Is your mind ready to cry? Is your heart ready to smile? part 6

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The noisy rich man

There was a rich man who was very miserly and, at the same time, very mischievous. He never gave a penny to anyone. Always he would show haughtiness and pride because of his wealth. He used to get tremendous joy at the expense of others. He wanted only himself to be happy.

Even at night he didn't want anybody to have joy or peace. In order to destroy the peace of others, he used to order his servants to move things around in his house in the middle of the night. Every night he would pretend that some thieves had entered his house and he would shout and scream and create a big commotion. He would strike his dogs so they would start barking. In every way he would make noise so that his neighbours who were trying to sleep could not have a peaceful night.

This went on for months and years. One day a man came to stay at the home of one of the rich man's neighbours. If this particular man didn't get sleep even for one night, he would become practically insane. That night, as usual, there was so much noise in the rich man's house that the man could not sleep.

Finally the man asked his host, "Why do you not go next door and stop the noise?"

The neighbour said, "How can I stop it? He pretends there are thieves in his house. Therefore, he has every right to shout at his servants and instigate his dogs to bark. We all know that this story is false, but we can't prove it. So we can never get proper sleep at night."

The guest said, "Don't worry. I will solve the problem."

The man said, "How?"

"You will see," said his friend.

The following morning he went to the rich man's house. He knew that the rich man never wanted to see anyone, so he presented something very beautiful and expensive to the rich man's servant as a bribe. He said, "I have only good news for your master. I just want to tell him that I am so grateful to him and proud of him."

The servant believed the man and went to his master and said, "Someone has come who is all admiration for you. He does not need anything from you, so you do not have to worry."

The rich man agreed to see him, and the servant brought the man before his master. The man said, "I don't need anything from you. I am coming here only to give you some good news. Last night I stayed at the home of one of your neighbours. You can't imagine how many of your neighbours admire and adore you. Many of them keep considerable amounts of money in their homes. At night you keep them awake, so nothing can ever be stolen. When there is so much commotion going on in your house, naturally thieves will never dare to come to your neighbours' houses. Therefore, they are so happy and grateful that you are living in their neighbourhood."

The rich man couldn't believe his ears. "They are really happy?" he said.

"Yes," said the man, "they are so grateful to you. They have real peace of mind because they know that their valuable possessions are safe at night."

From that night on, the rich man stopped banging doors, telling his servants to move everything around in his house and beating his dogs so they would bark. Why? He didn't want his neighbours to be happy and have peace of mind because they felt there would be no robberies. He wanted them to be miserable and to suffer from worries and anxieties. The rich man said, "I don't want them to be happy in any way. Why should I make them happy by keeping the neighbourhood free from thieves? I know that I have many dogs and servants, so nothing will be taken from my house. Let my neighbours suffer, while I have peace of mind. In this way I will again make myself happy."

The notorious son

Once a young boy was notorious for quarrelling with people and insulting them. His father had died several years earlier, so his mother had to take care of him. She was very sad and miserable that he would not behave. The villagers used to speak ill not only of him, but also of his mother because they thought that the mother was indulgent. Actually, it was just the opposite. His mother was very strict with him, but he would never listen to her.

One day he insulted an elderly man and the villagers wanted to thrash him. The mother came and pleaded with the villagers. She said, "True, my son is totally wrong, but please forgive him and forgive me as well. I am trying to help him."

The village head was kind enough to release the son because of the mother's pleas. The mother brought the boy home and said, "I will soon die because I am old. After my death, perhaps you will start listening to my advice and become a good boy. I will leave some money for you when I die. So use the money and think of me. Right now, because you are mischievous and naughty, I am miserable. So I am going to send you away to a boarding school."

When the boy went to the boarding school, again he started arguing with the teachers and the students. Then one day he got a message that his mother had died. He returned to his village, shedding bitter tears, and said, "Mother, I could not please you when you were alive. But now I am taking an oath. I will become an excellent boy." From then on he never quarrelled with anyone. He became simple, honest and kind-hearted.

Although his mother had left him some money, it was not enough for him to continue his studies for very long. Since he didn't have any real interest in school, after studying for a year or two, he started looking for a job. Finally, the village zamindar gave him some work taking care of the zamindar's garden and also looking after his children.

