Life’s bleeding tears and flying smiles, part 1

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On the most auspicious occasion of my brother Mantu’s 73rd birthday on 17 November 2000, I am lovingly and gratefully dedicating to him 73 stories. They will be published in several volumes.

Author's introduction

These are not my own stories. These are ancient stories. I do not claim even an iota of originality. The original authors are buried in oblivion, but the successors are following in the footsteps of their predecessors with gorgeous embellishment. I, too, have indulged lavishly in my own way of embellishment. Long live my humour-wisdom-flooded predecessors, who loved anonymity.

May these tales liberate us from the heavy dryness of the mind, and may they transform the dryness of the mind into an ever-blossoming fountain-ecstasy.

— Sri Chinmoy

The good man and the jealous man

There was once a good man, a very good man. He was learned, very learned. He was pious, very pious. In everything he used to see good. Our tendency is to see bad in everything, but his way of life was to see everything good, good, good, good. Inside everything there is good. In everything there is gain. There is no such thing as loss — it is all gain. Inside each happening, each incident, there is something good and divine. This was the man’s way of looking at the world.

Many people were extremely jealous of this man’s good qualities. One man in particular was jealousy incarnate. He used to hate the good man because he had so many admirers and adorers. The good man also had enemies, but his admirers, adorers and lovers were infinitely more in number than his adversaries.

Eventually this man, who was very good in every sense of the term, became old. Age descended upon him, and he lost his eyesight. Day and night he would spend his time praying to God.

One day, the good man’s worst enemy, the jealous man, came to see him. Inwardly he was so happy to see the good man in such poor condition. Mockingly he said to the good man, “I am awfully sorry that you have lost your eyesight! But, O great philosopher, professor, you used to say that everything is for your good. Now you are blind. Is this also for your good? What kind of gain do you get from this loss? You have lost your eyesight! Answer me!”

The good man replied, “Either I can pray to God to give you the answer, or God has already given you the answer!”

The jealous man exclaimed, “Do not bring God into the picture! It is between you and me. Tell me, what gain do you get from the loss of your eyesight?”

The good man said, “Can you not see that because I have no eyesight, because I have no vision, today I am so fortunate that I do not have to see your face? You are so undivine. Because God is so kind to me, He does not want me to see you. That is why He has taken away my vision!”

A few months later, again the bad fellow came to visit the good man and said, “You are so old. You cannot move around. You cannot see anything. What good is it that you have become so old that you cannot see, you cannot move around, you cannot even walk? How can you say that everything is for your good? Does it make any sense?”

The good man replied, “Yes, everything is for my good. Here is the proof: it is you who are coming here to see me. I did not have to go to your place. Because I cannot walk now, it is you who are coming and touching my feet. Because I am lame, you are compelled to come to me. True, you are not coming with a good motive — you have come here to make fun of me. But you were compelled to come here because your jealousy forced you. As for me, I did not have to go to you. My goodwill, my kindness, my way of prayers did not have to go to see you!”

The weak can be wise, the strong can be fools

In one village there were a few notorious boys who used to torture men and women alike while they were walking along the street. In various ways these rogues would torture the villagers. They would beat people up, tie them up on the street and do all kinds of terrible things.

One day the village scholar was walking along the street. He was well respected because he had studied spiritual scriptures. These boys wanted to make fun of him, so when he was passing by, one of the boys threw a stone at him. The stone struck his forehead, and he started bleeding profusely. The boy who had thrown the stone got frightened, and all the boys started to run away.

The great scholar said to the boy who had struck him, “Come here, come here! I have something very nice to tell you.”

The boys could not believe that this scholar was so kind, compassionate and forgiving. So all of them came back. The scholar said, “I am so happy that you have someone among you who has such good aim. I tell you, one of these days I will ask the zamindar, the village chief, to walk along this street. He will definitely be pleased to see what good aim you have because he needs a few hunters. I can see clearly that all of you will be very good hunters. The zamindar will be so pleased with the one who is able to throw a stone most accurately that he will want his daughter to marry that person.”

A few days later the zamindar was going somewhere, and he and his bodyguards took that particular street. The boy who had thrown the stone was waiting on that street. He was so happy because he thought that he would be able to marry the daughter of the village head. When the group passed by, this fellow came very near and threw a stone at the zamindar. The boy was caught immediately by the bodyguards, and they put him and his whole gang in jail, instead of asking him to marry the zamindar’s daughter.

