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Posts Tagged ‘Wise’

Stone in the middle of the road

Posted by kathavarta on December 23, 2008

There was a king who ruled his kingdom wisely. He spent his time trying to improve the lives of his subjects. One day the king decided to see for himself how people lived in his kingdom. Early one morning, dressed as an ordinary citizen, he secretly mounted his horse and rode into town. The citizens were still not out in the streets. The king stopped at one place where the dirt road was narrowing somewhat. He tied his horse by the side of the road and then dug a hole right in the middle of the road. Therein he placed a metal jar wrapped in a piece of cloth. Then the king brought a stone that was lying on the side of the road and placed it on the hole, completely covering the hole. The king then mounted his horse and went up a nearby hill. Hiding behind a tree, the king looked down at the stone in the middle of the road.

The Farmer

A farmer was the first to appear. He was driving his cart with fresh-produce for the vegetable market. He saw the stone in the middle of the road and thought to himself, “It looks like this stone has been lying here in the middle of the road for some time but the people here are not bothered about removing the stone to one side. Each person thinks only for himself. People here are so lazy!” And the farmer carefully drove past avoiding the stone.

The Policeman

A little while later, a policeman was seen walking down the road. He was looking smart in his impressive police-uniform. He was walking and looking at the headlines in the newspaper. He tripped by the stone and very nearly hit the ground. He thought about the carelessness of the people, spoke some angry words and went away.

The Milkmaid

Then a milkmaid came along, singing aloud to attract the attention of the residents in nearby houses. She had one milk container on her head and another she carried by her side. Making her way down the road, looking to the left and now looking to the right.

Her foot hit the stone and she lost balance. The milk container on her head fell to the ground spilling all the milk. The milkmaid said that the people of this town are so thoughtless. How can they leave such a big stone in the middle of the road and not worry about it? Don’t they know that people can get tripped by the stone! She collected her milk pot and went away.

The Merchants

Some merchants came down the road driving their horse-cart at high speed. One wheel of the cart hit the stone and some goods fell on to the road. Looking at the stone in the middle of the road, they said the people here are so useless. Who knows for how long this stone is lying in the middle of the road but no body takes any notice of it! No one takes the trouble to remove this stone from the middle of the road! Mumbling some swear words the merchants collected their goods and drove away.

The Brahmachari (student)

A newly qualified Brahmachari (student) came walking down the road. As soon as he saw the stone in the middle of the road, he remembered the lessons he was taught by his Guru (teacher).
(1) His Guru had taught him that his first duty is to himself. If ever his life was in danger, then he must try everything possible, to preserve his life.

(2) Higher than that is the duty to his family. If ever it became necessary to give up his life to save his family, then let it be so.

(3) Higher than that is his duty to the community. If he has to sacrifice his life, and sacrifice his family for the good of the community, then the interest of the community comes first.

(4) Higher than that is the duty to the nation. If it calls for the sacrifice from the individual, his family and his community for the good of the nation, then the interest of the nation takes precedence. Higher than that is the duty to the whole of humanity.

The Brahmachari immediately removed the stone from the middle of the road. There underneath the stone he saw this bundle wrapped in a cloth with a hand-written note fastened to the cloth. The note read:

“This stone was placed here by your king. Whoever takes the trouble of removing the stone, thereby thinking about the good of the people, can keep this metal jar and its contents. And the king would like to meet this person.”

The Brahmachari opened the metal jar and was amazed to see that it was filled with gold coins. He was very pleased.

Next day the Brahmachari went to meet the king. The king could make out the good character of this Brahmachari. He was noble-minded and unselfish. The Brahmachari would give rather than take. A person with such charitable heart is a credit to the human race.

The king made the Brahmachari his chief minister who helped the king rule the kingdom for many a long years.

And the example set by the Brahmachari taught a valuable lesson to the citizens of this kingdom. They changed their attitude from ‘taking’ to ‘giving’. This attitude they applied in their personal life, family matters, community affairs, and in their national life. Now every body was so courteous, so very thoughtful and caring for the needs of others. The kingdom prospered and became a veritable heaven on earth.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
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The Story of Rose

Posted by kathavarta on December 22, 2008

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m 87 years old. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends.

Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk non-stop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began: “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success.”

(1) You have to laugh and find humour every day.
(2) You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!
(3) There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change.
(4) Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.

She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.” She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be…..YOU!!

Moral:
Growing older is mandatory, growing up is optional.
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.
God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
If God brings you to it … he will bring you through it. It’s better to try and fail, than fail to try.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
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Quarrel among the senses

Posted by kathavarta on December 21, 2008

1.
Once upon a time the senses quarrelled among themselves as to who was superior, each saying: “I am superior, I am superior.”

2.
They went to Prajapati Brahma, the creator, their father, and said: “Sir, who is the best of us?”

He replied: “He by whose departure the body looks the worst – he is the best of you.”

3.
Speech then departed and, having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?”

They replied: “Like the dumb -not speaking, but breathing with the breath, seeing with the eye, hearing with the ear, and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then speech entered in.

4.
The eye then departed and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like the blind – not seeing, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, hearing with the ear and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then the eye entered in.

5.
The ear then departed, and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like the deaf – not hearing, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, seeing with the eye and thinking with the mind. Thus we lived.” Then the ear entered in.

6.
The mind then departed and having stayed away for a year, returned and said: “How have you been able to live without me?” They replied: “Like children – not thinking, but breathing with the breath, speaking with the tongue, seeing with the eye and hearing with the ear. Thus we lived.” Then the mind entered in.

7.
Now, when the breath was about to depart, tearing up the other senses, as a strong horse about to depart might tear up the pegs to which he is tethered, they gathered round him and said: “Sir, remain. You are the best of us, do not depart.”

8.
Then speech said to him: “If I am the most prosperous, so are you the most prosperous.” The eye said to him: “If I am the firm basis, so are you the firm basis.” The ear said to him: “If I am success, so are you the success.” The mind said to him; “If I am the abode, so are you the abode.”

9.
Hence these are not termed organs of speech or eyes or ears or minds. They are termed signs of life. For life itself becomes all these.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
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Honesty

Posted by kathavarta on December 20, 2008

A king in ancient times, by the name of Mahendra, was famous for his wisdom and righteousness. People in his kingdom were very happy because their great king ruled justly, and looked after the needs of his subjects.

Alas, each episode of happiness has its flipside also. The law of the opposites is relentless. Heat and cold, pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness; they revolve and put in an appearance in turn.

King Mahendra was also subject to the law of the opposites. The king had one regret. He had no children. The question about the successor to the throne was worrying the king. His ministers were becoming anxious because the king was advancing into old age and his subjects were also becoming unsure about their own future.

To solve the question about the successor to the throne, King Mahendra thought of looking for a person with good character. He announced throughout his kingdom that people were invited to the palace grounds and from amongst the people present a successor to the throne may be chosen.

People flocked to the palace on the appointed day. King Mahendra addressed the people and told them that he would hand out seeds to each person present. The seeds were to be planted and whoever brought back the best-grown and most colourful flowers would be chosen as the crown prince. A person that can take care of plants and make them prosper can also make the kingdom prosper.

The people took the seeds and went back home.

Some weeks later, people started bringing flowerpots with some amazing results. There were happy plants all over the palace grounds and the plants were displaying their bright smiles through their colourful flowers of great variety. Each pot plant was bearing the name of the owner written in big bold letters on a tag that was attached to the plant. Some of the ministers even appointed a team of judges to help select the winner on the appointed day.

One man, however, had not succeeded in growing any plant in his flowerpot. There was just the soil and not even a tiny plant in his flowerpot. When he brought his empty flowerpot to the palace grounds, people stared at him in disbelief. Some even ridiculed him. His flowerpot with no plant in it was drowned in a sea of colourful flowers. There was no plant to which he can fasten his nametag. He simply attached the tag to the side of the flowerpot.

The whole palace ground was turned into another Vrindavan
garden. There were rows upon rows of flowers of the most magnificent varieties that one ever saw and the colours were breathtaking. The judges thought amongst themselves that it would be a difficult task to choose the winner. Such was the enthusiasm of the people.

