The mind-jungles and the heart-gardens of life

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The Priest Gets A Lesson From The Train Officer

A priest and a businessman were taking a train journey in the first-class compartment. The priest came to one of the officers on the train and said, "Can you imagine how such a bad person can be in the same compartment as I am! He is so ugly, so undivine and so unaspiring! What kind of fate do I have? I cannot trust this fellow in the slightest! My wrist watch is very expensive, plus I have with me $700. Can you keep these for me? Tomorrow morning I will take them back from you."

The officer agreed and immediately took the watch and money from the priest. Then the officer said, "I see you two are in the same boat. The businessman also left all his belongings with me before you came."

The priest was simply shocked! "How can he do this? How can he not trust me? After all, I am a priest!"

The officer said, "Tit for tat. Tomorrow morning you both come and I will return your belongings."

The priest was so annoyed. His pride was deeply hurt. "For sixty years I have been a priest. I have given sermons and led prayers. I was right! The businessman is a very bad person."

The following morning, both the priest and the businessman came at the same time. When the priest saw the businessman, he started going away, saying, "Now you have ruined my day!"

Then the officer gave back all the valuables which the businessman had deposited with him. The businessman thanked him profusely and wanted to give him a tip. But the officer said, "No, this is my duty," and he did not accept any money.

Next the priest came to collect his things. Very haughtily, he said to the officer, "It seems that this is my fate — to have to put up with such an unthinkable person! Now can you please give me back my wrist watch and my $700?"

The officer said, "Sorry, I have thrown them away!"

The priest got furious. "You have thrown away my precious valuables? I am calling the police immediately!"

"Do anything you like," replied the train officer. "You are supposed to have faith in human beings, but instead you are seeing the darkness inside human beings. If you call the police, I will simply tell lies. I will say that you have given me nothing. It will be my word against your word, and you will have no case. None whatsoever! I have thrown everything away."

The priest was disgusted, so he went to the police and told his whole story. The policeman simply said, "I have known this officer for many, many years. If he told you he would return your things, I am sure he would do exactly that. I trust this man. He has always been very honest."

The priest cursed the officer. He started shouting, "I have lost my watch! I have lost my money! Now I will sue you!"

The officer said very calmly, "Do anything you like. I am sorry, but you are not playing your role properly. You are a priest. You should show compassion. But, instead, you are acting like an ordinary person. We appreciate priests because we have faith in you. We feel that you will take us to God. Instead, you are taking us to hell!"

The priest was humiliated. He was grumbling and fumbling. Exasperated, he said, "This is my fate when I deal with ordinary human beings!"

Then the officer said, "Please listen to me! God is speaking in and through me. Never distrust people. With your suspicion, you are taking people to hell. Now I am returning everything to you, but you must have faith in people. Only in this way will they be able to go to Heaven. The very nature of businessmen is to distrust; but you are preaching all the time how we can become good human beings. You are a man of God. If you want to stay in the priesthood, you must trust people and help bring them to God."

On the one hand, this story is funny, but it is also very instructive. God wanted the priest to be illumined. A good person has to see good things in others. If a good person starts to see only bad things in others, then how will he be of any service to others?

The Philosopher Is Illumined By The Taxi Driver

A philosopher who taught at a prestigious university came out of his house hurriedly and was shouting at the top of his lungs, "Taxi! Taxi! Taxi!"

The taxi came over very quickly to him, and the philosopher jumped inside. "Hurry up! Hurry up!" screamed the philosopher to the taxi driver. "Drive as fast as you can!"

The taxi driver started driving as fast as possible. After about 20 minutes, the philosopher said, "Am I reaching my destination?"

The taxi driver said, "What destination? Did you tell me? I am driving just as fast as I possibly can."

The philosopher screamed, "Is it not your duty to ask me where I want to go?"

"If it is my duty to ask you, then it is also your duty to tell me," replied the taxi driver. "You should have told me your destination. It is your mistake equally."

"Look here! I am a great philosopher."

"Yes, you are a philosopher," replied the taxi driver. "But you also live in this world. God wants me to bring you from the moon world to this world. God wants me to teach you to live in this world and to behave like a human being."

The philosopher immediately replied, "I have been a philosopher for so many years, but never have I come across such wisdom! Will you be my Guru?"

The taxi driver said, "Yes, I will be your Guru, but only if you will try to live the life of a practical person. I will tell you to get up at 7 in the morning to be on time for your class. Then, when you hire a taxi, you must always tell the driver where to take you. I am giving you another piece of advice: never hurry. When you hurry, you miss everything and you lose everything."

The philosopher said, "I am touching your feet!"

After a short time, the philosopher's students were so surprised that the philosopher was always coming on time and that he himself was practising what he was teaching them. Before, they were seeing that he was saying the right thing, but setting a poor example. After accepting the taxi driver as his Guru, the philosopher put his own philosophy into practice.

Nobody knows who can instruct whom and from whom we can receive a lesson. We must live a practical life. Otherwise, people will feel that we are worse than useless. In this way, the philosopher got the golden opportunity to learn from the taxi driver.

Fighting To Die For Each Other

There was once a man who was an honest businessman and a seeker who was a true God-seeker. From their childhood, they were very close friends. Now they did not live in the same country, but they would correspond regularly. Unfortunately, their two countries were very, very hostile to each other.

One day the businessman came to visit his friend and also to do some business. The first night, when the seeker went to church to pray, the businessman took a walk along the street. He was soon stopped by the police, who thought he was a spy.

One policeman demanded, "Where do you live? What are you doing here?"

The businessman replied, "Out of curiosity, I am looking here and there. I am a businessman, and I come from another country."

The police sent a message to the king about the businessman in order to check up on him. The king sent the message back that the man was a spy and ordered him to be hanged.

When the businessman heard the king's order, he said, "Please, please! Let me go home for a short time. I promise I will come back. I have to make provisions for my children. Please let me go. All my papers are at home. I will definitely come back. I am even telling you the time — in 15 days I will return."

The police replied, "The king does not trust you. You will go to some other country to hide."

The businessman said, "No, no! I will definitely come back." "Where is the proof?" demanded the policeman.

"I have a friend here and that friend will be responsible for my coming back."

Then the police brought the seeker friend. "Yes," said the seeker, "I will be fully responsible if my friend does not come back. We are childhood friends, and we are very close to each other. Because he has so many duties, he has to settle all his affairs before he is hanged."

Fifteen days passed, and the seeker's friend did not come back. All the people around the seeker were so miserable. They said, "Why do you believe a businessman?"

The God-lover answered, "Our friendship is so strong. I am sure he will come back."

On that day, the businessman was scheduled to be hanged at 3 in the afternoon. At 2:30 the seeker said, "I value our friendship so much. If my friend does not come, then I am ready to be hanged."

All of a sudden, the friend came back. He was feverishly rushing and running. The seeker said to his friend, "No, no, no! Let me be hanged. You have a big family. I have only God and God is my all."

The businessman exclaimed, "For me you will give your life? No, why should you give your life? You are such a kind man, and you are all the time praying to God. You will do so much good in the world in the future. My life is all business. Your life is only for God. I am the one who should be hanged."

"No," said the seeker. "You have a big family. In my case, I am unmarried. If you die at this moment, all of your family will miss you terribly. But in my case, if I die, nobody else will feel miserable. I can die peacefully."

Like this, both the friends were arguing and arguing about who should die. Each one wanted to die and to have his friend live.

The king could not believe his ears! "My God!" he declared. "I have never seen such friendship in my life! Usually it is all jealousy. Look at the seeker. He is only thinking of the businessman's family, and the businessman is only thinking of making the world better. Please, please, both of you, make me your friend."

The two friends said, "Fine, we will accept you as a friend. It is, indeed, an honour for us!"

The king added, "I want both of you to be ministers in my kingdom." To the seeker, he said, "I will take care of all your needs." And to the businessman, the king said, "You can bring your family here. I will take care of them."

The seeker replied, "I have to pray to God. That is my life's work."

The businessman said, "No, no! I love my country so much. My children are studying and are very happy where they are. This would be such a new place for them. If you would kindly allow me to return home, I promise you that I will not come back here."

To both the men, the king pleaded, "You are going to be my lifelong friends. Why will you not become my ministers?"

The seeker said, "I am a seeker. I am so happy with my life."

The businessman responded, "I am so happy with my family. If I become a minister, so many people will be jealous of me. Other ministers will make complaints against us and poison your ears. We must try very hard to keep our friendship. That is what is most important. You love us and we love you. But once we become ministers, there will be so many complaints against us from the other ministers. Then you will become angry. You will either think only of our incapacities or get disgusted with those who are jealous of us. You will suffer and we will suffer. The best thing is for us to keep our friendship."

Then the king said, "You two are not only my inseparable friends. You are my mentors. Here I rule the country. But today you have shown me the light. You have shown me how to rule my country. I am trying to give light to my country and both of you are illumining me. You two are not only my inseparable friends, you are my mentors."

The seeker said, "Let us all be happy. Let us do our respective jobs. I will pray; he will do business; and you will rule your kingdom."

The Young Boy Sees God

There was a spiritual Master who had many, many disciples. One day, a young disciple came up to the Master and said, "Master, if I ask you a question, will you be offended?"

The Master said, "Never! I will never be offended, no matter what kind of question you ask me."

The disciple said, "Long ago, people used to see God face to face. But nowadays, how is it that nobody sees God face to face? Nobody talks to God on a daily basis."

The Master said, "You also can realise God and talk to Him face to face if you do the same thing that they did."

"Master, what did they do?"

"In those days, people who realised God used to bend their heads low. Nowadays, people do not bend low."

The boy said, "Master, I can do it easily. Every day I can even touch my feet with my head by bending my head down very low. If I do this, will I be able to realise God?"

The Master answered, "Yes, if you do this for six months, then you will definitely be able to see and realise God."

The boy did this very, very faithfully for six months. But, alas, he did not see God. He said, "Master, you told me that I would be able to see God and talk to Him, but nothing happened."

The Master said, "Something else is absolutely necessary."

"What else do I need?"

The Master replied, "You have to be very sincere. You must never tell a lie."

"If I don't tell lies for six months — not even one — will I be able to realise God?"

The Master said, "Yes!"

"Do I have to do anything more?"

The Master said, "No! Just bend your head low and do not tell a lie for six months."

After six months, the boy came back to see the Master. He had not told a single lie and he had bent his head right down to his feet every day. Alas, still he did not see or talk to God.

Just then, another spiritual Master came up to this Master and asked, "What is happening?"

The first Master said, "This boy asked me why nowadays people cannot see or speak to God face to face; whereas, in the olden days people were able to. I told him that he also could do the same. In those days people used to bend their heads low. Nowadays we do not do it. The boy agreed and he told me he could even touch his feet with his head. I told him that if he could do this for six months, he would realise God. Unfortunately, although he followed my advice faithfully, he said he still could not see God. Then I told him that he must also be very sincere and not tell even one lie for six months. Again he followed my instructions most devotedly, but he has still not seen God. Now I am in trouble."

In front of the boy, the other spiritual Master said to the first Master, "No, you are not in trouble. I will be able to help you."

He then said to the boy, "I tell you, if you do what I say, you are bound to speak to God face to face!"

The boy was thrilled. The new Master continued, "Now you are bending your head very low; you are even able to touch your feet with your head. Plus, you have not told any lies. For the next six months you must continue as before and also do one thing more. Every day, after bending your head low, you will please say, 'God, I want to see You face to face, if so is Your Will.'"

The boy said, "I am dying to see God. How can I say that?"

The Master replied, "This is the problem. When you die to see God, you usually do not see Him. But if you say to God, 'I am dying to see You, if such is Your Will,' and if you say this sincerely, in six months you will be able to realise God."

The following day, the boy did not tell a single lie. After bending down his head in his house, he said to God, "I am dying to see You. If it is Your Will, then please appear before me and allow me to speak with You. But if it is not Your Will, then I fully accept it."

Immediately after the boy said this, he saw an effulgence of golden Light right in front of him and from there, a most beautiful Person came out. He said to the boy, "My child, I am God. Ask Me for any boon."

The boy exclaimed, "I can see God!"

God said, "Yes. Now please go and tell your teachers that you have seen Me."

The boy asked, "But how will they believe me?"

God answered, "They will believe you. You go there and tell them."

The boy went. His Master and the other Master were there. As soon as they saw him, they saw a beautiful halo around him. His whole body was literally flooded with light. They were so surprised.

The boy's own Master started crying. He said, "I have been praying and praying for sixty years of my life. You have done this in such a short time!"

The second Master said to the young boy, "I am extremely, extremely proud of you. We have been praying and praying to God for sixty years, but God has not come to us. In your case, after only one day of unconditional prayer, God has appeared before you. From your face and your eyes, I can clearly see that you have spoken to God. I am so proud of you. Again, I am proud of myself that I gave you the advice to say, 'I am dying to see You, God. If it is Your Will for me to see You, then I will be very happy. But if it is not Your Will, I shall wait.'"

Both spiritual Masters' eyes were full of tears. The boy's own Master embraced his spiritual son and said, "You have shown me the Light. You have become the Light." The second Master also embraced the boy and said, "You have shown me the Light. You are the Light."

The Gratitude-Heart Of A Child

A child had been sick for a long time. From time to time, his mother had to take him to the hospital for treatment. One day he was supposed to go to the hospital, but his mother had something very urgent to do. The mother was saying, "O God! How can I send my son to the hospital today?"

Then the mother thought of a young man who was their neighbour. The mother went to him and said, "My child has to go to the hospital today, but I have such an important thing to do. Will you be able to take him for me?"

The young man answered, "Of course! Of course!"

Then she said, "Will you be able to drive him?"

"Yes, certainly!"

The mother said, "I will give you some money."

The young man replied, "No, please do not. I love your son very much. I will not take any money from you."

The mother was very moved. She brought her child to the young man, and he started driving the child to the hospital.

On the way, the child folded his hands and said to the young man, "Are you not God?"

"I am God?" he asked.

"Yes! My mother was praying to God. 'Who will take my child to the hospital?' Then Mother brought me to you and now you are taking me. I am sure you are God!"

The young man said, "I am not God! I am not God!"

"But my mother prayed to God."

He said, "Yes, your mother prayed to God and God listened to your mother's prayer. I was free, and I am so glad that I am able to take you."

The boy said, "When I grow older, I will never forget you. I will also try to do you some favour. Please remember, I will never forget your kindness."

The young man patted the boy on his shoulder and said, "I am doing you a favour. When you reach my age, God alone knows where I will be! I may not be in the same house. You may not be here."

The little boy said, "I know. But my heart is saying that we shall be together. Somehow we shall be together."

The young man said, "All right! All right! Because of you I have to become a good person. Your mother prayed to God and so I became God's instrument. I am not a good person, but I have to become good."

The little boy said, "No! You are so good and so kind to me."

Then the young man said, "This is my promise to you. When I start working, I will give you a job in my office. In case I cannot get a good job, if you become a big shot, will you give me a job?"

The boy said, "Of course! Of course! I will give you a very good job! I will even make you my partner!"

Then the older boy laughed and laughed. "I am ready to be your partner!"

Twenty years passed. This little boy was very brilliant. He did very, very well and became an executive officer. But he never forgot his older friend. He always remembered that his friend had helped him when he had to go to the hospital.

The executive found out that his friend was working as an ordinary postal clerk, so he went to see him. The executive said, "You were my God. Now please come with me. I am now an executive, and I want you to be my partner. I have a very large office." He made his friend his partner, giving him a half share of everything.

This is how good people act! After he saw the little boy, the older boy said, "I have to become a good person. I want to become good." The little boy changed his older friend's fate.

Balzac's Handwriting Analysis

The great French author Balzac used to write novels all the time. They became very popular, and Balzac was acclaimed by all the people. His hobby was to look at people's handwriting. In this way, he used to scrutinise the character of the person. He could see what kind of person the individual was and whether he would become a great man or a good man.

Many, many people used to come to Balzac during his free time. They used to come to see him, not because he was a handwriting expert, but to chat with him while he was examining their handwriting. They were so clever! They were killing two birds with one stone. They wanted to be with such a great writer and, at the same time, they wanted to have their handwriting analyzed. Balzac would say something nice or sometimes criticise this or that. Even though he would criticise something about their handwriting and see that their character was not good, they used to get tremendous joy that they were able to be in his company for some time. It went on like this for many years.

