Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 3

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Silence is the answer1

Once Ramachandra said to his Guru, Vashishtha, “Lord, please tell me something about God.”

Vashishtha said, “God? He is all greatness. My son, meditate on this.”

Ramachandra meditated on God’s Greatness for a few seconds. Then Vashishtha said, “I am so glad that you have seen and felt God’s Greatness.”

Ramachandra then said, “Lord, please say something more about God.”

Vashishtha said, “God is all goodness. Meditate on God’s Goodness.”

Ramachandra meditated for a few seconds on God’s Goodness. Vashishtha said, “Excellent! I am so glad that you have seen and felt God’s Goodness.”

Again Ramachandra asked his Master to tell him something more about God.

“God is all kindness, all compassion and all concern. Meditate on this.”

Ramachandra meditated on God’s Kindness, Compassion and Concern for a few seconds. Vashishtha said, “Excellent, excellent, my son.”

Ramachandra then said, “Lord, please tell me something more about God.”

His Guru replied, “God is all justice. Meditate on this.”

Ramachandra meditated on God’s Justice and Vashishtha said, “Marvellous! You have seen and felt God’s Justice.”

“Lord, something more I want to hear about God.”

“God is all power. Meditate on this, my son.”

Ramachandra meditated on God’s Power, and Vashishtha said, “I knew, I knew that you would see and feel God’s Power in a very short time.”

“Something else I wish to hear from you, my Lord, about God.”

Vashishtha remained silent.

“Why are you silent, my Lord?” Ramachandra asked. Still Vashishtha remained silent.

“Lord, why are you silent? I wish to learn more from you about God.”

Vashishtha still remained silent.

“Why don’t you want to teach me, my Lord?” asked Ramachandra. “If you do not teach me, how can I learn more about God? I want to learn everything about God from you.”

Again, silence!

Ramachandra asked, “Have I offended you in any way? Consciously I know that I have not offended you. And if I have offended you unconsciously, please forgive me. Only I want you to teach me more about God.”

But Vashishtha only remained silent. “Lord, Lord, if you do not teach me more about God, then I will definitely remain ignorant. If this is your will, if this is the Will of God, then I must remain silent, too.”

Vashishtha blessed Ramachandra and said, “My son, you have got the answer. When all earthly questions are asked and all the answers are given, then question-life and sound-life come to an end. At that time, real answer-life and real silence-life begin. So silence is the answer. Silence is the unparalleled God. Silence unites the many and makes the many one. You and I are two. We are playing the role of teacher and student, Master and disciple. But you have learned everything that I know about God; therefore I remain silent. Silence is perfect oneness and oneness is God-perfection.”

Ramachandra touched Vashishtha’s feet and said, “Your name is silence, my Lord, Eternity’s silence; and my name is gratitude, Infinity’s gratitude. In silence and in gratitude we shall forever and forever remain inseparably one.”

GIM 41. 13 January 1979

When argument ceases, illumination dawns2

Once the great spiritual Master Kavir said to his son Kamal, “Kamal, please bring me a few flowers and a small quantity of milk for my worship.”

Kamal said, “Father, why do you want flowers and why do you want milk? Flowers are polluted.”

Kavir could not believe his ears. “What, flowers are polluted?”

“Yes,” said Kamal, “flowers are polluted because the bees sit on the flowers and drink their honey. So they are polluted.”

“And what about milk?” Kavir asked.

“Milk is also polluted,” said Kamal, “because the calf has already tasted and drunk some milk from the mother before we get it.”

Kavir became angry. “Son, this is what you have learned from your studies? You find fault with your father’s request, and you argue with your father.”

“No, father,” said Kamal, “I am not arguing, I am just telling you a mere fact. You are asking me for flowers and milk. I am saying that you have to give God something that is totally fresh. I will go and bring flowers whose honey has been tasted by bees, and I will bring milk which has already been drunk by the calf. But if you really want to please God, you have to give Him something that is absolutely pure.”

“Stop!” said Kavir. “Stop, stop your philosophy. O God, you have cursed me with such an argumentative son. He does not know who I am. The whole world worships me, and here my son gives me his proud wisdom.”

“No, father, I am not offering you my wisdom. I am only telling you a mere fact.”

Kavir said, “Enough of your insolence. In this world, when God creates something, everybody may not be able to eat it at the same time. In God’s own Vision, somebody will have it first and others will have it afterwards. But that doesn’t mean that the first one who tastes a particular thing is polluting it for others. A flower has been seen or touched or used a little by a bee, and milk has been touched by the calf, who is dearer than the dearest to the mother cow. Do you think that just because of that I won’t be able to worship my Lord Supreme with flowers and milk? No, God created the flower, and before it was time for me to use the flower, it was time for the bee to taste its honey. And the time came for the calf to taste the cow’s milk before the time came for me to use the milk.

“It is like two people going towards the same destination. I saw the Goal, the eternal Goal, long before you and I have already reached it whereas you are still traveling towards it. But does that mean you will say, ‘What is the use of going to the Goal which has been seen and touched by somebody else?’ No! In the spiritual world, when someone uses something for the first time, that doesn’t mean that this particular thing cannot be touched or utilised by somebody else. You are traveling along the same path that I traveled, and going to the same Goal which I have already reached. Similarly, the flower that has been appreciated by the bee can and should be appreciated by those who see the flower later on. And milk that has been appreciated by the little calf should also be appreciated by others. So, my son, never argue with me.”

“Father,” said Kamal, “I shall never, never argue with you. Today you have illumined me. No other teacher has ever taught me in this way and nobody else will ever be able to teach me in this way. You are my father. You asked me to go to other teachers, and I went and studied. But now I see that the possessor of all real knowledge is nobody other than you yourself. Therefore, I ask you to make me, shape me and guide me into your own, very own. Already in the physical world I am your own. In the spiritual world also I wish you to make me your worthy son, your own, very own.”

“Son,” said Kavir, “I shall. In fact, I am doing that very thing which you are now crying for. When the noise of argument ceases, the voice of illumination dawns.”

“Father,” said Kamal, “I wish to add something. When Compassion-Light dawns, the darkness of centuries in no time immediately disappears.”

“Son, I also wish to add something: Compassion-Light dawns only when the heart is ready to receive Light from Above, from the Beyond, from the Eternal Source.”

GIM 42. 13 January 1979

Conquer your enemies3

One day, a young man went to see his spiritual Master. He was upset and disturbed. “Master, Master, I want to give up spirituality altogether,” he said.

