Life’s bleeding tears and flying smiles, part 3
DedicationOn 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 introductionThese 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
One rogue punishes another rogueThere was a young man whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all thieves. Everybody in his family was a thief, save him. He did not want to be a thief. He said, “I have no desire to be a thief. I want to be an honest man.”
His father said, “You fool! Just once if you commit a theft, you will get so much money. Then for the rest of your life you will not have to worry. Otherwise you will have to work eight hours a day for years and years. You can see that in our family, we do not work. Only a few times we have stolen money and valuables from people. Now we are so rich.”
The son said, “No, no, I do not want to steal even once in my life. It is not good. I want to pray to God and I want to be happy in a different way. I do not need this material wealth.”
The father said, “You have to steal!”
They had a fight, and then the son left the father. The son went out to look for a proper job. One man who was quite rich asked the son, “Do you want to work for me?”
The young man said, “Yes, I will work for you.”
The young man did not know that this rich man was another thief. The rich man said, “Look, now that you are working for me, I will make you very, very rich in a few days’ time if you listen to me.”
The young man innocently said, “Yes, I will be happy to do as you say.”
The rich man said, “I want to have you as my assistant. I will teach you how to rob people and steal things.”
The young man said, “O my God! My father is in that profession!”
“What is your father’s name?” the rich man asked. When the young man told him, the rich man said, “You are the son of that thief? That means you are another rogue! I am sure you have come here to do something bad, to play a trick on me, and you are planning to steal my money!”
The rich man remained silent for a minute. Then he said, “I will see if you are an honest man or not. I will examine you before I throw you out. Today I am not going to steal. Today I am going to the market. I will buy two small diamonds, and then I will see what I can do with these diamonds.”
When the rich man went to the market to buy the diamonds, he came upon his best friend and worst rival, who was another rogue. This fellow had more money, so he bought four diamonds. The first rich man did not have enough money to buy four diamonds, so he bought only two.
He came back and said to his new assistant, “Look here, I am going to my friend’s place. You will come with me. I will enter into a long conversation with him. First I will show him the two diamonds that I bought, and then I will ask him to show me the four that he bought. When we are deep into our marathon conversation, in a very tricky way you will take away those four diamonds of his.”
“I will?” cried the young man.
The rich man said, “You have to do it. Otherwise, I will tell the whole world that you came to me with a big plan. You are such a bad fellow! I know your father is smarter than I am. He has sent you here to play a trick on me. I will punish you!”
The young man said, “I am not going to carry out your order. I am going away.”
The rich man said, “No, you have to stay.”
The young man said, “No, I am resigning. I have not stolen anything, so if you want to, you can dismiss me for disobeying you.”
The young man went to the fellow who had bought the four diamonds and narrated the whole story. He said to him, “Look, this is what he himself told me he will do, so be careful!”
This smart man said, “All right, I will teach him a lesson.”
The young fellow went away and again started looking for a job. Alas, wherever he went, he had such bad luck.
A few days later, the man who had bought the four diamonds went to his rival and said, “We two are such good friends. I will now be going to visit some other friends for two or three weeks. Kindly keep these four diamonds for me. When I come back, please return them to me. You see, I have sealed them inside this box. If you would like to have a commission from me for doing this service, I will gladly give it.”
The first rogue said, “Commission? How can I take money from you? We are such good friends! I will keep this box safe. You take your time and come back whenever you like.”
The second rich man said, “I have decided that since you will keep these diamonds so safe, I will definitely give you some money when I come back. At that time, please take money from me. If I were to give these diamonds to somebody else for safekeeping, they would definitely be stolen. God knows what any other person would do to me.”
After three or four weeks, the second rogue came back and asked for his diamonds. The one who was keeping the diamonds said, “Since you are taking them away, can I not see them just once?”
The man said, “Certainly you can see them. Let us open the box.”
When the fellow who had kept the diamonds opened the box, he found that there were only four pieces of glass inside. He said to the second rogue, “You fooled me! I kept this box so safe for you. Why did you do this?”
The second rogue said, “What was in your mind originally? What did you tell that young man? You said that you would bring him with you to my place, and we would enter into a marathon conversation. Then you wanted him to steal the diamonds. He came and told me everything! That is why I fooled you.”
This is how the second rogue exposed the first rogue.
Punishment paysA father and mother were both extremely fond of their child, who was only six years old. They were a very, very happy family. One day the child did something wrong and the father was very upset, so he gave the child a smart slap. Then the child cried and the father felt absolutely miserable. The father tried to console the child by giving him four rupees.
When the child got the money, he started crying more loudly and pitifully. The father said, “Why are you crying? I gave you a slap, but now I am consoling you. I will not slap you any more. Why are you still crying?”
The son said, “I am crying more powerfully and pitifully because I have to ask you something.”
“What do you have to ask me?” the father said.
The son said, “Will you promise me that each time you give me a slap, you will increase the amount of money you give me?”
