Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 1

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Justice in King Giyasuddin's kingdom1

There was once a great Muslim king named Giyasuddin, who also loved archery. As a king he was great; as an archer he was good. One day while he was hunting, he accidentally sent an arrow through the chest of a little child who was crawling in the bushes. It was the only child of a widow, who had brought him with her while she was praying and meditating in the forest. The archer-king was aiming at a deer, but instead of striking the deer, his arrow entered into the little child. The boy was crying most pathetically and the mother was hysterical.

The mother went to the magistrate of her district to make complaints against the archer, in spite of knowing that he was the king. She felt that there should be some justice. At first the muslim magistrate was hesitant: “How can I punish the King?” Then he said, “No, I shall do my duty.”

So he summoned the king to court, addressing the summons to the archer Giyasuddin, not to the king Giyasuddin. On the appointed day the king appeared in court. On other days he would have saluted the king, but it was customary that the judge did not salute anyone summoned to appear in court. So the judge did not salute the king. He remained seated on his bench, and the king stood where convicts are asked to stand.

The magistrate said, “Do you know that you are going to be convicted?”

The king said, “Yes.”

The magistrate said, “This is my punishment. You have to beg pardon of the mother of this poor child and, also, you have to pay everything that the child needs for his recovery.”

The king immediately agreed. “I will do it.” Right away he went to the mother, who was in the court, and begged her pardon. Then he gave her the money necessary for her child’s recovery.

The king was then released. As soon as the king was released, the magistrate came down from his bench and bowed to the king, saying, “You are the King, and I am just an ordinary magistrate. It was you who appointed me and inwardly I shall be grateful to you for Eternity. But here justice was playing its role.”

The king said, “I am so glad that you are just. I want everybody in my kingdom to be as just as you. Had you not summoned me or taken any notice of the woman’s complaint, or had you just called me to court and said, ‘He is the King; so what can I do?’ I would have waited for a few days and then I would have come and punished you for the lack of justice in your district. This sword I would have utilised to punish you if you had not done your duty.”

The magistrate pulled out a cane from under his long gown and said, “If you had not come or if you had not obeyed my order to pay for the child’s recovery and also beg pardon from the mother, I would have punished you with this stick.”

The king smiled broadly at the magistrate and embraced him, saying, “You deserve my embrace; you deserve my fondest embrace.”

GIM 1. 5 January 1979

Saradananda's sacrifice2

One day, a long time after Sri Ramakrishna had left the body, his consort, Sarada Devi, was going to her parents’ home. She was traveling by bullock cart. One of Ramakrishna’s dearest disciples, Saradananda, was accompanying the Holy Mother. The road was full of holes, rocks and all kinds of obstructions. Quite a few times the wheels fell into the holes, and the jerk of the bullock cart increased tenfold each time this happened. The disciple felt miserable because Sarada Devi was not feeling well and she was trying to rest. But the road was so narrow that the driver could not avoid the holes.

Towards evening, Saradananda saw a very big hole in the distance. The Holy Mother was sleeping, and the disciple thought that if the cart had to pass over this hole, the Holy Mother would definitely be awakened and might even be hurt. Saradananda asked the driver to go very slowly, saying he would meet them on the road after a while. Then he ran to the spot where the hole was and lay down, filling it with his own body. Because it was dark and they were using an Indian lantern, the old driver could not see that the disciple lay down in the hole so that his back was level with the road.

When the bullock cart came near the hole, the driver saw the body in the road and screamed. The Holy Mother was aroused and asked what happened.

The driver got furious. “Look at what this man was doing! He was lying down on the road. How could I go on?”

The disciple said, “You fool, I did all this so that our Divine Mother could sleep, and now you have screamed and awakened her. If the wheels had fallen into the hole, there would have been a serious jerk and she could have got hurt.”

The Holy Mother blessed Saradananda, “I am so proud that I have a disciple like you. How many disciples are there on earth who would do this kind of thing for their spiritual Masters and Divine Mothers?”

GIM 2. 5 January 1979

Two beggars3

There was once a Muslim mendicant, Makdun. Makdun used to roam from one place to another, all the time praying and meditating. Even while walking along the street he would be praying and meditating. He was very poor and depended entirely on the generosity of good and kindhearted people for his material needs.

One day he was walking along the street when he saw thousands of people gathered before a beautiful mosque. “Why are so many people there?” he wondered. Then someone told him, “The Emperor is coming today to offer a special prayer here.” When the Emperor came, the mendicant went into the mosque and devotedly watched him pray to Allah most soulfully for more wealth, more name and more fame.

Then the Emperor said to the crowd, “Now come and take anything that you want from me.” He started giving away money, clothing and everything, showing his heart’s magnanimity and generosity. All the people stood in a line and one by one came up and took from the Emperor whatever he or she needed. Each one went away satisfied with what he had got. Makdun watched and watched, and when everybody had taken what he wanted, he started going away. The Emperor called out, “What are you doing? Why are you going away and not taking anything from me? What is wrong with you?”

With folded hands Makdun said, “Forgive me, O Emperor, but how can I take anything from a beggar? Just an hour ago you were begging God to give you more name, fame and earthly possessions. I don’t need anything from a beggar. You are begging to the same Person for name and fame that I am begging to for peace, love, joy and inner satisfaction. The things that you are crying for I do not need, and perhaps the things that I am crying for you do not need. So you pray to Almighty Allah for what you want and let me pray to Him for the things that I need. You and I are just two beggars. Let us beg for our respective things to the One who has them.”