From this story we learn that a weak person can be wise, and a strong person can be a fool.

Physically strong but mentally weak, physically weak but mentally clever

There were two friends going to the market to buy and sell things. One of them was physically very, very strong and the other one was physically weak, but they were good friends. The weaker one said to his friend, “Can you give me ten rupees? I need money badly because I have to buy things.”

The other one said, “Certainly I can give you ten rupees, but I do not give anything without security.”

The weaker one had on his back a big load of merchandise that he was going to sell at the market. He said to the stronger one, “You give me ten rupees, and I will give you some of my merchandise. You can take that as security.”

So the weak fellow took the ten rupees, and the fellow who was physically strong started carrying the load. When they came to the market, the weaker one said, “You gave me the money, and now I can return it. Give me back my merchandise.”

The weak one gave back the ten rupees that he had received from the strong one, took his merchandise back and started selling it. The strong one had carried the whole load! So, one who is physically strong can be mentally weak, and one who is physically weak can be mentally very clever.

The kindhearted neighbour

There were two friends. One of them borrowed ten rupees from the other and promised that on a certain date he would return the money. But when the time came, he did not return the money. Time after time when the other fellow went to his friend’s place to get back the money, the friend’s wife would say, “He is not at home.”

The friend was actually inside the house, but the wife would come to the door and say, “He is not at home. Sorry! Please come some other time.”

This fellow was so disappointed. He said, “He was my good friend, but now he is not returning my money. What kind of friendship is this?”

A kindhearted neighbour knew that the wife was telling lies. He knew that the man was hiding inside, so he got angry at the family. He said to the wife, “The next time this fellow comes, I am going to tell him that your husband is inside. Then he will go in and catch your husband, and your husband will have to give the money.”

The wife begged him, “No, no! Please, please do not do that!”

The neighbour said to the wife, “Whenever your husband’s friend comes here, if you do not give me a rupee, then I am going to tell him that your husband is inside the house. Just give me one rupee. Otherwise, if this fellow comes here and I know your husband is inside the house, I am going to tell him the truth!”

From then on, every time the friend came, the wife would tell him that her husband was not at home, and then she would give the neighbour a rupee. The friend came many times, and each time the wife said that her husband was not there. Finally, the wife felt miserable, because the neighbour had received more than ten rupees. The husband did not know that his stupid wife was giving the neighbour a rupee not to tell the friend that the husband was inside the house.

A few months later, the fellow who had borrowed the money came upon his friend unexpectedly in the street. He said, “When you come to my place, I promise I will give you back your ten rupees.”

The friend said, “I have already got back the money.”

“When?” the first one asked. “When did you get it?”

The friend said, “Every time I went to your house and your wife said that you were not there, your neighbour compelled your wife to give him a rupee. Now I have got back all ten rupees from your neighbour!”

Imaginary service

There was a rich man who was very miserly. He did many, many bad things. He committed many sins. Then, finally, he repented. He said to himself, “People say that if you take a dip in the Ganges, all your sins will go away. The Ganges is quite far from my place. I want to be purified, but at the same time, I do not want to spend the money to go to the Ganges.”

One day he heard that one of his neighbours was going to the Ganges. He had also committed many sins, but he was not rich. He was going to bathe in the Ganges so that he would be purified of all his sins. When the rich man heard that his neighbour was going to the Ganges, he gave the man some money and said, “I am not feeling well. You take this money. First you will bathe for your own purification. Then once more you will dive into the Ganges in my name. Remember me! I am giving you money so that you can dive into the Ganges in my name.”

The neighbour said, “Definitely I can do that.”

The man said, “You have to think of me. The first time you will bathe for yourself so that you will be purified of all your sins. The second time think of me, and then my sins will all go away. I will have no more sins! I will be purified while remaining here.”

The neighbour agreed completely. But a few weeks later the rich man saw that his neighbour had not yet gone to the Ganges. He asked, “Why are you not going? What have you done with my money?”

The neighbour said, “I spent it.”

“How could you spend it without going to the Ganges?” the rich man asked.