“What?” cried the father.
The son said, “I did something wrong, and you gave me a slap. Now I will do something even worse. Each time I do something worse, will you not give me another slap and more money?”
The father said, “What are you saying?”
The son said, “I want to be punished by you every time I do something wrong. Each time my crime will be worse, so you can give me a harder slap if you wish. I will not mind at all. But you have to give me a larger amount of money, too.”
The father said, “What kind of son do I have? He is ready to be slapped for money. Why did I make the mistake of giving him money the first time? Each time he wants the slap to be harder. He does not mind being slapped if he receives a larger amount of money!”
Thief-husband and thief-wifeOne day a husband brought home a most expensive sari for his wife. The wife said, “Ah, this is so beautiful! I have never seen this kind of sari. Where did you buy it? How could you afford to spend so much money?”
The husband said, “You know, I steal things.”
The wife said, “You steal? How can it be?”
The husband said, “I stole this particular sari from the market. I went to a shop and I stole it.”
The wife said, “Do I have to keep a stolen sari?” After a few moments, she smiled at her husband and said, “Never mind! I am so proud of you. You are such a smart thief. You know, I also steal.”
The husband said, “You steal? What have you stolen?”
The wife explained that she had stolen so many things. The husband stole only at night. The poor fellow worked the whole day and at night he stole simple things. But the wife used to steal during the day when everybody went out. She would invite some neighbourhood friends to her place and cook for them. Then she would tell them, “I am just going to the market to buy more vegetables and other supplies because I want to make a better meal. Kindly stay here.”
While her friends were at her house, first she used to go to the market and buy the supplies she had mentioned. Then she would go to the homes of her friends who were visiting her and steal their valuable things. But she did not bring the things to her house. She used to hide them in another place. Then she would bring home the vegetables and other things from the market.
On this particular occasion, the wife showed her husband some of the things that she had stolen over the years. The husband could not believe it.
Then the wife said, “You are a thief and I am a thief. It is not good for us to stay for a long time in one place. We should move.”
From then on, every three or four months they would move from one place to another. They accumulated so many things. Four or five times they moved to different places. In each place, the wife invited people to come to her house to eat. The people who were invited felt so sad that this nice lady was moving away, because she would always welcome her neighbours to come and eat. Then, when they went home, they found that their jewels and other things were missing. But they did not blame the wife because she had gone to the market, and she had brought back more vegetables. Nobody could catch her.
As soon as the husband and wife came to a new village, they would go to the neighbours and start talking to them. They said that they were so happy to come to a new place, and they wanted to establish friendship with their neighbours. So it went on.
After some time, instead of stealing during the day, the husband and wife started stealing in the evening. Of the two, the wife was the smarter. They would invite some neighbours, and both the husband and wife would entertain them. Then, all of a sudden, the wife would be missing. The guests would think that the wife had gone to attend to some urgent matter. After some time, the wife would come back.
One time the wife went to a particular house to steal things, but she was unable to break open the door. She was very smart and she tried in so many ways, but she was unsuccessful. Then she said, “Since I have taken the trouble of coming here, let me at least take some ripe mangoes.” She had carried a lantern with her, so she was able to see mangoes in a tree. She climbed up the tree and plucked quite a few nice mangoes.
One of the neighbour’s sons was very alert, and he saw what happened. He was watching everything from the window of his house. When the wife went back home, she put the mangoes in a room where nobody would see them. The guests were all eating. Then all of a sudden, the neighbour’s son came to the door. The wife said, “What are you doing here at this hour?”
The husband continued, “We have not invited you. Why did you come?”
The son said, “I do not need an invitation.”
They said, “What? How is it that you do not need an invitation?”
The son said, “I came here to give these people a message.”
All the neighbours stopped eating and asked him, “What are you doing here?”
The young man pointed at the wife and shouted, “She is a thief!”
They said, “How can it be?”
He said, “She has stolen mangoes from your garden. I saw her.”
The neighbours were extremely shocked. Then they said, “All right, let us see if she has really stolen these things.”
Then the neighbours ransacked the whole house. In one corner of a small room the couple had hidden all their stolen goods. The neighbours found so many things of theirs that had been stolen, and they also found things that they knew this couple could not afford. Why were the husband and wife hiding all these things? It could only be because they were stolen goods.
The neighbours thrashed the husband and wife mercilessly. Then these two stopped stealing. They gave up stealing altogether. They said, “We will not do it any more! It is just not worth it.” From then on, they began to lead better lives.
Lord Indra and his consortA good man and a bad man were neighbours. One day the bad man said to the good man, “You have to develop artistic qualities. You have to go to some good clubs and learn about culture, philosophy, spirituality and many other things.”
The good man was hesitant. He said, “No, no. For me it is better to stay at home and read religious and spiritual books.”
The bad man said, “At least come to my club once and see what it is like. You are bound to learn quite a few things that are necessary in human life.”