GIM 3. 5 January 1979

The message of perseverance4

When Bopdeb was a young boy studying Sanskrit, he was the worst possible student. In everything he used to fail. His parents used to scold him mercilessly and his teachers beat him black and blue, but nothing did any good. Finally his teachers gave up and threw him out of school. Bopdeb was such a fool that his parents did not want to keep him either. So poor Bopdeb, feeling miserable, left his home and went to the nearest village.

Bopdeb used to pray and meditate under a tree near a big pond. One day, he saw some village women carrying empty pitchers to the pond and filling them. For quite a few days Bopdeb observed that after the pitchers were filled, the village women would place them on the stone steps by the pond and then go bathe and swim there. After getting refreshed, they returned to the village with their pitchers of water.

One day, when nobody was there, Bopdeb came near the spot where the women always stood and noticed something significant. He saw that the stone where the women would put their pitchers was being worn down. It was no longer level with the rest of the step. Bopdeb said to himself, “If, because the women placed their pitchers here repeatedly, even the stone is wearing down, then what is wrong with my brain?” From this he got the message of perseverance. He said, “Perseverance will always reach the goal.”

He started praying and meditating, and after meditating seriously for a few days, he started reading his old Sanskrit grammar books. Previously he had been the worst possible student in Sanskrit, but this time he was able to remember what he read. He continued his studies and, by perseverance, eventually became the greatest Sanskrit scholar, especially in grammar.

GIM 4. 5 January 1979

In God's eye nobody is untouchable5

There was once a cobbler whose name was Dipan. Dipan was extremely poor. He was a great devotee of the Lord Vishnu and he had the deepest adoration for all the cosmic gods and goddesses also.

Dipan had a tiny shop where he sold shoes. During the day if there were no customers, he didn’t feel sorry. He used to just go on praying, meditating and chanting. In the evening he would take his most beautiful and most expensive shoes and leave them at the doors of religious people. “The religious people deserve these shoes, although they don’t come to buy,” he said. “Perhaps they don’t have enough money.” Dipan went on for a long time like this and, with the greatest difficulty, used to make his livelihood.

One day, a sadhu came to Dipan’s store. Dipan was so moved to see the sadhu that he fell down at his feet. But he did not dare to touch his feet because the sadhu was of a high class. Just because he was a cobbler, Dipan was not allowed to mix with the so-called aristocratic members of the society. Only lowclass people could he mix with.

The sadhu said, “What are you doing? Why are you not touching my feet?”

Dipan said, “You know that I am an untouchable. How can I touch your feet?”

The sadhu said, “In God’s Eye nobody is untouchable. You are God’s child. You pray to God all the time. You are dearest to Him. Please touch my feet. I will not be bloated with pride. As a matter of fact, you can even touch my head, if you want to, but do touch me.”

Dipan said, “I will dare only to touch your feet, if you allow me.” He touched the feet of the sadhu and the sadhu blessed him.

The sadhu said, “I am giving you all the spiritual merits and virtues that I have acquired over the years. One day you will become a great, great saint. Then all those who have neglected you and shown contempt for your profession will see light around you. They will come and touch your feet and worship you. It is only a matter of time.”

The cobbler fell at the feet of the sadhu once again and offered his tearful gratitude. Then the sadhu left.

The following day, with tremendous joy the cobbler was working in his store, when all of a sudden he saw a halo of light behind his head. The halo of light was also circling around all the shoes. When the customers came, even with their ordinary human eyes they saw light: not lantern light or Indian village light, but real light, spiritual light. Then they came to realise that Dipan was not an ordinary man. They had known all along that he prayed and meditated day and night, but previously they had regarded him as a crazy fellow. Now they were so moved, and they all started appreciating, admiring and adoring him.

“We do not want you to have to continue working in your shop,” they said. “Nothing will give us greater joy than to offer you the opportunity to spend the rest of your life in prayer and meditation.” So they gave him a big house where he could pray and meditate, and said, “Please take care of your spiritual life. We shall come and pray with you whenever we can.”

GIM 5. 6 January 1979

It is my poverty-life that has kept me spiritual6

There was once a great Sanskrit scholar who specialised in logic. He lived a very simple life, and he did not care for money. His wife was also very simple. Both of them were very simple, pure and kind-hearted.

Because he was such a great scholar, everybody had great admiration for him. His friends advised him to come to Calcutta so that he could live a decent life. But he said, “No. It is my poverty-life that has kept me spiritual. If I become rich, then my religious life, my spiritual life, will come to an end.”

The king heard much about this scholar, and one day he invited him to come to his palace. But the scholar declined the offer. He said, “O King, you are protecting us. You are doing your duty well. Therefore, I am very grateful to you and very proud of you. But I personally do not need anything from you. But I wish to thank you deeply for your kind offer.”

The king was deeply moved, and he decided to come to this man’s cottage himself. When he came he said, “Please, please take something from me. You are such a nice man. You are so religious and kind-hearted, and such a great scholar, too. Everybody appreciates you. Please take some material help from me. I am the King and I am asking you to take something from me.”

The man said, “No, no. I do not need anything. I can’t take your help. But my wife is here. She may need something, so please ask her.”

With folded hands the king asked the wife if she needed anything. He said, “I will be so happy and grateful if you will take anything you need.” But she said, “No, I do not need anything. I have rice and dal; I have tamarind from the tree; I have water and I have matches. I have everything in plentiful quantity. What else do I need? I am very grateful to you for offering to give me something, but I don’t need anything. If I need something, then I will tell you.”