One day the boy was holding the garden hose in one arm and the zamindar's youngest child in his other arm. The zamindar happened to pass by and said, "Look, if you want to water the garden, keep my child on the ground. For everything there is a time. Now you can water the garden and afterwards you can show your affection to the child. For everything there is a time."

The boy very obediently put the child on the ground and continued watering the garden. In ten minutes' time the zamindar's wife came by and got furious. She said, "How dare you keep my child on the ground. Can't you keep him in one arm? With one arm you can water the garden and with the other you can carry my child. Besides, who wants you to water the plants? Right now you should just take care of my youngest child and stop watering the garden."

The boy kept silent and stopped watering the garden to take care of the child. In this way he pleased both his master and his master's wife.

By this time everybody in the village appreciated the zamindar's servant because he was always kind-hearted and such a good worker. Now, it happened that in the school where he used to study, a younger student had developed the same kind of mischievous nature that he used to have. This younger student always fought with his teachers and the other students and did all kinds of wrong things. His mother was in distress all the time because of her son's bad behaviour.

This naughty student was very jealous of the zamindar's servant. The mother of the naughty student said to her son, "I know you are jealous of the zamindar's servant. But by being jealous you are not going to get his good qualities. Only by admiring him and doing what he does will you be able to get the same qualities one day."

The son didn't listen to his mother. He continued to do all kinds of undivine things, arguing with people and striking them. One day some stronger boys got angry with him and beat him up. The mischievous boy returned home crying. He was so miserable!

The naughty boy decided to go to the zamindar's servant to see how he could change his nature. He said to the servant, "You are so kind, so good, so modest. You have no pride, anger or restlessness. How did you develop your good qualities?"

The servant told him, "My mother always begged me to be good, but I wouldn't listen. When she died, I changed my nature. When my mother left the body, I took an oath that I would be good. Always one has to try to please people. Then they become grateful to you and proud of you."

The servant continued: "This morning I was watering the plants, holding the hose in one arm and my master's youngest child in the other arm. My master got mad and said I should not try to do two things at once. He said I should put the child on the ground while I watered the garden with both hands. So I put down the child with utmost humility and began watering the garden. The master was very pleased that I had listened to him.

"In a few minutes' time my master's wife saw me watering the garden. She insulted me brutally and said, 'Why are you leaving the child on the ground? Is he inferior to the plants?' She wanted me to lift up the child immediately. She said she would be happy if I stopped watering the plants and just took care of the child. So I stopped watering the garden.

"I didn't lose anything by making both my master and his wife happy. Like this, in every way I try to please my master and his wife. Now they are so fond of me. In your case also, if you always try to keep everything peaceful and harmonious with your mother, your teachers and friends, then they will be happy. And only by giving happiness to others can you become happy yourself.

"I feel miserable that I waited until my mother died before I tried to please her. I advise you to change your nature now and please your mother while she is still alive. Then you will see how much joy you will get. The joy you are getting now by being mischievous is all false joy. It is all stupidity. If you give others joy, if you are divine, then only you will be really happy."

The young boy went and told his mother what the servant had said. His mother went to the zamindar's house and literally grabbed the servant. She told him, "I won't allow you to be anybody's servant. From now on I want you to be my oldest son. I will take care of you and you can continue your studies. Your mother is not on earth, so I want to be your mother and offer you the same kind of affection and love."

The woman brought the boy home and sent both her sons to school to complete their higher studies.

The pilgrimage

Once there were two neighbours who were friends and, at the same time, rivals. Both of them were very shrewd and miserly. At times they were absolutely, unthinkably undivine.

One day they decided to go on a pilgrimage. So their wives made delicious food for them and they left very early in the morning.

After they had walked for two hours, it was breakfast time. One of them said, "Let us not stop to eat breakfast. It is not necessary."

The other one said, "I agree. Let us keep walking and then stop for lunch instead."

So they continued walking. When lunch time came, one of them said, "I am not hungry. If you want to eat, you can eat. But I am not hungry in the least."