So the good man agreed, and together they went to a club. They read aloud from religious and spiritual books and discussed all kinds of things. After the discussion, they started drinking. They had such wonderful cultural, religious, spiritual and philosophical discussions, and then they started drinking!
When the good man came home, his wife could not believe her eyes. She could not recognise her husband. She cried, “What have you done? What have you done? I cannot recognise you!”
He said, “I have drunk wine.”
The wife became furious. “How could you do this?” she shouted.
The husband said, “My friend told me it is good. Lord Indra used to drink nectar. His nectar and our wine are the same thing. We do not have nectar, but we do have wine. It is the same thing.”
The wife was extremely mad. “No, no, you cannot drink! You must not drink!”
The man said, “All right, I promise not to drink any more.”
Alas, once you drink wine, you are caught. When his neighbour again invited him to go to the club, the man said, “My wife will be furious. What am I going to do?”
The friend asked, “Tell me frankly, did you enjoy it?”
“Yes, I enjoyed it, but now I will have a fight at home. I will have a war!”
The neighbour said, “No, no, no, this time nothing will happen. You just come with me. I assure you, nothing will happen.”
The good man went to the club again. He enjoyed philosophical, spiritual and all other kinds of discussion. When he came back home with his friend, heavily drunk, his wife was waiting. She said, “You promised not to do this!” Then she announced that she wanted to leave him.
The good man said, “No, this time my promise is definitely sincere. I will never, never go there again!”
The wife said, “Why did you tell me a lie? You said last time that you would never go there again!”
He said, “But even Lord Indra himself told many lies.”
She said, “So are you another Indra that you can lie to your heart’s content?”
The husband said, “Indra told many, many, many lies, and Indra even stole a cow. I have never stolen anything, so Indra went one step ahead of me. Indra was a thief, whereas I am only a liar. Indra has taught us how to tell lies. If Indra, the cosmic god, can tell lies, what is wrong with a human being telling lies?”
The following day was a holiday for the husband, so he did not go to work. His wife was really devoted to him. Every morning she would cook breakfast for the husband. Then she would cook lunch and dinner. Usually she cooked breakfast around eight o’clock in the morning. But on this particular day it became eleven o’clock and then twelve o’clock, and the wife still had not made breakfast. What was she doing? She was sewing a garment for herself. Finally the husband asked their son to tell his mother that it was getting very late and he was extremely hungry.
The mother said to the son, “Please, please, my son, my darling, do not be involved in our fight. Please only watch and enjoy what is going on.”
The son said, “I do not want to be involved in your quarrel and fight, Mother. You please take care of it.”
Soon it became one o’clock and then two o’clock. Still the wife was not giving the husband any food, and he was getting furious. Finally he said, “What kind of wife are you?”
The wife said, “You have become another Indra, so am I not Sachi, Indra’s wife? Since you are Indra, definitely I am Sachi. Who can tell me that Sachi ever cooked? She had many, many servants and maids to cook for her. Now you should get some maids, because I cannot cook any more. I am Sachi now. I will do whatever I want to do. Since you have become another Indra, you can have some maids to serve you. You can have some cooks to prepare your food. Let them cook for you, because from now on I will do whatever I want to do. I am a queen, after all. Indra was a king, and a king has to have cooks and all kinds of servants. I am a queen, so I will do whatever I like. I am not going to cook for you any more.”
The man was so sad and disturbed to hear his wife’s words. He said, “I will never, never go with my friend to that club again. I will remain really devoted and faithful to you. This is absolutely my solemn promise.”
The son was overjoyed that his parents had become reconciled. From that day on, the wife cooked and did everything for the husband as usual, and the husband kept his promise. He did not go to that club any more. This was how the wife taught her husband a lesson.
What ambition can do!A village priest was very proud of himself because he was conversant with the shastras and with countless religious books. He had read all the spiritual scriptures. In his own village and all the nearby villages he was the supreme authority. He had a big family, and everybody was very good to him because he was a nice man. All the villagers respected him, admired him and adored him. Quite often they offered him presents because he had brought such prestige to their village.
One day the news came that the king wanted to appoint a new priest for the royal family, and that the king himself would make the choice. This particular priest said, “Here in my own village I am appreciated and admired, but I am eager to have a better position. I am sure that the king will definitely select me because I am the greatest scholar. When it is a matter of religion and spirituality, I have no equal. Once I go to the king’s palace, I shall never come back here again.”
The priest sold his house, and he and his wife and children set out for the king’s palace. They were so happy that they would be going to live in the king’s palace. The whole family believed that the king would definitely select that priest. The priest himself was absolutely confident that the king would choose him. Having sold everything they owned, now the family had enough money for the journey.
Alas, on the very day they arrived at the king’s palace, the king’s youngest son passed away. The king was utterly grief-stricken. He said, “I shall never be able to overcome this loss.”