The king couldn’t believe his ears. He wanted to leave a large sum of money with the woman. The scholar said, “For so long you have been my friend. Inwardly I have always considered you my friend because you are a just King. If you leave money with my wife, we will not take it. If you force us to take it, then we will take it. But you will become our enemy instead of our friend, because this money will bring our spiritual life to an end.”

Upon hearing this the king left the man and his wife, feeling great joy and admiration and tremendous peace of mind.

A few months later a great Sanskrit scholar came to Calcutta and challenged all the scholars there. All the other scholars lost to him. Only this particular scholar was left. So the king sent a messenger to his village and asked him to come to the palace to challenge this other scholar. The man said, “I don’t want to compete, but to please the King I will do it. The King came to my place and was so kind to me. Only to please him I will compete. The result I will leave at the Feet of God.”

So the pious man accepted the challenge of the very great scholar who had defeated all the other scholars in Calcutta. The debate went on for four hours. At the end of the debate it was quite clear that the pious man, the village scholar, had defeated the challenger.

All the Calcutta scholars were so proud of the winner and they wanted to honour him. They wanted to give him money and fine clothes and make him rich overnight.

But the pious man said, “No, I won’t take anything from you. I don’t want honour and I don’t want material gifts. I don’t want anything from you. Calcutta is a very bad place. Here everything is temptation, temptation. I need only God. The King was very kind to me when he came to my house, and it was because of him that I entered this competition. If his subjects had been defeated by somebody from another place, then it would have been a disgrace to him. So I accepted the challenge only to please him. I have only done my duty as a subject of the King. I am very happy that I could be of some service to him, but now I want to go back to my village. Here there is nothing but temptation.”

So the pious man and his wife together went back to their village, where they continued to live a life of utmost simplicity and purity.

GIM 6. 7 January 1979

Yudhishthira's worst enemy7

After the battle of Kurukshetra was over, one day Yudhishthira said to Krishna, “Krishna, we Pandavas have won. Needless to say, it is all your Grace. Otherwise, we could never have won. But you know, Krishna, in spite of our victory, something is bothering me. Do you know what it is? I have no peace of mind. Now that we have defeated the Kauravas, we are supposed to be very happy. But how can I be happy when I have no peace of mind? Why is this so? Why is it that I cannot be happy and peaceful?”

Krishna said, “Yudhishthira, O King, how can you be happy when your worst enemy is still alive?”

“My worst enemy is still alive!” Yudhishthira exclaimed. “Who is he? How is it that I do not know anything about him? Please tell me, Krishna, where my worst enemy is.”

Krishna said, “Your worst enemy is not elsewhere. It is inside you. You have been feeding and nurturing that worst enemy for a long, long time. Unless and until you have conquered that enemy, no matter what you achieve, no matter what you do for yourself or for mankind, you can never have happiness.”

“O Krishna, for God’s sake, tell me who my worst enemy is! Stop your philosophy and now illumine me!”

Krishna, with a loving heart and a smiling face, embraced Yudhishthira and said, “O Yudhishthira, you are by far the best not only among the Pandavas, but among all mortals, all human beings. Yet one enemy of yours, which is nothing short of weakness, is most destructive. And that weakness-enemy of yours is your unfortunate pride. Conquer the iota of pride that you have. Then happiness will flow into your mind, and peace will smilingly settle down inside the very depths of your heart.”

Yudhishthira said, “Your wisdom-blessing is my mind’s happiness and my heart’s peace, Krishna, my Krishna.”

GIM 7. 7 January 1979

The cyclone8

A middle-class couple from Calcutta were traveling to Europe in a large ship. After a few days, all of a sudden a cyclone of the worst type came, and it began raining heavily. Many tiny boats were capsized. The passengers in the large vessel raised a hue and cry because there was no way they could save their lives from imminent catastrophe.

The wife said to her husband, “Everybody is crying because we know that our lives can be counted in minutes. How is it that you are so calm and quiet? Do you have no worries or anxieties? Do you not think that in a few minutes we shall all die? Why are you so silent?”

On hearing this the man took a pistol from his pocket and aimed it at his wife. The wife said, “You crazy man, what are you doing? Is this the time for you to make jokes? What will people think of you?”

The husband gave a broad smile and said, “Look, you know that it is I, your husband, your dearest one, who was aiming a pistol at you. You know perfectly well that I will not kill you because of my tremendous love for you. Now God, who is the Author of all Good, is infinitely more compassionate than I am or than I ever could be, and we are His children. Do you think that He will allow us to be destroyed, or that He will destroy us? If an ordinary human being like me cannot kill you because of the little love that I have for you, how can God destroy us? He has infinite Love for His children, although we do not know and never will know how His Love works in and through us. His Love and Compassion work in and through us in a way that we will never understand. May God’s Will be fulfilled in God’s own Way. Today let us just be observers, and tomorrow let us participate in the fulfilment of His Cosmic Will.”

Immediately the cyclone stopped and everything became calm and quiet. The wife, with utmost pride in her husband’s wisdom and gratitude that the storm had stopped, fell at her husband’s feet.

GIM 8. 7 January 1979

Once you realise God, all the cosmic gods become yours9

There was once a great seeker whose name was Gyandas. A few times he had experienced a vision of his family’s presiding deity, and this made him very happy.