The neighbour said, “I imagined that my pond was the Ganges. I entered the water and had a very good swim. Then, the second time I went swimming, I thought of you. You gave me the money, and I spent it because I purified you of your sins. I imagined that the pond right in front of my house was the Ganges. You told me to imagine you, so I uttered your name and imagined you. And I imagined more: I imagined that my pond itself was the Ganges. The second time I swam in my pond, I thought of you. I did your work, so I spent your money.”

The father's sacrifice

An old man became very sick. His son was a doctor. The son gave medicine to his father, but he could not cure him. The father was dying, and the mother was absolutely miserable. The mother said, “Alas, our son is not a good doctor. Let us find another doctor.”

It happened that a good doctor from another village heard about the illness of the old man. This doctor came to see the old man and told him, “I will be able to cure you.”

The mother said, “Please, please, cure my husband!”

The father was extremely sick, but he immediately jumped up and said, “No, no! I am feeling better. My son is giving me medicine and I am getting well. Soon I will be completely all right and I will be able to move around. You are so kind, extremely kind. If I really feel sick, I will definitely call you. You are so generous and so kind.”

The doctor said, “All right. When you need me, you can send for me.” Then he went back to his own village.

The mother said to her husband, “What have you done? What have you done?”

The father said, “You fool! If people from our village come to know that this doctor has cured me, then they will all go to him and not to our son. His business will prosper like anything, and our son will have no job. Our son will be in poverty. How can I allow that? It is better for me to die. I am ready to give up my life.”

Then he said to his son, “Please, please, become a good doctor. Study more, practise more. I am giving up my life for you.”

The mother was crying and crying because her husband was about to leave the world.

After begging his son to become a very good doctor, the father died. The mother was so miserable that she had lost her husband. Look at the father’s sacrifice for the son!

Gifts for the other world

An elderly couple had a maidservant who used to do their housework, and both of them were so pleased with her. She was extremely devoted to them. All of a sudden, the maidservant got a serious disease and passed away. The couple was so miserable because they had taken her as their own daughter.

One day an old beggar came to their place to beg for alms. The man was not at home, so the elderly lady opened the door. She said, “How are you?”

The beggar said, “I am fine. I just came back from the other world.”

The lady said to herself, “What is the other world?” Since the beggar looked so thin and weak, the elderly lady thought that he had been about to die and then he had recovered. Perhaps his case had been very serious. Although he had not died, he was so weak. She thought that the other world meant Heaven. She said to him, “You are coming back from the other world?”

The beggar said, “Yes.”

The lady said, “Have you any idea about our maidservant? She died all of a sudden and we could not do anything to save her.”

The beggar said, “Died? Your maidservant? As a matter of fact, I married her! We were married in Heaven.”

The lady asked, “You were married in Heaven?”

The beggar said, “Yes, I married her.”

The lady said, “Oh! Here I have many things for her, her garments and so many valuable items. Will you be able to take them to her?”

The beggar said, “Certainly! I am married to her after all. I just came here to visit. I am going back again to the other world.”

The elderly lady gave the beggar all the personal belongings of the maidservant and all the expensive things she and her husband had given the girl over the years because she was such a good worker. The man started carrying everything away. On the way he met with the husband, who was riding home on his horse. The husband got off his horse and said, “What are you doing? Why are you taking these things?”

The beggar said, “Your wife has given me the order to take them. I am only listening to your wife.”

While he was talking, the beggar started running away with all the clothes and gifts. The old man jumped on his horse and chased him. He thought that since he was chasing the other fellow on a horse, the fellow would drop everything. But instead of dropping everything, the beggar kept carrying all the items. Finally the beggar found a tree. He left all the things on the ground and climbed up the tree.

The elderly man was so furious. He said to himself, “I will be able to take these things home, but since this fellow is such a rogue, I want to beat him up!” He left the horse at the foot of the tree and started climbing up. He said, “I want to punish him! I am not going to wait for him to come down. I am going to climb up and punish him. Then I will take back all these things. My stupid wife has given them to him, but I shall take them back.”

When he started climbing up, the beggar came down quickly from the other side of the tree.

The beggar said, “I am carrying these things to your maidservant in the other world!” Then he grabbed all the expensive things and put them on the horse. When the elderly man saw that the beggar had put all the valuables on the horse and was about to ride away, he came down from the tree and said, “Wait, wait, wait! I have a special message for you.”