Previously the king had wanted to have his own priest and to build a very big temple that would be most beautiful, extremely wonderful and supremely glorious. On that day, though, the king took an oath that as long as he continued to suffer from the loss of his youngest son, he would not build a temple and he did not need a personal priest. So the king did not appoint the priest who had come to see him. The king said, “I do not need a priest. If ever I erect a temple, then I will need a priest. At that time I will invite you to come here. I will examine you, and I will tell you where you stand.”
So the great scholar had to go back to his village, but now he had no home! Something more, when he left, he was replaced by somebody else. Now those people who loved him, appreciated him and admired him once upon a time no longer cared for him. They said, “Because of your ambition, you deserted us. We do not need you any more. Our new priest is good enough for us.”
So the priest lost his job and he did not get it back. He lost his house and his property, and he became poor and miserable. This was the reward of his ambition.
What greed can do!There was a very, very rich man. As he was rich, even so was he miserly. His wealth and his stinginess went together. He had an only daughter, a very beautiful girl. He did not want to spend any money on his daughter’s marriage. His daughter and his wife liked a particular boy who was very nice and well-educated, but the rich man did not want to give his daughter to this fellow. He was waiting for someone who would give him thousands of rupees for permission to marry his daughter. He was not ready even to buy two garlands for his daughter and his future son-in-law. He did not want to part with even five rupees.
One day the rich man went to the market to buy groceries. He saw some of his friends inside a bakery. They were eating sweets, especially ladoo, and they were so happy and so thrilled. The rich man was dying to have some ladoo, but he did not want to spend any money. He was hoping that one of his friends would be kindhearted enough to give him some ladoo, but no one offered him any sweets. He was so miserable. He was dying to eat some ladoo because, according to his friends, it tasted so good.
Finally, the rich man decided that he would buy the ingredients and make the ladoo himself. He went to a shop and bought everything that is needed to make ladoo.
Then the rich man said to himself, “If I make the ladoo at home, I shall have to share it with my wife and daughter.” He did not want to do that. He said, “I will tell my wife that I have an urgent piece of business tomorrow, and I will come home only late at night. I will say that they should not wait for me. They should eat without me, and I will come back in the evening.”
He took the ingredients and went quite far from his home. Then he started making ladoo. He was so happy because his preparation was becoming very tasty. Then two hooligans happened to pass by. They said, “What are you doing here? This is our property!”
The hooligans thrashed him, and right in front of him they ate all the sweets he had made! Then he was so miserable. He could not enjoy any of his own preparation. He went home very sad.
When he came home, the rich man thought that, seeing his miserable face, his family would show him sympathy. Instead, his wife and daughter were in the seventh Heaven of delight. He said, “I am miserable. How can you be so happy?”
He did not tell them why he was miserable, but they said, “We can tell you why we are so happy.”
When the rich man had gone away for the whole day, the wife had immediately arranged for their daughter to get married. On that very day she and the young man got married. They were so happy that they were in the seventh Heaven of delight. So, for a little ladoo, the rich man had to give away his daughter. His daughter was happy, but the poor fellow did not get any money from the marriage, and he could not even eat his own ladoo preparation.
Look what greed can do! Greed meets with such unbearable punishment. If you are miserly, then your suffering never, never ends. If you lead a good life, eventually you will get your due reward.
The daughter-in-law's wisdomThis is a story about a good father who had a bad son and a wise daughter-in-law. The father was a religious man. He and his wife had only one son. The son was doing well in his studies, so the father wanted the son to study in the town. Although he was not rich, as a villager he had some land, so he sold a plot of land to pay for his son’s education. His son studied and studied and studied and then did well in his examination. He became a scholar and afterwards he became very, very rich.
Then the father wanted the son to get married. Once again the father was ready to sell his property so that his son could be happy, happier, happiest.
Now the son became very happy and very rich and prosperous. He lived in the town, while the poor father and his wife remained in the village. Eventually the son got married and he and his wife had a child. When the time came, the son was able to send the child to a good private school because he was now very rich. In every way the son was doing well. Then, from the village, news came that his father was very, very sick. But the ungrateful son did not want to go to see his father. He said, “Who cares what happens to my father? He is an old man and his time has come. It will be a waste of time for me to go and see him.”
In the village, the mother was miserable that she and her husband had spent so much money and sold their property for the higher education of their son, and the son had become such a rogue. The son never came to see them.
Finally the father died. Even then, the son did not come from the town to observe his father’s obsequies. The poor mother was left with only the neighbours to help her perform the funeral rites. Then the mother was all alone.
In the course of time, the rich son wanted his own son to get a higher education. But his wife said, “Now look here. I do not want our son to have a higher education. He has earned his high school diploma. That is enough. Now he should look for a job.”
The husband said, “My son should get an ordinary job? No, no! He has to be well educated! He has to be a great scholar like me. He has to become very rich. At this time if he gives up his studies, if he no longer goes to school, he will have no future.”