One day Gyandas and a group of seekers were praying together at the banks of the river Narmada. After some time a spiritual Master came and stood in front of them. He pointed to each one and remarked on their spiritual development. To some he said, “You are ripe, mature and advanced.” To others he said, “You are unripe and immature; you are a beginner in the spiritual life.”

Gyandas was one of the unfortunate ones. When it was his turn, the Master told him that he was an immature seeker. He could not believe his ears! He had always thought that he was truly advanced, because he had had a vision of his presiding deity a few times. He also felt that there were a few among those whom the Master had called advanced who were not really advanced.

Poor Gyandas felt sad and miserable. He went home and prayed and cried the whole night. In the small hours of the morning he had a sweet dream. In the dream his presiding deity appeared. Gyandas asked her, “How is it that I am not advanced? You have been so kind to me. You have appeared before me a few times. I thought that it was just because I am advanced in the spiritual life that you came to bless me.”

The deity said, “The spiritual Master was right. You are not advanced, but that doesn’t mean that you will never be advanced in the spiritual life. You too can be a great spiritual Master like that Master, but you have to be initiated first.

“A Muslim mendicant has come to your village. Everybody thinks that he is a simple, ordinary mendicant, but I know that he is a great spiritual Master. Go and be initiated by him.”

The deity’s words gave Gyandas the shock of his life. He said, “Initiation? Do I need initiation? And from that Muslim? He is so filthy! He doesn’t take a bath even once a month. I can’t go near him. He smells! I can’t have him as my Master.”

The deity said, “Then you will remain always unrealised. If you want to become advanced and spiritually mature, if you want to have boundless peace and joy, then go to him for initiation.”

For a long time that morning the seeker argued with himself. Finally he decided to go to the Muslim teacher. He went and stood before him with bitter anger, inner disgust, pride and, at the same time, terrible fear. Then, O God! He saw something which puzzled and confused him no end. The Muslim Master was lying down by the banks of the river Narmada, with his feet on a wooden statue of Lord Shiva!

Gyandas said to himself, “Look at this villain! How dare he place his feet on our cosmic Lord Shiva! Lord Shiva is one of our Trinity! Deliberately he is insulting me because he knows that I am a Hindu.” To the Muslim Master Gyandas said, “I will never become your disciple!” He was mad and furious.

The Muslim Master said to Gyandas, “My boy, I have not come into your life to confuse you. I know what you are thinking. Now do me a favour. Remove this wooden statue of your Lord Shiva. Place it wherever you want to.”

Gyandas grabbed the statue and placed it quite a distance away. But lo and behold, the statue started walking like a human being and went back under the feet of the Muslim Master. Gyandas was astonished and shocked at the same time.

The Muslim said, “Now look, you hold the statue here and let me go away.” Gyandas held the statue while the Muslim Master covered about two hundred metres, and then stood still. The seeker felt compelled from within to bring the statue to the Master, but he argued with himself. He said, “No, I won’t go! I won’t go!” He felt a terrible pressure from within and also an inner command from the statue itself to go to the Muslim Master. But he said, “No, I am not going. I won’t go to him. I won’t accept him as my Master.”

Gyandas put the statue on the ground, and the statue very happily ran towards the Master. So once again the Master was lying down with the statue at his feet.

What could Gyandas do? He was so puzzled. He said, “If I don’t take initiation from this Muslim Master, then my presiding deity has said that I will never realise God. But this man is deliberately insulting my Hindu God. Let me go and ask him why he is doing this to me.”

Gyandas went to the Muslim teacher. Before he could open his mouth, the Master said, “I will remove all your confusion and illumine you. Once you realise God, the cosmic gods become yours. For a God-realised person, the cosmic gods are like parts of one’s own body. It is not beneath my dignity for my hands to touch my feet. Again, I can also touch my head if I want to. Any part of my body I can touch with any other part. There is no question of superiority or inferiority, for all parts of my body belong to me.

“Each limb of my body I claim as my own. In the same way I claim Shiva as part and parcel of my existence. For Shiva to be at my feet is like one part of my body touching another part. Shiva and I are one.

“Realise God. Then you will see that there is neither superiority nor inferiority. We are all one, one, one. Stay with me. I shall initiate you. Once you are initiated, you will go back to that spiritual Master and hear from him that you are far more advanced than all the other seekers who were with you yesterday.”

GIM 9. A story from the Maharashtra. 7 January 1979

Vyasa's request10

The great sage Vyasa once went to the Lord Shiva and prayed to him, “Lord Shiva, you are unparalleled among the Trinity. Your Compassion is infinite, your Power is infinite, in every way you are infinite. I have come to you with my heart’s prayer: I would like you to initiate my son, Shuka. It is high time for him to be initiated and I know for sure that if you initiate him, then my son and I will be supremely blessed. So do fulfil my heart’s desire.”

Lord Shiva said, “I can and I shall fulfil your desire. But let me tell you one thing. If I initiate your son, do you not think that he will leave the house and roam along the street, praying, chanting and meditating? You will lose him.”

The father said, “I know there is every possibility that I will lose my son. But I must do my duty. When it is time for the son to be invested with the sacred thread, the father must do his duty, even at the risk of losing his son.

“But, my Lord, you are all-where. After being initiated by you, if my son roams around the world chanting and meditating on the supreme glory of the Absolute Supreme, how can I lose him or miss him? If he is meditating on the omnipresent and omniscient Lord, then I will never miss him. That much wisdom you have already given me, my Lord.”

Lord Shiva gave the father a broad smile and blessed him: “I am coming to your house to initiate your son. I assure you, he will be the world’s greatest God-knower at such a tender age. He has already mastered all the scriptures. Now, from my blessings and initiation, he will gain mastery over his earthly life and become inseparably one with the life of the immortals.”