The beggar said, “What is the message?”

The elderly man said, “Those silly gifts are from my wife. But tell our maidservant that this horse is from me. It is my gift. I am giving her my own horse as a gift because she was such a good worker.”

Money or freedom?

There were two friends. One was very happy, and the other one was always sad and miserable. One day the first friend asked the fellow who was always sad, “Why are you nowadays so often sad and depressed?”

He answered, “The salary that I am getting is not enough. I have a big family. I have a wife, children and so many expenses. I am so sad that I do not have enough money.”

On that very day the sad fellow’s wife went to the kindhearted friend and said, “Can you not do something for my husband? We have such a big family, and he is always sad and depressed because he does not have enough money.”

The friend answered, “Definitely, definitely! I will go to his boss. His boss is my friend. I will tell his boss to give him an important job so he will make more money. But he will have to spend a few more hours working every day.”

The wife said, “As long as he gets more money, he will gladly do it.”

The wife made the arrangement without the husband’s knowledge. When the husband went to work the next day, he got a promotion. He was transferred to a very good job in another section. Now he was making lots of money and bringing it home to his wife. Then again he started feeling sad and depressed. One day the boss said to the unhappy worker, “I have given you such a good job. Why are you sad, why are you so depressed? You are making lots of money.”

The man said, “This work is too much for me! I have no holidays and I cannot go anywhere.”

The boss said, “Which one is better — your old, simple job or your new, important job?”

The man said, “The first one! I did not have enough money, but even with the little money I had, I used to go wherever I wanted to go. Now I have money, but I am not allowed to go anywhere because I have got so much responsibility. I do not want so much responsibility! I do not need so much money. I will be satisfied with just a little money as long as I do not have too much responsibility. Then I will be able to go wherever I want to, whenever I wish.”

The judge's punishment

An innocent man went to a church. While he was taking his seat, he made a lot of noise. The priest was furious because the man was disturbing others who were praying around him. The priest came up to the man and said, “How could you make so much noise?”

The man said, “I could not avoid it. I stumbled, and that is why I made the noise.”

The priest said, “You have ruined the prayers of so many sincere seekers! I am taking you to the judge immediately. The judge will punish you!”

The man said, “If I have done something wrong, I will accept whatever punishment I deserve.”

The priest took the man to the judge and explained what had happened. Then the priest went back to the church.

The judge was furious. He said, “How could you disturb the prayers of so many seekers? You should be punished.”

The man said, “I know I have committed a crime. Whatever punishment you give me, I will take.”

The judge said, “You have to give fifty cents.”

The man said, “I do not have fifty cents. I have only one dollar.”

The judge said, “You have to give exactly fifty cents. I do not have change.”

The man said, “I do not have any change either.”

Finally the judge said, “All right. Listen, fellow. Give me the dollar. Now go back to the church and again make noise. Fifty cents extra you have given me. Since I do not have change, you will be allowed to make noise once again. You have got my permission. If the priest says anything, tell him that you have got my permission to make noise once more.” The judge was so kind.

The two thief-rivals

There was a town where every night some houses were being robbed: either one house, two houses or three houses. People were suffering like anything. God alone knew how many thieves were responsible for these crimes. The mayor said, “Whoever can catch the thieves will receive 10,000 rupees from me.”

Everybody was looking and looking for thieves to catch. There were actually two thieves who were stealing every night. Sometimes it happened that burglaries took place at two locations at the same hour. These two thieves were rivals. They knew each other well and were jealous of each other. Each time they met, the two rivals would brag about their accomplishments. They were always competing to see who had got more expensive things.

After the mayor’s announcement, one thief said, “I will put on very nice gentleman’s clothes. My wife and I and our whole family will go to the mayor’s office. I will be able to tell the mayor who the thief is, and my wife will be the witness. My wife will cry and cry and say, ‘I know the person.’ Then I will tell the mayor, ‘I also know the person. We will be able to tell you who the thief is. He is so bad!’”

The thief and his wife went to the mayor’s office with their big family. The thief had put on a very nice dhoti and the wife was dressed very simply and religiously, with a tilak.