“Why, why?” asked the Master.

“Because it is simply useless. I am a constant victim to undivine thoughts, evil thoughts, and to emotional, lower vital problems. How long can I continue this way? I was quite happy before I entered into the spiritual life. I didn’t have so many vital problems then. But now it is torture, real torture. Let me conquer these undivine thoughts and forces first, and then I shall return to the spiritual life. But now it is not meant for me.”

The Master said nothing. Only he gave the disciple a broad smile.

“Master, I promise you,” the disciple continued, “I promise you I will really pray and meditate once I have conquered all the problems that I have.”

The Master smiled again.

“Master, why are you smiling? Do you not think that I am saying the right thing?”

“No, my son,” said the Master, “I am smiling because you need real wisdom from me.”

“Master, that is why I came to you. But I feel that no matter what you say it will not help me. You have been inundating me with wisdom every day with your spiritual talks, with your affection, with your kindness, with your meditation. But still I find it simply impossible to overcome my lower vital problems and evil thoughts.”

The Master said, “My son, look. Right now you have a fever, you have a stomach upset, you have everything; so won’t you take medicine? You will not say, ‘I will take medicine afterwards. Let my fever, stomach pain and everything else that I am suffering from first go away from me. When these things leave me, then I will take medicine.’ When you suffer from something, you get something that will cure it. If you are bitten by a snake, you immediately take the antidote. Then only you will be cured. Now you are suffering. If you don’t take the medicine, which is prayer and meditation, then how are you going to cure yourself? Will the disease go away on its own? Once the enemy attacks you, it will stay with you until you throw it out. So you have to cure yourself. Prayer and meditation are the medicine.”

The disciple said, “Master, what you are saying is true. But I have tried for such a long time. Now I am tired of fighting. I have no enthusiasm, no will power. I feel that if I surrender to these forces, one day they will show me compassion. Once they show their compassion and feel that I am useless, they will leave me. Then I will immediately run towards you and I will again pray and meditate.”

The Master said, “Oh, no! These enemies are eternal enemies. They never allow their victims to go in their own way. Knowing perfectly well that you are at their mercy, for some time they may remain in a relaxed mood, and you will think that they are not keeping an eye on you, that they are not keeping a strict watch over you. But no, when they see that you are trying to leave their prison cell, immediately they will be more strict with you. They will keep you under greater supervision, under strict orders.

“So conquer these enemies at any cost. Then only you will be saved. Never think that your enemy will grant you freedom. It is you who have to conquer the enemy and get freedom for yourself.”

The disciple touched his Master’s feet. “I know, Master, your Compassion is my sword, your Compassion is my shield and your Compassion is my victory’s crown, which I shall place at your feet divine. From now on, I shall please you — you, you, only you — in your own way.”

GIM 43. 13 January 1979

Have faith in Vishnu!4

Once a great devotee of Vishnu went horseback riding. He was enjoying the ride, when he happened to come near the house of a washerman. The washerman had just washed some clothes and put them out to dry. Unfortunately, the devotee’s horse ran over the newly washed clothes, leaving its footprints on them. The washerman got furious and ran after the devotee, pulling him down from the horse.

The devotee started screaming, “O Vishnu, Vishnu, save me, save me!”

At the time, Vishnu was having his feet massaged by his consort in Heaven. All of a sudden he ran away. His consort cried, “What are you doing? Where are you going? Did I do anything wrong?”

Vishnu replied, “Don’t worry, I am coming back soon.” He opened the door, walked only a few steps outside his house and then returned.

His consort said, “Well, what happened? You ran outside, but there was nobody there. What were you doing?”

Vishnu said, “You don’t know what happened? On earth my greatest devotee was being chased by a washerman. First he ran away, afraid for his life, and prayed to me to save him. But as soon as I ran to save him, suddenly he decided that he had strength enough to fight the man himself, so he didn’t pray to me anymore. He just threatened the washerman and frightened him. The washerman felt that my devotee was much stronger than he, so he stopped chasing him. My devotee got back on his horse and continued his morning ride to enjoy the beauty of nature.”

The consort said, “Since he had invoked you, he should not have changed his mind. He could have got hurt!”

Vishnu said, “Either one has to have faith in me or faith in oneself. If one has faith in me, then he is always safe. But if one has faith in oneself, sometimes ego enters into the picture. If the seeker has very intense aspiration and if he can establish his oneness with me, then faith in me and faith in himself are the same thing. But if he has not established oneness with my Will and my Consciousness, then his faith in himself is only a parade of ego. That kind of seeker is one day bound to fall in his spiritual life, without fail.”

GIM 44. 14 January 1979

Spirituality is for those who are careful5

Once there was a beautiful woman who was very spiritual. Her husband was also quite spiritual. Often they used to invite seekers to their home for spiritual discussions, prayer and meditation. The two were very generous, and after these meetings the wife would usually serve dinner to everyone.

Once the husband had to go out of town on business for a few months. The seekers who previously had been coming to her home asked if they could continue meeting there. But she said, “Oh, no! My husband wouldn’t like the idea. Only when he is here can I invite you over.” That was not the real reason, however. Several times in the past, when her husband had been out of town, the wife had continued meeting with seekers. But now, during her husband’s absence, she had become very friendly with one of her servants and eventually fell in love with him. Because she was deeply interested in the servant, she found no need for spirituality in her life.

One day, a spiritual Master was walking near her house. He looked very sad. When the wife saw him, she asked, “Why are you so sad?” The Master said, “I am very sad because from my childhood I have always carried a special toy with me. The toy was my friend, my only friend. Whenever I did anything very private and intimate, I allowed only this toy to accompany me. Nobody else would ever know what I was doing. The toy was like my collaborator, and it always suffered whenever I did anything wrong. But now I have done something so bad that, out of shame, the toy has fallen down and broken its head.”

The woman was very sympathetic. “Let me buy you another toy so that you forget about this one,” she said.

But the Master said, “No, I can’t do that. How can I have another toy? This toy represented my inner being. It was part and parcel of my nature, my character, my life. If I get a new one just because it has smashed its head, then it will have another consciousness.”

The lady got the point. Here she was married to a good and spiritual man, and now she was in love with a servant, of all people. She cried and cried at the feet of the Master. “Oh, forgive me, forgive me,” she said.