GIM 10. 7 January 1979

The king's initiation11

There was a good pious king who ruled his kingdom justly, divinely and supremely. Everybody was pleased with him and proud of him. But there came a time when he was pinched with an inner hunger for initiation. He felt a burning cry for inner peace and inner light, so he gave up his kingdom and went to a spiritual Master for initiation.

The spiritual Master said to him, “I will initiate you when you are ready. Right now you are not ready for initiation.”

The king accepted the Master’s words. He bowed to the Master and said, “I will do anything that you want me to do. Only please accept me as your disciple.”

The Master said, “Yes, I will accept you as my disciple. From now on, every day you will go to the top of the hill and cut down trees along with my other disciples, for we need fuel to cook our food. You will also take the cows out to graze in the field as the other disciples do, and you will do domestic service.”

The king agreed. Every day he used to go with the other disciples, who were his spiritual brothers, and perform the domestic tasks to please the Master. Although the king had never done this kind of work, he did his very best and his work was, to some extent, quite satisfactory.

One day he was chopping down a tree, but he was not working fast enough. One of his brother disciples gave him a smart slap and said, “You are working so slowly. Master will be furious if we work so slowly. Don’t work so slowly!”

Now, this fellow happened to be of a very, very low caste; he was an untouchable. But the Master accepted disciples from all castes, and in his eyes everybody had the same rank. The king didn’t say anything to the untouchable, but in silence he was telling himself, “Does he not know who I was? If he had done this kind of thing when I was king, immediately my men would have killed him. Now I have accepted the spiritual life; therefore, he is saved. God bless his ignorance. He should know who I was and who I am.”

Some time had passed and the king again came before the Master. He knelt down and said, “Many people who have come after me have been initiated, but still I am uninitiated. When will my time come?”

The Master said, “One day your time will come, but it has not yet come. It will take time. Still you enjoy the pride of having been a King. As long as you enjoy and treasure your pride-wealth, initiation will remain a far cry. Conquer your pride and I shall initiate you. Unless and until you have conquered your pride, do not expect me to initiate you.”

The king touched the Master’s feet: “From now on I will most soulfully try to conquer my worst foe, pride, and thus be a fit instrument for your initiation.”

The Master said, “Try, my child, you will succeed without fail.”

After some time it came to pass that the king did conquer his pride, and he was initiated by the Master.

GIM 11. 7 January 1979

The pride of the cosmic gods12

Once Lord Shiva decided to destroy the worst possible demon, Tripura. Some of the cosmic gods wanted to help him in this great adventure. So one of them became his chariot, some became his horses, one became his charioteer, some became his arrows and one became his bow. Each god became something in order to help Lord Shiva.

Unfortunately, pride all of a sudden entered into these cosmic gods. The god who became the chariot said, “If I had not become the chariot, now Shiva would not be able to win.” The god who became the charioteer said, “If I had not become the charioteer, Shiva would not be able to win.” The god who became the bow said, “If I had not become the bow, Shiva would not be able to win.” Each cosmic god felt that he was indispensable.

Seeing this, Lord Shiva smiled and said, “You fools, do I need you? If you serve me devotedly, then indeed I need you. But I don’t need you with your pride. You stay with your pride. I can do the needful all by myself. Look what my third eye can do.”

Immediately Shiva opened up his third eye and destroyed Tripura. Then he turned to the cosmic gods, “Your service I badly need only when you offer it soulfully and devotedly. But when pride enters into you and you feel that you are indispensable, then I wish to tell you that you are millions and billions of miles away from the discovery of Truth. O so-called helpers of mine, give what you have; give what you are. Give what you have soulfully, give what you are unreservedly. Then you will see what you become: a torrent of Delight, ceaseless and immortal.”

GIM 12. 7 January 1979

Gratitude is my true wealth13

There once lived a very rich man, who was very proud of his wealth. He used to wear most expensive clothes, and it was impossible for him to walk even two blocks. Instead of walking, he used to take the palanquin carried by four people. He felt that it was beneath his dignity to mix with ordinary people. Most villagers didn’t like him because of his haughtiness, but this did not bother him in the least. He thought that as long as he had money-power in his possession, he didn’t have to worry about anything; he didn’t have to care for anybody else’s opinion.

One night, his only son was bitten by a snake. The father became hysterical and insane, and he ran out of the house barefoot and wearing only a dhoti, not even a shirt. He covered two long miles, running like a madman, until he came to the cottage of a shoemaker who could cure people from snakebite.

When the shoemaker opened the door and saw who had awakened him in the middle of the night, he became furious. Although the rich man was crying and lamenting because of his son, the shoemaker only said, “At this hour I am not going to your house. Had it been somebody else, I would have gone. But you have never shown any sympathy or kindness to the villagers. Now, at the time of your need, you have come. But I shall not help you!”

The rich man accepted all this humiliation. He cared only for the safety of his son, and he cried and cried. Finally the shoemaker condescended to come to his home, and he cured the boy. The rich man wanted to give the shoemaker a large sum of money. But the shoemaker said, “I won’t accept any money from you. I know it is impossible for you to change your nature. Tomorrow again you will become haughty and scold and insult everybody. This is how you do your duty in your own human way. I also have my own duty to do, and I have to do it with a sympathetic heart, for God has given me the heart to be of service to the needy. In your case, God has given you money-power, which is being used by your arrogant and destructive vital.”