The wife pleaded, “Can you not see what you have done to your father? Your father did so much for you, but you did not care for him at all. Then he became old and he died. Will our son also not behave like you? He will become very well educated, rich and prosperous. Then, when you become old, he will do the same to you as you did to your father. He will live with his own wife and son very happily, and he will not pay any attention to you. Can you not learn from your behaviour? What you have done to your father, your son will also do to you.”
After listening to his wife’s words, the rich man felt some pangs in his heart. He agreed to go to the village with his wife to see his mother. When he set eyes on his poor, old mother, he began crying and crying. His mother told him, “Son, at last you have come! Better late than never. Finally some wisdom has dawned in your life.”
Then the mother embraced her daughter-in-law and said, “You have so much wisdom! Now you have given wisdom to my son. Otherwise, my son would have suffered the same fate as his own father did when he became old. My son would also have suffered at the hands of his own son.”
The mother thanked her daughter-in-law profusely for taking care of her grandson’s future life. Indeed, this wise daughter-in-law had saved the whole family.
The king and the washermanThere was a very kindhearted king. Everybody was pleased with him and grateful to be in his kingdom. Whoever worked for the king was very happy with him, and the king was also happy with his subjects.
The king had a special washerman. This washerman used to collect clothes from the king’s palace during the day, and at night he used to wash them. The following morning he would bring a fresh supply of clothes for the king. The king was very, very satisfied with him.
The washerman had a big family, and the king gave him an adequate salary. But at night, after washing the garments, this audacious fellow used to put on some of the king’s garments and walk around in the street to show off. People used to think that he belonged to a royal family. They would salute him, and he would be bloated with tremendous pride and joy. Then again he would wash and iron the garments very nicely and bring them back to the king the next day.
One day the king said, “Let me see if my people are really happy in my kingdom. Let me see what kind of life they are leading — if they are thieves, vagabonds, hooligans or good, simple people.” So he went out of the palace in the guise of a mendicant. All of a sudden he saw his own palace washerman parading along the street in a splendid outfit. The king pretended he did not see this fellow and started walking away.
The washerman screamed, “Hey! Everybody shows me respect. What are you doing? Can you not see that I come of a royal family?”
The mendicant-king said, “Who cares?”
The washerman cried, “Who cares? I will punish you! Can you not see I am royalty?”
When the washerman came closer to the mendicant, he saw that it was the king. Then he realised what he had said. Desperately he caught hold of the king’s feet and started crying and crying, “Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me! I have been doing this at night all along. Then I wash and iron your clothes and take them back to you.”
The king laughed and laughed and laughed. What could he do with this fellow?
The three hooligans and the lambThere were three very, very bad hooligans who had settled in a nice village. The hooligans began torturing the villagers ruthlessly. Nobody could go anywhere. Not only at night, but in the daytime also, if the hooligans happened to see anyone, they would harass that person. They did not care whether it was day or night.
One villager had a lamb. He wanted to bathe in a pond, so he tied the lamb to a tree. He had a long bath and he was very, very pleased. But when he came out of the pond, he saw that his lamb was missing. While he was bathing, he had seen those three bad fellows roaming around. He had thought that since his lamb was tied to a tree, nothing would happen. But in fact, those three had untied the lamb and taken it home. Then they cooked it and ate it.
The owner suspected those three bad people because he had seen them while he was in the water. He went to the hooligans’ place and confronted them. They told him, “We had nothing to do with your lamb.”
Naturally the owner could not find the lamb, because they had cooked it and eaten it. So the owner went to the village zamindar and made a serious complaint that these three hooligans had taken his lamb.
The zamindar asked, “Where is the proof?”
The hooligans said, “There is no proof. If we had taken the lamb, then it would have been at our place. But it is not there.”
The villager was so miserable that he had lost his lamb. The zamindar said, “This man was telling me that the lamb was near a pond, and it was tied to a tree.”
One of the hooligans said, “Can you imagine? We did not go near that pond! We did not even see a pond. Where was the pond? We did not go near a tree either.”
The zamindar pretended that he was convinced that the three hooligans had not gone near the pond. The other two hooligans were very happy that the first one had been able to convince the zamindar. Then the zamindar said, “Near the pond there was a tree. Did you see that tree?”
The second hooligan said, “We did not see a pond. We were never near a tree. How can this fellow say such things? There was no tree, there was no pond, and we definitely did not see his lamb.”
Both the first and second hooligans seemed to have convinced the zamindar. Then the zamindar asked the man who had lost his lamb, “Now tell me how many days ago this happened.”
The man said, “It happened three days ago.”
The zamindar said, “Today is Tuesday. That means it was on Saturday. At what time do you think it all happened?”
The man said, “It was in the evening. I was going to the pond to take a bath. It was Saturday evening.”
The zamindar said to the third hooligan, “Tell me, what were you doing on Saturday evening?”
The hooligan said, “Saturday evening? In our village there is no Saturday, so how could we do anything on that day?”
In this way the zamindar caught the three hooligans. He said, “If there is no Saturday, then you should have one!”