The Master said, “I will forgive you for what you have done. Even your husband will forgive you, immediately he will forgive you, for his love for you is boundless. But your soul — the only real reality inside you — may not forgive you at all, or for a long time. It may withdraw and not come to the fore again this whole incarnation.

“Once one accepts the spiritual life, once one becomes a real seeker, at that time if one falls and enters into the vital and emotional life, indulging in unthinkable things, then the punishment is unbearable. One is compelled to lead a miserable, miserable life, without forgiveness.

“So, be careful before you accept the spiritual life, and then, once you have accepted the spiritual life, be constantly careful. For if you fall at that time, darkness-life will not care for you and wisdom-light will not care for you either. Aspiration-life will not care for you if you do not aspire and desire-life will not care for you, for it will feel that it cannot trust you totally. It will say, ‘Again he may go back to aspiration-life.’ And aspiration-life will not trust you. It will say, ‘Oh, he left me to go back to desire-life.’

“So, you will be caught in between aspiration-life and desire-life. You will not get joy from desire-life, for you have already told aspiration-life that you will be its eternal friend. And once you betray desire-life and go after a higher life, desire-life will only torture you. So be careful! Spirituality is only for those who are always careful in what they say, do and become.”

GIM 45. 14 January 1979

Chandra Gupta and the lion6

There was once a king named Samudra Gupta who had two sons: Rama Gupta and Chandra Gupta. Everyone liked Chandra Gupta, the younger of the two, because of his bravery, sweetness, politeness and humility. Chandra Gupta had all the divine virtues, whereas Rama Gupta was very haughty and undivine in every possible way. Even their father couldn’t help liking his younger son better. All the members of the royal family and the court favoured Chandra Gupta, except for one very bad minister. This minister was a rogue of the first water, and he liked Rama Gupta for his own undivine reasons.

The two princes had many friends among the sons of ministers and high officials. One day, Chandra Gupta came to his father and asked “Father, can we go out to the river and play?”

The father said, “Why not, my son. Go and enjoy yourself.”

The two brothers and eight or nine of their friends went to play by the river. All of a sudden, a ferocious lion came and everybody became frightened and ran away. Only Chandra Gupta stayed. He started fighting the animal and finally killed him. Afterwards, all the other children started appreciating Chandra Gupta.

His brother became very jealous and said, “Oh, he just killed a lion. Anybody can do that.”

The friends said, “Anybody can do it? Then why did you run away, you coward?”

The brother said, “I ran away only because everybody else was running away. They would have pulled me with them, and would not have allowed me to stay.”

“You liar!” everybody shouted. “Your brother didn’t run away. He challenged the strength of the lion and killed it!”

Rama Gupta became furious. “I hate my brother! Everybody appreciates him and admires him. It isn’t fair. I am also the King’s son, the prince of this kingdom, but nobody appreciates me.”

Everyone said, “You are a coward, like us; that is why we can’t appreciate you. But your brother set his strength against that of the wild beast and came out victorious. Indeed, he is destined to be King one day.”

Rama Gupta said, “How? I am the older brother. It is my kingdom. It is I who will get the throne.” Everyone continued to argue with him.

By now it was getting late, and still the children had not returned to the palace. The King became worried, and he sent a messenger to see if they were all right. When the messenger reached the river, he told the princes, “Your father is very worried. You must come back to the palace now.” “We were enjoying the death of this lion,” the children said.

When the King came to hear of the story, he couldn’t believe his ears. He personally came to the river with his whole entourage of ministers and important people. “Chandra Gupta, you have done this?” he said. “This is beyond my imagination. I have had many dreams about how powerful and great you will be, and this only makes me more certain.”

Everybody was shouting with joy that Chandra Gupta had killed the lion, but the rogue minister was very sarcastic. “At last Chandra Gupta has done something great,” he said.

“Shut up, Minister,” everyone said. “Why are you mocking him? Chandra Gupta has performed such a great feat, almost a miracle. He is the great hero in the family.”

The minister became afraid he would be fired. He said, “I am sorry. I don’t know why I said that. I really meant to say that you should give him a reward.”

“What kind of reward should I give him?” asked the King. “Whatever I give him will be inadequate. On the one hand, I am so proud of him. On the other hand, I feel that he will get his reward for his virtuous life when the day comes for him to take care of the kingdom.”

“What?” Rama Gupta cried out. “How is that possible? I am the older brother. The throne belongs to me.”

The King answered, “No doubt, Rama Chandra, you will become King after my death. But I feel that somehow, someday, Chandra Gupta is destined to rule.”

“Father,” cried Rama Gupta, “you always speak well of Chandra Gupta. In your eyes I am nobody, just a speck of dust.”

The King said, “Don’t be a fool. You are also my son. Only be grateful that your brother has saved your life.”

“I hate him!” screamed Rama Gupta. “I can save myself.”

“Look, I am the King,” the father said firmly. “Come back home peacefully. Otherwise, I will throw you out of my kingdom.”

Rama Gupta became frightened and returned to the palace. Because his older brother felt so miserable, Chandra Gupta said to him, “O brother, I have killed a lion. But you and I are brothers, so easily you can feel that it is you who have killed it.”

“You fool!” said Rama Gupta. “You killed the beast, and I will say that I did it?” He became furious.

“But what is the difference?” asked Chandra Gupta. “We are members of one family. Our parents, our relatives, even our father’s subjects are all one. When you do something great and good, at that time I feel that it is I who have done it.”

“What have I ever done?” asked Rama Gupta.

“You will do very great things,” Chandra Gupta consoled him. “And I will claim them as my very own. Although I have killed this lion today, please feel that it is you who have done it. And one day when you do something significant, I will claim your achievement as my own.”

GIM 46. 14 January 1979

Rama Gupta's capture7

When King Samudra Gupta died, he left two sons: Rama Gupta and Chandra Gupta. Rama Gupta was supposed to become King, since he was the eldest. But everybody spoke ill of him because of all his undivine qualities. Some said that the King would have really wanted Chandra Gupta to succeed him. The subjects also wished that Chandra Gupta could take the throne but, according to law, Rama Gupta was meant to become King.

There was an evil minister in the royal court. Rama Gupta took this evil minister into his confidence: “Immediately I have to become King, before it is too late. Otherwise, I fear that my brother will somehow win the throne.”

The minister said, “You will become King without fail, but why don’t we wait a few days. People are still mourning your father’s death.”

In his heart of hearts, the minister was very happy that Rama Gupta was anxious to take the throne. “The sooner the better for him,” he said to himself. But outwardly he did not want to appear disrespectful to the King.