The rich man said, “How do you know that I will not change my nature and my whole life after this?”

“I know you, I know you,” the shoemaker replied.

Both the parties said, “Let us see, let us see.”

Some admirers and flatterers of the rich man, who had come when they heard about his son, got furious. They wanted to strike the shoemaker. “How do you dare to speak so rudely of our chief? You have cured his son. So what? We are more than willing to give you as much money as you want. You won’t take money; you are showing your generosity in this way. At the same time you are being brutal. Is this not the height of your pride? You won’t accept money and, at the same time, you are criticising such a great man. Was it not enough for you to humiliate him at your shop? Here also why must you speak so badly of him and humiliate him further?”

The rich man said, “No, don’t hurt him. I will feel miserable. He has cured my son, he has given my son life. I will eternally remain grateful to him. My son is dearest to me. He is all my hope, all my joy and all my promise. I am ready to accept all kinds of humiliation from this man. What he has given me is infinitely more meaningful and precious than what he is now doing to me. Let him scold me, let him insult me, let him do anything he wants. I have got my son back. All I need is my son; there is nothing else on earth that I need more. So let him go peacefully. I tell you once and for all, my heart of gratitude is following him.”

GIM 13. 7 January 1979

Silence is the answer14

There was once a very advanced, great seeker. Many people used to come to him for advice, but he would not advise anybody. He always used to say, “If you want to come and meditate with me in silence, I am more than willing to meditate with you. But I will not tell you anything.”

People were satisfied with this. They were all gratitude to him for giving them the opportunity to meditate with him. Always they felt a kind of intense delight when they meditated with him, and tremendous inner joy used to envelop them. Sometimes during meditation he would smile at them most soulfully, but he would never talk to them.

One day a young man came to him and touched his feet, pleading with him for advice. “I am in trouble. I have all kinds of emotional problems. You have to save me.”

The advanced seeker finally opened his mouth and said, “Look, my boy, why do I not talk? If I tell the truth, the world hates me. If I don’t tell the truth, God does not love me. Now where do I stand? Truth is painful for humanity. I can’t tell the truth or humanity will have ill will. And if I tell lies, I displease God. I want to please both man and God. So I remain silent.

“If I am deeply absorbed in silence, God is pleased with me. At the same time, humanity sees that I am not involved in anybody’s affairs, either individually or collectively. To everyone I am the same. I pray for humanity inwardly, but if I were to become involved outwardly, I would have to open my mouth. And the truth humanity finds impossible to accept. Therefore, I remain silent to please both humanity and divinity. Silence is the answer to please the higher worlds and the lower worlds at the same time.”

GIM 14. 7 January 1979

I like the compassionate God15

One day a great seeker was praying and meditating at the foot of a tree. All of a sudden, without any rhyme or reason, a hooligan came and struck him mercilessly, leaving him unconscious. In a few minutes’ time, a friend of his happened to pass by. When he saw the seeker lying unconscious, he was simply shocked. Immediately he found a doctor, who brought the seeker back to his senses. They asked him who had struck him so badly, and he said, “He who struck me has cured me and is now nursing me.”

His friend said, “Even at this hour you are cutting jokes! You were beaten mercilessly, you were unconscious. Why can’t you tell the truth?”

But the seeker only said, “I know the person who struck me is the same one who cured me and is now nursing me.”

In a few minutes’ time, two policemen came dragging the hooligan in chains. They were positive that he was the one who had beaten the seeker. “This is the man. We are sure. You just confirm it,” they said.

The seeker said, “What are you doing? Why are you torturing this poor man? The body is the temple of God. If you strike and smash the temple, how can God remain inside? Please, O policemen, let him go. I don’t want God’s temple to be tortured and destroyed by you. I will feel miserable if you do anything more to this temple.

“It was God who punished me through him and again it was God who cured me. It is also God who is crying through you for justice. But of all the Gods, I like best the compassionate God. Therefore, please let him go. I am happy in my forgiveness, so you be happy by becoming one with God’s Will in me.”

GIM 15. 7 January 1979

The boil-illumination16

There was once a great seeker who was on the verge of realisation. Every day this seeker used to pray and meditate with his friends. His friends were also his admirers and adorers, and they used to beg him to open up an ashram. As soon as he opened up an ashram, they said they would all become his disciples.

“Why can’t you become my disciples now?” he would ask.

They would reply, “No, only if you open up an ashram will we become your disciples. If you have an ashram of your own and if we become members, then you will be responsible for the illumination of our lives. Now you are not taking us seriously. So please get an ashram, and we will become your disciples.”

The seeker thought about this for some time, and he decided that it would be a nice idea: “Let me have an ashram and all the disciples will stay there.”

O God, in the meantime the seeker developed a very painful boil on his right foot. The boil became very big and it gave him terrible pain. The doctor was called, and he got ready to operate. When he was about to begin, the seeker literally cried like a child. “Why is he acting like a child?” the doctor asked. “No, even a child behaves better than this. What will his friends and admirers think of him?”

The seeker’s friends, who were gathered around, threatened the doctor: “If once more you insult our friend, we shall strike you. Pain is pain. Only the sufferer knows what the pain is actually like. If it is real pain, why should he not cry? So you remain silent and just do your job!”

With a mischievous smile on his face, the doctor began to operate. While the doctor was operating, the great seeker said to himself, “I could not take care of even one boil on my own body. I suffered so much because it was a foreign element. My friends are also separate human beings, separate from my life. When they enter into my life, it will be the same kind of situation. I don’t have the capacity to save myself from one boil, so how will I be able to save their inner lives?”