The other one said, "I am not hungry either. Let us walk further until we are tired. Then we can stop and eat."

Both of them were perfect rogues. Each one thought that his own wife had made most delicious food and did not want to share it with the other. Each one thought, "If we walk for some time, then my friend will become tired and fall asleep. Then I will be able to eat my food all by myself. I don't want to share any of it with him."

They walked until it was evening and they were both very tired. After they stopped, each one was waiting for the other to fall asleep. They were waiting and waiting. Finally, both of them fell asleep.

The following morning when they woke up, they saw that their food was crawling with ants. They were so mad at their wives! "We didn't examine the food when they gave it to us. Now we see that there are ants inside the food. When we go home, we will insult them like anything," they said.

Then they said, "Since we are extremely tired, let us take rest here for another few hours." When they woke up a few hours later, they saw that rats were eating their food. They were so disgusted that they immediately went home and insulted and scolded their wives.

Their wives said, "Why didn't you eat the food we gave you during the day?"

Each one told his wife, "I didn't want to share any of your most delicious food with that other rascal. Then it took him so long to fall asleep. In the meantime, I too fell asleep."

Each wife told her husband, "This time when you start on your pilgrimage again, I will give you special food. Since both of you are so greedy and miserly, this time I will give you simple food โ€” a loaf of bread โ€” which you can easily share with your friend. Your friend will be very pleased if you share it. Since both of you are going together, you can at least have this much friendship."

One wife made bread that was very salty and the other made bread with no salt at all. Since their wives had told them that the food was very simple, both the men suddenly became extremely generous. One of them said, "I am sure your wife is a good cook. Let us exchange our food. You give me your food and I will give you my food."

The other one said, "It is an excellent idea."

So they exchanged their food and started eating. O God, the one who got the salty bread became mad and disgusted. He said, "Your wife does not know how to cook!"

The other one also became mad and said, "Your wife also does not know how to cook! There is no salt in this bread. It is tasteless."

The first man said, "My wife is an excellent cook."

The other one said, "Your wife! Then how is it that she forgot to put salt in this bread?"

The first one said, "How is it that your wife put too much salt in her bread?"

Like this they fought and fought. Again their pilgrimage came to an end, and again they went home and insulted their wives.

Each of them said to his wife, "You made horrible food. I was ashamed of your preparation."

Their wives said, "We thought that you were good friends. If you had shared your food with each other, there would have been no problem. One loaf of bread had too much salt and the other had no salt. If you had shared, it would have been most delicious for both of you."

So the wives gave them illumination. The husbands said to each other, "We are fools. We should have put our food together and then eaten."

Akbar and the sword

The greatest Mogul Emperor was Akbar. It was he who wanted both the Hindus and Muslims to be united. He was generous to the extreme and just to the extreme. Among the Mogul Emperors, he was the true ideal.

One day Akbar was walking incognito in the street. He was incognito because he wanted to be alone. Always people were around him and he never had his freedom. But this time he was all alone.

While he was walking, he saw an old lady holding a dagger. He asked her, "What are you doing with a dagger? Let me see what it looks like and how sharp it is."

The old lady gave him the dagger and he held it for a few seconds. "Oh, I am so sorry," she said. "Had you been the Emperor, then this metal dagger would have been transformed into a gold dagger. Now it is just a metal dagger, but I had a dream that if ever the Emperor touches it, then definitely it will be transformed into gold. I have been waiting and waiting for the Emperor to appear. I am praying to Allah that he will come. For years I have been here, waiting in the street for Akbar. I am so sorry that still I have not been blessed with Akbar's presence."

The following day Akbar summoned the old lady to the court. Now he was wearing his robes and his crown. He said, "Here is Akbar. He does not have the capacity to transform a metal dagger into a gold one, but he does have the capacity to change your life for good. How much money do you want?"

The lady was overwhelmed. She couldn't believe her eyes; she couldn't believe her ears. She told the Emperor that she wanted a particular amount of money. But Akbar gave her much, much more, saying, "I don't have the capacity to turn metal into gold, but I have another capacity."

So the lady became extremely rich because of Akbar the Great.