Then he asked his people to thrash the three hooligans and put them into jail. But first the zamindar fined the hooligans fifty rupees so that the poor villager who had lost his lamb could buy another one.
The chaseThere was a jeweller who was very, very bad. He had a worker who was very nice. This worker asked the jeweller if he would give him a small loan.
“Loan?” said the jeweller. “I never give loans.”
The man said, “Then I am not going to work for you any more because I need some money for my daughter’s marriage. I am a sincere worker. If you do not give me a loan, I shall go away.”
The jeweller wanted this fellow to continue working, so he said, “I will tell the whole world that you have stolen jewellery from my shop.”
The worker cried, “I have stolen jewellery?”
He was so disgusted that he started running away. The jeweller chased him. They passed by an old man who was selling some fruits. The worker ran to a nearby house and climbed up on the roof. The jeweller ran after him. Suddenly the worker fell down from the roof on top of the old man, and the old man was badly injured. Then the old man’s son started chasing the worker. The poor worker was an innocent fellow. He was only running away from the jeweller. But now there were two people chasing him. The fellow was running and running, although he had not stolen anything.
As he was running, the worker happened to see a camel. He wanted some protection because he was losing his balance. He reached for the camel’s tail, but the camel had no tail. The jeweller and the son of the old man were very near him. Now the owner of the camel saw him and also started chasing him. So the three of them were all chasing the innocent man.
The man ran and ran and ran until finally he dashed against a house. Alas, it happened to be the zamindar’s house. The zamindar was having breakfast with his wife and children. They were in the seventh Heaven of delight. But the wife got frightened when she saw so many people running towards their house, and she fainted.
The innocent man said, “Help! Save me, save me!”
The jeweller came up to the zamindar and said, “He has stolen my jewellery!”
The zamindar said, “This fellow has frightened me. I see that you have been chasing him. First give me one hundred rupees. Then only will I take up your case.”
The jeweller gave him one hundred rupees. Then the second fellow came up to the zamindar and said, “My father was badly hurt by this man. What kind of punishment will you give him?”
The zamindar said, “Now, you go to your father’s place. This fellow will stand exactly where your father was standing. Then you go on top of the roof, and from there you will jump on top of him.” The son would jump onto the innocent man, and then he would injure the poor fellow the way the father had been injured when the man was running away. The zamindar told him, “Go and jump on him! This is my judgement.”
The son said, “But I will break my legs!”
The zamindar said, “Why? When he jumped on your father, your father’s legs were broken, but nothing happened to this man. In the same way you will go up to the roof and jump down on him.”
The son said, “Oh, I do not want to do that!”
Then the third man came up to the zamindar with his camel. The zamindar asked, “What is wrong with you? And why is there no tail on your camel?”
The man said, “There is nothing wrong with me or with my camel. I was only watching the situation.”
The zamindar said, “But you also ran.”
The man said, “I was curious to see what was happening. Nothing has happened to my camel. My camel never had a tail. I was not actually chasing this man. I was just curious to see what was happening and why they were running.”
In this way the innocent man escaped the zamindar’s punishment.
The pondThere was no rain for a long time, so a small village had run short of water. The villagers were suffering from the scarcity of water. The king came to know of it, and he ordered his minister to create a pond. The minister then ordered his assistant to make a pond. The assistant in turn asked his assistant, and that assistant asked his own assistant. Finally, one of the workers in the village was ordered to dig a pond and then there was plenty of water.
The king wanted to see if the pond was in good condition and if it was full of water. Others all followed the king to see the pond. The king was very, very pleased inwardly, but outwardly he said, “This is a very bad job. This pond is not good at all.” The king showed great displeasure. He said, “The water will one day run out of the pond.” So many defects the king found in the pond.
Then the king became angry with his minister. He said, “Now, minister, tell me what happened. I gave you a job, and you did not do it satisfactorily.”
The minister pointed to his assistant and said, “Your Majesty, I asked him to do it because I was very busy.”
The minister’s assistant pointed to his own assistant and said, “I asked him to do it because I was very busy. I have so much to do.”
Like that it went on and on. Everybody was blaming his subordinate in turn. Finally the king came to know which fellow had actually dug the pond. This poor village worker came before the king shaking.
The king asked him abruptly, “Did you dig this pond?”
The poor man said, “Yes, my boss asked me to do it. He gave me specific instructions. I did it, and my boss was satisfied.”
The king said, “But I am not satisfied. I am the king. Whether or not your boss is satisfied is irrelevant. I am the one you must satisfy.”
The man said, “Your Majesty, if you are not fully satisfied with my work, then please punish me in whichever way you want to punish me.”
Then the king started laughing. After a few moments, he took out a bag containing a thousand rupees and gave it to the man. The man was astonished. He said, “You were mad at me. Now you are giving me money. I do not understand this at all.”