They were very happy that they would be able to tell the mayor who the culprit was and get the reward. When they arrived, the guard said, “The mayor is busy right now. Please wait here in this office.” The entire family went into the office. The wife and all the children were ready to serve as witnesses when the father told the mayor who the thief was.

Then all of a sudden, the other thief arrived with his family. They had also come to tell the mayor who the thief was. With the hope of getting 10,000 rupees, the two culprits and their families had come to tell the mayor who was responsible for all the crimes.

As soon as they saw each other, the two rivals both screamed, “He is the thief, he is the thief!”

The first culprit shouted to the second one, “You are the thief, you are the thief!” The second one screamed, “You liar! You are the thief!”

Both of them were screaming and shouting, and all their family members started crying. There was such a big commotion. What did the mayor do? He put both of these wonderful rivals into jail and sent all the relatives home.

The special cap

One man had a business making caps. At night he used to make very, very nice caps by hand, and during the day he would sell them. People knew this was the place to buy caps for their families. They felt he was a very nice, honest man with a good business.

For some time he used to spend about two hours every night working on one particular cap, making it as beautiful as possible. This went on for two or three months.

The children asked their father, “For whom are you making this special cap? Every day you are working, working and working on this one. You are selling the others right away. What are you going to do with this one? How much will you charge?”

The man said, “I will tell you later who is getting this cap. Let me finish it first.”

He continued working at night for a couple of months more. During the day he would sell the other caps that he had made. He had many customers, but it seemed that no one was getting the special cap.

One day the man said to his family, “I have been making this cap only for myself.”

The family members said, “What! For yourself?”

The man said, “When I die, you will put it on me. I have to take something to God as a present. That is why I have been working so hard on this cap. If God asks, ‘What have you brought for Me?’ I will give it to God, and God will put it on Himself. God has given me this profession, making caps. I have never been idle. God will be so pleased that I have worked very, very hard, plus I am bringing this special cap for God. So, when I die, please put this cap on me. When I go to God, I will give it to Him, and He will take me to the highest Heaven.”

When the man died, the children did put the cap on their father in his coffin so that he could bring it to the highest Heaven. Something very nice he wanted to take to God as a gift.

Flattery works

One fellow borrowed money from another fellow, and he was not returning it. One day the fellow who lent the money said to the other one, “Please, please, listen to me. I am not asking you for the money back. I have something important to tell you. A few days ago I saw a man exactly like you. It was not a dream! His eyes were as beautiful as yours, and he was as tall, as stout, as strong and as kindhearted as you are. How I wish both of you would meet together one day!”

He was very nicely flattering the fellow who had borrowed the money. He said, “You are so good. You are absolutely so handsome and so powerful. You draw such attention. How I wish in this lifetime I could see both you and this other man together! I know you would become very good friends, excellent friends.”

The other one said, “This fellow is as good as I am? That means I have to see him!”

The first one said, “I tell you, one day I will see him again somewhere, and then I will bring him to you. Both of you will be so happy.”

The man said, “All right, all right! I did not want to give you back your money, but now your flattery is melting me like anything and giving me so much joy.”

Then he returned the money.

Pay for your pride

A villager was going to town riding his horse. On the way, the horse became very restless and absolutely unruly. The villager could not keep the horse under control, so he came down and with great difficulty fastened the horse to a tree.

Then he saw that a policeman was also going to town on his horse. The policeman’s horse was about to pass very near his own horse. He said to the policeman, “Please, please be very careful! My horse is extremely restless. I cannot control him. Please do not come near my horse.”

The policeman cried, “My horse has to be afraid of your horse?” The policeman jumped off his horse and allowed his horse to fight with the villager’s horse. Many people, including lots of young boys and girls, came to watch and enjoy the fight. In spite of being tied up, the villager’s horse killed the policeman’s horse.

The policeman got furious and took the villager to the town chief. The policeman said, “My horse was killed by his horse.”

The man had already warned the policeman, “Please, please do not come near my horse,” but it was beneath the policeman’s dignity to listen. What could the man do?

The judge said to the villager, “Now tell me what happened. How did your horse kill his horse? What happened?”

The villager was so mad and furious. Inwardly he was brooding. He said to himself, “I warned the policeman!” But outwardly he remained absolutely silent.

The judge said, “Idiot! You will be fined since it is all your fault that your horse killed the other horse.”