The honesty diploma

There was a very rich village zamindar who was a great philanthropist. Everybody liked him. Once he decided that for three days he would give away things, including money, to the poor โ€” only to the poor. People were getting rice, vegetables, money and all kinds of things.

One poor man got a very heavy sack of rice. Since he was such a poor man, he was very happy. O God, when he came home and emptied the sack, he found inside the rice twenty gold coins. His wife was delighted.

The husband said, "The zamindar didn't intend to give me these gold coins. He wanted to give me rice. This was a mistake. I should return these coins."

The wife said, "You fool! You fool! We are so poor. This is the time to take the gold to the market and exchange it for lots of money."

The husband said, "No, I can't do that. I have to go and return them." The wife and husband had a fight about the gold. Of course, the husband won because it was he who had brought the rice home.

The following day he went back and said to the rich man, "You were so kind to give all of us so many things. I have found these twenty gold coins that were in the rice sack by mistake. Now I have come to return them to you. If you want to give them to me, all right. But although I am only a beggar, I can never accept this kind of gift if it was a mistake." The rich man was so moved by his sincerity. He said, "No, you take them. And because of your sincerity, I am giving you double the amount. You brought me twenty gold coins and now you are getting forty. This time I am giving these to you personally so you don't have to come back again. You are such an honest man. I need honest men like you."

A greedy businessman happened to overhear the story and he came up with a brilliant idea. He went to the beggar and said, "I heard that you have got lots of gold coins. Do you want to sell a few to me?"

The poor man said, "Certainly. I can sell them to you. Since I have not received them by mistake nor stolen them, they are mine to sell."

The businessman bought six gold coins from the poor man.

Then he put on beggar's clothes and went to the rich man's house. "I will do the same thing that this beggar did and I will be able to double my wealth," he thought. "Since over the past three days hundreds and hundreds of beggars have received bags of food from the zamindar, I am sure that he will not remember that I was not one of those beggars."

So the businessman went to the zamindar and said, "Yesterday you gave me three gold coins but by some magic today it has become six gold coins. So now I have come to give you back the original ones, while I am keeping the extra ones. I got these extra ones by the magic of the previous ones, so I am giving you back the original ones free."

The zamindar said, "That means that you are the only person to whom I gave coins whose wealth has increased. I gave coins to others, but in their case the number did not increase. One man brought back the same amount that I gave him. But in your case the amount increased. I am so proud of you. I am so grateful to you. What do you want from me?"

The businessman-beggar said, "If you are pleased with my honesty because I am returning these three coins, you can give me a little more. If I had not returned these three coins, you would not have known that the original coins produced three more. So if you value honesty, then please give me a few more. But if you don't want to, then you are under no obligation."

The rich man said, "You really deserve much more. Since from three coins you have got six, let me do one thing. I will give you something much more important than a few more gold coins."

The businessman was so happy. He said, "Please, please tell me what it is."

The zamindar asked his servant to write out an 'honesty diploma'. The servant wrote it out and the zamindar put it on this fellow's back and signed it. Then he told the businessman-beggar, "See, with this diploma you can tell the whole world that the zamindar has said that you are the most honest person. This kind of 'honesty diploma' I have not given to anybody. But you deserve it."

Two neighbours

There were two neighbours who were at times good friends and at times worst enemies. It happened that one of them needed some money, and he became extremely nice to the other one, so that he would then be in a position to ask for money. The man borrowed twenty rupees, which is equal to about two and a half American dollars. He said it would take him only a month to return the money.

His friend said, "Don't worry. Whenever you can, you will give it back."

Several months passed and still the neighbour did not return the money. Instead, the neighbour was always trying to avoid his so-called friend.

Finally, after six months the friend became disappointed and disgusted. A few times he went to his neighbour's house, but the neighbour was never at home. Actually, his wife would say that her husband was not at home even if he was. She would always tell lies. This happened seven or eight times.

One day the fellow who had lent the money told a mutual friend what a bad fellow his neighbour was because he was not returning the money. The friend said, "I tell you, you will get the money without fail."

