Monthly Archives: September 2015

Take Care This Karmic Rule Doesn’t Get You


Once there was a king who distributed food and dakshina every morning to the Brahmanas (priests) on pilgrimage visiting his court.

One day, as he was giving out food to the priests, an eagle flew above holding a dead snake in his claws. Out of the mouth of the dead snake fell a drop of poison into the food that the king was distributing.

No one knew or saw this had happened, so the king continued distributing the food.

The Brahmana who accidentally got the poisoned food from the king died. The king felt very sad about it.

One of the servants of Yamaraj (the god of death) whose duty was to distribute karma to the living beings was faced with a problem. On this occasion of the poisoned food given out by the king, he did not know who to give the karma (of causing the Brahmana’s death). His rule-book was silent on eventualities of this kind.

After all, it was not the eagle’s fault that it carried the dead snake in its claws (since this was its food), nor was it the dead snake’s fault, nor was it the king’s fault because he did not know that the poison had fallen into the food.

While the Yamadhoota (the servant of Yamaraj) stood vexed, on the following day, a fresh batch of Brahmanas on pilgrimage headed towards the king‘s court.

On the way they asked a lady for directions to the king’s palace. Pointing to the right direction she cautioned: ‘But, be very careful, the king is known to kill brahmanas!”

The moment the lady faulted the king, the Yamadhoota was immediately relieved. Now he knew he had a rule in his book for the intractable problem on hand.

He gave her the karma of brahmana’s death.

That was for making unjust and untrue allegations against the king.




It’s Best This Way



Robert De Vincenzo, the great Argentine golfer, once won a tournament and, after receiving the check and smiling for the cameras, he went to the clubhouse and prepared to leave. Some time later, he walked alone to his car in the parking lot and was approached by a young woman.

She congratulated him on his victory and then told him that her child was seriously ill and near death. She did not know how she could pay the doctor’s bills and hospital expenses.

De Vincenzo was touched by her story, and he took out a pen and endorsed his winning check for payment to the woman. “Make some good days for the baby,” he said as he pressed the check into her hand.

The next week he was having lunch in a country club when a Professional Golf Association official came to his table:

“Some of the boys in the parking lot last week told me you met a young woman there after you won that tournament.”

De Vincenzo nodded.

“Well,” said the official, “I have news for you. She’s a phony. She has no sick baby. She’s not even married. She fleeced you, my friend.”

“You mean there is no baby who is dying?” said De Vincenzo.

“That’s right,” said the official.

“That’s the best good news I’ve heard all week.” De Vincenzo said.

It depends on how you see things. You can be bitter after being cheated. Or you can choose to move on with your life.



Source: Ray Mitchell at and image from openclipart (Gerald_G).

Krishna The Just

There were three young lads that came into the temple.


After the darshan, they were on their way out. They paused near the hundi (collection box) located in the front and turned around for one final darshan of the deity. At this time one of the lads idly ran his hand over the slit of the hundi and felt a coin stuck at the slit that had not dropped into the hundi. He looked around. Seeing no one watching him, he retrieved the two rupee coin mumbling sincere apologies.

It was a god-send. With no money on them, they had not eaten almost for a day and hence were mighty hungry. In fact they had come into the temple in the hope of receiving some prasadam which unfortunately did not happen. On the two-rupee coin, they went to a nearby eating house and had a dosa each for a total of a rupee and a half. The lad returned to the temple with his mates and dropped the remaining half a rupee back into the hundi thanking the Lord for his timely help.  Just then the Bhattar (priest) who happened to be nearby saw the lad with his hand on the hundi.

Suspecting some mischief the Bhattar pulled up the lad and questioned him. The lad made a clean breast of whatever had happened.  An angry Bhattar gave them a punishment of making four pradakshanam’s (circumambulations) of the temple with hands folded in obeisance to make expiation for the misdeed.

Complying with Bhattar’s pronouncement, the lads proceeded to make atonement.  On their third pradakshanam,  the Bhattar saw a sweet child following them with folded hands. Strangely no one else seemed to be aware of the child’s presence.

Bhattar addressed the child: ‘My child, why are doing it? It was meant for those lads.’