The king said, “No, I am very, very pleased with you. You are an excellent worker. But I wanted to find out who was actually responsible for digging the pond. Because I found fault with them and scolded them, the others all said that they were not responsible. Each one, in turn, passed the responsibility to somebody else. Poor man, you are the last one in the line, so they thought that you would be punished. On the contrary, I am so satisfied that I am giving you one thousand rupees.”
Then the king fined each and every one of the worker’s superiors one thousand rupees, right from his minister on down, because each one said that he was too busy and somebody else should do it. The minister, his assistant and his assistant’s assistant, everybody, was fined. The worker received one thousand rupees, and the others were fined one thousand rupees. After the king collected all the fines, he presented the entire amount to the poor worker.
The king said to him, “If I had said that I was very, very pleased with the pond, the minister would have been the first one to say: ‘I did it. I did it.’ He would have claimed all the credit. But my minister is such a rogue. He went to somebody else, and then that person went to somebody else, and so on. I wanted to know who had actually dug the pond so that I could reward that person. I am so happy to have an excellent worker like you.”
The king's treasurerThere was a bandit who used to steal things from here, there and everywhere. His wife was miserable that he was doing this kind of thing. One day the bandit told his wife, “I will give up this profession. The time is fast approaching when I will give up this kind of thing.”
His wife begged him, “No, no, please give it up at this very moment. We do not need more money. Enough, enough! Please, please do not rob people any more.”
The bandit decided that the following day would be the last day he would steal in his life. On that day he would steal something very expensive and then he would stop stealing forever. So he went to rob the house of the king’s treasurer. At night he secretly hid in one room. The treasurer came home late in the evening, bringing lots of gold coins.
The treasurer said to his wife, “Today I have completed my task. I am so happy. I wanted to have ten thousand gold coins. I was stealing them little by little from the treasury and now I have the full amount. The king has such faith in me that he will never imagine that I am the one who has stolen this large sum. Still there is so much wealth in the treasury. There are literally millions and billions of gold coins remaining, so the king will never discover what I have done. He is very pleased with me, so I do not have to worry.”
The treasurer was so excited that now he had ten thousand gold coins. At that point, the bandit, who was hiding in an adjacent room, burst into the room and said, “Do not attack me!”
The treasurer asked, “What are you doing here?” He was furious with the intruder.
The bandit said, “I have come here to change my life.”
The treasurer said, “What are you talking about?”
The bandit explained, “I have been stealing all my life. I thought that today I would become the richest person. Since you are the treasurer, I thought I would be able to steal a large quantity of money from you. I told my wife that this would be the last time I would steal. So I wanted to do something spectacular. Now I am seeing that you are just another thief, like me. We have the same profession. A beggar does not go to another beggar to get money. It is absurdity on the face of it. He goes to somebody who has money. In your case, I am seeing that I am a mere thief, but you are also nothing but a thief. So it is beneath my dignity to steal anything from you. In which way are you better than I am?”
The treasurer was very nervous. He said, “Will you report this matter to the king?”
The bandit replied, “No, I do not feel inclined to tell the king that you have been stealing from him.”
The treasurer wanted to guarantee that the bandit would remain silent, so he added, “Can you not take some money for yourself from here? I have got so many gold coins. There is more than enough for both of us.”
The bandit said, “If you tempt me, then I shall go to the king immediately! I want to give up stealing. My wife has been begging me and begging me to give up this way of life. Today I am going to tell my wife what happened — that I was going to steal from someone who himself was stealing. I am now listening to her. From this moment on, I am giving up stealing.”
In spite of the bandit’s sincere vow, the treasurer did not believe him. He was afraid that one day the bandit would change his mind and inform the king. So the treasurer gathered together all the ten thousand gold coins and secretly put them back in the treasury. If the bandit told the king that the treasurer had stolen the coins, then he would be able to say, “There is no proof.” The treasurer would be able to show the king that the full amount was there.
The bandit had promised his wife that this would be the last day he stole anything and on that same day he had this unique experience. Needless to say, he never stole anything again.
The lost rupeesThere was once a very good worker. He used to work very, very hard during the entire day. At the end of the day he would go to his boss and receive five rupees. For his whole day’s work his salary was only five rupees. One day his boss gave him a ten-rupee note and said, “Give me five rupees change.”
The worker said, “I have no money to give you change.”
The boss said, “Then I cannot pay you.”
The worker pleaded, “Can you not give me the ten rupees? You know that tomorrow I will definitely come. You can pay me for tomorrow in advance.”
The boss said, “No, no, no, I do not trust you.”
The worker said, “I have worked the whole day from early morning until now. On a daily basis you give me five rupees. Today you have a ten-rupee note. You know that tomorrow I will come and work. Can you not give it to me?”
The boss said again, “No, no, I do not trust you. You may not come.”
The worker was very, very sad that this had happened. The boss said, “Tomorrow you come and at the end of the day I will give you five rupees for today and five for tomorrow.”