A few days later Rama Gupta came to the minister and gave him a very large amount of money as a bribe. The minister said, “Money I need, and also I am one with you. I don’t like Chandra Gupta either. Everybody always appreciates him, whereas nobody even cares for my own son. When I think of the way you are treated, I am reminded of my own son. Let me make you King.”

The minister called in the priest and told him to perform the ceremony making Rama Gupta King. Chandra Gupta did not feel sorry because, after all, he was the younger brother and was not supposed to be King. He was sincerely happy that his brother was becoming King, and he participated in the ceremony, giving everybody joy.

In a few years’ time Rama Gupta married a most beautiful girl named Dhruva Devi. They had an intimate friend named Madhavi, who used to tell the Queen that Chandra Gupta was so great whereas her husband was not so great. Dhruva Devi all the time heard stories about Chandra Gupta’s goodness and her husband’s undivine qualities.

One day Dhruva Devi said to her husband, “I have heard so much about your younger brother’s greatness. Is it all true?”

Rama Gupta became furious: “Everything you have heard from that Madhavi. I shall kill her! You shouldn’t believe that stupid woman. What she says is not true. It is I who am great, greater, greatest. That’s why I have become the King. I will banish Chandra Gupta from my kingdom.”

The Queen said, “No, don’t do that. I will not speak of him anymore. And even if you wanted to throw him out of the kingdom, do you really think you would be able to? The whole kingdom likes and admires him. Wait and see. You can’t throw him out.”

When Madhavi heard about this, she said to the Queen “Without Chandra Gupta, would there even be a kingdom? Rama Gupta is only King by name. The strength and power of the kingdom come from Chandra Gupta.”

Rama Gupta was furious when he heard what Madhavi had said. “I need some rest,” he said. “I am tired of always arguing with these rogues. They stay in my kingdom, eat my food and then speak ill of me. I don’t need this kind of subject. I am going away for some time. O Queen if you want to come and enjoy some rest with me, you are most welcome. We shall take a few soldiers with us in case anything happens.”

So with a small army, the King and Queen set out for a short vacation, wandering here and there. Alas, one day they came near the border of King Shaka’s kingdom. Shaka’s soldiers thought that they were coming to do battle. Since they knew the area so well, they circled around Rama Gupta’s soldiers and caught them by surprise. Then they drove them across the border into Shaka’s territory proper. As soon as they crossed the border, another army of Shaka attacked them from the front. Rama Gupta’s men, caught off guard, were defeated and the King and Queen were held captive.

GIM 47. 14 January 1979

The queen's plight8

While King Rama Gupta and his Queen, Dhruva Devi, were out on a holiday, accompanied by a few of their soldiers, they were captured by the army of King Shaka.

King Shaka sent the captured King a message: “I will allow you to go back to your kingdom only if you give up your wife and allow her to marry me. Dhruva Devi rightfully belongs to me, because originally I was supposed to marry her.”

Rama Gupta was surprised. “Dhruva Devi, is this true?” he asked. His wife admitted, “It is true. My father arranged for me to marry King Shaka, but at the eleventh hour he changed his mind. Shaka is such a bad man; he is undivine in every way. And I was so beautiful, so good and divine, that my father decided not to allow me to marry him.”

Rama Gupta said, “Indeed, you are so beautiful that I will never part with you. I will fight Shaka.”

When Shaka heard this, he laughed and laughed. “Already you are conquered,” he told Rama Gupta. “What kind of fight will this be? You are practically dead. How are you going to fight if you are half dead? Now you are going to see your wife for the last time. I will force her to come and marry me. But for a few days let me allow you and your wife to stay with your conquered army. I am enjoying your imprisonment and mistreatment.”

Afterwards, Rama Gupta said, “O Queen, if I don’t give you to King Shaka, I will lose my entire kingdom. Again, if I give you away, I will feel miserable. But to be very, very frank with you, I want to remain king. So I am going to send you to this brute. When you get married, I will feel sorry, for I will miss you, but I want to go back to my kingdom.”

The Queen was horror-struck: “I knew it, I knew it!” she cried. “What a rogue you are! Your brother would not have done this kind of thing.”

Then Rama Gupta became furious: “Don’t bring Chandra Gupta into the picture. Why has he not come to help us, if he is such a great hero?”

“He does not even know what happened to us,” said the Queen. “If I could only send a message to him!”

“How will you send a message? Our army is now in chains, and many people have been killed,” the king said.

But it happened that Chandra Gupta was wondering why his brother had not yet come back: “He left the palace for only a few days’ rest; now he has been gone two weeks. What is delaying him?”

So Chandra Gupta decided to go searching for his brother and the Queen. He asked some of his friends and soldiers from his brother’s army to accompany him. It was not long before Chandra Gupta heard that his brother was being held captive by King Shaka, and he went looking for him. When Shaka’s soldiers saw Chandra Gupta coming, they laughed and laughed. “They have so few people. Let them go and see how badly we are treating their royal king and queen.”

When Chandra Gupta came, Dhruva Devi started screaming and weeping. “Your brother is giving me away to King Shaka so that he can go back and rule his kingdom,” she said.

Chandra Gupta was shocked. “How can you do this kind of thing? Think of how great our father was! For your kingdom you will give up such a kindhearted and beautiful woman?”

“Enough of your wisdom!” Rama Gupta said. “I need name and fame. I will get infinitely more by being King than by remaining with this wife.”

Dhruva Devi was so horrified that she fell down on the ground. Chandra Gupta said to her, “Sister, I will not allow my brother to give you away. I will fight for you, and I will take you back.”

So, with his very limited army he fought King Shaka’s soldiers and won. Then he went to King Shaka, and also killed him. Afterwards he came and freed his brother and his wife and took them home.

GIM 48. 14 January 1979

The death of the King9

Chandra Gupta returned home after slaying the evil King Shaka, bringing with him his brother, King Rama Gupta, and the Queen, Dhruva Devi, who had been held captive for several weeks. Everybody was appreciating and admiring Chandra Gupta for his heroism. At the same time, they were criticising and cursing the King, for agreeing to give his own wife away in order to regain his kingdom. Everybody was filled with hatred for the undivine King.

The King felt miserable that everybody was appreciating his brother. “Something should be done,” he said. “Why has this happened to me?”

His evil minister read the King’s mind. “O King, you were a fool to expose your cowardice.”

