every sorrow, and in whom alone he can confide the inmost secrets of his heart. When the divine child, our soul, makes friends with the divine Child who is God, God becomes our dearest Playmate, and His Play with us is endlessly fruitful, significant and fulfilling.