Archive for July, 2010

WORLDLY GOODS ARE NOT THINE FOR EVER

THE steward of a certain rich man was left in
charge of his master’s property. When asked by
someone as to whose property it was, he used to
say: “Sir, this is all my property; these houses and
these gardens are all mine.” He would speak in this
strain and go about with an air of vanity. One day
he happened to catch fish in a pond of his master’s
garden-house in contravention of his strict
prohibition. As ill-luck would have it, the master
came upon the scene just then, and saw what his
dishonest steward was doing. Finding out the
faithlessness of his servant, the master at once
drove him away from his estate, disgraced and
dishonoured, and confiscated all his past earnings.
The poor fellow could not take with him even his
rickety box of utensils which was his sole private
property.
Such is the punishment that overtakes
false pride.

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THAT OPPRESSING STENCH OF WORLDLINESS

Once, a fishwife was a guest in the house of a
gardener who raised flowers. She came there with
her empty basket, after selling fish in the market,
and was asked to sleep in a room where flowers
were kept. But, because of the fragrance of the
flowers, she couldn’t get to sleep for a long time!
She was restless and began to fidget about. Her
hostess saw her condition and said, “Hello! Why
are you tossing from side to side so restlessly?” The
fishwife said: “I don’t know, friend. Perhaps
the smell of the flowers has been disturbing my
sleep. Can you give me my fish-basket? Perhaps
that will put me to sleep.” The basket was brought
to her. She sprinkled water on it and set it near her
nose. Then she fell sound asleep and snored all
night.

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THE TIGER THAT LURKS BEHIND WORLDLY JOYS

 

GOD is like the wish-yielding tree of the celestial
world (Kalpataru), which gives whatever one asks
of it. So, one should be careful to give up all
worldly desires when one’s mind has been purified
by religious exercises.
Just listen to a story: A certain traveller came to a
large plain in the course of his travels. As he had
been walking in the sun for many hours, he was
thoroughly exhausted and heavily perspiring; so he
sat down in the shade of a tree to rest a little.
Presently he began to think what a comfort it
would be if he could but get a soft bed there to
sleep on. He was not aware that he was sitting
under the celestial tree. As soon as the above
thought rose in his mind, he found a nice bed by
his side. He felt much astonished, but all the same
stretched himself on it. Now he thought to himself,
how pleasant it would be, were a young damsel to
come there and gently stroke his legs. No sooner
did the thought arise in his mind than he found a
young damsel sitting at his feet and stroking his
legs. The traveller felt supremely happy. Presently
he felt hungry and thought: “I have got whatever 1
have wished for; could I not then get some food?”
Instantly he found various kinds of delicious food
spread before him. He at once fell to eating, and
having helped himself to his heart’s content,
stretched himself again on his bed. He now began
to revolve in his mind the events of the day. While
thus occupied, he thought: “If a tiger should attack
me all of a sudden!” In an instant a large tiger
jumped on him and broke his neck and began to
drink his blood. In this way the traveller lost his
life.
Such is the fate of men in general. If during your
meditation you pray for men or money or worldly
honours, your desires will no doubt be satisfied to
some extent; but, mind you, there is the dread of
the tiger behind the gifts you get. Those tigers—
disease, bereavements, loss of honour and wealth
etc.,—are a thousand times more terrible than the
live tiger.

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ALL FOR A SINGLE PIECE OF LOIN-CLOTH

A SADHU under the instruction of his Guru built
for himself a small shed, thatched with leaves at a
distance from the haunts of men. He began his
devotional exercises in this hut. Now, every
morning after ablution he would hang his wet cloth
and the kaupina (loin-cloth) on a tree close to the
hut, to dry them. One day on his return from the
neighbouring village, which he would visit to beg
for his daily food, he found that the rats had cut
holes in his kaupina. So the next day he was
obliged to go to the village for a fresh one. A few
days later, the sadhu spread his loin-cloth on the
roof of his hut to dry it and then went to the
village to beg as usual. On his return he found that
the rats had torn it into shreds. He felt much
annoyed and thought within himself “Where shall I
go again to beg for a rag? Whom shall I ask for
one?” All the same he saw the villagers the next
day and re-presented to them the mischief done by
the rats. Having heard all he had to say, the
villagers said, “Who will keep you supplied with
cloth every day? Just do one thing—keep a cat; it
will keep away the rats.” The sadhu forthwith
secured a kitten in the village and carried it to his
hut. From that day the rats ceased to trouble him
and there was no end to his joy. The sadhu now
began to tend the useful little creature with great
care and feed it on the milk begged from the
village. After some days, a villager said to him:
“Sadhuji, you require milk every day; you can
supply your want for a few days at most by
begging; who will supply you with milk all the year
round? Just do one thing—keep a cow. You can
satisfy your own creature comforts by drinking its
milk and you can also give some to your cat.” In a
few days the sadhu procured a milch cow and had
no occasion to beg for milk any more. By and by,
the sadhu found it necessary to beg for straw for
his cow. He had to visit the neighbouring villages
for the purpose, but the villagers said, “There are
lots of uncultivated lands close to your hut; just
cultivate the land and you shall not have to beg for
straw for your cow.” Guided by their advice, the
sadhu took to tilling the land. Gradually he had to
engage some labourers and later on found it
necessary to build barns to store the crop in. Thus
he became, in course of time, a sort of landlord.
And, at last he had to take a wife to look after his
big household. He now passed his days just like a
busy householder.
After some time, his Guru came to see him.
Finding himself surrounded by goods and chattles,
the Guru felt puzzled and enquired of a servant,
“An ascetic used to live here in a hut; can you tell
me where he has removed himself?” The servant
did not know what to say in reply. So the Guru
ventured to enter into the house, where he met his
disciple. The Guru said to him, “My son, what is all
this?” The disciple, in great shame fell at the feet of
his Guru and said, “My Lord, all for a single piece
of loin-cloth!”

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