One day an elderly woman came to see Balzac with a little boy's handwriting. He said, "Are you the mother of the little boy who wrote this?"

"No," she said.

"Are you the grandmother?"

"No, I am not the grandmother."

"Are you a friend of this little boy's family?"

She said, "No, I am not."

"Good! Since you are not a relative or a family friend of this boy, I can tell you frankly about his character," exclaimed Balzac. "You have brought me such horrible handwriting! I am sorry to tell you, he will be a useless fellow! But do not tell his relatives that he is totally useless. I can clearly see it from his handwriting."

The old lady smiled at him and said, "I am not his relative, but I was the teacher of this boy before he became a most famous writer. Now this is your own handwriting and I was your teacher! I immediately recognised you. Now that you have become famous, you do not know who I am. I was your primary school teacher."

Balzac got a shock! He said to himself, "What have I done?" Then he realised, "This is what I need. Either I give up this handwriting analysis or I have to study it thoroughly."

Balzac asked the old lady to stay. He was so moved she had come to see him, especially at her age. She told him, "I took a page from your school notebook and I saved it. I saw and felt that you would become a great person, so I kept your handwriting and I treasured it."

Balzac said, "I treasure you. I treasure you infinitely more."

God Never Sleeps

There was once a little girl who was living with her mother. Her father had passed away, and they were very poor. The mother was a very, very kind-hearted woman, and her six-year-old child was extremely beautiful and extremely sweet.

The little girl was always afraid of darkness. Every night the little girl would become very afraid. Unfortunately, the mother would also get frightened at night. The mother would say, "There is no lock on the door. We do not even have a nail in the house to close the door." She was so afraid that hooligans would come and rob them. Although the mother was also afraid, she tried to hide it from her daughter.

One night it was extremely hot, and the child kept the window wide open. There was moonlight streaming into the house, and she was thrilled. The little girl asked her mother, "Who has given this light to the moon?"

The mother answered, "God has given this light to the moon."

The little girl said, "The moon is so beautiful. How I wish I could be as beautiful as the moon!"

"My darling, you are much more beautiful than the moon."

"Mother, I cannot believe that. No, no, you are just telling me lies."

"I am telling you, my darling, that you are much more beautiful in my heart. You are infinitely more precious to me."

"Does the moon sleep?" asked the child.

"No, the moon does not sleep at night and the sun does not sleep during the day."

Then the little girl said, "The moon does not sleep during the night and the sun does not sleep during the day. Is there anybody who does not sleep during the day and also does not sleep at night?"

The mother said, "Yes, there is someone."

"Who is this person?"

"God," replied the mother.

The little girl exclaimed, "God! So God does not sleep either during the day or at night. The moon sleeps during the day and the sun sleeps at night, but God never sleeps."

Then the little girl asked, "You take care of me, but who takes care of the moon?"

"God takes care of the moon."

"Who takes care of the sun?"

"God takes care of the sun," answered the mother.

The little child was so moved. She said, "So God does not sleep. He takes care of the moon and He takes care of the sun. God will also take care of you. God will take care of me. We do not have to worry, mother. God will definitely take care of us."

The mother was so happy. She was shedding tears of love, pride and joy. She said, "Now you will never again be afraid of night. God will take care of you, my darling. God will take care of us both. Before I was also afraid. Now we will never again be afraid of the darkness."

Three Friends In The Land Of Freedom

There were three friends living in America. One friend, an old man, felt that his religion was faulty, so he changed to another religion. The other two friends were very, very upset, because their friend of many years had left their religion.

One day on their way, the two friends saw the old man. They caught him and scolded him ruthlessly: "How can you leave such a great religion as ours? Now we have lost you. You were our friend and you betrayed us. It hurts us very much!"

The friend who had changed religions said to the other two, "God will one day take care of you."

The two friends screamed, "Traitor, traitor!" and they beat him up.

A few days later, the two friends learned that someone else had converted to their religion from another religion. Their old friend who left their religion was a traitor, and so they beat him up. But for the other man who had just joined their religion, they gave a banquet, and extolled him to the skies.

A spiritual man happened to be there. He said to the two friends, "Now tell me. When somebody leaves you, what happens? He is a traitor. When somebody joins you, he is your instant friend."

The spiritual man added, "Where are you living? You are living in America, the land of freedom. We all need freedom. Freedom gives us joy. You have the freedom to reject something that is wrong for you and to accept something you like. If you have the right to accept and reject at your sweet will, then how is it you cannot give others that very same freedom?"

The men kept quiet. Then they said, "You are right. America is the land of freedom. We want to exercise our freedom and to get joy, so how can we not allow others to exercise their freedom? Freedom means we each get joy in our own way."

President Woodrow Wilson And The Triple Honorary Degrees

When President Woodrow Wilson became the President of Princeton University, he saw that many people were getting honorary degrees. One man had received three honorary degrees from Princeton alone. So many people were being given honorary degrees! They were receiving them not on the basis of real merit, but only because they had a reputation of having done something great. According to President Wilson, the people did not really earn their honorary degrees.

He was so amused and a little sad and upset that one individual had received so many honorary degrees from Princeton. He asked, "How can we give triple honorary degrees to one person? He can receive these honours from different universities, but how can it be from the same university?"

The authorities said, "We gave him the third, because he had two already."

President Wilson asked, "Then why did you give him two honorary degrees?"

They said, "He already had one honorary degree, so we did not have any problem giving him the second one."

"How did he get the first one?"

"Ah, anybody can have an honorary degree."

There is something instructive in all this. If some people are appreciating a given individual, then many others also are ready to appreciate that person. When one is already great, then other people all follow, follow, follow. But how does the person become great in the first place? In the beginning, someone shows him compassion, and then he becomes great.

It is a similar story with rich people — they are always getting more presents and more money from people. At first, some people show compassion and the person becomes great or rich. Then, in a very clever way, people show adoration. When a man is already considered great by others, then there is no difficulty in appreciating the person. But in the beginning, people find it so difficult to appreciate others. After one person shows compassion, this opens the door for others to show adoration, and before long everyone is showing adoration.

How To Play With A Turtle

One day an old man and his grandson were walking together. They walked a very long distance on a village road. All of a sudden, the little boy saw a turtle. He grabbed the turtle and wanted the turtle's head to come out so that he could watch it and play with it. But while the boy was playing, the turtle drew its head entirely inside its shell.

The little boy said to his grandfather, "I cannot play with the turtle now. His head is inside somewhere." The boy was miserable.

The grandfather said, "My child, let us take it home."

"Why do we have to take it home?" asked the boy. "I cannot play with it. When the head is out, then I will enjoy it. Now I will not enjoy it."

The grandfather simply said, "All right. Let me take it home." He held the turtle and brought it home. Inside the house, the grandfather placed it near a warm oven.

When the turtle became warm, it automatically raised its head out of the shell. The grandfather said to his dear grandson, "Now you can play with the turtle!"

"How did you do it? How did you do it?" exclaimed the little boy.

Lovingly, the grandfather answered, "Earlier the turtle was so cold, he was shivering. That is why, when the turtle saw you, he got frightened and put his head inside his shell. Then I warmed up the turtle and now he is ready to play with you."

In life, if we want to play with someone, we have to warm them up first. Then they become our friends and are very happy to play with us.

The Secret Of A Worry-Free Man

There was a man who was worry-free. One day a friend of his asked him, "How is it that you do not have any worries or anxieties?"

The man said, "I know how to deal with worries and anxieties. You people do not know how to deal with worries and anxieties. That is why you suffer."

The friend said to him, "Then please, please teach us. Tell us your secret!"

He said, "All my worries and anxieties I write down on pieces of paper. Then what do I do? I put them in a box and tell myself that on Saturday I will deal with them. On other days I will not deal with worries and anxieties at all.

"Only on Saturdays will I open up the box and pick up a few worries. I see that by then most of my worries have gone away. Only one or two are left. Then I put them back into the box and say to myself, 'These couple of worries I can deal with next week.'

"In the meantime, during the following week, when new worries are coming, again I put them into the box. Then the following Saturday, once again, most of the ones I pick up are no longer worries!

"Always keep a fixed day to deal with worries. You will see that by that day so many worries have disappeared. You will pick them up on that day, and the one or two that remain, you simply put back. When the following week comes, you find that the few old worries have also gone away."

In life, it is always good to have a special time to deal with problems. When that time comes, most of the problems will have already gone away.

The Man Who Never Pays Any Bills

One man was very, very wise or very, very clever. He kept all his old and new bills, but he did not pay any of them. A friend of his who saw what he was doing asked him, "How do you remain happy? You have so many bills and yet you do not pay any of them."

The man said, "I keep them. I keep them and I cherish them."

His friend asked, "You cherish your bills without paying any of them?"

"Yes, I love them."

"What do you do?" asked the friend. "You do not feel miserable that you are not paying anything?"

"No," the man answered. "I handle all of them. I truly like all of them."

"Then afterwards, what do you do when new bills come?"

"The old bills I throw away without paying! New bills I collect and again put them together to become old. Then I throw them away."

The friend demanded, "What is this? Will the companies not sue you?"

The man said, "I have a very shrewd lawyer. My lawyer takes care of it."

"Your lawyer will take care of it, even though you are not paying the bills? Your lawyer will not charge you any money? He has to defend you because of all the bills that you have not paid!"

The man said, "He will not be able to charge me, because I am my own lawyer. I deal with everything myself. I do not have to depend on other lawyers because I know how to defend myself."

People who are rogues remain rogues to the end.

Listening To Earthly Parents And To Heavenly Parents

Once a boy wanted to accept the spiritual life, and the boy's mother did not want this at all. She was protesting and protesting. But the son was not listening at all to his mother. The boy came to a very good and very sincere seeker with the hope that the seeker would give him some advice. The seeker said, "You must keep your mother happy." This seeker had himself displeased his own mother by entering into the spiritual life.

Then the boy's mother came to the seeker and said to him, "You are such a good man. I am seeing you and I am getting such joy. But my son is so bad! He is not listening to me at all. Can you not give him some advice and tell him that it is good to listen to his mother and father?"

The seeker said, "I am the wrong person."

"Why?" the mother asked.

"I am following the spiritual life against the wishes of my father and mother. How can I give your son the advice you wish when I am doing just the opposite?"

The mother asked, "Is there anybody who can help me?"

"Yes," replied the seeker. "Please come to my teacher. He will be able to help you."

The seeker brought the mother and her son to his spiritual Master. He told the Master what she had requested and added that she was suffering very much.

The Master said, "I am the wrong person to advise your son. My parents were against my accepting the spiritual life, and I did not listen to them. What can I do? How can I tell your son, 'You must listen to your parents,' when I did not listen to my own parents?"

This spiritual Master had an old lady as a disciple. She was about ninety years old. She said, "I am the right person to help you."

The mother asked, "How can you think that you are the right person?"

"At the age of seventy, I joined the spiritual life, so then I did not need my parents' permission."

Everybody started laughing. She was such an old lady! Why would she need the permission of her parents to join the spiritual life?

She said, "I am so lucky that I did not need my parents' permission. In fact, they were not even alive."

Then the spiritual Master said, "All right. I am telling you that we have earthly parents and we also have Heavenly Parents. Often we have to make a choice between the earthly parents and the Heavenly Parents.

"Father can say, 'Do this!' Mother can say, 'Do not do this!' Then you have to make a choice. You cannot please both at the same time. Similarly, our inner Father is telling us to do something. But here on earth, our mother may be saying just the opposite. Then, unfortunately, we will not be able to please both at the same time.

"The inner Father is your son's inner voice telling him to accept the spiritual life. You, his outer mother, are telling him, 'No! You must not accept the spiritual life!'

"Your son is definitely pleasing his inner voice, which is God the Father. You have to give him the freedom to choose. He is helplessly lost between you and his inner Father."

The spiritual Master added, "When I accepted spirituality, I consciously chose the divine Father within me. My disciple who brought you here today did the same. His parents also did not want him to accept the spiritual life. But inwardly he was constantly getting messages from the divine Father within him, so he disobeyed his parents, and chose his inner voice, God.

"Your complaint is that your son is not listening to you. This is true. If you feel you are right, then you must pray to God and let God change your son's mind. This is the only way. After praying to God, you will see that your son's disobedience is no disobedience. Your son has been all along listening to his inner voice, which is God Himself. Believe me, one day you will be extremely proud of your son."

The Spiritual Master's Wise Advice

A grandfather brought his grandchild to a spiritual man. The child was taking too many sweets, and they were ruining his health. The grandfather had tried in so many ways to help the child eat fewer sweets, but to no avail.

Earlier the grandfather had taken the little boy to a few doctors. The grandfather told the doctors, "My grandson does not listen to me when I ask him not to take so many sweets. Can you give him some medicine?"

The stupid doctors gave the boy some medicine so he would take fewer sweets, but it did not work at all. In fact, after taking the medicine, the little boy ate even more sweets!

The grandfather cried, "What can be done?"

The old man was helpless. He took his grandson to a spiritual Master. "Too many sweets are ruining my grandson's health," said the old man to the spiritual Master. "Every day he takes so many sweets. He even steals money from here, there and everywhere in order to buy sweets. He is our dearest, our only grandchild, so we cannot strike him. Only we are trying to advise him that too many sweets are bad for him. Alas, he will not listen to us."

The spiritual Master said, "Wait, wait! Please wait. Today I am very busy. Please come back in two weeks."

The grandfather said, "You are so busy that you cannot give me any advice?"

"No I cannot. I am sorry. I will take care of your grandson, I assure you. I will ask God to take care of him."

After two weeks had passed, the grandfather asked the spiritual Master when he could return. The spiritual Master said, "Please come to me today with your grandson. I will be able to help him."

When the grandfather brought his grandson to the spiritual Master, the Master spoke most lovingly and most affectionately to the little boy. He was showing his light to the grandson, and the little boy was so moved. He was absolutely wonder-struck at how much kindness, love, affection and light was coming from the spiritual Master. The grandson's heart was absorbing everything.

Then the little boy said, "I will stop. I promise I will take only very few sweets, but not many at all." The little boy was deeply moved by the beauty, compassion and concern that were emanating from the spiritual Master's eyes and face.

The grandfather said to the spiritual Master, "You are showing my grandson so much love. You have cured him and I am so grateful to you. But please tell me, why did you not do this two weeks ago? You are a spiritual man. If you were so busy at that moment, could you not have told us to come back later that day? Or you could have asked us to wait. We would have waited for hours. Please tell me what was wrong with you two weeks ago."

The spiritual Master answered, "For such a long time, I had the same problem that your grandson has. I was taking too many sweets! I saw that you were so miserable and I sincerely felt sorry for you. I said to myself, 'How stupid I am! I happen to be a spiritual man and yet I enjoy eating too many sweets. I am also doing the wrong thing.'

"You are an ordinary man, a simple man. You know that taking too many sweets is the wrong thing. That is why you were so worried about your grandson. I teach my students to take good care of their health. At the same time, I was not practising what I was preaching.

"When you brought this little boy to me, all of a sudden wisdom dawned on me — I saw that I was doing the same wrong thing as your grandson. I sympathised with you because he was not listening to you and I sympathised with him because he was ruining his health. I came to realise that only when I practise the right thing, will others be inspired to practise the right thing themselves.

"I had been fooling myself. You and your grandson gave me the golden opportunity to be sincere. I said to myself, 'Now let me take care of my health. Let me not take too many sweets.' On that day I told you to come back in two weeks, because I knew that in two weeks I would be able to conquer this problem of mine. Now that I have solved my problem, I am able to be of dedicated service to you and your dearest grandson."

The Businessman Finds Happiness In Smiles

A businessman was very, very rich. Unlike other rich men, he was very kindhearted. Always he was giving away money, offering charity, helping his friends and serving others through many self-giving deeds. Compared to other businessmen, this man was a real exception. He kept next to nothing of his own money for his own needs. Whatever extra he earned through his business, he gave away.

The man's business was really prospering. One day, a friend of the businessman asked him, "Can you not keep a little more money for yourself?"

The businessman replied, "That I cannot do. Whatever little I need, I take. The other money that I have earned, I am giving away, because I do not need any extra. I want people to be happy. There are so many people who are very, very poor. When I have money and I spend it, I do get joy. But when others are using my money and getting joy, I get so much more joy.