The friend went to the culprit's house and scolded both the husband and the wife. He said, "You two are such liars! You are bringing disgrace to our village. Who asked you to borrow money, and why are you not returning it? If you do not return it, I will tell each and every person in the entire village. Then everyone will have a low opinion of you."

The friend said, "Please don't tell anyone. I shall give you a rupee if you promise not to tell anyone."

The man took the rupee and left. A few days later he came again and asked, "Have you returned the money?"

The neighbour said, "No!"

His friend said, "This time I am definitely going to tell everyone what a bad fellow you are."

Again the man begged him, "Please don't tell anyone." This time he gave him ten rupees so that he would not tell others.

In a few days' time the friend went to the man's house again. When he found out that still the man had not returned the money, he became furious. The man said, "I will give you another ten rupees if you remain silent." The man had borrowed only twenty rupees, but he had paid his friend twenty-one rupees in bribes. The friend assured him that he would never tell anyone about the debt.

In a few months' time, the man who borrowed the money and the one who lent the money accidentally met on the street. The one who borrowed the money was most apologetic. He said, "I promise that tomorrow without fail I will come to you with the money. Please believe me."

The friend said, "You don't owe me anything. You have already paid me."

The neighbour couldn't believe his ears. "How?" he asked.

"Our mutual friend gave me all the money that you gave him as a bribe," the man explained.

So the mutual friend had not actually taken any bribes. He had only wanted the bad fellow to return the money. He had threatened and frightened him so that he could get the bribe money and then return it to his friend.

The rich man's sons

A rich man once said to a friend, "I am so sorry that neither of my sons is pleasing me. One is a fool. The other is extra smart, but because of his smartness he is always getting into trouble."

His friend asked, "In what way is one a fool and the other so smart?"

The rich man said, "One only remains in silence. The other one mixes with everyone and then creates all kinds of problems. Can you advise me what I should do about my sons? One is too smart for his own good, and the other one seems to be only a fool."

The friend said, "An ordinary crow mixes with many other crows, but a cuckoo mixes with very few birds."

The rich man said, "What do you mean?"

The friend explained, "Your son who does not mix with others is wise. He knows that this world is full of corruption, so he remains silent. He is very simple, kind and sincere. He remains quiet and always prays and meditates, for he knows that this world has nothing to give him. Again, the one that mixes all the time is truly intelligent. He knows that he will be able to accept the world's corruption because he is your son. Even if he falls into bad company, he feels that because his father is rich and great, he will be saved. He will be able to escape any problems because of your money-power. One thinks only of God, because God alone is happiness, Truth and Light. The other feels that he will never get in trouble because of his father's wealth."

The rich man said, "So I have one son who is kind-hearted and sincere, and I have another son who is extra smart in the inner and outer sense. He knows that he will be able to fool society. God wants one son to be happy by being pure and wise and the other to be happy by being extremely intelligent. And God wants me to be happy by playing the role of the fool. God always has to complete the family. If there is a wise member in the family and an intelligent member, then there must be a fool in the family as well. So God has made me the foolish member."

The seeker's bargain with God

There was once a seeker who was praying to God for years and years. In the beginning he was sincere, but he could not maintain his sincerity and purity. So after a while he started praying to God only for money, money and more money. Finally God came to him.

The seeker said, "God, why have You taken such a long time to come to me? Could You not have come earlier to make me rich? I have been praying and meditating for twelve long years!

God said to him, "You say that you have been praying for material wealth for twelve years. But in My Vision your twelve years is no more than one minute."

The seeker said, "O God, You are really cruel! But since You have come, are You going to make me rich?"

God said, "Definitely! What do you want?"

The seeker said, "You know that on earth we have rupees. Do You have rupees in Heaven also?"

"Yes," answered God.

The seeker said, "With an earthly rupee I know how much I can buy. Will You tell me how much I can buy with a Heavenly rupee?"

God said, "With an earthly rupee you can buy only one tiny little thing, but with a Heavenly rupee you can get hundreds of things."

The seeker said, "God, You say that my twelve years of prayer are equal to only one minute in Your Vision. Therefore, if I pray to You for one minute, will You not give me Heavenly wealth for twelve years? True, for twelve years I prayed for earthly wealth, but now I am changing my mind. Can You not change the reward? Can You not give me a Heavenly rupee instead of earthly rupees? If You give me just one Heavenly rupee, will it not last for twelve years?"

