Monthly Archives: September 2016

Down A Two-Way Street


A young officer was on his round when one of the riflemen did not notice him and missed saluting him.

The youngster got cheesed off and summoned the Gorkha and asked him the reason for not saluting him.

The Gorkha innocently gave out the reason that he did not see ‘Lieutenant Huzoor’.

The youngster not convinced, punished the Gorkha to a thousand salutes.

The soldier immediately started saluting…

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw who was passing by asked the youngster as to what was happening.

The youngster said, ‘Sir, this soldier had the audacity of not saluting me. So I have punished him with 1000 salutes.’

Sam replied, ‘Bloody good punishment young man, but ensure that you return each of his salutes.’

For the next two hours the unit was treated to a scene of a Gorkha saluting and the young officer returning each of his salutes.

Street named ‘Respect’ is two-way thoroughfare.





Source: ‘DR. MAHESH’ (


Luckily(?) Something’s Don’t Change With Time

funeral pyre.jpg

This is a story from Narada Purana of a businessman who had spent all his life in operating his business and accumulating wealth. Now when he was old, his sons felt it was time to go on pilgrimage, perform charities and redeem himself. The sons approached a kind Sadhu and explained to him what they had in mind for their father: ”Do not bring the father back until he goes through a change of heart and he engages himself whole-heartedly in punyam-earning activities befitting his age.” Money was no object for ensuring their father’s well-being in his after-life

So the business man was taken to various holy places by the Sadhu, lecturing him from time to time by way of stories, anecdotes, etc. on higher values in life. But the man’s heart was hard set on his business wherever he went. He was concerned how his sons were coping up in his absence. He inquired about prices of goods in an effort to identify profitable buy-here-sell-there trading opportunities. He was least inclined to listen much less internalize the Sadhu’s words.

After a while the Sadhu realized it was not happening as desired by the sons. Pushed to giving up, he informed the sons: “Your father is an incorrigible businessman. I hate to admit, I’ve no success to report – he is difficult to change.”

The sons said: “No, no, please – you cannot give it up. Take more time if that’s what it takes. You must bring him around.”

So as a last resort, the Sadhu took him to the holy city of Varanasi. After all no human being returns unaffected after a visit to Varanasi.

They passed through several of the burning ghats (where corpses are burnt on stacks of wood) on the banks of Ganges. A somber mood hung in the air heavily. Words were out of place.

As they came to the end of the line of burning pyres, the man stopped, sighed heavily and suddenly broke into sobs. Tears welled up from up his eyes and streamed down his cheeks.

The Sadhu was not surprised – no one can remain unmoved witnessing the all-equalizing end of the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the tall and the short, the brave and the timid, the beautiful and the ugly …

And at the same time the Sadhu was happy to see his efforts yielding results at last.

He turned to the old man and placed his hand on his shoulders and said with all the solemnity he could muster: “What do you feel now? How do you feel about life now?”

The man between his sobs managed: “I really feel bad. I feel terrible…have wasted my life.”

The Sadhu further inquired encouragingly: “Really? Why do you feel terrible? Tell me.”

The businessman by now regained his composure and said: “I was a cloth merchant throughout my life.  What a waste! Eking out measly margins. And here…if I knew that there is so much demand for wood…with no haggling over prices, I’m sure.”



Source: Adapted from on how desires-to-detachment in life is not a smooth ride.

The Guru Has A Question

The Sishya (disciple) thought aloud: ‘The world is being torn apart by geography, race, gender, culture, religion, language, economic disparity, etc. etc. Strangely these forces unite people at one level and pit them against one another on a larger canvas. Of these religion intended to uplift the mankind seems to be most perniciously divisive.’

‘You’re right,’ concurred the Guru. ‘Religion – every one of them – claims god of its own. And the gods seem to be fighting a proxy war for supremacy through their overzealous faithful on this earth!’

‘That’s an awful thing to say about the gods…er…I mean about the god.’

‘You know what I think? It could well be that the gods already have a truce up there and for fun kept it from them down here.’

‘Watch what you say – you may get hauled up for profanity.’