"When I walk along the street in the morning, if I see all sad faces, then I feel miserable. Instead, now I am seeing that these people are becoming happy with my money. I am seeing so many smiling faces. Along Eternity's Road, if I can make people happy, then I am the happiest person. My happiness does not depend on money. It is only in giving and in becoming one with others' joy. Happiness for me is to see another person's smiling face and satisfied heart."

This businessman learned that he could be very, very happy by making others happy. He was a businessman, but he was also a deeply spiritual man. He was doing his business and depending fully on God's Grace.

The Priest Sees Jesus Christ Inside The Crazy Lady

At the railway station there were many, many people. One elderly lady was screaming at the priest at the top of her lungs, "Father, stop here! Answer my questions! You always talk and talk about God. Have you found God yourself? Have you seen God? We simple people do not talk about God. We do not say anything about knowing God or seeing God. When we commit sins, we tell you people all about them. Do you tell your sins to someone?"

The priest said, "Yes, we also confess."

The old lady replied, "When we commit sins and confess, we tell you people and we mean it. We are very sincere, simple people. When you confess your sins, it is not sincere. You feel that you are always right. You are absolutely perfect!"

The priest said, "All right! Tell me this. When people miss something or lose something, they try to find it. Do you not miss God? Do you not have to find God? In my case, Christ is not missing at all, so I do not have to find Him."

The lady said, "Prove that you have found God!"

"I can see God, but you are blind! Inside your heart, I can see the living Jesus Christ."

Very surprised, the lady asked, "You see the living Jesus Christ in me?"

The priest replied, "Yes! Now am I seeing you as the Christ Himself. For me, you are the Christ."

Suddenly the lady became very calm and quiet. The priest added, "When we lose something, we try to find it. In my case, I do not have to look for God, because I find Him everywhere. In you, I see so much Light. Now you have become my destination, because for me you are the Christ.

"Again, I must reach a new destination. I am going now. Please allow me to enter into the train, and then I can arrive at my new destination."

The crazy lady was pleased that the priest saw her as Jesus Christ, so she allowed him to continue to his next destination.

Happiness In Working Together

Two scientists were extremely good friends. They would always work together to discover something new. One particular day, one of the scientists was absent, and so the other scientist was working alone. On that day he discovered something very great. He was overjoyed!

The following day, the man who had made the discovery said to his friend, "Look, look, what I have discovered! I have discovered something that will burn away everything. As soon as you touch it, it will burn continuously."

The second scientist was very upset and very jealous. On the one day that he was sick and did not come to work, the other scientist had to discover something so great all by himself! The second one said, "I am so happy that you have found this." But in his heart of hearts, he was full of jealousy.

After some time, the same scientist said, "I am so happy. But can you answer one question for me? Where will you keep your discovery? It burns away everything. If we keep it inside something, will it not burn away the container? Where will we keep it?"

The other scientist got upset. "What are you saying?" he asked.

The jealous friend said, "You are so happy because you have discovered something all by yourself. I am now very unhappy and very miserable that you have discovered it all by yourself. You could have waited just one day for me. Now you have increased my jealousy like anything!"

The other man said, "But we are friends! We are one! I would have been happy if you had discovered the same thing all by yourself."

The jealous colleague said, "I am not so sure of that! In the future, I want us to do everything together. If you do something all by yourself, I will feel jealous and then I will find fault with you. With your new discovery, for example, you must find a container where we will be able to keep it; otherwise it will burn away everything.

"Because we have been working together for years, always we have to work together. Otherwise, I will feel miserable, because you will be known as the inventor and I will not be known at all. Let us work together and discover everything together. Then we shall both be happy."

Two Cyclist-Friends: Competition Versus Oneness

Two cyclists were riding together. They had been together for several hours and had covered a very long distance. Both of them were enjoying nature's beauty.

All of a sudden, one of them said, "How I wish one of us would stop cycling so that we could know which one of us is the better cyclist."

The other one said, "What? We are lifelong friends. We have been cycling together for so many years. When you go ahead, I catch up with you. When I am ahead, you catch up with me. We are getting such joy always riding together. At that time, we talk about all kinds of things — nature's beauty, friends, enemies and more."

The second cyclist said, "Is that what our friendship is? I am stopping cycling. You go on. Just see how much you will enjoy yourself! There will be nobody to talk with you, nobody to watch you and nobody to appreciate you. Go ahead on your own, and then you can boast that you are the better cyclist. Unfortunately, nobody will be there to appreciate you."

The first cyclist felt miserable. He said, "You are right. My friend, please come with me. Let us go together."

The friend replied, "No, no! You want to separate yourself from me to see if you are the better cyclist. Go right ahead! Again, I am telling you that alone you will never find the joy that we get when we go together. In togetherness, there is always joy. But I can stop easily right now so that you can find out who is better."

The first friend begged and begged, "Please, let us go together. In comparison and competition there is no joy. The only joy is in oneness. Let us cycle together and we will talk about everything. Now I know that inspiration, joy and encouragement come only when we share with others. I am pleading with you, let us continue together."

The second cyclist agreed wholeheartedly. "From now on, we shall always cycle together. We shall arrive together at our destination."

Balzac Laughs At The Thief

One night Balzac was sleeping in his room. Very quietly, on tiptoe, a thief entered into Balzac's room. The room was extremely small. There was a simple bed. Beside the bed, there was a desk, where Balzac used to write his novels.

The thief thought that since Balzac was so famous, he would have lots of money. He was looking here, there and everywhere, but he was not finding any money. The thief came to Balzac's desk, and he was so surprised that there was no money on the desk. Without making a sound, the thief opened up the desk drawer. Balzac was actually not sleeping, he was observing. He wanted to see what the thief was going to steal. When the thief opened up the drawer, Balzac burst out laughing.

Astonished, the thief asked, "Why are you laughing, instead of chasing me and grabbing me?"

Balzac answered, "I am laughing because you are looking for money here. You have taken such risk! You might well be caught and then you would be put into jail. You took so much risk to get my money during the night. It is so dark now. But I must tell you that I cannot find any money here even during the day!"

The thief said, "Please, please, forgive me!"

Balzac said, "All right, I forgive you. You have to find someone who is really rich, and I do hope you will be successful."

Balzac's Diminishing Salary

When Balzac was a young novelist and just becoming famous, a publisher wanted to publish his latest novel. The publisher was carrying with him 3000 francs to offer to Balzac as payment. When he came to Balzac's neighbourhood, he saw that the novelist was living in a very poor area. The publisher then said to himself, "I can easily give him only 2000 francs."

As the publisher came close to Balzac's place, he said, "Balzac is living in a tiny, dark place. I will be able to give him 1000 francs. Since he is so poor, I am sure he will be more than satisfied."

When the publisher entered into the room, he saw that Balzac was very, very simple. He thought, "I am certain he will accept if I offer him only 300 francs." The publisher was right. He bought Balzac's latest manuscript for only 300 francs!

That book, La Dernière Fée, became extremely famous. The publisher was such a rogue! He was carrying 3000 francs with him. But when he saw that Balzac was living in a very poor area, and in a tiny apartment that was simpler than the simplest, he brought the price down ten-fold. He bought La Dernière Fée for 300 francs!

I Want To Defeat God

Balzac lived a very, very simple life. He had almost an austere life. Always he was wearing the same white robe, the same shoes and the same old belt. He never, never wore anything new.

One day a friend asked him, "How is it that you are living such an austere life? You are earning enough money. Why do you not buy some new clothes?"

Balzac replied, "When do I have time to buy new clothes? I want to defeat God. God created for six days, and then He took rest. In my case, I do not want to take any rest. I want to work seven days a week, every hour and every minute. This is the only way that I can create more than God does. If I spend my time buying this and that, then my creation will suffer. The best thing for me is to create non-stop and defeat God. I do not have to wear new clothes or even nice clothes. My joy is in my creation."

The Most Important Profession

A very old priest and a middle-aged man happened to be at a restaurant. They were sitting side by side, and the priest asked the middle-aged man, "By the way, what is your name?"

The man said, "My name is David."

The priest asked, "What is your occupation?"

"My occupation is Christianity," replied David.

"What, Christianity is an occupation?"

"Yes. My occupation is Christianity."

The priest said, "I am very serious. Please tell me what your occupation is."

"I am embarrassed to tell you," answered David.

The priest said, "Why? Why? Is there anything that you do which is illegal or undivine?"

The man said, "No, it is not illegal. It is not undivine."

"Then why are you so embarrassed?"

Finally the man said, "I am an undertaker."

"An undertaker?" asked the priest.

"When people die, I take care of them."

"Such a wonderful profession!" exclaimed the priest. "How many people would dare to have that profession? People like to be executives. People like to shine in something. But when people die and you help them to go to Heaven, is it not the most laudable profession? I am telling you, my son, of all the professions that we have, yours is the most important."

The undertaker bowed to the priest and was extremely happy.

Gossip: World-Destruction And Self-Destruction

The Master asked a particular disciple, "Why do you enjoy gossip? It is such a dangerous thing. Gossip shows no respect for anybody. It weakens and ruins others' strength. When people gossip and find faults with others, they become such rogues. Again, when people become victims to gossip, they become helpless and hopeless. In every way, gossip is a very subtle, contagious and dangerous disease. Please tell me, why do you enjoy gossip?"

"I get joy from gossiping," answered the disciple.

The Master replied, "If you enjoy gossip at the cost of others' suffering, then what kind of disciple are you? Do you not see how you are making others' lives miserable by gossiping? The time you spend gossiping, can you not spend that time praying and meditating?"

"But I do not get any joy in prayer and meditation; whereas in gossip, I get tremendous joy. Master, you always say to keep innocent joy in our lives. After all, I am not killing anybody."

"Yes, you are not killing anybody. But you are getting only malicious pleasure. This pleasure is not real joy. Anything that you do when you are kind to people, when you are sympathetic to others, or when you serve people, will give you real joy. But when you gossip, you are really hurting people. There is very little and often no truth behind gossip. You are creating something false and absurd.

"Now I am telling you. If you want real joy — not the false joy which gossip gives — and if you have nothing else to do, just read, run, sing or even rest. There are so many good things that you can do.

"In every way, gossip weakens humanity. The best thing is to strengthen humanity. Since you are in the spiritual life, you have to strengthen humanity at every moment with your love for truth and with your concern for reality and divinity. Please do not enjoy gossip. When you gossip, world-destruction and self-destruction proudly march forward. Hand in hand they go together."

Can God Please Everybody?

A school teacher asked his students a simple question. "Can God please everybody?"

One student stood up and said, "Since God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, He definitely can please everybody — unlike us." All the students except one enthusiastically agreed and added their own views to support this.

Only one naughty student stood up and said, "No, God definitely cannot please everybody."

The teacher asked, "How can you say this so confidently?"

The student said, "This is all coming from my own experience."

"Your own experience?"

"Yes, year after year, I am praying to God for something, and He is not fulfilling my desire. My parents also have many desires, as do my sisters and brothers. As their desires are not being fulfilled, how can you say that God can please everybody?"

The other students said, "God certainly can please everybody if He wants to. He has this capacity."

The bad boy replied, "If God has the capacity, let Him use it. Let Him please my sisters, my brothers and my parents. Let Him please me. Then I will say that not only does God have the capacity, but He also uses it. Now you are imagining that God has the capacity. I do not want to remain in the world of imagination. He should show me. God should make me happy, plus my parents, my brothers, my sisters, my acquaintances and all those that I know. Since they are not all happy, then I must say that God cannot please everybody."

The students had a wonderful fight. All of them, except this one boy, said that they had learnt from their parents that God can please everybody. The children wanted to beat the boy up.

The poor teacher said, "Please, please, do not fight! I am the one to be blamed. I am the problem-maker. I asked you, 'Can God please everybody?' This one boy says, 'God cannot.' You say, 'He can.' I am lost between your group and this young fellow.

"I am withdrawing my question. God alone knows whether He has the capacity to please everybody or whether He actually pleases everybody. We do not know. Our faith tells us that God has the capacity, which is absolutely true. But somebody can come along to challenge us, saying that we have to prove that God can please everybody. 'Has God pleased all of your desires? Has God pleased his desires?' This is the boy's argument. He says, 'No!'

"The best thing is to feel that it is all my fault. I brought up this question and now I withdraw it. It is up to you whether or not to believe that God can please everybody and do everything."

The Height Of Ingratitude

This is a story about ingratitude narrated by Winston Churchill. A little boy was playing on a pier. All of a sudden he fell off the pier into the water. He did not know how to swim and was in serious danger of drowning. A very kind-hearted young soldier saw this, and he immediately jumped off the pier and swam towards the little boy. He put the boy on his shoulders and brought him back up to the pier quite safely. This young man saved the boy's life.

The boy had been playing with other little boys, but his parents were nowhere to be found. The soldier drove the child to his parents' home and left the boy there. The young man did not even think of receiving any reward. He was a very kind-hearted person, and he was extremely happy that he was able to save the life of this little boy.

A few days later, the boy's parents came to look for the soldier. Everybody was helping them look for him, because they thought that the parents had come to give him a reward for saving their child. Finally they found the soldier working at the pier.

The parents approached the young man, and he immediately said, "You have to come to me? Please, please, I do not need any reward. I am so happy that I was able to save your child's life. That is my greatest reward. You do not have to give me anything."

The father and mother said, "No! We have not come here to give you anything. We have come to ask you for our son's hat. Where is it?"

The young man was shocked. He said, "I tried to save your son's life and I did save his life. Now you are asking me for his hat?"

"Yes," replied the parents.

How powerful ingratitude can be! The young man had saved the life of the parent's only child, and they were asking for his hat! Instead of giving the soldier a reward or even a simple 'Thank you,' they were asking for the boy's hat!

They demanded, "What did you do with our son's hat? What is wrong with you? We want to know where the hat is!"

This is the height of ingratitude.

Why Did My Son Get Killed?

A father received the message that his son, who was a soldier, was killed in battle. The father became absolutely insane with grief. Everywhere people were trying to console him, but nobody could console him. The father said, "My son was such a nice boy. He was very brilliant, very strong and very handsome. This is what has happened to him in the army! I hate the army! Why do they fight against other countries?" The father was cursing the country, the army and everything else.

Then the father went to a priest for consolation. He told the priest, "I am so miserable. I have lost my only son. Please, please tell me how I can get consolation."

The priest said, "What can I do? I am willing to do what you wish, but please tell me what you actually want from me."

The father said, "Consolation."

"I can only pray to God to console you. This is what we priests do. When somebody dies, we try to console the dear ones with our prayer."

"I know," replied the father. "But can you tell me one thing?"

The priest said, "What is it?"

"When my son died, what was our Heavenly Father doing? Where was He? Can you imagine? My son was in the army serving his country. He was a military man and he was killed. What was God doing? My son was doing something great and good for his country, and God did not save him. I am asking you, what did God do?"

The priest answered, "I know what God did. I am getting the message from your heart. Your own heart is telling me that God was right beside your son when he was killed."

The man was so puzzled. "God was beside my son? Then why did my son have to die? Why did God not protect my son? What kind of stupid thing are you telling me, Father? If God was beside my son, then God could easily have saved my son."

"Yes, God could have saved your son. When we sincerely ask God to fulfil our desires, we feel that He will automatically fulfil them. But beyond our sincerity, there is something called God's Need and God's Will. We do not always know what they are."

The man asked, "Now what can I do?"

The priest replied, "Why? Your son has died as a soldier. Do you know that in his next incarnation your son will become a commander general?"

"Commander, my son will become a commander?" asked the man.

"Yes, we all make progress. God wanted him to die a hero. You are feeling a great loss, but your son died heroically. Your own heart is telling me that in his next incarnation, your son will become a commander."

"My son will be a commander? My son will be a commander?" the man asked. He started crying at one moment, then smiling at the next moment. The man was practically going crazy.

The priest said, "Please do not act like this. I tell you, whatever God does is for our good. Our haughty mind will not accept that, but our inner heart will. My oneness with your heart and with your son's heart is so strong that I am getting the inner message that God will make him a military general in his next incarnation.

"Outwardly you are now crying and crying. But when I think of your heart, your heart tells me that your son will become someone very great and you are so happy to hear that. Always look forward; always look upward. If something bad or sad happens, try to feel that something better is coming; something more illumining and more fulfilling is coming. Please try to see today's loss as part of a supreme Game. Tomorrow God will expedite our progress. Today's death does not mean that your son is gone forever. No. Today's death is only a preparation for tomorrow's birth. With tomorrow's birth, your son will transcend himself and become both great and good."