God said, "Certainly it will last for at least twelve years. If I give you one Heavenly rupee, you will be able to buy whatever you want for twelve years."

The seeker said, "Can You not give me the Heavenly rupee now?"

God said, "Just wait a minute. I am going to Heaven to get it. Since you will be able to use it for twelve years, can you not wait one minute?" The seeker said, "O God, have You taken down my address?"

God said, "Don't worry! I never make a mistake. I will come back to your house. Even if I am a little delayed, don't worry. I will definitely come back to give the rupee to your children or grandchildren."

God left, but He did not come back.

Here the seeker was arguing with God and trying to deceive God. Perhaps the seeker could have got earthly, material wealth since he had prayed so long for it. But he started bargaining with God. He tried to trick God into giving him Heavenly wealth. He felt that since he was definitely going to get earthly wealth, he could trick God into giving him the equivalent in Heavenly wealth instead. But if one tries to trick God, God will trick him first.

The heaviest load

Once a spiritual Master went out for a picnic with a group of twenty disciples. The disciples were so happy that they were going out with their Master. The Master told his disciples, "I have twenty bags for you to carry. These contain things which we are going to use today. Please each choose a bag to carry." Then the Master added, "But mind you, you will not be able to change the bag once you take it. Once you choose it, you won't be able to change with anyone."

The disciples started lifting up all the bags to find the lightest ones. All of them were looking for the light, lighter, lightest bag except one fellow who was looking for the heavy, heavier, heaviest one. The other disciples thought he was a real fool. They were so happy that this fool was carrying the heaviest load, while their bags were comparatively light.

After they had walked for four or five hours the Master said, "Let us sit down and eat. Please empty the bag that has the food in it. The other bags we will carry to our next destination. There we shall see the most beautiful trees and flowers. Then we shall go back home."

All the disciples sat down to eat. O God, when they opened the bags, they discovered that only the heavy one had food in it. The other ones contained only sand, clay, broken pots and all kinds of worthless things. The disciple with the heaviest bag emptied it at the request of the Master and everybody ate the food. When they set out for their second destination, the disciple who had had the heaviest load was now carrying a totally empty bag.

When they reached the second destination, an orchard, they picked fruits and admired the beautiful scenery. They spent quite a few hours there and then they walked to a museum. Finally, they had a six-hour walk back home.

Afterwards the Master said, "I told you that you could not change your bags. The one who had the heaviest load in the beginning, later had the lightest bag. While walking to the second and third destinations, and also on the way home, he had nothing to carry. As for the rest of you, your bags were lighter to start with, but then you had to carry them much, much farther. The one who chose the heaviest bag was good and kind-hearted. The rest of you wanted to find the lightest bag. So you rogues had to carry bags that contained only rubbish for the entire trip!"

The Master said to his rogue disciples, "You are my third-class disciples and he is my first-class disciple. The one who wants to carry everybody's load is the one who is really a first-class disciple!"

The brass pot

There was a village diver to whom everybody turned whenever something valuable fell into the pond. He was the one who would find the object for them, and the villagers would pay him for his work. This is how he earned his living.

One day the wife of the village head saw the diver carrying a very beautiful brass vessel. Somebody had given him that beautiful brass pot as payment for his finding something in the pond. As soon as she saw the pot, the wife of the village head became very excited and said, "Will you give me that beautiful vessel? Tonight many people are coming to my house for a special dinner, and I want them to see that I have such an expensive vessel. I will keep the pot only for two or three days, and then I will return it to you." Because her husband was the head of the village, the diver had to give it to her if he wanted to stay out of trouble.

O God, two or three days passed and the lady still did not return the pot. The diver was afraid and embarrassed to ask her for it because she was the wife of the village head. He said, "Something has to be done, but what can I do? I am helpless."

Finally, the wife of the village head sent a vessel back to the diver. It was not a brass pot but an earthen pot, with a note inside. The note said, "One of my servants washed the pot and as soon as water touched it, it became earthen. I am very sorry that I am unable to return the pot to you the way I got it."