But Rama Gupta said, “Still I am the King. Yet nobody gives me any importance.”

“What can you expect from your subjects?” the minister asked. “They all love and admire their Queen and they are angry that you wanted to give her away.”

Rama Gupta became very agitated. “Even my own wife is more venerated than I am. This is my fate!” A friend of the undivine minister happened to overhear this conversation. He was extremely jealous of Chandra Gupta and had a clever idea.

“O King,” he said, “I could not help overhearing your words. I fully sympathise with you. But I must tell you that you will never be happy as long as your brother stays on earth.”

The King said, “Indeed, I fear you are right. I should banish him from the kingdom.”

“He would only gather an army and return to challenge you. But,” the friend continued, “O King, if your brother were dead, everybody would forget all about him. Then all the glory in this kingdom would be totally yours.”

“I need glory, name and fame,” agreed the King. “But alas, my brother will live on earth for many years.”

“We can change his fate and our fate,” said the minister. “What if poor Chandra Gupta were killed mysteriously in his sleep?”

“An excellent idea,” said Rama Gupta.

“Tonight!” said the minister’s friend. “You should kill him tonight, before another day passes and you lose more glory, name and fame.”

“We shall help you rule the kingdom without him,” said the minister. “Boundless will be our wealth and power!”

That night Chandra Gupta was sleeping when he heard a loud sound. “Who is there?” he demanded.

Someone was approaching him in the dark, sword in hand, and was about to stab him. “Villain!” Chandra Gupta cried out. “At this hour you have come to kill me?” With that, he pushed aside his assailant, grabbed the sword and stabbed the person.

When Chandra Gupta turned on the light, he saw it was his own brother that he had stabbed. “What can I do? Forgive me, forgive me. I didn’t know it was you. If I had seen you, if I had known it was you, I would have allowed you to kill me and put an end to all your suffering. You should have asked me to leave the kingdom. I would have gladly gone away. I don’t need name and fame. I am happy with what I have and what I am.”

Chandra Gupta could do nothing to save his brother, who died in his arms. “What have I done, what have I done!” Chandra Gupta cried out. “I did not know it was my brother. Alas, my father was so great and good. Is this the fate of his sons and kingdom?” Chandra Gupta buried his head in his hands totally crushed and heartbroken.

GIM 49. 14 January 1979

A father's dream becomes reality10

With the death of Rama Gupta, his brother, Chandra Gupta, became King. The whole kingdom came to his inaugural ceremony. Everyone was crying with joy and relief, for they felt that he would be a just and kind King and that the land would flourish and prosper under his rule. The soldiers all pledged loyalty to their new King and said they were honoured to serve such a brave and heroic ruler.

After several days of festivities, the wife of Rama Gupta, Dhruva Devi, came to the new King. “Please,” she said to him, “you have to marry me.”

Chandra Gupta was surprised. “Dhruva Devi, your heart and soul are forever bound to my dear brother. Unfortunately, I took away his life, when I slew him without knowing who he was. I could never take away his Queen also. You will forever remain beloved to my kingdom as Rama Gupta’s kind and beautiful Queen.”

“No, Chandra Gupta,” said Dhruva Devi. “You have saved me from that dreadful King Shaka. You have given me a new life. It is you who deserve my love and loyalty.”

“But how could I ever marry my own brother’s wife?” Chandra Gupta asked. Dhruva Devi fell at the King’s feet: “Please, I have always admired your kindness and affection for humanity. I have always adored your valour and heroism. It is you who saved your brother when he was about to lose his kingdom and it is you who saved my prestige and honour.”

“Speak no further,” Chandra Gupta said. “My sense of loyalty to my brother would never allow me to accept your proposal. What would my subjects think of me?”

“Where was your brother’s loyalty to me when he was ready to give me away to that King Shaka? He did not value me at all,” Dhruva Devi cried. “Only you valued me enough to fight for my freedom and honour.”

Chandra Gupta remained silent.

She continued, “In no way am I trying to exploit you or your new position. Because of your divine qualities, I have always appreciated you. I want to be as divine and spiritual as you are. Divine love is the only reality. You have to marry me.”

The King said, “Dhruva Devi, my heart is deeply moved by your words. You shall again be Queen.”

At that moment the undivine minister who had always supported Rama Gupta against his brother rushed into the room: “You are fulfilling your father’s wish. Your father wanted you to become King, but I opposed it. I wanted Rama Gupta to be King because of my weakness for him. He reminded me of my own son. Forgive me.”

Chandra Gupta said, “My father was not only great and good, but he was also all forgiveness. I want to become like my father. Whether or not I have got his greatness or goodness, God alone knows. But I have prayed to God to give me the power of forgiveness, and this He has given me. That is why I am forgiving you.

“I also pray that God will forgive me for having killed my brother, for I did not do it intentionally. I would have allowed him to kill me had I known that he was my attacker. I always tried to make him happy. His happiness was my happiness. God gave me capacity and I want always to use this for a good, divine purpose. Alas, this capacity has caused so much trouble for me. My own brother wanted to destroy me. O God, capacity is a boon; again, capacity is a great problem.”

Then the minister said, “You will rule the kingdom peacefully and gloriously. I could not help overhearing your conversation with Dhruva Devi. She loves you, and it is you who deserve her. You should marry her. This is what all your subjects want. They are all hoping that she will again be Queen.”

“They shall get their wish, O Minister, and you shall get my forgiveness.”

Dhruva Devi said, “And your father is finally getting his wish. His dream has become a reality, now that your greatness and goodness will rule the land.”

GIM 50. 14 January 1979

Bhudep Mukherjee's examination11

One day an examination was being held in a college classroom. The most brilliant student in the class was Bhudep Mukherjee. Bhudep Mukherjee was deeply engrossed in writing his exam when all of a sudden his fountain pen slipped from his hand and dropped to the floor. His English professor, who was standing nearby, picked up the pen and gave it back to the student. Bhudep Mukherjee took it from the teacher and, without saying anything, started writing again.

The professor was a little surprised. “Why didn’t you say ‘Thank you’ to me?” he asked. Bhudep Mukherjee remained silent.

“Why don’t you answer?” the professor said. “You Indians have no courtesy?” The student still remained silent.

“This is what I have taught you over the years?” the professor asked. “It seems that you are not feeling well, or perhaps you have a difficult question that is occupying all your attention. Otherwise, you are always respectful.”