“O God, I am so grateful to You. By giving me a boil, You have taught me a lesson. It is only You who can take responsibility for other people. One boil is enough to illumine me. I don’t need illumination from human beings. Now I know that I will never open an ashram. I want only to pray and meditate and realise You. I will remain in supreme ecstasy, for I want only God-realisation. This boil is my illumination; my illumination is this boil.”

GIM 16. 7 January 1979

The temple of love17

An old Muslim once went to a fair with his granddaughter. The granddaughter was so happy to be with her grandfather. At the fair she saw many things she liked, but there was one toy which she liked the most. It was a doll representing Krishna. She asked her grandfather to buy it for her, but he said, “I will buy anything else for you, but not this, because this doll is the God of the Hindus. You know how bad the Hindus are.”

The owner of that particular shop happened to be a Hindu. He got furious: “Who asked you to buy a Hindu God? Go away from my shop!”

The old man said, “Who needs your toy? I am going.” Both the shopkeeper and the old man exchanged a few nasty, foul words. But when the old man started to leave, his granddaughter began crying pitifully. She said, “I won’t go home unless I get the doll.” The grandfather was helpless, and he had to buy it for her. To the Hindu the old man said, “I am helpless. My love for my granddaughter far surpasses my love of my own religion and my hatred for your religion.”

The little child returned home so delighted with her toy. Every day she used to play with the doll, even when she was walking to school. At home also she used to play with the doll most devotedly, and she never played with anybody else.

Some years passed and she became old enough to get married. When her parents told her that they would look for a husband, she said, “How is it that you say you will look for a husband, when all along I have been married to this doll? This doll is my husband.”

The parents got the shock of their life, but what could they do? They said, “All right, you have shocked our religious beliefs. Now tell us what we can do for you.”

The girl said, “Now build a temple in honour of your son-in-law. He is nobody other than Krishna himself.”

As soon as she said “Krishna himself,” the parents saw right in front of them the living presence of Krishna. They were so moved. Krishna said, “She is right. Build a temple so that people can come and worship me.”

“Let us build it,” the parents said. “But this is a Muslim community. No Muslim will come to a Hindu temple, and they will hate us if we build one.”

The girl said, “No, if you don’t listen to my Lord, my husband, then I am leaving you for good. I will never come back.”

They were so attached to their daughter that they said, “Definitely we will do it. You are so beautiful, so spiritual. We can’t lose you. We shall build a temple for your husband, the Hindu God Krishna.” When they built the temple, to their wide surprise hundreds of Muslims began coming there to worship. The parents asked them, “Why do you come to a Hindu temple?” The devotees answered, “It is not a Hindu temple as such; it is a temple of pure divine love. When we come here, we are flooded with love. We feel its presence everywhere, and we get tremendous joy. But when we go to our mosques, we do not get the same joy. Instead, we get only an austere, rigid, lifeless and meaningless feeling. That is why we come to your temple. The Hindu God Krishna is all love, which we all need. What humanity needs is love and more love, nothing else; only love, love, love.”

GIM 17. 7 January 1979

Oneness with the Will of God18

The founder of Sikhism, Nanak, was meditating one day with a group of disciples near a Hindu temple. When Nanak wanted to enter the temple along with his disciples, the guards would not allow him; they mistook him for a Muslim. He had a long beard, long hair and a long moustache, and his whole face seemed to be a Muslim face. His disciples told the attendants that he was not a Muslim but the great Master, Guru Nanak. But the guards were so ignorant that they had never heard of him and they refused to allow him to enter.

The disciples were very sad and mad, but they were helpless. They were afraid that if they did anything, the police would come and arrest them. So they left the temple and went to a nearby beach. Evening had set in, and Nanak asked them to meditate with him. They all meditated for some time, but the meditation was not deep, for they were still harbouring anger and humiliation. Nanak felt very sad. It was not because he had been prevented from entering into the temple, for he knew that ignorant people will always do that kind of thing. No, he was sad because he had become one with the sadness of his disciples. He said to them, “Look at the sky. See how beautiful and vast it is. Look at the moon, look at the stars. How beautiful they are! Let us be inwardly and outwardly as vast and beautiful as the sky, the moon and the stars.” On other days the disciples would have all cheerfully become one with their Master, but on this day they were still mad, and they were not showing any kind of cheerfulness.

Nanak said, “In this world there will always be people who will insult us, but we should be above their insults. The attendants were not nice to us, but I tell you that the god of that temple is pleased with us. He will do something for us.”

To their wide surprise, while Nanak was talking two large dishes full of fruits and Indian sweets appeared before them. They could not account for this, but Nanak said, “It was the presiding deity of that temple who brought this food. I saw him with my inner vision, but you did not see him.”

But the disciples were not satisfied. They said, “No, it cannot be.” They thought that one of the disciples had gone out and brought these things for them.

“Is this the kind of faith you have in me?” Nanak asked. On other days the disciples would have believed their Master. But today they were doubtful, because they felt that their Master should have shown his spiritual and occult power and entered into the temple. But Nanak did not do anything when the guards insulted him.

“What do you want?” Nanak asked. “Do you want me to show you another miracle? I have shown you so many miracles, but have any of them changed your life? No! Again, if you want one more miracle I can show you, but I tell you it will not change your nature. It will only increase your curiosity. But perhaps in this way you will be silenced. Go and taste the water of the sea.”

