The compassionate barber1

I went out walking and passed by a barber shop that I go to from time to time. It is near the funeral parlour on Parsons Boulevard. I looked in but my barber was not there. His assistant was working. I did not go inside because my pocket was empty. I did not have a cent. Without money, how can I get my hair cut? So I started to walk home. After I had gone about thirty metres, whom did I see? The owner. When he saw me, he said, "You look so young! You need a haircut." The barber's flattery started.

I said, "True, I need a haircut, but I do not have any money."

"Never mind, never mind, no problem!" he replied.

He forced me to come with him, so I went back to the shop with him. I said to him, "I want you to cut my hair, not your assistant."

"Of course, of course," he said.

Then I asked him to cut my hair very carefully. While cutting my hair, he started asking me questions. I said to him, "I am sorry I do not have money with me. I will send one of my disciples with money to pay you."

He said, "Do not think of money." Then he told me, "I have heard from your disciples that your brother has recently passed away."

I said, "Yes, my brother passed away."

Then he said, "So, how come you are close to God and we are not?"

I said, "I am trying to be close to God. We are all trying to be close to God."

"Was your brother as close to God as you are?" he asked.

"No, I am a little closer," I answered.

So this is how our conversation went. He was very nice. After he had finished, I walked back to my house and then I sent Pulak with money. Six dollars is the usual fee because I am a senior citizen, so one dollar extra I give them as a tip. But this time I gave Pulak ten dollars and I told him, "Do not take anything back."

So Pulak gave the barber ten dollars and said to the man, "You are very nice to my teacher." He wanted to give Pulak three dollars back. But Pulak said that he did not want anything back.

The barber said that my disciples are very, very good. From many parts of the world they come and they are very respectful, very kind. He was talking all about the visitors. Our barber, Sundar, cannot handle all those who come, so this barber gets very good business.

Whenever you go to a barber, you get the whole world news in a second!

  1. WCB 46. 4 September 1998