The student said, “No, nothing is wrong with me, I am perfectly all right and the questions are not difficult at all. It is true that I was deeply absorbed in answering a question. But that is not the reason I did not answer you. Sir, you always taught us to do our duty. Whenever we get an opportunity to help someone or to serve someone, we should do it without being asked. Today, when my pen slipped from my hand and dropped, you got the opportunity to help me and serve me. So why do I have to thank you? If you expect my gratitude, then it is not real self-offering. So it is better to help the needy with no expectation. This is what you have taught us, and I am only obeying you. I have not done anything wrong. At the time of my need you helped me, and whenever you are in need I will definitely help you.”

The professor’s anger by this time had changed into joy and gratitude. He said to the student, “I am so proud of you. I am so proud of you. Indeed you are right. When you are in need, others should come and help and not ask any reward for it. If someone is in need, we should go immediately to help the person. And if we expect a ‘Thank you’ or gratitude, it is a mistake. It is our duty at every moment to help others and even to sacrifice our lives for others.”

Bhudep Mukherjee eventually became a very, very great scholar. He was a great son of Mother Bengal who did much for the intellectual and social development of his nation.

GIM 51. 15 January 1979

Tagore sings12

There was once a little boy who was very beautiful to look at and very smart, with many talents. He was talented even at a tender age. His father was very rich and well-respected; he owned vast plots of land and had many, many servants. The little boy used to spend most of his time with the servants. He was the youngest in the family and they all adored him.

One day, the boy was singing a song that he had composed himself. The song expressed the idea that, “The eye cannot see You, although You are inside the eye. The heart cannot know You, although You are inside the heart.” He was singing it most soulfully, and the tune was simply excellent.

The father heard him singing from another room and was deeply moved. He asked his servants to go and bring the little boy to him. Then the father said to his youngest son, “Can you sing the song for me again?”

The boy didn’t often get the opportunity to come to his father, because the father was so great and very busy. He could not approach his father any time he wanted to. So although it was a great honour that his father had called him, he was also afraid of his father and he felt shy. The father said, “I am your father. Please don’t feel shy. Just sing the song that you were singing before, my child.”

The boy sang a few times and the father was so deeply moved that he entered into trance. When his trance ended, the father entered his office and wrote the boy a cheque for 500 rupees. In those days, 500 rupees for a child was really something. When he gave it to the boy he said, “In the past, the Mogul Emperors used to honour talented people with great gifts. Now the Mogul Emperors are no more. But your talent is so remarkable that I know you rightfully deserve honour from the king. Unfortunately there is no king here to honour you. But I am your father, and I am giving you 500 rupees.”

The son was so excited and delighted. He ran with the cheque and showed it to his servants. The servants lifted him up into the air. They were so proud that their little hero had become such a great poet.

Indeed, this heroic soul became the poet of poets. He became India’s greatest poet ever and won the Nobel Prize. Many people have got the Nobel Prize and many poets have been honoured, but in India he remains matchless. He composed about 1800 songs, many of which are sung all over India, including India’s national anthem, Jana Gana. Truly, Rabindranath Tagore was a creative genius who excelled in every field of the arts. In the latter part of his life he even took up painting. As poet, singer and playwright, he won love and respect not only in India but all over the world. He remains in the vanguard of poets for his lyrics, songs, plays and stories. India’s Tagore will eternally remain unique. In 1961, on his birthday, the whole world observed his centenary.

GIM 52. 15 January 1979

The train journey13

There was once a very great man who came from a very rich family. He was a great seeker, a seeker of the highest order, and to the whole of Bengal he was the very embodiment of truth. Countless people admired him, loved him and adored him, and felt he was a saint.

One day he took his youngest son with him on a train ride from Calcutta to Bombay. He bought a full-price ticket for himself and a half-price ticket for his son, who was eleven years old.

After the train had been going for some time, the ticket collector entered into their compartment and asked for their tickets. When he saw the half-price ticket for the boy, he was a little bit hesitant, for the boy was very tall for his age, and he looked much older than eleven years old. But the ticket collector didn’t say anything. He just marked the ticket and left.

After two hours another ticket collector came. He also hesitated because he too thought that the boy was over twelve years old, since he was so tall and smart looking. But he didn’t say anything either.

After some time, these two ticket collectors brought the station master to the man’s compartment, and the station master asked to see the tickets. The station master was so ignorant. He did not realise that this man was well known for his greatness and goodness.

By this time the man was very mad. So many times these ticket people were bothering him! “All right, see the tickets!” he said angrily.

The station master said, “This boy is a minor? How old is he?”

The man said, “Eleven.” The station master said, “No. You are telling me a lie.”

The man, whom all of Bengal worshipped as the embodiment of truth, said to himself, “What will you do with these ignorant people? It is useless to argue with them.” So he paid the difference in the fare to the station master, saying, “Take it!”

The station master gave him a full ticket for his son, and returned his change. When the station master gave the great man his few rupees of change, the man became so furious that he threw the money on the floor and it all scattered.

Then the station master felt very embarrassed. “What a scene I created for one ticket for a young boy and a haughty old man!” he said to himself.

Because of the commotion, many people came running to see what had happened. What they saw was the great sage and saint of Bengal, Devendranath Tagore, Tagore’s father. And the young boy was Tagore himself.

GIM 53. 15 January 1979

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar14

There was once a very great man who was knowledge incarnate. He was a professor of English at a college and was very, very brilliant. His eyes were full of light and in almost every way he was an ideal man. But unfortunately, on the physical plane he was not so handsome. He was very short, and his head was very big in comparison with the rest of his body

One day, an Englishman of higher authority wanted to see this Bengali scholar, so he sent for him. When the Bengali scholar came to the Englishman’s office, he was shocked. The Englishman had his feet on the table and was smoking profusely, and he began talking to the scholar with an air of contempt.

The Indian, who was a principal of a particular Sanskrit college, could not believe what he saw. He said to himself, “How can Englishmen behave so badly? They have no courtesy. They have no etiquette.”

When the meeting was over, he came back home mad and furious. “I shall one day pay that Englishman back in his own coin,” he said.

A few months later this same Englishman needed a favour from the Sanskrit professor. So he personally came to the professor’s office and knocked at the door. “Can I come in?” he said. But the professor did not answer. Only he asked his servant to bring his hookah.

The servant prepared the hookah and brought it to the professor. The professor placed his feet on the table, with his sandals on (he never wore shoes) and started smoking the Indian hookah. Then he asked the servant to let the Englishman in.