I’ve just this to ask of the believers:  If you’re the children of a god, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, and just and loving, what about them? I mean the others, the multitude, whom you fiercely despise, coerce or even coax. A defective production batch off your god’s factory, to be mended?’


The Difference Between Knowledge And Its Practice

The reclusive Uttang Rishi stayed the forests for most of his life with little contact with the rest of the world. It was during one such long stay away from civilization that the war between the rift between the Pandavas and Kauravas ripened to enmity and ended in the calamitous war at Kurukshetra that resulted in the decimation of all the Kauravas. Always in penance the Rishi moved places. Pleased with his sincere devotion, Lord appeared and said, “I wish to grant you a boon, O most righteous sage! What would you ask of me?”


Uttang said, Oh Lord “I need nothing! The only thing that I, perhaps, may seek is that I may not lack for water wherever I am, since I travel in wild and inaccessible places.”

Lord replied “Granted!”

Once, Uttang Rishi was traveling through a desert and was afflicted by  severe thirst and could not find any water to drink. He remembered the boon of LORD and besought some water.

Lord summons Indira and instructs him to take the nectar (Amrit) and fulfill the Rishi’s thirst permanently making him immortal. Indira was surprised with Lord’s command as the Nectar was meant for deva’s and not humans. However it was an instruction from the Lord that could not be ignored..

Indira changes his attire He dresses himself as an ugly looking chandala (one who deals with disposal of corpses) and arrives before the Rishi along with a stray dog.   The Rishi is dismayed. He follows the Rishi and pleads him to take the divine water he is carrying from his deerskin container.

Uttang Rishi was aghast. How could he, a Rishi, take water from a chandala? Thrice the chandala offers water and thrice the Rishi refused. The Rishi declares that he would die of thirst rather than drink the water given by him and asks him to leave. The chandala disappears in fraction of a second leaving the Rishi in surprise.

He was pensive when Lord Krishna appeared before him.

Uttang Rishi complained:”Lord! You promised me water whenever I needed it. How could you send it in the hands of a chandala?”

Lord Krishna smiled and said, “O Sage! I asked Indra to give you divine nectar and make you immortal. Indra was hesitant saying that Amrit was not for normal human beings. I told that you were a realised soul and deserved immortality.

Indra felt that if you were truly a realised soul, you would know that all differentiation between people were only the creation of mortals and that all people were the same in the eyes of a realised soul and, thus, if you accepted the nectar from Indra in the guise of a chandala, you would deserve it. I agreed. You let me down…




Credits: Google Images and minimally edited


Who Freed Maria?

Maria lived with her mother in a small apartment in NYC.


She wasn’t too young or too old, not too short or too tall, not particularly beautiful nor ugly, not meriting a second glance. An average woman, working as a secretary at a large company, her life pretty ordinary with no up’s and down’s, no turns and twists. In a word, unremarkable.

One morning, on her way to work, Maria saw a new hat shop that opened down the street. In a spur of curiosity she walked in. In the shop was a little girl and her mother, who came to pick the girl a hat, and another customer who was trying on hats…Maria also tried on a few hats, until she found one she liked. She put it on and it looked nice!

First to notice was the little girl: “Mommy, look how pretty that woman looks with the hat on!” The mother said: “Ma’am, I must say, this hat just looks wonderful on you. The second buyer also came to look: “Ma’am, you look lovely with that hat on!”

Maria went to the mirror. She looked at herself. And for the first time in her adult life. She liked what she saw. Smiling, she went to the counter and bought the hat.

As she walked outside a new world revealed itself to her.

She never before noticed the colors of the flowers. Or the scent of the fresh air. The sound of the cars and the people…sounded like an harmonious melody.

She walked as if drifting on a cloud. With a song in her heart.

When she passed by the coffee shop she walked by every morning, one of the young handsome men called out to her: “Hey darling. Looking good! Are you new here? Can I buy you a cup of coffee? ”

She smiled shyly and kept walking. Floating on her cloud…

When she got to the office building, the doorman opened the door and wished her good morning. Never before had he even noticed her! The people in the elevator asked her the floor she needed and pressed the button for her.