Some of the disciples hesitated, others went. The water was full of salt. Nanak asked those who had drunk the water to come and sit before him, and those who hadn’t drunk to sit elsewhere. Then he asked those near him to drink the sea water again. This time, when the disciples drank, the water was as sweet as honey.

“Really you have performed a miracle!” they cried. “Just two minutes ago it was all salty. We were about to vomit. But now it is all honey, so sweet.”

So the people who drank were satisfied with this miracle, and both they and those who, out of fear, didn’t drink the water, remained silent.

Nanak said, “I have pleased your curiosity, but I wanted something else from you: compassion-forgiveness, forgiveness-compassion and, the most important thing of all, oneness with the Will of God.”

GIM 18. 8 January 1979

Oneness with God's entire creation19

A great seeker named Bamadav was known throughout the land for his unparalleled kindness and compassion, not only towards humanity but towards all earthly creatures. Although he was extremely poor, his was the heart of magnanimity and generosity.

One day, Bamadav was preparing his simple evening meal. He had put butter on two pieces of bread, but had not yet buttered a third piece. He was about to eat the two buttered pieces when all of a sudden a dog started barking outside the door to his small cottage. When Bamadav opened the door, the dog ran in, grabbed the unbuttered piece of bread and ran away.

Bamadav ran after the dog, pleading with it to stop: “O dog, I am asking you to return my piece of bread only so that I can butter it and give it back to you. You are a guest, and guests should be treated with utmost affection and love.”

As soon as Bamadav said this, the dog changed into a human being full of luminosity, and said to him, “I am the Supreme Deity. I came to you to see your oneness with my entire creation.”

Bamadav was overwhelmed with joy and fell at the Supreme Deity’s Feet. The Supreme Deity blessed the great seeker, saying, “You saw Me in a dog. Others would have beaten the dog, instead of begging to get the piece of bread back in order to butter it. Your oneness with the animal world, your oneness with all the worlds, your oneness with My entire creation — all have pleased Me beyond your imagination. Therefore, I am granting you the supreme realisation: Eternity’s Peace, Infinity’s Light and Immortality’s Life.”

GIM 19. 8 January 1979

Ramdas and the buffalo20

One day the great seeker Ramdas met the God-realised soul Tulsidas and prayed to him, “O great soul, do help me realise God. I have been praying and meditating for years and years, but still God-realisation is a far cry. Do help me realise God.”

Tulsidas said, “I shall not only help you to realise God, but I shall make you see God tomorrow.”

Ramdas said, “Tomorrow? O great soul, perhaps you are cutting jokes with me. Am I fit for God-realisation?”

“Yes, you are more than fit,” answered Tulsidas. “Tomorrow, God will come to you. Keep your house clean, prepare nice, delicious food for God and pray and meditate the whole day most soulfully. God will definitely come to you.”

The next day Ramdas brought many beautiful flowers to decorate his room and made a delicious meal for God. He remained soulful the whole day and prayed and meditated.

But O God, the whole day passed, and there was no sign of God. Ramdas was lamenting like anything. “Why has God not come? How could such a great soul like Tulsidas deceive me? But there is no sign of God.”

All of a sudden Ramdas saw a buffalo standing near his door. He was so mad. “How could that buffalo come here? Where did it come from?” he said.

The buffalo entered into his house and began eating the food and destroying the flowers. The animal ate many of the fruits which Ramdas had kept so devotedly for God. Ramdas was so furious that he took a stick and started beating the buffalo. But the buffalo just kept eating to its heart’s content and then ran away.

“Is this my fate?” cried Ramdas. “I wanted God and instead a buffalo has to come and ruin everything. O Tulsidas, is this your God? Tomorrow when I see you, I will give you a piece of my mind!”

The next day he went to Tulsidas, but the God-realised soul was in a very high mood. For some time Ramdas did not dare to speak. Then Tulsidas said, “So, God came to you?”

Ramdas said, “God came? A buffalo came!”

“A buffalo?” asked Tulsidas.

“Yes,” answered Ramdas. “It came and ruined everything.”

“You fool!” Tulsidas said. “It was not a buffalo. It was God in the form of a buffalo. He wanted to examine you to see if you had established your oneness with his entire creation. If you had been in a very high consciousness, you would have seen and felt that it was not a buffalo but God Himself. God took the form of a buffalo and examined you. You have mistreated God so mercilessly that now it will take a very long time for you to realise God. So you may as well forget about God-realisation.”

Ramdas cried and cried before Tulsidas, “How could I have known God would take the form of a buffalo and thus play a trick on me?”

Tulsidas said, “Pray more soulfully, more devotedly, more unconditionally and more unreservedly. Then you will know everything: where God is and who God truly is.”

Ramdas said, “From now on, I shall try to be worthy of one day receiving God in God’s own Way.”

GIM 20. 8 January 1979

Editor's preface to the first edition

Most of the stories in this and other books in this series are Sri Chinmoy’s retelling of traditional Indian tales. On rare occasions the Master has modified a story to make it more acceptable to the Western palate. And a few of the stories are Sri Chinmoy’s own.

These tales are not only delicious and nourishing, but also encouraging and illumining. Some are quite entertaining. Others are surcharged with morality-flames and spirituality-fire, which easily enlighten the Western mind, strengthen the vital and quicken the journey of the body-consciousness. Together they represent two trees standing side by side: entertainment-tree and enlightenment-tree. Both trees are at your disposal. Appreciate their flowers and fruits to your heart’s content.

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