When the Englishman came in, he was so mad. He said, “I am an Englishman and I hold such a high post. Yet you are showing me such disrespect! What’s wrong with you?”

The professor said, “Nothing is wrong with me. Only I happen to be a good student. I always learn everything from my teacher. The other day you taught me to act like this and I have to show you that I have learned everything you taught me. If I don’t show you that I have learned what you have taught me, then you may not like me.”

The Englishman was shocked and, at the same time, illumined by the learned man’s remarks. This learned man became the ocean of compassion, the ocean of knowledge, whom all Bengal worshipped and adored. His name was Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

GIM 54. 15 January 1979

The gardener15

There was a great leader who was very, very simple. From his appearance nobody could tell that he was a great leader. Only people who were around him and knew him well, or those who were in the political world, could recognise who he was. Otherwise, from his outer appearance he could fool anyone, since he was not tall and there was nothing about him that showed that he was bright or commanded respect and admiration from people. He always wore very simple clothes, and he was all simplicity and all sincerity.

One day he was working in his garden, digging and planting and doing everything all by himself. He was wearing very, very simple gardening clothes. A few middle-aged men came up to him and said, “Can you tell us where the chief is?”

He said, “Yes, I can. Just wait. I will call him.” Then he went into the house, washed his hands, put on a panjabi and dhoti and came out and stood in front of them.

They said, “You! You have come again. You didn’t tell the chief that we are here? We wanted to see the chief and not you.”

This time the gardener was a little serious. He said, “Well, the chief is here. I am the chief.”

“You are the Prime Minister of India?”

“Yes, I am!” Some of them bowed down, some were shocked. Some felt miserable. “Oh, we thought you were just the gardener,” they said.

The Prime Minister said, “I am so glad that you didn’t recognise me as the Prime Minister of India because I don’t want the world to know me by my appearance, but by my actions. I want to remain always simple, always humble.”

He was the second Prime Minister of India, after Nehru. Lal Bahadur Shastri: simplicity incarnate and heart’s magnanimity incarnate. Lal Bahadur Shastri was without a single enemy. His own people admired him and the opposition party also admired him equally for his heart’s nobility and his life’s simplicity and purity.

GIM 55. 15 January 1979

The blessings of Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray16

There was a very, very great scientist who was also a great patriot. Everyone adored him. He lived a very simple, austere and spiritual life and remained unmarried. He had a very long beard and moustache, and was very lean and thin. He believed that well-educated young men should not just accept the work of clerks and other unimportant work. He felt they should not act like slaves but should do something with their lives if they were well-educated. He came to realise that money gave one the opportunity to do quite a few things in life.

“Money properly used is a blessing, but money badly used is a curse,” he used to always say. “If one has money and uses it properly, then one will have a decent life. And from this decent life one can try to aspire. But if one is pinched with hunger all the time and suffers from poverty, then how can one do anything great and good?”

He always used to advise everyone, especially the Bengalis, to enter into business and to make money, and then to use the money to try to do something great and good for mankind.

Just because he was great, after getting their degree young people used to come to him to get a recommendation from him for jobs as clerks. But instead of a recommendation, with all love and concern he would give them a smart slap. “Go away from here,” he would say. “I will recommend you to become somebody’s clerk and assistant? I don’t want that! I want you people to enter into business and use the money you make to lead a decent life. Then only will you get the opportunity to do the right thing. But if you misuse the money you make, you will destroy your life.”

One day, when the great scientist was an elderly man, a young man approached him and asked him to say a few words in favour of him so he would get a clerical appointment. As he usually did, with all love, affection and concern the great scientist gave the young man a smart slap. Then he said, “You deserve it! I always tell you people to enter into business.”

The young man said, “Yes, I want to enter into business, but I have no money.”

Then the scientist said, “You want to enter into business? How much do you need? I will give it to you.”

He said, “I need ten thousand rupees.”

The scientist said, “Ten thousand rupees you need for a business? Absurd! You don’t need that much. I am giving you three thousand rupees. You people are under the impression that if you have a large amount of money to invest, then only will you be able to make money. It is not true! It is not the money you invest, but your will power.

“I am giving you three thousand rupees. You don’t have to return this money to me, only promise me that you will enter into business. If you enter into business, I will be very happy. With this money you will start and, I tell you, you will be successful. With all my blessings I am giving you this money.”

The young man bowed to him and said, “This money I am taking as your blessing.”

The old man said, “Yes, it is my blessing. But you have to try to be successful. And even if you are not successful, I will be very happy and proud of you just because you have tried.”

This man was India’s most famous scientist-pioneer, P.C. Ray. He received his Ph.D. from Edinburgh University and, as a teacher of chemical science, had many pupils who later became great world chemists. When once asked if he had any children, he responded with a list of seventy-three of his dearest and brightest students. Such was his love and dedication for those who took him as their teacher-father.

GIM 56. 15 January 1979

The Brahmin and the old woman17

One day a high-class Brahmin went to the Ganges for a dip. On that particular day he was supposed to go to court, and he was late. So he could not spend as much time as usual bathing in the Ganges.

After hurriedly taking a dip, he was on his way back home when all of a sudden he heard someone say, “Hello, hello, can you spare a moment?” It was an elderly woman.

The Brahmin said, “Yes.”

The woman said, “Today my house priest could not come and there is nobody to conduct our house puja today. Without a Brahmin, how can my daily house puja be performed? You are a Brahmin, so will you do me a favour? Will you come and do the puja? Our house deity will be displeased if he is not worshipped today. And I never eat without worshipping our presiding deity. So please come.”

So the Brahmin said to the old lady, “Yes, I am coming.” And he followed her to her house.

The Brahmin was well-educated. He was a great scholar who knew Sanskrit and even the scriptures well — far better than the Brahmin who usually conducted her pujas. He did everything. It took him an hour or so.

After he was finished, the lady said to him, “Now I wish to reward you. I would like to give you something from the puja. I will give you a fee, and also I wish you to take some coconuts and bananas. Please take.”

The Brahmin said, “No, no. I cannot take this.”

“No, you have to take this,” the old lady said. “You have done me a favour, so you have to take money from me. You have to take fruits from the puja.”

But the man said, “No, I cannot do it. I am very grateful that I was able to help you, but I cannot accept any fee.” Then the Brahmin ran away.