The villager was getting punishment, but even then he kept quiet. The judge said, “What is wrong with you? You cannot open your mouth and tell me what actually happened? Are you dumb?”

The policeman said, “He is not dumb! He warned me so many times that his horse was very unruly, restless and dangerous, but I took my horse there anyway!”

Then the judge said, “Fine, fine. Now I see that you are the idiot!”

The policeman’s horse was killed, but because of his stupid statement, the judge fined him 100 rupees. He told the judge, “This fellow warned me, but I did not listen.” So the judge said, “Pay for your pride — 100 rupees’ fine!”

Then the judge took the money and gave it to the innocent villager.

The punishment

There was a man who sold fruit. One day he was selling bad mangoes. Some people bought his mangoes, and then they became furious when they discovered that the mangoes were absolutely rotten and smelled very bad. These customers brought the man to the village chief and made complaints against him.

The village chief said to the man, “The rest of the mangoes you have to eat yourself. All the mangoes you have to eat!”

Then the accused man said, “Let me go to somebody higher than you. Let me see what he says.”

When he went to a higher authority, the authority said, “If you do not want to eat the fruit, then the people who are angry with you should beat you up. They should whip you 30 times. Since you do not want to eat the rotten mangoes, the people who have made the complaints should whip you at least 30 times.”

The man said, “The first one says I have to eat all the rotten mangoes and the second one says I have to be whipped 30 times! Now let me go to the absolutely highest authority.”

He went to the highest authority, and the highest authority said, “You do not have to eat the fruit. You do not have to be beaten or whipped. Just pay 50 rupees. Then it will be all settled. Pay me 50 rupees, and I will distribute the money to the people who have made complaints against you. Now, you make the choice. Do you want to eat the rotten mangoes, do you want to be whipped, or do you want to give the money? Choose whatever punishment you want. It is up to you.”

The man said, “I am ready to eat the mangoes.”

He started eating the mangoes, and immediately he began vomiting. The judge said, “Whatever you start, you are supposed to complete. You were supposed to eat all the mangoes. You have failed, so now you should be whipped 30 times.”

Those who had made complaints started whipping him. After 15 lashes, the man was about to faint. He said, “I cannot bear this punishment!”

The judge said, “Then pay the penalty: 50 rupees.”

The man had exactly 50 rupees, so the judge took the money and distributed it to the people who had made complaints against him. Look at the fate of this fellow! First he ate half of the fruits that were so bad. Then he was punished by being whipped fifteen times — half of the sentence. Finally he had to give the full amount of the fine. Then the judge distributed the money to the people who had accused him.

The moral is that if you do one bad thing, you can easily be punished by everybody beyond what you deserve.

The miserable thief

There was a very, very bad thief. He used to go to work during the day and at night he would steal. He used to commit thefts all the time and torture so many people. So many expensive and valuable things he stole! He learned how to steal from his father. His wife was dead against it, so when his father died, she was inwardly quite happy. Outwardly she cried because her father-in-law had died. But inwardly she was happy, and she started begging her husband, “Please, please, do not follow your father’s ways any more. People know that you are stealing, although you are not being caught. Everybody knows that you steal! I am your wife, and I feel miserable when they accuse you. Still you are not being caught. Please promise that you will stop. Otherwise I am going to leave you and I am going to leave our three children with you. You take care of them! I cannot go on like this any more.”

Finally the husband said that he would not steal any more. The wife was so happy that he was giving up stealing.

One day the husband came home from work absolutely miserable. The wife said, “What happened? Why are you so miserable? You cannot even talk properly. What happened?”

He said, “You know, when I used to steal, I hid everything in my friend’s house. I used to keep all my loot there. Now my friend has taken all the things that I stole, and I do not know where he has gone.”

The wife said, “Look, is this not your fate? Many people’s things you stole, and now you are miserable because someone else has taken these things away. Just think of those people who had their own things stolen by you! They were the actual owners of those things. Do they not feel infinitely more miserable? See how sad you are! Can you not think of the loss and the sadness of those people who were the actual owners of all those valuables? Again, I am begging you, never steal.”

Then the husband promised that he would never, never steal again. Because of his sadness and his sufferings, he gave up stealing. What a nice wife he had! The wife gave such good, moral advice.