On the appointed day, the whole population turned up at the palace grounds. Speculations were rife as to which flowerpot would get chosen. The ministers looked at the judges and the judges again went into last minute consultations. The harbinger then announced the imminent arrival of his majesty, king Mahendra. There were loud cheers as the king entered the royal pavilion erected specially for this occasion. Long live the king! Long live the king! The people started singing in chorus. The king was then seated on his throne.

The king asked the ministers to brief him about the efforts of the people and the ministers told the king about the incredible variety of flowers that were brought back by the people. One minister announced to the people that his majesty had decided to walk amongst the plants to savour the wafting scents of the flowers and to behold the beauty of the colourful flowers.

Accompanied by his ministers and by the palace gardener, the king was walking and observing each flower pot and now and again made some comments about the spectacular colours and the pleasing aroma that permeated the palace grounds. Upon completing his tour, the king returned to the royal pavilion.

The final hour had arrived. The time for announcement about the successor to the throne was approaching by the minute. The king rose from his throne to address the people. There was a pin drop silence. People felt their heartbeats quicken. The expectations were very high and so were the high standards of the flowerpot entries. The ministers were looking at the judges who signalled that they were ready to announce their decision.

The king started to address the people. In a sombre tone, king Mahendra enquired about one failed entry where the flowerpot had only soil in it and asked its owner to come forward and explain to him. A man right at the back of the huge crowd raised his hand and started making his way towards the royal pavilion. He could hear people making caustic remarks about him. His ears were getting full with sarcasm and stinging words that were being tossed about by the people. An expression of timidity began to creep upon his countenance as he came face to face with his majesty, king Mahendra.

The king requested an explanation as to why his flowerpot had no plant. The man answered that he had tried his best, even adding more fertilizer and carefully watering the seeds, but that he was disappointed and sorry that he could not grow anything. The king stood up and told the people present that he had chosen his successor. It was none else than the man whose effort at growing flowering plant from the seeds that were given to him by the king was a total failure.

The people were incredulous and the ministers and the judges were dumbfounded. With a look full of puzzle on their faces, they awaited an explanation from the king. King Mahendra placed his hand upon the shoulder of the man that was chosen as his successor and spoke to the people.

The king said: I was looking for a man with character and I have found him. I had all the seeds roasted before I gave them out. This fact was kept a secret. It was not possible for any seeds to germinate. People who received the seeds from me bought other seeds for their flowerpots when they did not see any plants growing in their flowerpots. I was on the lookout for that honest person who would produce the correct results and when I saw that one flowerpot without any plant, at that moment I knew that I had found that honest man. The man with the strength of character displaying purity of heart, fearlessness, straightforwardness, truthfulness, absence of crookedness.

The people were taken aback. The ministers and the judges stood there with their heads bowed in agreement. The minds of the people were filled with wonderment and satisfaction. A sense of authority prevailed when king Mahendra bestowed the title of the crown prince upon the man whose honesty won over the hearts of the people.

The king, who was learned and full of wisdom, concluded his address by saying that he was searching for a man, who possessed the Divine Wealth (Daivy Sampat), to become his successor.

The description of this Divine Wealth is given in the first three verses of the 16th Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.

From the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 16.
Translated by Swami Shivananda
The Divine Life Society, Rishikesh

Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledge and Yoga, almsgiving, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness.
-Gita, Ch.16, verse 1.

Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness.
-Gita, Ch. 16, verse 2.

Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride- these belong to the one born of a divine state, O Arjuna.
– Gita, Ch. 16, verse 3.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
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Man with an umbrella

Posted by kathavarta on December 19, 2008

Whatever is sacrificed, given or performed, and whatever austerity is practised without faith, it is called ‘asat’, O Arjuna, it is naught here or hereafter (after death).
From The Bhagavad Gita; Chapter 17, verse 28

A long time ago, there was a severe draught in certain parts of India. One village in particular was caught up right in the middle of this draught belt. The economy of this village was entirely dependent on agricultural produce. Without rains, the villagers faced a bleak future, indeed. The extreme heat of the sun had dried up the rivers and the lakes. There was hardly any water left in the wells. The people were really desperate for water.