When the diver got the note, he felt miserable. He said, "O God, she has played a trick! But how can I fight with the wife of the head of the village?"

Two years passed. One day, the wife of the village head was showing off her beautiful brass pot to her friends. She had just had another dinner and she was bragging to her friends while washing the pot in the pond, when all of a sudden the vessel dropped into the water.

Now it was necessary for somebody to dive into the water and find the pot. The village head was very clever. He told his wife, "If we call the village diver and he finds it, he will know that we told a lie." So they called in another diver to look for the brass vessel. The diver spent hours and hours, but he was not as expert as the village diver and he could not find it. The village head was very mad at him and didn't want to pay him.

The diver said, "I have spent so many hours looking for the pot. You didn't say that you wouldn't pay me if I didn't find it. No! You must pay me."

Finally the village head threw some money at him and said, "Get out! You are useless!"

The wife was feeling sad. She told her husband, "By this time I am sure that the village diver has forgotten that I took his pot. Anyway, he won't be able to prove that it is the same vessel, and if our guards are watching him when he dives, how will he be able to take it back?"

So the village head called the diver and said, "Can you help us? We have dropped a beautiful brass vessel into the pond."

The diver, who felt certain that it was the vessel they had taken from him, said, "Certainly I can help you. There is only one problem. Today I am running a very high fever. Do you think that tomorrow I will be able to do it? If you insist, I can do it today, but I am quite sick. If I go into the water, my condition will become infinitely worse."

The village head said, "Already it has been sitting in the pond for a week. We can wait one more night."

The diver said, "I will come back tomorrow without fail to find it!"

When the diver left, the wife of the village head began trembling. She said, "O God, what will happen if he tells people that we have taken this pot?" But after thinking for a moment, she continued, "We are so rich and powerful. We will easily be able to silence him if he argues with us."

That night the diver secretly entered into the pond and found the lost brass vessel. Then he put into the water the earthen pot that the wife of the village head had given him two years before and took the brass pot home.

The following day the diver came to the village head and said, "Do you still want me to try to find the pot?"

"Yes," said the village head.

The diver said, "I can't assure you that I will be able to find it. In this world nobody is such an expert. If it is God's Will, then only will I be able to find it."

The village head said, "It is not God's Will; it is my will that you find it. That is enough!"

"Certainly," said the diver. "You are my lord, so there is no difference between your will and God's Will."

The village head was so flattered! He and his wife and children all went to the pond to watch the diver look for the pot. In ten or fifteen minutes the diver brought up the earthen pot.

The wife cried, "How can the pot be earthen? It was brass. How could this happen?"

The diver said, "I am sorry. This is what I found. You can ask somebody else to look if you like. Anyway, two years ago, when you were washing a brass pot that you had borrowed from me, it became earthen. If a brass pot turned earthen just from being washed, how can you expect a pot to remain brass after staying in water for a week? If you still feel that your brass vessel is inside the pond, then send someone else to find it!"

The village head and his wife got the point. That night, the village head went to the diver's house and said, "What can I do? My wife is so fond of that brass vessel. I know my wife told you a lie about the pot two years ago, and I had to stand up for her. Now, for God's sake, I want to keep my prestige. Take money from me, as much as you want. But just give me back the brass pot. I know it is yours, but let me buy it from you."

The village head bought the pot and took it home. The following day he asked his friends and neighbours to come to his house to see the pot. He was such a rogue! He told them, "I gave the diver a very large amount of money to go look in the pond once more. You people were not there, but he went there and found the one that we had lost."

The village head showed the pot to his wife and their friends and they all agreed that it was the same brass pot. "You see," said the village head, "money talks!"

Deception started with the village head and his wife. The poor diver thought, "Tit for tat." Afterwards, the village head made everybody think that the diver was a rogue, but the village head was the real rogue!

Editor's preface to the first edition

The tales in this book, part of a collection that Sri Chinmoy has adapted from traditional Indian stories, have an innocent and childlike quality that appeals to the child in all of us. The stories have been performed as plays by Sri Chinmoy's students.

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