This is how the priest consoled the father. Indeed, the man was deeply consoled. He fell at the feet of the priest. "Father, now you have illumined me. I thank you with all my heart. I am all yours."

The Meaning Of The Master's Stories

A disciple once made a serious complaint to the Master. He said, "Master, you always tell stories that give us joy. But will we not get more joy if we know the meaning of the stories that you tell us? We do not always understand what they actually mean. If we understand, then I feel we will be happier, and also you will be happy that we have understood you."

The Master said, "You fool! When I tell you stories, you want me to tell you the meaning? It is as if you are asking me to give you a mango. Then, just as you are about to eat the mango, you want me to take it back and start eating it for you. When I tell you a story, you have to be one with the story. Please try to be part and parcel of the story. Then you will be able to get its real meaning and significance.

"Otherwise, if I also tell you the significance of the story, if I do everything, it is as if I am chewing and eating for you. But if you swallow something without even chewing it, how will you get the taste? Only from chewing and eating will you be able to grasp the meaning.

"My job is to tell you a story. Your job is to dive deep within and understand the meaning. Otherwise, you will remain spiritually hungry. If you play your role and search for the meaning of the story yourself, then you will get real joy, absolute joy."

New Adventures In Old Age

Old age is no obstacle. Churchill embarked on painting at a very old age. There are many, many world-famous people who became great in their old age. Even Tagore started painting just a few years before he passed away. Previously, he was all the time writing books. Only at the end of his life, he became an artist. At what point people can bloom, we do not know. That is why we say "late bloomers"!

Then again, when we become old, we will get new joy, new inspiration and new delight if we can continue with the good things that we have been doing for years. We may do the same thing every day, but there will be new joy awaiting us every day with our continued practice.

For example, when Pablo Casals was 95 years old, he was still practising his cello every day. He felt just the same as always. Once someone asked him, "Why do you practise at your age? You have become the greatest cellist. Now you can rest!"

Casals answered, "You want me to rest? You do not want me to make any progress? Every day I am playing the cello and I have been playing for years and years, ever since my childhood. Every day I feel I have made some progress."

When inspiration comes, we must pay no attention to age — whether we are eight or eighty. We also have to continue as long as we live on earth with the good things that we have been doing. Since Pablo Casals played the cello regularly, every day for him was like a new dawn, a new sunrise.

New creative life can start at any age. There is no age limit. But if you want to continue, if you want to make progress and get ever more joy from your creativity, then you have to practise regularly and punctually.

New Sermons Bring New Joy

An old lady said to a priest, "Father, today you did not read out your sermon."

The priest said, "I did not read it out, because the sermon that I was supposed to give today I have already given many times."

The old lady said, "When you give something many, many times, do you get any joy? Where is the newness? Every day, if you see a fresh flower, you get such joy. But if you see an old, dry flower, do you get any joy? If you are sincere in your heart, you will see that you do not get any joy from giving your old sermons — and we definitely do not get joy!!! Please use your wisdom and give us new sermons. Then you will get joy and we shall get joy. Always in newness, like in the freshness of a flower, we get tremendous joy."

The priest said, "You are right, absolutely right. I thank you from the very depths of my heart for your most illumining sermon. I love you, dear."

Be A Wholehearted Giver

A spiritual man arrived at his destination and started to come out of a taxi. He already had given his money to the driver while he was inside. As he was getting out of the taxi, one of his shoes somehow got stuck in the door of the taxi. Then what happened? The taxi driver drove away taking the man's shoe with him. At this, the man calmly took off his other shoe and left it on the sidewalk.

His friend said, "What are you doing?"

The spiritual man answered, "What am I doing? You fool, do you not know that in this world there are so many poor people. If a poor person finds only the shoe that was stuck in the taxi, how will he be able to use it? But if he finds both my shoes, he will be so happy. The person will thank God that he now has a pair of shoes. In my case, I will be able to buy new shoes.

"When you want to help people, never hold back. Always be a wholehearted giver."

The Texan Visits New York

A man from Texas came to New York to visit his friend. His friend took him to so many important places.

When his friend showed him anything new, the Texan said, "We have better than that at home — far, far better."

First his friend took him to an excellent restaurant. The Texan said, "In Texas we have better restaurants than this. The owners are better, the waiters give better service and the food is far better in Texas."

Then the New Yorker took his Texan friend to visit the Statue of Liberty. The Texan said, "The Statue of Liberty has so many defects. I can see that it is cracked here and there. We have so many statues that are not cracked at all."

Finally, the friend took the Texan to the Empire State Building. The man declared, "The Empire State Building is useless! Because there are so many businesses inside, it has no peace, no glory. True, it is tall, but inside there is no beauty at all."

The man's New York friend got so disgusted. He said, "Brother, you need something that is not here. Your Texas is far more beautiful and far better in every way than my New York. If ever you think of coming to New York again, please do not stay at my place. Go visit somebody else. I have nothing to give you.

"Better yet, go to some other state, because New York has nothing to give you. If you feel that there is another state that can equal your Texas, or another state that has something better or more significant to offer you, then go there. Please, do not come back to New York!"

People who live in the mind always criticise. They feel that they are superior. Here, the man from Texas was full of criticism. His friend was showing him New York's most famous landmarks with such love, care, concern and joy. But the Texan was not satisfied, because he was inside his dry mind. Nothing in New York could give him joy. His rigid mind had the idea that everything was better, more beautiful and more significant in Texas.

People who live in the mind cannot appreciate others' achievements. They cannot become one with others' ways. If we are in the heart, then we can appreciate equally what we ourselves have and what others have.

Even God Cannot Enter The Church

A policeman was guarding the church in a very special way. Only very rich people or very well-educated people were allowed to go inside. Others were turned away. The priest would interview each new person who wanted to enter the church to be certain that they were qualified to go inside.

One day an ordinary man came there and spoke to the priest. The priest asked, "Are you rich?"

"No," answered the man.

"Are you well-educated?"


"Then this is not the place for you. You have to go away. You have to be either very rich or very well-educated to enter into our church."

The next day the man borrowed quite a lot of money. A few days later, he came back to the church.

The priest asked him, "Do you qualify? Are you either rich or well-educated?"

The man replied, "How can I be well-educated in just a few days time? But because I borrowed a lot of money, I am now quite rich." The man showed the priest all his money.

"You have borrowed money and now you say you are rich," said the priest. "But this is not enough."

The man said, "I do not believe it! Here I have thousands of dollars and still you will not allow me to go in?"

The priest answered, "I am sorry, no. By the way, tell me what you did to get this money. Did you pray to God to be able to borrow the money?"

"Yes, I did."

"What did the Almighty say?" asked the priest.

The man replied, "The Almighty told me that even though I was bringing so much money to show you, you might not allow me to enter. The Almighty also said something more. He said, 'I have been trying to enter that church for forty-five years, and I have never been allowed in.'

"I was so shocked. I asked, 'How can You not be allowed in?'

"The Almighty explained to me, 'I am neither rich nor well-educated, so they do not allow me to enter the church. Do not be surprised if they do not allow you to enter either. You have no money of your own, plus you are not well-educated.'"

Alas, even God was not allowed to enter the church, His own rightful Home.

God Begs The Man To Pray

A watchman was guarding a church, when a man who was not properly dressed came by. He wanted to enter the church.

The guard stopped the man and asked, "What are you doing here? You are so dirty and filthy!"

The man answered, "I am not coming to pray. I am here to clean the church."

"All right, you can go in to clean. But remember, you are only allowed to clean the church and then you must come out. You are not allowed to pray!"

The man went inside the church and did all his cleaning. As he was coming out, God came up to him and said, "My son, can you not do Me a big favour? Can you not pray here? All these people inside the church are fast asleep. I feel so sad and miserable. These people came here to pray to Me, and now they are in deep slumber. Can you please pray now?"

The man immediately started praying. The guard noticed that it was taking the man a long time to do his work. When the guard found the man, he saw that the man was praying. "I told you that you are not allowed to pray here!" the guard screamed at the man. "You are only allowed to clean the church."

The man replied, "What am I going to do? I finished cleaning the church and sincerely wanted to leave, but God stopped me. Since all the people who were supposed to be praying were asleep, God begged me to pray. What could I do?"

The Favourite Son Inherits A Crucifix

An old father was very, very kind. He had four sons. Before leaving the body, he wanted to show all his loving kindness to his sons. To one son, he gave his house. When the father would die, that son would inherit the house. To another son, he gave lots of money. To the third son, the father gave property. Finally, to his fourth child, he said, "Son, I love you the most. I am giving you a crucifix." A short time later, the father died.

After his father's death, the fourth son said, "What is this? One of my brothers got the big house, one got money, and one got property. Father is so bad! He told me that he loves me the most and that is why he gave me a crucifix! What is this — a cruel joke? Father is so bad! I am not going to his funeral! He has really fooled me! He liked me the most, so he gave me a silly crucifix. Yet to each of my brothers he has given something so valuable!"

The fourth son did not even go to his father's funeral. Everyone was unhappy that this son was so ungrateful. He only said over and over, "My father is so mean and so unjust!"

For two weeks, the son's anger was increasing and increasing day by day. He said, "Such a bad father I had! He made fun of me right before he died! I will never even think of him."

The son became more and more furious. He decided to throw the crucifix away. "I will have absolutely nothing to do with this crucifix! I hate my father!"

The son took the crucifix and threw it very hard against the ground. The crucifix broke into many pieces. Immediately shining jewels and most expensive stones fell out. They had been hidden inside the crucifix. These jewels and stones were far more valuable than the money, the house and the property that the other brothers inherited. With these jewels, the son was able to buy many expensive things.

The fourth son finally learned to have faith in his father. Before, he was telling the whole world that his dying father was playing a cruel joke on him. But the son learnt that his father did not lie. His father really claimed him as his nearest and dearest son.

Four Drunkards At The Railway Station

There were hundreds of people at the railway station. A train had just arrived and most of the people were entering into the train. There were four drunkards standing nearby. Unfortunately, they did not have any idea what to do. One kind-hearted station worker was so concerned. He grabbed the drunkards, one by one, and threw them into the train. With great difficulty — one, two, three — the worker threw each of them into a car. Unfortunately, it was too late for him to throw the fourth man into the train, as it was going very fast by then. The kind-hearted man was satisfied that at least he was able to be of service to three of the drunkards. But he felt extremely sorry that he could not throw the fourth drunkard into the train.

The remaining man was lying down on the ground. After about one-half hour, the railway stationmaster came and saw the drunk man's condition. He felt sorry for him and said, "Tonight there are no more trains. Since you are just lying on the cement, please come with me if you want to take a little rest. There is a tiny room in here. You can rest in our room."

By this time, the drunkard had come to his senses. He said, "What is happening? What have I done?"

The station master asked, "What do you mean?"

The man said, "Can you imagine? I was supposed to go somewhere on that train, and my three friends came to see me off! Now my friends have gone away, and I am left here alone!"

Chittagong's Greatest Revolutionary Hero: Surjya Sen

Chittagong produced a great many revolutionaries who fought to throw the British rulers out of India. The revolutionaries of Chittagong embraced death happily and proudly while singing Bande mataram, "Mother, I bow to Thee." They were uttering the sacred heart-offering, Bande mataram, invoking Mother India's name.

These revolutionaries had quite a few leaders, but their main leader was Surjya Sen. Everybody had such love, admiration and adoration for him. The entire city of Chittagong loved him unreservedly. His very name gave them immense joy and courage. In earlier years, he had been a school teacher; but he gave up teaching and entered into the revolution. In the vortex of the revolution, Surjya Sen was the most prominent.

Surjya Sen happened to be a distant relative of my Mother's younger sister's relatives. A few times he came to my Mother's sister's place to hide. The last time I was in India, I went to see her. She left Mother Earth at the ripe old age of 103.

The British Government was always in search of Surjya Sen. They wanted to arrest him and kill him. But secretly he used to go from one village to another and instruct his people about what to do. These revolutionaries did many, many heroic things. From the British Armoury, they stole arms to fight against the British. It is a long story. They were extremely strong and extremely courageous. Their love for Mother India was unparalleled, and their actions were in the vanguard of the sacrifices of the revolutionaries.

They used to call Surjya Sen Mashtar-da — Mashtar means 'teacher' and da is for the affectionate respect for the elder brothers of the family and also for those who are older. Everybody knew Mashtar-da. Even West Bengalis knew him so well.

The British Government offered a 50,000 pound reward for anyone who could give them information leading to the arrest of Mashtar-da. He had a relative named Netra Sen. This Netra Sen also was a revolutionary under Surjya Sen. When Netra Sen heard that he could get 50,000 pounds, tremendous greed entered into him. Along with other revolutionaries, Netra Sen knew where Surjya Sen was hiding.

Alas, Judas is everywhere. For 30 pieces of silver, Judas betrayed Jesus and told the authorities where to find Jesus. Then they gave him the money. After Jesus was captured and crucified, Judas committed suicide.

Netra Sen told the British Government where Surjya Sen would be found, and the great leader supreme was arrested. Where was he going to be found? In Netra Sen's own house! Because they were so close, Netra Sen invited Surjya Sen to come and eat with him. Can you imagine? They lived only three or four miles away from each other.

The British soldiers came while Netra Sen's wife was serving food. The wife was also a revolutionary, and she was extremely, extremely fond of Surjya Sen. All the men and women loved and treasured Mashtar-da in the very depths of their hearts. He was their unparalleled Hero.

Surjya Sen and Netra Sen were both eating. The wife was serving them food and she knew nothing about her husband's treachery. The British soldiers knew that they could easily arrest Surjya Sen while he was eating, so they chose that moment to come and arrest him. They put him in the Chittagong Jail. Even before Surjya Sen was arrested, they gave Netra Sen his money.

The wife became furious. She cried and cried. Other revolutionaries came to her place, and they were cursing her husband. They knew that Netra Sen had betrayed Mashtar-da.

The wife said to their friends, who were all revolutionaries, "Please, please do me a big favour."

"What is the favour?" they asked.

"I am telling you, you must do me this favour!"

"We will do any favour you ask of us," the friends replied.

"Now we have lost Mashtar-da. But I want to punish my husband." She added, "Tell me, who is going to fulfil my only desire?"

They said, "Whatever you say, we shall gladly and immediately do."

The wife said, "I want my husband to be killed while I am serving him food. I shall tell you at what time we eat in the evening. If you people really love your Motherland, then I want one of you to cut my husband's throat while I am serving him dinner."

"You will not feel sad and miserable? Your own husband will be killed right in front of you!"

"No! No! Our Mashtar-da was arrested because my husband wanted the money. I do not even know where he has hidden it. Even if I found the money in my house, I would just throw it away."

All the revolutionaries were extremely devoted to Mashtar-da. Those who were listening to Netra Sen's wife were disgusted and sad, because Surjya Sen had been betrayed by Netra Sen, her husband. The British even set a date when he would be hanged. First there would be a court hearing and other proceedings. Surjya Sen himself was completely shocked when he heard what Netra Sen had done.

"I do not want to live with my husband," the wife cried. "I do not want even to look at him! My husband happened to be a revolutionary! Now he has cast a slur on all the revolutionaries. This is what money can do." She begged the revolutionaries to kill her husband. She said that she would not tell her husband what was going to happen to him.

In a few days time, while Netra Sen's wife was serving him dinner and he was eating, one of the revolutionaries came and cut Netra Sen's throat. He died immediately. Netra Sen was assassinated by one of the revolutionaries at the request of his own wife!

When the police came, they demanded that Netra Sen's wife tell them the name of the person who killed her husband. "You have to tell us!" they said.

She answered, "No! You can kill me. I will not tell you. I do know who the person is. I know, I know. But I will not tell you. If you want to arrest me, arrest me. If you want to kill me, kill me. I am ready. I can't have a husband who has betrayed our beloved Mashtar-da."

The police could do nothing. The wife was not crying at all for her husband. When Mashtar-da was arrested, she was crying so bitterly and was filled with grief. She kept saying, "How could my husband do this to our Hero supreme, our beloved Leader, Mashtar-da!"

The police demanded, "You have to tell us!"

When the police demanded, "You have to tell us," she said, "No! Do anything you want. I am not going to tell you the name of the person. I know the person very well, because I myself made the request."

This story is one hundred per cent authentic. The wife lived for many more years, serving the revolutionaries most devotedly and most faithfully. Women like Netra Sen's wife did not even go outside of their homes, but they made such significant contributions to the revolution!