The people at the office, as if seen her for the first time Flattered her on how lovely she looked today. The manager asked her out to lunch to talk about how she felt at work!

When this magical workday was over she decided to take a cab home instead of the bus. As soon as she put her hand up 2 taxis stopped! She took the first one and sat in the back seat. Thinking about the miraculous day she had and how her life changed thanks to the new hat!

When she got home, her mom opened the door. The sight of Maria took her breath away! “Maria” she said surprised “How beautiful you look! Your eyes are all lit up like when you were a little girl! ”

“Yes, mother” Said Maria “It’s all thanks to my new hat, I had the most marvelous day!”

“Maria” said her mother “What hat??”

Maria panicked. Where did she leave it? There was no hat on her head. Yes, now she remembered – she had set the hat on the counter while paying for it and rushed out forgetting her purchase.



Source:  Minimally edited from Arun Subrahmanyan, a prolific contributor of interesting anecdotes.

That’s Life


A young man, Ramaswami, died an untimely death. His parents, wife and nine year old son were crying bitterly sitting next to his dead body.

They all happened to be disciples of a holy man whom they called ‘Maharaj ji’. When Maharaj ji learnt that Ramaswami had died, he came to visit the family. He entered the house and found the family wailing inconsolably.

Seeing Maharaj ji, the wife started crying even louder. She sobbed saying, “Maharaj ji, he has died too early, he was so young…Oh! I would do anything to make him alive again. What will happen to our son? I’m so helpless and miserable.”

Maharaj ji tried to pacify the crying lady and the old parents. But the loss was too much for them to come to terms with so easily.

Eventually, Maharaj ji said, “Alright, get me a glass of water.” Maharaj ji sat near the dead body and put the glass next to it. He said,

“Now, whoever wants that Ramaswami should become alive again may drink this water. Ramaswami shall come back to life, but the person who drinks the water shall die instead.”


“Come, did you not say that Ramaswami was the sole bread-winner of the family? Who would die instead of him? It is a case of fair exchange, isn’t it?”

The wife looked at the old mother and the old mother looked at the wife. The old father looked at Ramaswami’s son. But no one came forward…

Then Maharaj ji said to the old father, “Babuji, wouldn’t you give your life for your son?”

The old man said, “Well, I have my responsibility towards my wife. If I die who will look after her? Also, after me, there would be no men left in the family.”

Maharaj ji looked questioningly at the old woman and said, “Amma?”

Amma said, “My daughter is due to deliver her first baby. She will be coming to stay for a month…If I die who will look after her and the newborn. And who will look after the old man here- his khana-peena (diet)?’

Maharaj ji smiled and looked at the young widow.

She widened her tear filled eyes and said, “Maharaj ji, don’t I need to live for my son? If I die, who will look after him?  He is so young, he needs a mother.”

Maharaj ji asked the son, “Well little boy, would you like to give your life for your father?”

Before the boy could say anything, his mother pulled him to her breast and said:

“Maharaj ji, are you insane? My son is only nine. He has not yet lived his life. How could you even think or suggest such a thing?”

Maharaj ji wrapped it up: “So it seems all of you are very much needed for the things lined up for you to do in this world and Ramaswami was the only one that could be spared. That’s why our good Lord chose to take him away. So shall we now proceed with his last rites? It’s getting late.”





Source: Minimally edited from

Akbar And Birbal

Akbar-birbal folknet in.png

Akbar and Birbal went out without the usual retinue, attired like merchants on visit to a far-out part of the kingdom.

At the town market,

Akbar: ‘Does anyone know me here?’

Birbal: ‘We will know soon, Jahampana.’

None from the milling crowd gave the emperor a second glance.

But many were looking at Birbal smiling at him. A few even waved at him.

‘Birbal, how do they know you? You were never in these parts as far as I now. And how could they recognize you in these clothes? Even your mother wouldn’t. If they did, they should know who is with you.’

‘You’re right, my Lord, they don’t know me here about.’

‘But I see them smiling at you.’

‘Could be because I smiled at them?’





Source: Adapted from Dina Thanthi in Tamil and image from