The Brahmin happened to be the judge of the Calcutta High Court. He was a great scholar, a great pandit and a very great judge of the High Court. His name was Sri Gurudas Banerjee. The lady didn’t know who he was, but he himself knew who he was and what he was. Even though he held such a high post, he still regarded his duty as duty.

GIM 57. 15 January 1979

Chitta Ranjan Das18

There was once a great leader whose heart was larger than the largest. In law he was extremely successful and as a national leader he was also quite successful. His real name was kindness, affection and compassion. He was always for the poor and the miserable and he used to help people far beyond their need. The tips he gave to the police, for example, were ten times the amount that they usually got from others.

“These policemen work so hard,” he said. “Just because they wear Indian dhotis and garments, we don’t value them. But if the same work were done by Englishmen with trousers on, we would have to give them much more.”

One day a man in the Congress who worked for the great leader came up to him crying. The great man said, “Why are you crying?”

He said, “I stay at your house, but just because I come from the lowest class, everyone goes away from me. I am given my food at the place where the dogs and the chickens stay. It is so dirty and filthy there. One of your servants brings my food and I eat there as if I were another dog or another chicken. Please do something for me.”

Because of his low class, society did not permit him to sit with the members of the family. But still the great man felt very sad. He said to his wife, “All right, granted he cannot sit and eat with us, but can you not at least give him a nice place to eat? Why does he have to eat with the dogs and chickens? Can he not be given a better place?”

His wife said, “Yes, he should be given a better place. I shall see to it.”

Although the wife told the servant to take his food to a nice place, a few days later the servant was careless and took the food to the same place. So once more the Congress worker came to the great man, crying and crying: “They have given me the food there again, just because I come of a low class. I am staying with you because of your affection and love for me. Otherwise, I would not stay. This kind of treatment I hate. Whenever your Brahmin cooks see me, they run away. They show tremendous contempt for me and literally hate me. Am I not a human being?”

The great leader felt miserable, and he burst into tears. He called his wife and said, “From now on this young man will eat not only inside the house, but actually in my room where I eat. He has to eat in my room whenever I am eating. If I happen to be elsewhere and it is time for him to eat, he has to eat in my room. I make it a law.”

This great man was Chitta Ranjan Das. He was known as the most beloved friend of Mother Bengal. It was he who saved Sri Aurobindo from jail. When he died, Tagore said, “You came into the world with an immortal heart and you left it here on your way back.”

GIM 58. 15 January 1979

Sankaracharya becomes a sannyasi19

There was once a great Sanskrit scholar who was also a matchless philosopher. When he was quite young he said to his mother, “Mother, I don’t like this world. This world is not good. Here it is all bondage and illusion. I want to give up this world. I want to accept sannyas, renunciation.”

The mother burst into tears, “My son, how can you accept sannyas? You know the entire creation is God’s. How can you go out of God’s creation? No, no, you cannot accept sannyas. You have to be with me. Without you I will not be able to live on earth. My whole life will be miserable and unbearable. Your absence will break my heart. I cannot allow you to accept sannyas.”

The young man remained silent. He could not accept the life of a sannyasi without his mother’s permission. According to the Scriptures, one has to take permission from one’s parents or guardians. Then only will sannyas bear fruit. So he waited for his mother’s permission devotedly, soulfully and helplessly.

One day he went swimming in a nearby river and there he was caught by a crocodile. He started screaming and his mother came running.

The crocodile said, “If you want to remain in ignorance, then I will eat you up, but if you don’t want to remain in ignorance, then I will let you go.”

Then the son said, “Mother this is the time to grant me my boon. If you don’t allow me my wish, then the crocodile will kill me.”

“I will give you my permission to accept sannyas if you feel that the crocodile will free you,” the mother said.

Immediately the crocodile let him go, and he came up to his mother and said, “Now, Mother, you have to keep your promise!”

The mother said, “I will keep my promise, but my heart will break when you leave me. To lose you is to lose my all.”

He said, “Mother, you will not lose me. Whenever you want me just think of me and meditate on me, and I shall come to you. Normally one does not see one’s family for ten or twelve years after one has accepted sannyas. But in my case, whenever you want I will come. But I will not accept the worldly life and I will not get married. I will follow only the path of sannyas.”

The mother blessed the son and said, “Go, go! You want to please God. Whether it is in God’s Way or your own way, I do not know. But you do want to please God; that much I know. So I will be happy, because I know you are going for God. You feel He should be realised in a specific way. I won’t stand in your way; I give you my full permission. But your absence will kill me. Now go. Go and be satisfied, for I am your dearest and you are my dearest. In your satisfaction I also will be satisfied.”

The boy fell at his mother’s feet for the last time and took her blessings. Then he left home.

This young man was none other than India’s Sankaracharya, the peerless philosopher who introduced our Advaita philosophy, “One without a second.”

GIM 59. 16 January 1979

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the hooligan chief20

There was once a great patriot who conquered everyone’s heart in India, especially the Bengalis. He was known as the leader of great leaders. When he was in college he was a most brilliant student. He had tremendous fondness for spiritual and religious people. Whenever he could be of any help to the poor, the sick or the needy, he would be the first person to go there.

Once when he was a young man, cholera broke out in Calcutta and all the rich people left the city. When the epidemic broke out, there was no medical treatment for the poor, so he used to go to the section of town where the very poor lived and treat them.

Now, in that part of town there were many hooligans. They used to threaten him and say, “Don’t come to our section and don’t bother us. We don’t want to see you. You are well-educated and come from a rich family, whereas we are very poor and uneducated. We don’t want you here.” But although the hooligans didn’t want him to come and help the poor, he didn’t care. He said, “Do whatever you want. If you want to kill me, kill me. I have come into the world to help the poor and sickly. I shall continue coming with my money and my food to try to help as much as I can.”

One day the only son of the leader of the hooligans was attacked by cholera. So the young man went to his house and started caring for the son, feeding him and giving him medical treatment. The hooligan leader was so moved! “I threatened you and warned you not to come to this area, and now when my own son is attacked by cholera you come to help him. You are so brave.”

The young man said, “It is not a matter of bravery; it is my necessity. I see God in everybody. When I see somebody is suffering, when I see another human being in need, I feel it is my duty to help him. One must help one’s brother when he is in need.”

The hooligan chief bowed down to the young man and said, “You are not a human being. You are Divinity Incarnate.”

This great leader and great patriot, this matchless leader and matchless patriot, was none other than Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The very mention of his name brings such a divine emotional feeling into the consciousness of India!

GIM 60. 15 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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