This incident took place around 1932, when I was one year old. It shows how much people can love their Motherland. For India's freedom and independence, they revolted. As other places in India revolted, Chittagong also revolted and Chittagong's supreme leader was Surjya Sen.

On 12 January 1934, before the sun rose, Surjya Sen was hanged. The evening before he was hanged, he sent a farewell message to his followers from the Chittagong Jail. He wrote:

"Rope is hanging over my head. Death is knocking at my door. At such a solemn moment, what shall I leave behind for you? Only one thing" — that is my dream, a golden dream — a dream of Free India. If you die before the goal is reached, then give the charge of your further pursuit to your followers, as I do today. Onward my Comrades, onward — never fall back. The day of bondage is disappearing and the dawn of freedom will be ushered in. Be up and doing. Never be disappointed. Success is sure. God bless you.

Netra Sen's wife went to the place where Surjya Sen was to be hanged. Just before he died, Surjya Sen blessed her and said, "I am not the hero. You are the hero. I am not the real leader. You are the real leader. The sacrifices that you have made for Mother India have made you the real leader of Chittagong's revolution for our liberation."

As he was dying, Surjya Sen was only saying over and over, " Bande mataram! Bande mataram! Bande mataram!" Mother, I bow to Thee….

All around him, people were shedding tears. Surjya Sen asked, "Why, why, why? Why are you doing this? I am bowing to my Mother. If they arrest you, I want all of you to say, 'Mother, Mother, Mother — for you, for Mother India, for Chittagong, I embrace death.' By invoking the Mother, I am embracing death. Indeed, there is no death for a revolutionary. My love of my Motherland is infinitely stronger than death. Janani Janma Bhoomischa Swargaadapi Gariyasi. " Mother and Motherland are superior to Heaven itself.

Once more he chanted, "Bande mataram! Bande mataram! Bande mataram!" Then he passed behind the curtain of Eternity to be in the galaxy of the immortals.

Where Is Your Faith?

For a couple of weeks, it had been very, very hot. People were suffering so much. Members of the local church were all praying and praying for rain. After they had been praying for about a week, during a meeting of the entire congregation, the priest said, "You have to pray very hard for rain. If you pray sincerely, rest assured that it will rain."

The people continued praying most sincerely, but still there was no rain. Finally they got angry with the priest and said to him, "We have been praying and praying sincerely, but still there is no rain. That means you are wrong!"

The priest replied, "No, I am not wrong! You people are wrong!"

The people argued, "How can it be that we are wrong?"

The priest said, "Look here! You are praying to God for rain. Do you have any faith in your prayers? You should have brought your umbrellas. If God fulfils your prayers right now and if it starts raining heavily, then what will you do? You will all be soaked and you will suffer miserably. How can God protect you and fulfil your prayers at the same time? Where is your faith in your prayers?"

After that, the people all brought umbrellas.

God Answers Our Prayers And Far More

A priest had a driver who was very, very devoted to him in every way. The man used to drive the priest everywhere and also serve him in many other ways. The priest was always very pleased with the driver, and they became very close to each other.

When the driver was only 25 years old, all of a sudden he developed severe chest pain. The priest took his driver to the hospital to see what was wrong. Such terrible pain he had! The doctors discovered that the young man had a terminal case of cancer.

The priest felt miserable. He fervently requested all the members of his congregation,"Please, please pray for my driver."

They all said, "Yes! We shall pray. We shall definitely pray for him."

The priest added, "He is such a good driver! He does everything for me." Then he said, "If he does not survive, I will give him a very good funeral and do all kinds of things in his memory. He has been so devoted to me." The members of the congregation all started praying very sincerely.

Every day the priest would go to the hospital to see his driver. One day he went there and the driver was suddenly and completely cured. Then the priest got another surprise. The driver and his nurse, who was very beautiful, had fallen totally in love with each other!

The priest said, "You two are in love! I am so happy. Would you like to get married?"

Both of them were thrilled! The priest said, "I will pay for your wedding." The priest paid for all the costs of the wedding and lovingly officiated at the marriage ceremony as well. The driver started serving the priest again with utmost care and devotion. In time, the driver and his wife had children. Always the priest was giving them money and taking care of them.

One day the priest said to his driver, "I am so grateful to you. How lovingly and self-givingly you have been serving me for so many years! I am also so happy for you. God definitely answers our prayers. We prayed to Him to save your life. Miraculously, God saved your life. What is more, He has given you a wonderful wife and sweeter than the sweetest children. I am so happy and proud that I made the suggestion for you and your wife to get married. Now you and your family are so happy."

The driver said to the priest: "Father, today I have changed my name. My new name is GRATITUDE."

God listens to our prayers. Indeed, out of His infinite Love and Compassion, God grants us far more than what we ask for.

The Old Lady Who Cried Bitterly During The Sermon

An old lady came to listen to the priest's sermon during the morning service. The priest was saying such nice things, and all the people were listening to him very devotedly. They were all deeply appreciating his sermon.

As he was speaking, the priest saw that the old lady was crying bitterly. He stopped the sermon and came up to her. With sincere concern and compassion, he asked, "What has happened? Why are you crying? Have you lost your husband? Have you lost your son or daughter? Why are you so grief-stricken?"

The lady answered, "I have not lost anyone. But I cannot tell you why I am crying."

The priest said, "Why can you not tell me? I am the priest here. So many people will sympathise with you if I tell them why you are suffering and ask them to pray for you. You need consolation, so we shall all pray for you. If you do not want to say what calamity has taken place, I fully understand. In any case, we shall pray for you right now."

The priest said, "Let us all pray for this old lady." They started praying most soulfully for her.

While they were in the midst of their prayers, the old lady asked, "May I tell you why I have been crying and crying?"

The priest answered, "Certainly. Please tell us."

The lady said, "My son is studying to become a priest. When I heard you delivering your sermon, I got the shock of my life. You are giving us such an uninspiring sermon. If my son does not preach better than you, then I am wasting all my precious money on him! That is why I am crying! I pray to God that my son becomes a better preacher than you!"

The Medical Emergency

In the middle of the night, a hospital doctor phoned up his doctor-friend at home. The doctor who was at home knew that there had to be a very serious medical problem for him to be called at that hour.

The hospital doctor said, "Please come right away! Two priests and I are at a bar now, and we desperately need one more person to play cards with us."

The doctor said to his wife, who heard him speaking to the other physician, "My friend is telling me that there is an emergency. I have to go immediately. Two priests are already there to administer the last rites."

The wife said, "Go, go, go!"

Instead of going to the hospital, the doctor went to the bar to play cards. Day began to break, and still he had not returned. His wife had become extremely worried. She said, "Why is my husband not coming home? Is the case so serious?"

A few minutes later, the wife phoned the hospital. A colleague of her husband answered. He was not one of the culprits; he was actually working. The wife started crying when the other doctor answered. He asked her, "Why are you crying?"

The wife replied, "I am crying and crying because my husband has such a good heart. In the middle of the night, he got a call from his colleague saying that a patient was in very serious condition. Two priests were already there to give the last rites. By now I am sure the patient has passed away. My husband is probably consoling the relatives at this moment. Can you try to trace where my husband has gone?"

The doctor said, "What? What are you saying? I have been here since last night, as I was the doctor in charge. There was no emergency at all."

When her husband finally came home later in the morning, the wife asked, "How is the patient?"

The husband sadly moaned, "Oh, he passed away; he passed away!"

"He passed away?" the wife said. "The priests' prayers could not do anything? You and your friend could not do anything? Have you been to the funeral yet? How can you come back so soon from the funeral?" the wife asked.

"The funeral will take place in a few days," answered the husband.

The wife said, "All right! I am waiting for your funeral, your friend's funeral and the two priests' funerals. You go and join the patient! I shall gladly attend all of your funerals."

God's Office Is Unattended!

The teacher in a classroom once asked a question: "Where is God?"

The children were giving their answers. Many said, "God is in Heaven."

Some of the children added, "God is not only in Heaven, but also on earth. God is everywhere."

One boy said, "God cannot be everywhere. My father has told me, 'God is just like us. He is a man, and He is full of love.' If God is like us, then He can only be in Heaven. He cannot be in both places at the same time."

The argument went on and on. Some said, "God is in Heaven." Others firmly replied, "God is also on earth."

To end the discussion, the teacher said, "Tonight ask your parents, and let your parents say where God is. Please ask them if God can be both in Heaven and on earth."

One student, whose father was a scientist, came back to class the following day and said, "I asked my father. My father said, 'God is in Heaven, and He also has an office inside the church. God needs a representative on earth, so that is why He has an office here. For years and years, God has been searching for a good priest who is capable of taking care of His office and representing Him. But poor God is not yet successful.' That is why my father says that God lives in Heaven, but His office on earth is unattended."

The Old Man's Cure For The Maidservant's Vanity

A young maidservant came regularly to clean the house of an old man. One day, the young lady was crying and crying.

The old man said, "Why are you crying? I will gladly give you money, if that is what you need."

"I do not need money. I am upset because I am so vain. Since I feel I am very beautiful, every day I look at myself in the mirror. I appreciate my beauty and adore myself. This is not good at all!"

The old man said, "Please do not worry!"

"But I know that it is a sin to appreciate one's beauty excessively. I spend so much time looking in the mirror. I look at my eyes, my hair and everything. How beautiful I am! But it is such a sin to be as vain as I am."

The old man replied, "No, no! It is not a sin. It is only a mistake. Just do not make the same mistake again."

The maidservant said, "I cannot get out of this habit. Every day I have to spend so much time appreciating my limbs, hair, nose, ears, eyes — everything. What can I do?"

The old man offered his advice. "You know that I am an old man. I have lost all my hair, and I am not at all beautiful. In a few years, I shall die. I am so old! You love me so much, and I love you so much. What you can do is, when you look in the mirror, immediately think of me. Imagine that my face is on the other side. Imagine my face with wrinkles everywhere. See my bald head and think of my eyes and my face."

She said, "I have such love and admiration for you. You are my boss. You know how much I love and adore you. How can I do that?"

"No, you can do it. If you think of me with all your love, you will be able to see me in the mirror and not yourself."

The maidservant said, "I simply cannot do it."

The old man said, "All right. Do not listen to me. Go and appreciate your beauty for hours. What I do not understand is how you can come on time every day."

"Every morning I get up very early so I will have plenty of time to look in the mirror and see just how beautiful I am; then I come to your house. Every day I have been committing so many sins!"

Her boss said, "I already told you that this is just a mistake. Do not worry about it. If you really want to solve your problem, then do exactly what I have suggested."

She said, "All right. Tomorrow I shall try."

The following morning, the maidservant looked in the mirror and thought of her boss. Then she saw an old face, with wrinkled skin and no hair. She said to herself, "This is terrible! I do not want to see this!"

When she got to work, the maidservant said, "Boss! Boss! You have saved me! Today I did not spend any time in front of the mirror. On other days I usually spend at least half an hour appreciating my beauty. Today, as soon as I looked in the mirror, I was able to see you. Then I lost all my inspiration to look in the mirror. While we are here together, I see how kind, compassionate and loving you are. But while I was looking in the mirror, I did not like what I saw at all!"

The boss said, "I am so happy. I have given you the medicine. Every day, when you look in the mirror, I will solve your problem. You will see me there — just how ugly I am — and you will not have to waste your precious time. You will definitely be able to fully overcome your vanity."

The Loving God And The Stolen Mangoes

Once there was a priest who had an orchard on his land. He had many trees bearing all kinds of fruits. The priest liked one particular tree very much, a mango tree. He used to give away mangoes to all his friends, and everyone felt that he was extremely kind-hearted.

Some mischievous boys had started stealing the ripe mangoes, and this made the priest so sad. One day he put a large note on the tree in bold letters: "The loving God sees everything." He thought that from then on his problem would be solved. The culprits would realise that God was watching them steal and then they would stop. The priest was certain that the following day all his ripe mangoes would still be there.

Unfortunately, the next day as on previous days, the boys again stole all the ripe mangoes. The priest could see from a distance that all his ripe mangoes were gone. He was so miserable. Then he came very close to the tree. Where he had previously written, "The loving God sees everything," the priest saw that underneath someone had written: "The loving God does not punish anybody."

A Drop Of Kindness Becomes The Sea

There was once a very, very old man who was extremely poor. He could not find work as, at that time, there was a serious problem with unemployment. Even young people could not find jobs. Who would give a job to an old man?

He said to himself, "I am unemployed and have only one dollar left." Then he heard that somebody had a job for an old man — to be a gatekeeper. The person said that only an old man would be hired for this job and that the person would have to do next to nothing. It was the perfect job for an old man. The old man was so hopeful.

At that moment, a beggar came by and asked the old man for some money. The old man thought, "Tomorrow I have to look for a job. But now this beggar is here. What am I going to do?"

The old man could see from the beggar's face and eyes that he was famished. The old man thought, "All right. What can I do?" He gave half his dollar to the beggar saying, "Let us share equally. I am giving you half of my money, and I am keeping the other half."

The gatekeeper job that the old man was applying for was quite far from his house, so he took the bus. He thought he could ride the bus all the way there. Alas, the old man had gone only half-way, when the bus driver said, "Your ride is over here. Now you have to get off, because you only paid fifty cents." He had no more money, because he had given the beggar fifty cents the day before.

The old man started walking and walking. The place was still quite far away. His mind was saying, "Why did I give away my money to the beggar?" But his heart was very happy saying, "With my little money, just fifty cents, perhaps the beggar was able to get a sandwich." The mind said he did the wrong thing and heart said he did the right thing. A very nice argument was going on between the old man's mind and heart.

Just then, a middle-aged man approached the old man and said, "You are so old and so tired. What are you doing? You seem so exhausted; why are you walking? Please come and rest inside my house."

The old man said, "No. No. I have to go. I am looking for a job. Somebody told me that there is a gatekeeper job and they are looking for an old person to do it. That is why I am going there. I have such a long way still to go."

The other man said, "No! You do not have to go anywhere else. Come to my house. I will give you a job. But first, please eat. Every day you will come to my house and you will do a very simple job. By the way, where do you live?"

"I live quite far away from here."

"Do you have any relatives?"

"No, I do not have any relatives."

"Then my house is yours. You stay here. You are free to do whatever you want to do. You become the boss and keep the house clean in your own way. I have a big family, and I am taking you as our grandfather."

The old man said to his new boss, "Yesterday I gave fifty cents to a very poor man. I showed just a little kindness to a poor beggar. Today you have given me the whole world. You are inundating me with a sea of kindness, affection and love."

The Little Girl's Gift To God

A little girl said to her mother, "Christmas is coming, Mother. Every year at Christmas time Santa Claus gives us so many gifts. Now please tell me, where does he get all his gifts for the children?"

The mother said, "Santa Claus gets them all from God."

The little girl said, "From God? Mother, that means we must also give something to God."

The mother replied, "God does not need anything."

"How can that be?" the girl asked. "God gives gifts to Santa Claus and Santa Claus gives us everything. But you have taught me that when we get something from someone, we should give something to them in return. Since God is giving us so much, we should give something to God."

The mother said, "What can we do? How can we give anything to God? We do not see Him. But God definitely gives everything to Santa Claus for the children."

"Mother, I have an idea! You told me that God is on the altar in the church. I want to go and give a present to God. I have only one dollar, and this dollar I want to give to God."

"Very good," replied her mother.

The daughter added, "I am going to the church now to put this dollar on the altar. I am sure God will come and take my money. Tomorrow morning I will check to see if He has taken my dollar."

The mother said, "Definitely! We do not see God, but He sees us. After you put your dollar on the altar, God will come and He will bless you secretly tonight with all His Love and Affection. Then God will take the dollar with Him."

The little girl put her dollar on the altar. The following morning, she went happily and eagerly to the church to see if God had taken her dollar.

The mother was so worried. "What shall I do?" She was praying to God, "Somebody has to take the money away. Otherwise my child will be unhappy and displeased, because she will think You are not accepting her money! She gets so many things from Santa Claus, and Santa Claus gets everything from You. She really wants You to accept her small love offering." The mother was extremely worried. She was praying and praying.

God answered the mother's prayers and came in the form of a priest. Earlier that morning, the priest saw the altar and was so surprised. He asked himself, "Who has placed a dollar here on the altar at this hour?" The priest took the dollar and put it in the church's love offering box.