The worker said, “But today I have to buy food for tomorrow. I entirely depend on your five rupees to eat.”
The boss said, “Are you arguing with me?” Then the boss gave him a very smart slap.
The man was so miserable. He was not getting any money, and then he received this kind of treatment. At that moment, a friend of the boss, a jeweller, passed by. He asked, “What is happening? Why is that worker crying?”
The boss said, “He is a rogue. He has finished working. I have only a ten-rupee note. He is unable to give me five rupees back, so I did not give him his salary for today and, what is worse, now he is arguing with me.”
The friend asked, “He is not arguing. He is simply stating his case. He is such a humble man. But I can easily solve this problem. Give me the ten-rupee note.”
The friend took ten rupees from the boss and gave him a five-rupee note in return. The boss gave the five-rupee note to the worker. Then the friend said, “I owe you five rupees.”
The boss asked, “When will you give me the five rupees that you still owe me?”
The friend said, “When the time comes, I may give you back your five rupees. You are such a bad fellow. This man is a very sincere worker and you were refusing to pay him. The more I think about it, the more I am determined not to give you back your five rupees.”
Then the boss said, “All right. I am not going to force you to return my five rupees. It is better to keep our friendship than to get my five rupees back.”
Singing the king's gloryThe king needed a very, very good worker to do some special tasks in the palace. The minister found the perfect worker. This worker was very sincere, very nice looking, very honest and so forth. But he had one bad habit: he used to come to work late. So the king scolded the minister: “What kind of man is he? He is coming late to work every day. Does he not value his job in the palace?”
The minister was very embarrassed. He went to see the worker and said, “I got you the job and told the king that you were such a nice man and a good worker. Why are you behaving in this way? Why do you come late to work every day? How can you justify it?”
The man replied, “Early in the morning, I go to the temple, and there I praise God. I sing God’s Glory for hours and hours. That is why I arrive late.”
The minister said, “This is what you do? Then when you come to the king’s palace, why do you not sing the king’s glory?”
The fellow came the following day to work and started singing the king’s glory. He was extolling the king and praising him to the skies. The king observed the worker for some time. At first he was amused. Then after half an hour or forty-five minutes the worker was still going on with endless singing. He was not working at all. He was only singing the king’s praises. Then the king became exasperated. He gave the man a slap and demanded, “What are you doing?”
The man said, “What can I do? The minister asked me to sing your glory.”
Then the minister was summoned. The king asked him, “Why did you tell this worker to sing my glory?”
The minister said, “He told me he comes late each day because he sings God’s Glory in the temple. I told him that if he came and sang your glory for a little while, you would be pleased. But I did not think that he would be only singing your glory and not working at all.”
The worker said in his own defense, “God created me. That is why I go to the temple every day and sing God’s Praises and Glory.”
The minister said, “God created you, and God also wants you to live on earth, to work honestly. By praising God constantly, how will you be able to support yourself? If you wanted to praise God all day long, why did you accept this job? There is a time for everything. If you go to the temple early in the morning, you can praise God before you come to work. Then you will come to the palace punctually and work here. At the end of the day, you will take your salary and buy what you need. In this way, everything will have its proper time. Come to work on time. Before you come to work, go to the temple and sing God’s Glory. Then after finishing your work here, you can again go to the temple. But, in the meantime, you must work.”
When the king heard such sound advice and saw that this worker was going to listen, he gave a large amount of money to the minister. He was such a wise minister! The king also gave a bonus to the worker.
The minister was right. The following day the worker arrived at the palace on time. He had already gone to the temple and offered his praises to God. Then he came to work because he was getting money from the king. Before starting work, he sang the king’s praises for a short time, and then he started working.
So the king was pleased with this worker and the minister was pleased with him. Definitely God was also pleased with him because he was doing the right thing.
The spiritual Master's burdenA spiritual Master had many, many disciples. When old age descended upon him, he became extremely frail. His disciples were worrying and worrying! “O God,” they cried, “We have such a great and good spiritual Master. Do not allow him to die. We do not want to lose our beloved Master.”
They were all begging the spiritual Master, “Please take some medicine to improve your health.”
The spiritual Master would not take any medicine. He said, “My time has come. I do not want to take any more medicine. If it is God’s Will for me to leave this body, then I am fully prepared. If I continue to live on earth, then I will have to take the burden of so many people. But when I die, only four men will have to take my burden. I am very, very sorry for those four men who will have to bear my burden.”
The disciples asked, “Why are you saying that only four people will have to take care of you? There are so many people here who are extremely devoted to you. We will all take care of you if anything happens to you.” Then they all started crying.
The spiritual Master said, “I do not need all of you. I need only four people.”
The disciples could not fathom why their Master was making a special point of saying four people. Finally, the Master said, “You fools, when I die, my coffin will be carried by only four men. I am feeling sorry for them because they will have to carry my lifeless body to the burial ground. Here on earth I took the burden of so many people. But when I die, only four men will have to bear my burden.”