The child smiled at the Bhattar: ‘Sir, you prescribed four pradakshanam’s for the two rupees they took out of the hundi. They had used a rupee and half for their food and gave me back half a rupee. Please tell them to stop on completing the third. It is only fair they do three and I do the fourth.

Without waiting any further the child sped away around the shrine on a pradakshanam not to be seen again.


Source: Heard it on a TV channel, details differing somewhat, months ago. The subject temple is in Guruvayoor where Krishna is the deity as a child. Image from Krishna

The Elusive Laddu And The Sardarji

A_view_of_Laddu Low

If this wasn’t coming from B, I would have bet my last buck this was a concoction from an ardent devotee. Read on to know why:

In the 1980’s I regularly visited Thirupati for darshan of Lord Venkatachalapathy, variously called as Srinivasa, Balaji…During one of those trips in late 1980’s I was accompanied by two of my office colleagues, one of them a sardarji, a very pious man.

This was the first visit for him. After standing in the queue for about two hours, we finally entered the main entrance in the temple complex at Thirumala (top of the hill at Thirupati) at about 9:00. As soon as we entered there, sardarji covered his head with a hand-kerchief and started chanting some prayer while we engaged ourselves in some idle chat. It took us another 20 to 30 minutes before we could stand in front of the Lord to have His darshan.

On our way out, we collected a small laddu given out as prasadam. We promptly partook the same and, as always, headed towards the prasadam counter located outside the temple entrance for buying additional laddus for our families. With huge demand and limited production in those days, up to three laddus were offered per head. It was already 9-45 and the queue was very long. Hard-pressed for time – the Bombay-bound train was due at 11-30 at the far-away Renigunta railway station, it was clear we would miss the train if we stood in the queue.

Sardarji’s disappointment was writ quite visibly on his face.

He pleaded with the people triumphantly exiting the prasadam counter with laddus in their hands to give him just one so that he didn’t return home empty handed. Unfortunately for him no one obliged.It was no surprise to us – the laddus were and are always a much prized prasadam to be shared with family, neighbors and friends back home. Not with a total stranger.

During our travel to Renugunta station sardarji without let-up bemoaned his drawing a blank and regretted he partook that small laddu at the temple itself instead of sharing it with his wife and daughter back home. We tried unsuccessfully to pacify him saying the good darshan he had had was a greater reward than the laddu. And he should be happy and thankful to the Lord for the same.

The Madras-to-Bombay train arrived  puffing and panting for a short halt at Renigunta. We had just the time to board the compartment and move to take our seats before the train pulled out slowly. As we looked around we observed a large Gujarati marriage party going from Madras to Bombay occupying almost the entire compartment. Before long, one of their group-members approached us tentatively with a request: If we could be kind enough to move to the adjoining compartment, three members separated from their group could take our place to be one with the group. Since we were not encumbered with any heavy luggage, we readily agreed to switch our seats.

At the next stop, the shift was effected without further ado.

Once we settled down at the new place,the usual getting-to-know chit-chat commenced among the co-passengers. One of them was an elderly Bengali lady looking calm, graceful and respectable. Our sardarji needed little encouragement to unwind his tale of woe: his first ever trip to Thirumala, the good Darshan he had, the prasadam he ate, and his utter disappointment and sorrow in not procuring even a single laddu for his family back home. The lady continued to listen intently until the end.

When the sardarji finally rested his story, she said: “Beta, Balaji kisi ko nirasha nahi karenge” <He never disappoints anyone>. While it sounded like one of those perfectly inane commiserating remarks, she retrieved a bag from under the seat and pulled out for him one big laddu, at least 4 to 5 times larger than the laddu sold at the prasadam counter.

He was speechless awash with excitement and apprehension – Was it for real? Was she playing some cruel prank on him?

She explained: She had arranged for some special Pooja at Thirumala which included at its conclusion a sizeable quantity of prasadam for her. She added she would be only too happy if she could, in a small way, redress his disappointment.

With folded hands, unbelievable surprise and tears in his eyes, he accepted it and readily shared the some of it with us.


Was this all just happenstance or divine Grace or what was it?

What do you think?

For those of you who have not read my posts elsewhere, B was my neighbor for long years and Vidya Balan, the highly talented and widely  acclaimed actress of Bollywood is his daughter.