The mother brought her daughter to church and the little girl started jumping with joy when she saw that God had come and taken away her dollar. The mother said to her daughter, "I told you! We do not see God, but He definitely listens to our prayers. You gave your dollar to God and He came and took it. God is very pleased with you and very proud of you."

Inwardly, the mother had been dying with worries and anxieties. But God did listen to her prayers. The child was so happy that God, Himself, came to take her gift.

The Tie And The Handkerchief

One day a tie and a handkerchief were having an unfortunate dispute. Although the handkerchief did not want to argue, the tie did.

The tie told the handkerchief, "You are useless! You just hide in somebody's pocket, but I show the world how great I am. I make the person very great! I am so dignified, but you are only hiding! The whole world admires me, and you are so insignificant!"

The handkerchief said, "What you are saying makes me so sad. God made me humble. When people shed tears, I wipe them away. People need me and I am so happy to be of service to them. When people are sweating, they take me out of their pockets to wipe their brow. When they cough, they use me. Then again, when they are finished with me, they put me back. I want to be always a humble servitor."

The tie replied, "You are truly useless! Look at how people appreciate and admire me. As soon as someone wears me, I get the whole world's admiration. I cannot imagine how you can ever be happy."

The handkerchief replied, "I am serving in my own humble, modest way. Yes, I am very happy. If you are happy by drawing attention from the world, then please be happy in your way."

"I am telling you once again, you are worse than useless!" proclaimed the tie.

At that very moment God appeared before them. The tie started telling God, "How great I am! Everyone admires me."

The handkerchief said, "Lord, I am so grateful that you have allowed me to be of service by wiping people's tears, and helping them when they are sweating and coughing. You have given me this golden opportunity to serve You, my Lord. I am so grateful."

The tie was very proud! "I am so great! I draw the whole world's attention."

The tie added, "God, tell us! Who is more important — me or this utterly insignificant handkerchief?"

God said, "My son, my handkerchief is infinitely more important, because he is humble. I created the world for humble service. This is what my handkerchief is doing; whereas, you are not serving humanity. You are only showing off. In my judgement, a handkerchief is infinitely more important than a tie. I want everybody to serve My creation with utmost humility."

The Doctor's Hopeful Assistants

A doctor was looking for an assistant, and many people were coming to him to apply for the job. He asked each person, "What can you do?"

Then the doctor asked each person, "What is your goal?"

The first man said, "If I make money, I will get married and buy a big house for my family."

Another man answered, "My goal is to make lots of money and retire as soon as I can."

The third man said, "I want to save money, so that I can get married and spend lots of money on my wife to keep her always happy."

Each applicant said what he wanted to do and eventually become. The doctor was not at all pleased with any of the applicants. He said, "All right. I will call you if I need you." Then he sent them away.

One day a very young man came to the doctor. The doctor said to him, "What are you doing here? You are not mature enough to be my assistant. You are so young. What do you know about medicine?"

He said, "I know nothing."

"Then why are you looking for a job here?"

"I am looking for a job, because I need money badly. I hope that you will teach me, and that I will be able to please you. Then you will give me some money. That is all I need."

The doctor said, "Now tell me, what is your goal?"

He said, "My goal is like yours — exactly like yours."

"What? Your goal is like mine? You are such a young fellow! What kind of audacity is that?"

He said, "No, I am giving you my frank answer. You may not give me the job, but the truth is that your goal is my goal."

"All right! Tell me! What is our goal?"

"Above your door, you have written, 'Go forward.' My goal is also, 'Go forward. Go forward.' We have exactly the same goal."

The doctor was so pleased! He said, "I will take care of you and teach you everything. I will make you my assistant. I will give you everything. You are the only person who has the same goal as I do: 'Go forward.'" The doctor immediately gave the young man the job.

The Rich Businessman Makes Everyone Happy

Once there was a businessman who was extremely rich. In the evening of his life, when he was very old, he said, "I have so much money! I do not have any relatives. I have no children as I never married. The best thing is for me to give away my money in just the right way."

The man made an announcement stating, "Whoever can show me proof that he owes money to someone can come to me next Saturday. I will pay all of that person's debts. I do not want anybody to remain indebted to anyone else."

The following Saturday arrived. All day long, the businessman was waiting, but no one came. As the day was ending, the businessman said, "I am so surprised and so happy that nobody is in debt! I thought that so many people owed so much money that they could not pay. But today nobody has come."

Late in the evening, an old man came by to ask the businessman to pay his debts. The businessman asked, "Can you prove to me that you owe money?"

The old man replied, "Yes, definitely. A few months ago, I borrowed money from a friend of mine for my daughter's marriage. I can prove that I have taken a loan. Now I am very old. I do hope that, before I die, I will be able to keep my promise and repay my friend."

The businessman said, "Do not worry! I will give you the money. Please take from me the money that you owe. You are such an honest man! Your daughter is married and in the future she will have children. I am giving you extra money for your daughter and grandchildren. Please take the money from me now." The old man could not believe that such a kind-hearted man existed on earth! He thanked the businessman profusely. The old man got the money to pay back his loan, plus more money for his daughter and future grandchildren. He was very happy and grateful.

Next a young girl came to the businessman. She was crying and crying. He said, "My God! What has happened?"

She answered, "My father is in the hospital, and I had to borrow a very large sum of money for his treatment."

"Can you prove it?" he asked.

"Yes, I can. Here are the loan papers that I signed. You can see that I have borrowed so much money. I do not know how I will be able to pay it back. You have said that you will give money to anybody who has taken a loan, but I do not know if it is really true."

The businessman said, "You do not have to worry! You have shown me that you owe money. I am giving you the money."

The girl was beaming with joy.

The businessman said, "Wait! Something else I want to tell you. Two things may happen. Your father is an old man. In the hospital, he may die, or else he will come back home. If he dies, you will need money for the funeral. If your father is cured and comes back home, you will have to take care of him. I am giving you more money. No matter what happens to your father, you will need this money."

The young girl was so deeply moved that she began shedding tears of gratitude.

The following day, many people heard about the good fortune of the old man and the young girl. Previously, nobody believed the businessman. When people came to know that he was keeping his promise, hundreds of people flocked to him.

The businessman said, "Before, you did not believe me. Now, after seeing what others received, you do believe me. I do not want to keep my promise to you people!"

A short while later, however, he changed his mind and said, "On second thought, human beings never trust other people. I will keep my promise."

The businessman gave money to each and every person who came. All the people were showing their papers and telling him their sad stories. To each he gave the money they needed, plus a little more. The people were so happy!

The businessman said, "I have made so many people happy, and I am getting so much joy from their happiness. Now I am renouncing the world. All these people depended on me, and I helped them. From now on, I shall depend only on God. I know that He will lovingly and perfectly fulfil all my needs, now and forever."

Married To God

A nun came up to a priest and said, "Father, Father, I need your advice please. I have a question!"

The priest said most affectionately, "All right. Please ask me your question."

The nun asked, "Father, can a priest marry?"

The priest replied, "Why not?"

The nun was astonished. "How can a priest marry?"

"You see, I am a priest. To marry means what? When you love someone, you marry that person. I love myself. In fact, I love myself more than I love anybody else, so I am married to myself. Again, the real in me is Jesus Christ, so I am married to Him. Since I am married to myself and I am married to God, I am telling you that a priest can definitely marry!"

Then the priest asked the nun, "What about you? Do you want to get married?"

She said, "No, Father. You have taught me that I am already married to the Saviour Christ, so I do not want to get married again."

Paul Proposes And Linda Disposes

One night there was a wild party. Many young boys and girls had fun drinking and dancing. The following day one of the boys wrote:

Dear Linda,

Last night I proposed to you, but I cannot remember whether you said "yes" or "no."

Linda wrote back to the boy:

Dear Paul,

I do not remember who proposed to me, but I do remember that I said "no."

In life, when we pray to God intensely, we always think that God will fulfil our desires. But we never think that the fulfilment of our desires can be disastrous. We pray to God for anything that we feel like having. But if we pray to God for our desire-fulfilment, it is best if we add, "God, if it is Your Will, please give me what I am praying for."

In the ordinary life, we always want to possess someone or something. The boy was in love, but the girl was not; she rejected him. In the case of spiritual people, when we pray to God for something, we have to know that if God does not fulfil our desires, it is for our own progress and for the betterment of our life. In the ordinary life, if a desire is not fulfilled, we feel doomed, because we feel our desire must be fulfilled in our own way. But, in the spiritual life, aspiration-fulfilment has to take place in God's own Way.

We are eager, eager, eager. In the ordinary life, if our desire is not fulfilled, we feel doomed. But in the spiritual life, if our desire is not fulfilled, we should have the kind of eagerness that says, "I am eager to have my desire fulfilled. I am dying to have it fulfilled. But please give me the capacity to accept Your Will in Your own Way so that I will have real joy."

Not For Ten Million Dollars

One day a tourist was walking along the streets of Calcutta. The street he was walking on was dirty and filthy. The tourist saw a leper who was in severe pain. Because of the many infected sores all over his body, the leper had a putrid smell. A nun was dressing his wounds with utmost love and affection.

Disgusted, the tourist said to the nun, "Sister, I would not do this kind of thing even if someone gave me ten million dollars!"

The nun replied, "Yes, I believe you. You would not do this for ten million dollars. I also would not do this for ten million dollars. I am doing this only for a little Smile from my Beloved Lord Supreme."

The Human Explorer And The Divine Discoverer

Our human life is all uncertainty. Columbus did not know where he was going; when he landed, he did not know where he was. What is more, Columbus did not have his own capital; he did everything with borrowed money.

In the spiritual life also, when we start to aspire, we usually do not know where we are. We do not know where we are going. And when we reach a place, we again do not know where we have arrived.

At the same time, it will help us greatly in our spiritual life if we know a little more about our divine journey. We are starting our pilgrimage inside God's Heart. Then we are entering into God's Eye. From God's Eye, we are going into God's entire universe. After watching the universe and seeing God's entire creation, we are coming back again into His Eye. Finally, we are entering once again into His Heart, our only Home.

The Tears Of The Sinner

A spiritual man and his friend, plus an atheist and a sinner, were all in a boat on an excursion. All of a sudden, a terrible storm rose up from the ocean, and threatened to capsize the boat. The spiritual man folded his hands and started praying to God. His friend was watching him pray. The atheist, who did not believe in God, knelt down and started praying to God, most soulfully, to save their lives.

The spiritual man looked at the sinner and said to him, "Hide! Hide! If God sees you, He will be displeased with all of us, and He will allow the boat to sink. You must hide!"

The atheist, who was praying most soulfully, stopped and said, "No! No! God will come to save us only because of the sinner. I can see that the sinner's eyes are full of tears. But what are you doing? You are a spiritual man, true, but you are just showing off. You are praying to God, which you do every day. In your prayer, there is no sincerity, intensity or humility. Your friend is useless. He is just watching you and is not at all involved."

The atheist continued, "I myself do not believe in God. But at this moment, who can save me, if not God? God has entered into my life because I am afraid that I am going to die soon. True, the sinner has committed many, many sins. He has done many wrong things. But just look at him! I clearly see that with all his heart's tears, he is praying to God for forgiveness. If we are saved, it will be all because of his tears."

At that moment, the storm subsided and the boat started sailing smoothly once again. The tears of the sinner saved all their lives.

We Need Politicians Here!

Three men died on the same day at the same time: the Pope, a cardinal and a politician. St Peter showed the Pope and the cardinal a tiny, but cozy place. The politician got a very beautiful palace.

Most reverentially, the Pope and the cardinal asked St Peter, "Can you please tell us how it is that the politician has such a big palace, full of comfort and light, while our little room is comfortable, but it is so small and dark. We have done so much for humanity; all along we have been praying and praying to the Saviour. Yet, this politician has told lies his entire life; he has never uttered even one truth!"

St Peter said, "Look here! We have popes. We have cardinals. But we do not have politicians in Heaven. We need politicians badly. Indeed, he is our first politician; that is why we are giving him a palace. We have no need for more popes or cardinals. Heaven needs a few politicians, because we want to have all kinds of human beings here."

This means that Heaven is for all. Heaven is not only for popes and cardinals. The heart of Heaven is so large that it can easily accommodate everybody. This is the truth.

Heaven And Hell

A Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, a Protestant minister and a taxi driver all died on the same day at the same hour. They all went to the Gates of Heaven and saw St Peter.

The three religious men said, "How can we be at the Gates of Heaven with this silly taxi driver? What has he done? We have prayed and we have done so many good things. We have consoled people. We have lifted the consciousness of countless people. How can this silly taxi driver possibly be with us?"

St Peter said, "You have only talked about hell in your sermons. But you could never show what hell looks like. You told people that hell is so frightening, that it is such a dark place and all that. But while driving very fast, the taxi driver has shown hell to so many people. He has nearly taken away his passengers' lives. By terrifying people with his fast and careless driving, this taxi driver was able to give them the direct experience of hell. You people could only talk about hell. He actually took them there! To me he is superior. He rightly deserves to be in Heaven."

Alexander The Great And Alexander The Lazy

Alexander the Great had a soldier in his army who was unthinkably lazy. Everybody hated him because he was so dull, and he was always wasting time with his laziness. Unfortunately, he had the same name as Alexander the Great. Many people complained about him to the king.

One day the soldiers brought the lazy Alexander before their king. They said, "This man has the name Alexander. You are our beloved king; you are our supreme emperor. When we say your name, Alexander, we are filled with tremendous love, joy, respect and inspiration. But when we call him Alexander, all our joy and inspiration go away. Can you not get rid of him?"

Alexander the Great said, "Let me give him one more chance."

The king said to the man, "Either be active and dynamic, or I am taking away your name. You will have to find another name."

The man said, "Oh no, no! I cannot let this happen."

"I cannot allow you to have my name. In every way, you are such a lazy and useless fellow. From now on, you must immediately become active and dynamic," so said Alexander the Great.

To others' greatest surprise, the man immediately became full of life energy. His dynamism even surpassed that of all the other soldiers. They could not believe how enthusiastic and dynamic he became. This was all because Alexander the Great was about to take away his name.

In the spiritual life, we want to be God's divinely chosen children. We must be very, very careful of the way in which we use God's Name. If we are not totally sincere, earnest and disciplined, then we are not worthy of repeating God's Name.

God will not tell us that He will take away our names, or even that He will not give us a human incarnation. God will only say, "I gave you a human incarnation to be My representative on earth. But you are only wasting your time."

Alexander the Great, being human, did not have the patience to see the perfection of the man. He used his impatience and his authority successfully. In God's case, He has infinite Patience. But just because God uses infinite Patience, we must not misuse His Compassion. We also should try to be worthy of God's Name, the way that particular soldier became so eager to be worthy of Alexander's name.

To be worthy of God's Love, Affection, Fondness, Compassion and Blessings, we must pray and meditate. We must love and serve God most intensely. Then we shall not lose our precious God-heritage.

Relaxation And The Ants

A doctor said to his patient, "How am I going to cure you if you do not listen to me? You must not work so hard. I am asking you to relax and take some time off for vacation. Then only will I be able to cure you."

The patient said, "Nonsense! I am an important and very busy executive. I have no time! I am always busy."

The doctor replied, "You idiot! Have you ever seen an ant? Ants are always busy, busy. Is there any fleeting second when ants take rest? But again, ants enjoy picnics. Wherever there is a picnic, ants are always there! The ants work hard every day; but if there is a picnic, you will see that all the ants have come for relaxation."

We can learn from the ants that we have to work very hard in life. But again, relaxation is of paramount importance to inundate us with new freshness, new hope and new promise. Otherwise, if we work very, very hard day in and day out, there are many things that we will not accomplish. We must also take relaxation seriously. Even with a machine, if we use the machine continuously and do not allow the machine to rest for a couple of hours, then the machine will revolt and break down. The body is also a machine. If this machine does not get some rest after working vigorously for quite a few hours, then the body will collapse.

In every field of life, we shall do everything diligently for hours and hours. Then we need to rest and energise ourselves with new inspiration. Life needs both activity and rest. They both must go together hand in hand. Both hard work and relaxation are absolutely necessary.

With one leg we cannot walk. Activity is one leg and rest is another leg. Relaxation does not mean the negation of work. Relaxation is absolutely needed when we have played our role in our multifarious activities.