The villagers approached the village pundit (priest) and asked him to organise a prayer-for- rain meeting in the temple. The whole village turned out at this prayer meeting. One man was among the last group of people who arrived at the temple and every body with strange quizzical looks on their faces, was looking at this one man. This man was carrying an umbrella and he was the only man who brought his umbrella to this prayer meeting. No villager was ever seen carrying an umbrella outside of the rainy seasons. To the villagers, it was as strange as seeing a housewife going everyday to the vegetable market dressed in a bride’s costume! For it seemed unconventional to carry an umbrella when there was not one rain cloud in the sky.

The prayer meeting commenced and at the end of all the rituals and ceremonies, when people were about to leave the temple, they could not hold back their curiosity about the man and his umbrella.

‘Why was he carrying the umbrella?’ the people asked.

Upon being questioned, the man with the umbrella replied:

“The Lord will provide. He gives and He takes away. The Lord will surely answer our prayers for rain and I will need the umbrella for the rains”.

The villagers laughed him off. Not one of the villagers could appreciate the absolute and sincere faith of the man with the umbrella. The scorching heat of the sun outside the temple was still fresh in their minds.

And then……..

Behold, a miracle took place. As the people were streaming out of the temple door and putting on their shoes, rain clouds appeared in the sky, the gentle breeze gave way to gusting winds, the pallor of the sky darkened and thunder and lightning heralded the coming of the rains. And a sudden downpour opened the eyes of the villagers. Their ridicule of the man with the umbrella changed to amazement, disbelief, and they now understood the intense faith of this man. All the villagers agreed that it was the sincere prayer of this one man with his total faith and devotion that the Lord simply had to answer.

Source: http://hinduism.co.za
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The Story of a Wallet

Posted by kathavarta on December 17, 2008

Once an old man was travelling by train on a pilgrimage to Brindavan. At night, whilst he was asleep, his wallet fell from his pocket. A co-passenger found it the next morning and enquired as to whom the wallet belonged. The old man said it was his. A picture of Sri Krishna inside the wallet was proof that the wallet really belonged to him.

The old man then began to relate the story of the wallet. He soon had a group of eager listeners around him. Lifting up the purse for all to see, the old man said: This purse has a long history behind it. My father gave it to me years ago when I was a mere schoolboy. I kept my little pocket money in it and also a photograph of my parents.

Years passed. I grew up and began studying at university. Like every youth, I became conscious of my appearance. I replaced my parents’ photograph with that of my own and I would look at it often. I had become my own admirer.

Then came marriage. Self-admiration gave way to the consciousness of a family. Out went my own picture and I replaced it with that of my wife’s. During the day I would open the wallet many times and gaze at the picture. All tiredness vanished and I would resume my work with enthusiasm.

Then came the birth of my first child. What a joy I experienced when I became a father! I would eagerly rush home after work to play with my little baby. Needless to say, my wife’s picture had already made way for the child’s.

The old man paused. Wiping his tearful eyes, he looked around and said in a sad voice: Friends, my parents passed away long ago. My wife too died five years ago. My son- my only son- is now married. He is too busy with his career and his family. He has no time for me. I now stand on the brink of death. I do not know what awaits me in future. Everything I loved, everything I considered my own, has left me.

A picture of Lord Krishna now occupies the place in my wallet. I know He will never leave me. I wish now that I had kept HIS picture with me right from the beginning! He alone is true; all others are just passing shadows.

Sri Sharada Devi, the holy mother, says: “Don’t be afraid my child, these earthly ties are transitory. Today they seem to be the be-all and end-all of life, and tomorrow they vanish. Your real tie is with God. God is one’s very own. It is the eternal relationship. He is ever looking after you. Call on the Lord who pervades the entire universe. He will shower His blessings upon you.”

From ‘Dipika’ A publication by Sri Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa; on http://hinduism.co.za
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