Again, relaxation is totally different from luxury or pleasure. Often we do not work for even five minutes and we still want to enjoy pleasure. But after working for eight hours, the body does need a little rest. Relaxation is also a part of God's creation. Relaxation is complementary to our hard work; it fills us with a new hope and a new promise.

The Doctor's Loving Service

There was a doctor who always treated the poor free of charge. He always went to their homes and offered them his heart's purest love, concern and care.

Once a rich man was sick and said to the doctor, "Please tell me, how much will it cost for you to take care of me? I will pay you $10,000 for the treatment."

The doctor said, "$10,000? I am not the right doctor for you. You can go to another doctor who will charge you $10,000. I am for the poor. I take care of poor patients, not rich patients."

The rich man said, "But I have heard that on rare occasions, when rich people are really suffering, you agree to treat them out of your compassion and concern."

"Yes, that is true. But I will not take any money from you! In that case, do you still want me to treat you?"

The rich man answered, "I am coming to your place for you to examine me."

The doctor said, "To my place? Whenever people are in trouble, I go to them. I do not want to compel you to come to my place just because you are in trouble. I do not want to show off. I will feel miserable if you come to me, because I will not be able to show you all my love and concern. I cannot assure you that I will be able to cure you, but I am coming to your place free of charge."

The doctor went to the rich man's house and cured him. He did not accept even a penny for treating the rich man.

The Man With No Enemies

One day a priest gave a wonderful sermon. Many, many people were in church to hear it. The priest said, "No matter how great you are and no matter how good you are, you will have enemies. In this world, there is not a single person who has no enemies." The priest added, "Some people have more enemies, while others have fewer enemies. But nobody can claim to have no enemies."

Everybody remained silent, because they felt it was absolutely true. Then one very old man stood up and said, "I have no enemies!"

Everybody began to criticise him. They said, "Do you have to tell such a lie even at your age?"

Even the priest started scolding the old man. "This is yet another sin you have committed! You have committed so many sins in this lifetime. By saying that you have no enemy, you have added yet one more sin at this ripe old age."

The old man said to the priest, "Father, how do you know that I am not telling you the truth?" He insisted, "I am telling the truth. I did have many, many enemies, but I have outlived all of them! They are all dead now. I have no enemies left."

Now everyone was silent. They all knew that the old man was telling the truth.

In the spiritual life, we have many enemies. Jealousy, insecurity, insincerity and impurity are all our enemies. If we live on earth for many years, then we get the golden opportunity to pray and meditate in order to conquer all of these enemies. Again, old age is not a guarantee. Even if we live a long life, we need to also pray and meditate in order to conquer our undivine qualities in this lifetime. In this way, old age can be a very special opportunity and a veritable blessing.

The Spiritual Overdose

A Hindu family and a Muslim family were very close to each other. A daughter from the Hindu family was in love with a son from the Muslim family. Usually it is frowned upon for Hindus and Muslims to marry. But some broad-minded people allow this. World-famous leaders who are Hindu or Muslim often say that the two faiths are one, but when their dearest ones want to marry someone from the other religion, usually they are one hundred per cent against it.

The members of the Hindu family came forward with an excellent suggestion: "Because our children are such close friends, our daughter can study the Koran and your son can study the Bhagavad Gita. In this way each will become familiar with the other's religion, and they will be able to live together peacefully."

The Hindu daughter began to study the Koran, but without actually paying any attention. The Muslim son began to study the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures. He was studying very sincerely and this was giving him tremendous joy. While reading the spiritual books and thinking of the Vedic seers, he was deeply moved. He said to himself, "I want to be a spiritual person. I do not want to get married. I do not want to be entangled by earthly affairs and family life."

One morning, the Hindu daughter was crying and crying. Her father asked, "What is wrong? Did you quarrel with your future husband?"

"No, no, no!" she replied.

"Then why are you crying?"

"Father, you have given him an overdose!" she said. "At your suggestion, he studied our Hindu scriptures so seriously that now he says he does not want to marry me. He has decided to dedicate his life to God." She was crying inconsolably and added, "In my case, I was not paying any attention while studying the Muslim sacred books. I was only interested in having him as my husband."

We have no idea at what point God's Hour will strike for someone to turn towards God. Sometimes we start with curiosity. But God may want us to go beyond curiosity. Here is the proof. At first the Muslim son was curious to see what the Hindu scriptures had to offer him. He got so much inspiration from the sacred books that he wanted only to be absorbed in prayer and meditation. He went farther and deeper, and found, in the Hindu religion, the message of renunciation. He renounced his future wife and he renounced the world. He said, "I want to give my life to God."

The Useless Yoga Teacher And The Useless Priest

One day a yoga teacher came to a priest and said, "Father, Father, forgive me."

The priest said, "What have you done? What kind of sin have you committed?"

The lady said, "Father, I am a yoga teacher. I studied yoga in the Hindu way, and then I also started teaching people yoga, and joined a Hindu Master. This Master had students from all faiths — Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Can you imagine! We were always taught that there is only one God. For this Master, there are so many gods. I had to pray to the founders of all faiths."

The priest asked, "Did the Master tell you to pray to the founders of all faiths?"

"He did not say that directly but implied it, because he has students from all faiths. Yet Christ said, 'I am the Way. I am the Goal.' I have made such a serious blunder and committed such a terrible sin by leaving Christianity."

The priest said, "All right. I forgive you, but do not commit this kind of sin again."

How useless both the yoga teacher and the priest were! The priest was telling the teacher to stick to her Christianity and not to commit this sin again. Is it a sin to have a universal heart that sees truth and goodness at the core of all faiths?

Devoured By His Own Message

Ten thousand years ago, there was a church that had not been painted for many years. It did not look nice at all. The priest decided to have the church painted, so he asked the painter, "How much will it cost to paint the entire church?"

The painter answered, "It will take me quite a few hours, practically all day to paint the whole church. Father, I would like to have only seventy dollars."

The priest said, "All right. Seventy dollars I am giving you, but you have to buy the paint also."

"I have to buy the paint also?" asked the painter.

"Yes. But the next time I give a sermon, I will pay very special attention to you. You will easily be able to go to Heaven because I will clear your path."

The painter was very pleased. He bought a very small quantity of paint, diluted it with lots of water, and started painting the church.

After half an hour, there was a thunderstorm, and it rained very heavily. The rain washed away everything. Then the priest got mad. He said to the painter, "Why did you have to paint now? Did you not know that there would be a storm?"

The painter answered, "How could I know? I am only a painter."

The priest said, "I am not going to give you any more money. With the money that I already gave you, you have to paint the entire church."

The poor fellow said, "All right. What can I do?"

The priest answered, "I am reminding you again that if you do a very good job, I will bring you very special blessings from Heaven. You will become prosperous."

The painter said, "All right! I am so happy that I will become prosperous."

The man bought new paint, but this time he did not dilute it. He was doing a very good job of painting the church. Unfortunately, the church was so big that he could not cover even one-eighth of the church with the paint he had bought.

The priest saw what was happening and exclaimed, "You are such a rogue! I gave you seventy dollars. Perhaps you are planning on telling me that you could not finish your work, so that tomorrow again you will have to paint. In this way, you will take several days to paint. Then every day I will have to give you seventy dollars. I know that is what you are planning. But I am not going to give you any more money. With the seventy dollars that I already gave you, you have to paint the whole church! Otherwise, I will not pay any attention to you. I will not bring anything from Heaven for you."

The poor man had already spent all the money on paint. This paint was only enough to cover a small part of the church. The painter said, "What am I going to do? I have no money. To please the priest, I have worked so hard for one full day. Tomorrow will be my second day, and the priest will not give me any more money."

That night the painter was praying to God. He said, "God, save me! Save me!"

God said, "I will save you. Do not worry."

The following day, the painter was returning to paint the church. While walking to the church, he saw a bundle of money. He picked up the bundle and counted three thousand dollars in cash. The painter looked around here and there to see if he could spot the person who had lost the money. He said to himself, "I must not take so much cash. Somebody has lost this money. Let me go to the police station."

Before he reached the police station, he thought, "Let me go first and give the priest the very good news. The church is near the police station, and the priest will be so happy that I have found so much money. I will tell the priest that I am going to hand over all the money to the police and let them take care of it."

The painter went to the priest and told him what had happened. The priest said, "You fool! Last night you prayed to God. That is why God gave you the money. Why do you have to give the money to the police?"

He said, "I prayed to God to save me, but then God gave me so much money! How can I keep this money? It is not mine. If it had been a few dollars, I could have taken it. But three thousand dollars I cannot keep. The person who has lost this money will feel miserable."

"That may be true, but how can you trust the police?" the priest replied. "How do you know that the police will give the money back to the person who lost it? If you go to the police station, the policemen can easily keep it for themselves."

The priest added, "The best thing to do is to put the money on the altar. Tomorrow God will illumine us. God will tell us what to do with the money."

The painter agreed and put all the money on the altar. Then he asked, "But what about painting the church?"

The priest said, "You do not need to paint today. Please come back tomorrow to paint." Then the painter and the priest both went home.

The following day, the painter came to the church and saw that the priest was not there. Alas, there was no money on the altar! The painter was telling everyone, "The priest has stolen the three thousand dollars that he told me to put on the altar!"

The priest was not to be found anywhere. Several days later, he appeared. Everyone asked him what had happened to the money. The priest said, "I have not taken the money! I left the money on the altar while the painter was watching. The following morning when I came back to the church, the money was gone! That is why I was so shocked and miserable! How can people come to God's House and steal money? No, I have not taken the money. This money has been stolen by someone else!"

The painter felt so sad and mad at what the priest was doing. Not only did he steal the money, but now he was very nicely trying to cover everything up.

A few minutes later, the priest's nephew came in and whispered something to his uncle.

"What are you whispering?" asked the painter. "Can you not tell me?"

The innocent boy said, "My uncle, the priest, is so kind to me. He has given me so much money! I am telling him how grateful I am to him."

The painter said, "I am going to tell the police everything that has happened. I am definitely not going to paint the church. People say that God is inside everybody's heart. I will have to find God inside my heart and not inside this church!"

Many people steal money. But they are usually ordinary people, not priests. Priests are supposed to save us from our sins. We go to priests to talk about forgiveness, about truth and about God. Ordinary people can do anything, but we do not expect priests to act like that. Perhaps the priest spoke so much about sin, that he became a victim to it. The priest was devoured by his own message of sin!

Many Ways To Pray

There are so many ways to pray to God.

One day three spiritual seekers were chatting together. One seeker said, "I pray to God with folded hands. When I fold my hands, I feel that God is really listening to me."

The second seeker said, "That does not work for me. In my case, my prayer works only when I kneel down. When I kneel down and pray with folded hands, then God listens. Otherwise, when I pray standing, or seated with folded hands, God does not pay any attention."

The third seeker added, "The way you two are praying may be correct for you, but it is definitely not right for me. God listens to my prayers only when I lie down and prostrate myself in front of the altar with my hands folded and my face flat on the ground."

While the spiritual seekers were chatting, a man from the phone company came to fix the telephone. The repairman overheard their conversation and said, "You people are praying in your own way, but my way is far better."

The seekers laughed at the man. They thought to themselves, "What does a silly repairman know?"

The man began explaining how he liked to pray. "One day I climbed up a telephone pole. All of a sudden, my neck got entangled and I was hanging with my legs up in the air and my head facing downwards. It was only a matter of seconds before I would fall and break my head and back. At that time, I screamed, 'Lord! Lord! Save me! Save me!' Immediately someone from above pulled me up, I got my balance and then came down. So my way of praying is the best way."

An old man who was the grandfather of one of the seekers had been listening to everything. He came forward and said, "You people are all well-educated. You are fighting over which way is the best way to pray: with folded hands, kneeling down, lying down prostrated before the altar or even hanging by your feet. You people are all useless! Do you not know the true meaning of prayer?"

One of the seekers said with much sarcasm, "Yes, we do know. If you want, we can teach you how to pray. You are so old that by now you have forgotten how to pray!"

The old man became furious. He said, "Listen to me! All of you are praying to God, 'Give me this! Give me that!' You are judging how effective your prayer is by how much you get from God after you pray. That prayer is not true prayer. From now on, when you pray, only search for God — for God's Truth, God's Light, God's Peace and God's Grace. Real prayer is to search for God, and not to beg from God."

Be Careful Whom You Make Fun Of

A little boy was a student in primary school. One day he arrived at school just a little bit late. When he reached his classroom, his teacher said to him, "Tommy, Tommy, why do you come to class without combing your hair? You look so untidy. I could say many other things, but untidy is the only thing I will say right now."

The students all started laughing. The teacher asked the little boy, "Do you not have a comb?"

He said, "No! I do not."

"Then why did you not borrow one from your father?" she asked.

He answered, "No hair!"

Immediately, all the children in the classroom burst out laughing, because the boy's father had no hair. They all started taunting the boy because his father was bald. They were repeating over and over, "You have a bald-headed father! You have a bald-headed father! Your father is bald, bald, bald!"

The teacher was saying, "Keep quiet! Keep quiet!" But the children were not listening to her at all. It took fifteen minutes for the teacher to bring the students under control. They were all laughing very loudly, and she could not teach them a thing.

Tommy went home. He was very sad and disturbed that his classmates had all made such fun of him because his father was bald. Tommy told his mother everything, and she got furious. That night, Tommy's father came home late from work. When he heard what had happened, he also got furious. Both Tommy's mother and father wanted to go to the school and insult the teacher together.

Then the father said to his wife, "Let me go alone. I will go and badly insult the teacher myself. It is better for you to remain at home, as you may complicate everything. "

The mother asked, "If she does not allow you to come into the room, what will you do?"

He replied, "Do I care? I am so strong!"

The father went to the classroom, and he started screaming at the teacher for having insulted his son so badly the previous day. The teacher immediately phoned the main office to send the guard to her classroom. The guard, who was very large and strong, came and locked the father's arms behind his back.

The father continued screaming at the teacher, "Yesterday my son was ridiculed by his classmates because of you. I hold you fully responsible!"

The teacher responded, "It is all your fault. You parents do not teach your son the proper way to dress or to take care of himself. I can see that it is all your wife's fault that he does not even comb his hair."

The father became even more furious. "Now you are insulting my wife!" he fumed. When Tommy saw how angry at the teacher his father was, he went up and started pinching her. Then all of the students joined Tommy. The children all started pinching the teacher and making fun of her.

The teacher was shocked! She said, "Children, how is it possible that just yesterday you were making fun of this boy? You were teasing him because his father has no hair. Now you have joined him and his father in harassing me!"

How easily children can change! That day, all the children fully sympathised with the little boy and took his side, even though they had ridiculed him the previous day. That is why they pinched the teacher and made fun of her. The children said to the teacher, "You are the culprit! Why did you ask him to comb his hair? If you had not asked him to comb his hair, nothing would have happened!"

The teacher came to learn that she must not allow the children to make fun of anyone; otherwise, she might be the one to be made fun of next. One must be very careful when dealing with children.

God Came Thrice

Once there was a tailor who was very, very old. One day he was praying and speaking to God. He said, "Some people say You are in Heaven. Some people say You are on earth. Some people say You are both in Heaven and on earth. In my case, I believe that You are both in Heaven and on earth. Because I will die soon, I wish to see You in both places. I am afraid I will depart from this earth without seeing You. I also have no idea whether or not I will even be able to see You in Heaven. I am praying for You to come and visit me just once while I am here on earth."

The tailor continued, "Lord, I have been an honest tailor. I have always charged people less than the actual price, and they are very grateful to me. I have done many good things. Lord, I beg of You, will you not come and see me, only once, before I die?"

The tailor heard an Inner Voice telling him, "Tomorrow I shall come and visit you."

The old man was thrilled. He continued praying and praying to God. Early the next morning, the man went to his shop. He was tailoring many things. The whole time, he was hoping that God would come to visit him.

An hour later, an old lady came to the tailor. She was very sad. She said, "The children are all stealing the mangoes from my tree. I cannot do anything by myself to stop them. Will you please come and help me?"

The tailor said, "I am an old man. Will the children listen to me?"

The old lady answered, "You are a man. Whether you are old or not, it will really help if you come."

The tailor said, "All right. I will go. But I will not be able to scold the children. They will laugh at me. I will advise them that stealing is not a good thing.'"

The tailor accompanied the old lady and spoke to the children. There were five or six boys. He said, "Stealing is not good. If you steal, one day you will be caught. Then you will be punished. It is better not to steal. If you want to have a few mangoes, I am sure the owner will give you a few. Please do not steal."

There was some magic touch in the tailor's voice. The children said, "We will not steal any more." They even returned to the old lady all the mangoes that they had stolen earlier.

The old lady was very pleased and gave back a few mangoes to each boy. She said to the tailor, "Now you should get a mango!"

He replied, "Oh, no, I should not receive a mango for such a little help. Furthermore, I do not care for mangoes."

The old lady was very grateful to the tailor. He was very happy.

The old man went back to his shop and started tailoring again. Then a young girl came into his shop and said, "My father is very, very sick. He has got fever and he is vomiting. I am just a little girl, and I do not know what to do for my father. I do not even know where the doctor is. Can you help me?"

The old man said, "Yes, I know where the doctor is. I will make sure that he comes to take care of your father." The old man went to the doctor's office and brought something for the daughter to give to her father. The tailor saw that the father was, indeed, very sick. He could also see that the father was very poor. So the old man gave the father some money to pay for the doctor's fees.

Then the tailor came back and started doing his work once again. Most devotedly, he was tailoring. A very, very old lady came and said to the tailor, "I will soon die."

The tailor replied, "Why do you have to worry? We will all die one day. You will see God in Heaven."

"I will see God in Heaven?" moaned the old lady, with total disbelief in her voice.

The tailor immediately said, "You do not believe in God? Go away from my shop if you do not believe in God!"

"I will believe in God only when someone gives me the money to buy my coffin before I die."

The old man said, "You want to buy your coffin? All right. I will take you to the place where you can select the coffin; I will buy it for you. Then will you believe in God?"

The old lady answered, "Certainly! I will believe in God if you buy me the coffin I select. Once I die, my relatives will use the coffin that I have chosen."

The tailor went with the old lady to the shop and bought the coffin she selected. Then he returned to his shop once again. He said, "What have I done? What have I done? First I went out to help the lady whose mangoes were being stolen. Then I went to help the little girl find a doctor for her father. Finally, I went to buy a coffin for the old lady. Since You always keep Your promise, I am sure you came here while I was gone."

The old man's Inner Voice said, "I am so grateful to you and so proud of you. I came to you in the form of the lady whose mangoes were being stolen. I came to you in the form of the little girl whose father was dying. I came to you in the form of the old lady who was desperately in need of a coffin. I told you that I would come and see you once today. Instead, I came to you three times, and three times you have pleased Me far beyond your imagination."

Short-Lived Matrimony

A wedding was taking place between a groom who was 45 years old and his bride who was only 20 years old. The relatives on the groom's side were extremely happy that he was getting such a young and beautiful bride. But the relatives on the bride's side were miserable, because there was such a large difference in their ages.

The bride loved her husband-to-be very, very much. She said, "Who cares for age? I am 20 years old and he is 45. But I love him dearly and he loves me dearly."

The marriage ceremony had just begun. Soon the priest would pronounce the groom and his bride to be husband and wife. A very close friend of the groom was also present at the wedding. He was an excellent humorist; everyone enjoyed this man's humour.

Just as the wedding ceremony was over, the humorist-friend whispered something into his friend's ear. He said, "You are so lucky that when you are 90, twice your current age, your wife will only be 40, which is double her present age. At age 90, you will have such a young and beautiful wife!" The groom smiled broadly.

The bride was very curious and anxious to know what the humorist was whispering. She thought, "Perhaps my husband's humorist-friend is whispering something very nice!"

The friend said, "If you do not mind, I can tell you what I just whispered to your husband. I said to him that he is now 45 years old. If you double his age, he will be 90; and if you double your age, you will be 40. This is a very large difference — 50 years. People will wonder how a 40-year-old woman can have a 90-year-old man as her husband!"

"What? What are you saying?" the girl exclaimed.

"I am just saying that if you double your ages, your husband will be 90 years old when you are only 40."

"He will be 90 years old and I will only be 40? At that age, he will not be able to help me in the slightest! I will have to take care of him when he is 90 years old? Now he is 45 and has money, property and so many valuable things. When he is much older, he will not be able to earn anything, and I will have to support him all by myself! Oh, no, I am not going to do that! Let us cancel the marriage immediately."

So the marriage ended because the young bride did not want to take care of her husband when he was 90 years old! The marriage lasted only for a few hours!

The Heart And Life Of Mother Teresa

One time when Mother Teresa was in America, she went to visit Mayor Koch of New York City. Mayor Koch was unwell, so she went to inquire about his health. It was a very hot day. Mayor Koch offered Mother Teresa lemonade and a few cookies. He drank and ate his share very quickly and then noticed that Mother Teresa had not even touched her drink or her cookies. He invited her to start eating.

Mother Teresa said, "I cannot eat. I cannot drink."

Mayor Koch asked, "Why?"

She replied, "In my poor Calcutta, there are many people who would have to pay their whole week's salary just to buy lemonade and cookies."

"But these cookies are the best in the whole world!" exclaimed Mayor Koch.

She replied, "All right, because they are the best, please wrap them up, and I will take them to Calcutta."

The Mayor said, "I shall definitely wrap them for you, but you do not have to take them to Calcutta. It is quite far and when you reach Calcutta, the cookies will no longer be in good condition. There are so many poor people in Harlem. Would you instead like to go to Harlem with the cookies?"

She answered, "That is a splendid idea. I am taking the cookies to Harlem. On principle, I do not eat at others' places. When I am about to eat, I see the faces of the hungry children of Calcutta. I am their Mother. How can I enjoy a delicious meal when my poor children are starving?"

This is, indeed, the heart and life of Mother Teresa.

A Great Pianist Performs On Short Notice

There was once a great pianist. Everybody appreciated and admired his soul-stirring performances. One day, the leaders of a well-known cultural society met to plan their fiftieth anniversary celebration. They decided to invite the pianist to give a concert for the occasion. Unfortunately, they decided too late. As it was just one day before the anniversary, they were afraid of asking him. He was such a great pianist. How could he possibly accept their invitation on such short notice? They felt miserable at the idea of inviting him at the eleventh hour. A friend of theirs, who was also a friend of the pianist, took up the challenge. He said, "Although it is so late, I will be able to arrange for him to perform for us. He is my dear friend."

The leaders of the society said, "We will be so grateful if you can bring your pianist-friend. We are all afraid of inviting him at the eleventh hour."

The friend said, "Do not worry. I will be able to bring the pianist."

This friend went to the great pianist and asked, "Will you do me a great favour?"

The pianist said, "You are my true friend, and you need a favour. Is there anything I will not do for you? If it is within my capacity, I will definitely do it."

The friend said, "I do not know if it is within your capacity or not, but I am a little embarrassed and quite hesitant to ask you for this special favour."

The pianist replied, "Please ask me. I will definitely grant you this favour."

He said, "My friends and I at our society would be extremely grateful if you could give a performance tomorrow. I took up the challenge to bring you to our event, at extremely short notice, and now I do not know whether I will be successful or not."

The pianist started laughing and laughing. "You are my dear friend. Will I not do you this favour? When it comes to friends, there is no 'short notice.' I will play any time. For others, I am not going to perform on such short notice. In your case, my friend, you can ask me to go anywhere, anytime. I have been practising for nine hours a day every day for the past 35 years, so I am always ready."

The friend said, "How I wish I had your determination!"

The pianist laughed and laughed. He said, "Determination is not my monopoly. God has given everyone the same determination. Only, in my case, I practise my determination. You do not practise your determination. If you practise every day, determination becomes natural. Because I have used my determination for so many years, it has become second nature to me. By using our determination regularly, we make it totally natural and spontaneous.

"Kindly tell your society that I am definitely accepting their invitation to perform tomorrow. I value my friends more than anything else in my life."

The Form Letter

There was once a king who was very proud of the ministers, advisers and other top-ranking leaders in his kingdom. In his view, each individual was blessed with a unique and most significant role to play. When one of his ministers or other top leaders had achieved something most extraordinary, the king wrote them a letter to express his appreciation for their great accomplishments.

One day the Minister of Transportation received such a letter of appreciation from the king. This young and promising minister was overjoyed. He had spent three full years working with his staff to construct a new and very strong bridge across a wide and raging river. The people in the kingdom were all admiration for his supreme achievement. He read and re-read his letter, getting more and more joy. He showed it to all his friends, and they were so happy for him.

Only one friend of the minister became jealous and said, "You have done a very good job, no doubt. I am glad you are happy, but I must tell you something important for your own sake. Many other ministers, and even some ordinary citizens, get letters like this from the king. So please, do not gloat over this and do not brag about this to anyone. After all, what you have received is not unique. It is actually just a form letter."

An old and trusted adviser to the king happened to overhear the minister's friend. Immediately, the adviser said to the so-called friend, "You fool, how many people have received such letters? You say that the king sends such letters to everybody. Have you ever received such a letter?"

The king's adviser then said to the minister, "You have done something most extraordinary! The king is extremely, extremely proud of you, and that is why he has written you such a glowing letter of appreciation. Not only the king but every citizen of the kingdom who cares for our progress-life is extremely proud of you.

"I am sure you know that our kingdom is very vast and has many, many people. Even if the king has written similar letters of appreciation to two hundred other people, your achievement is still most significant! You are one of a small number of human beings to have received such a letter from the king. It is like a team of volleyball players who have all played well and won their match. Every one of the players is thrilled to have won.

"Suppose you were in the army and you and your friends got the same promotion and got the same stripes to wear. Each of the soldiers takes pride in becoming a lieutenant, because each has made so much progress and has gone up one level. Jealous people will say, 'O so many people got the same thing. Therefore, it is of no value.'

"Similarly, when students get their university degrees, the students and their families are all delighted. Tens of thousands of people get a bachelor's degree every year, but all of those who graduate feel that they have done something truly great to earn a college degree.

"A third person who has not gone to college might say, 'What is so special about getting a bachelor's degree when so many people get degrees every year?' In fact, millions of people in the world are not getting a university degree. If you feel that your achievement is not unique, it is simply not true. For you, it is unique. For each and every person who receives a letter from the king, his achievement is unique. Again, for every individual who earns a university degree or wins a sports victory, his achievement is also unique."

The king's adviser continued, "In our annual soccer tournament, there is always one team that triumphs. Usually one or two players on the team are extremely good, and they contribute the most to the victory of the entire team. All the teammates are thrilled to win. Each and every player is appreciated and admired by everyone in the kingdom. The medal given to the best players on the winning team is exactly the same as the medal presented to all the other players on the team. Just because someone is the best player, does he get a larger medal? No! Does he get a diamond? No. The best player is so proud and so happy that his team won the title match. In fact, he is delighted to share the victory with his teammates, and they are all proud to be on the winning team. They are all amongst the top athletes of the entire kingdom.

"My dear minister-friend, even if you did receive a form letter from the king, I see that he has used the word commitment in his letter to you. Only if someone has achieved something really outstanding, will the king use the word commitment. For people who have not done anything extraordinary, but whom the king simply wants to encourage for one reason or another, there will perhaps be another form letter. Even if hundreds of people are getting a letter similar to yours, in no way does this diminish your stellar achievement.

"How can someone say, 'Because hundreds of players have won the national soccer medal over the years, mine is not valuable,' or, 'Because thousands of people are getting a university degree, mine is useless'?

"Again, in the small town where I grew up, some of the old ladies might hear that you have built a bridge across the river. One of them might casually brag, 'Oh, I could have easily done the same thing if I wanted to!' Then, long before the time came for her to submit the first set of plans for the bridge, she would die of worries and anxieties that something might go wrong!"

The minister was overjoyed. He said to the adviser, "You have wisdom in boundless measure. I must admit that I was saddened and upset by what my friend was saying. I was even starting to doubt the value of my own achievement. What you are telling me now has given me so much joy and pride in what together we have been able to achieve for the kingdom."

The king's adviser said, "I am so happy to be of dedicated service to you. After all, in every field there are people who are coming to the fore. To say that because you received a form letter, it is somehow not valuable, is not correct. Even if two thousand people received the same letter, it is still very significant. After all, there are countless people in the kingdom.

"Let us look at it in another way. I am the head of my family. All of my sons and daughters, plus their own children, come together and eat dinner at our house once a month. My wife and I, our sons and daughters, and all our grandchildren are eating the same food. One of the grandchildren could say, 'If you give my sister the same food as you give me, then I will not eat it.' They do not do this, because they are happy to be together and to be part of our family. Again, there will be millions of people who are not in our family who will not have the same delicious meal as we do.

"In any group, if everyone gets the same thing, in what way does each person's prestige and honour disappear? Your bridge project proved that the secret to success in any endeavour is teamwork. If someone on a sports team does very well, then everyone on the team gets the glory. When a soccer team wins, are the players lined up by how many points each one has scored? No! Because all eleven individuals were playing together as a team, one person was able to score many goals, and the entire team was able to win the game. Alone, will any player be able to fight against eleven players on the other team? When there is teamwork, everyone wins the victory.

"The real glory and the real joy are in belonging to a group. The team that wins the national medal is appreciated, as a group, by the entire kingdom. Why should only one player be appreciated, when the whole team worked together? Yes, the captain receives the prize, but he does so on behalf of all his teammates. All the players proudly stand together when the game is over and happily receive the same award.

"In all of our activities, life is teamwork. I am happy because I am a team member. If one individual says, 'I deserve much more and much better recognition than the rest of my teammates,' then that person must form a group all by himself. Nobody will be there to accompany that individual or to support him. When we are associated with others and part and parcel of a group, we get joy.

"You have just seen from your own experience how people who are jealous and mean-minded try to take away the joy of people who have gained something special. Indeed, you are not the only person to win something, and I am not the only person to win something; but we do deserve what we have won and, therefore, we have every reason to be happy.

"If someone else claims to have achieved the same as I have achieved, what right do I have to belittle that person's accomplishment? Because others have also worked towards the same goal as I have, they also won the prize. Unfortunately, very often the people who have done nothing are the ones who try to take away the joy of the people who have worked very hard. On the strength of our oneness, we have all worked together to achieve something. Together we have worked. Together we will gain the same merit.

"Every achievement is always a group effort. Like you, every minister or top citizen in the kingdom who does something truly outstanding receives a letter from the king. To try to belittle someone's accomplishment by saying that others also have done the same thing is the height of jealousy, meanness and stupidity. When people speak that way, they do not realise they are only creating division. It is only the division-creating mind that is speaking in and through these people. Your friend could not possibly do what you have done, so he tried to take away all your joy. He, and others who act like him, are actually very jealous.

"These jealous people behave as if they are trying to reveal the truth to you by saying that you are not the only one. But the truth is not like that. Truth is not the monopoly of one individual. The real truth is this: you have served the king and all the king's subjects most sincerely, most devotedly and most successfully. You are now part of an elite group of people who have received a wonderful message of appreciation from the king. You can be extremely happy with and extremely proud of your glorious achievement."

The minister said to the king's most trusted adviser, "I am so grateful to you for having illumined me. I shall always aspire to deserve the precious letter offered to me by the king. I shall always work to serve the king and each of his subjects with every breath of my heart."

The Distance Between Man And God

There was a great spiritual Master who was totally genuine. He had a spiritual community or ashram of his own, with about 4000 disciples in total. Every evening, he used to give talks on spirituality which were limited to a few select disciples.

One evening, one of the Master's favourite disciples came late. He was standing at the door, waiting for the Master to grant him permission to enter. As soon as the Master saw him, the Master said, "Come in! You have to answer my question. If you answer correctly, I shall allow you to stay inside. Otherwise, you will have to go out immediately."

The Master was quite serious. He said to the disciple, "Tell me the distance between man and God."

The disciple answered, "Master, why do you have to ask me such a simple question?"

The Master's face became very grave. He said, "What do you mean? If you are so wise, then tell me at once."

The disciple said, "Master, I am telling you now." The disciple came very close to the Master — only one or two inches away from the Master — and said to him, "This is the distance between man and God."

The Master laughed and laughed. All the students also laughed most heartily. The Master said to that disciple, "You are so devoted to me, but you are also the number one humorist in my ashram. I always try to defeat you in humour, but I never succeed. Therefore, I am extremely proud of you."

Everybody was so moved, and everybody was so proud of the disciple for giving him the correct answer immediately.

Editor's introduction

Sri Chinmoy wrote these seventy supremely illumining and inspiring stories for his 70th birthday. Some of these soul-stirring and heart-touching stories are adapted from ancient works, with his comments at the end, while others are original.

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