Source: A WhatsApp forward
It was the night of 30th Dec. And it was cold out there.
They were returning from a party at a friend’s place.
As they were hitting the main road, at the corner he caught sight of a homeless beggar squat on the pavement and pulling tight around himself a torn shawl, not entirely successful in holding off the shivering cold.
He slowed down and stopped the car a little distance ahead.
‘What happened? Why’re you stopping the car? Any problem?’ his wife got a wee bit tense.
‘No, nothing wrong with the car. Look there, an old man shivering in cold.’
‘We have a shawl with us in there. Let’s give it to him.’
‘What? That expensive stuff we bought for my mom?’
’Let me get it…what to do? There’s nothing else to spare…we’ll get another one for your mom.’
‘You know what? He is not going to use it, let me tell you. He’ll trade it in for some weed. They do it all the time.’
He picked up the shawl from the seat behind and got down.
Went up to the man, draped the shawl around the startled man fearing worse. Stepped back to have a look. With a wave of has hand, left him behind and returned to the car.
They came home in silence.
On 31st night once again there was a party they attended more or less in the same area.
Later they took the same route on the way back home.
The homeless beggar was at his spot.
‘See, what I told you, I can’t see the shawl,’ observed the wife.
He stopped the car and both of them got down.
‘What Baba, where’s the shawl we gave you yesterday? Bought yourself some ganja with it, eh?’ the wife said mockingly.
A bony arm stuck out pointing to a figure crouching on the pavement some distance away, shrouded in what appeared to be the shawl.
His voice was tremulous: ‘One leg, polio affected. Draws unwelcome attention from passers-by. She is without clothes even to cover herself properly. At least I have this for myself.’
They returned to their car without a word. She was sure there was another shawl in the bedroom closet.
vide T R Subramanian
…doing the right thing!
A story from Africa vide V Narayanan
At the time of the great King Obatala:
Three people came to him dragging a young man with them and said to him:
‘O King!! This man has murdered our father.’
Obatala: ‘Why did you kill their father?’
Young man: ‘I’m a goatherd. My goat ate from their father’s farm, and he threw a stone at my goat and it died; so I also took the stone and threw it at their father and he also died.’
Obatala: ‘Because of this, I pass judgment, on charge of murder, by sentencing you to death.’
The Young man said: ‘Oh King, I ask for 3 days before you execute the judgment. My late father left me some wealth and I have a sister to take care of. If you kill me now, the wealth and my sister will have no guardian.’
Obatala: ‘Who will stand for your bail?’
The Young man looking into the crowd, pointed at Lamurudu.
Obatala asked: ‘Do you agree to stand for him, Lamurudu?’
Lamurudu answered, ‘Beeni (yes).’
Obatala enquired further: ‘You agree to stand for someone you don’t know, and if he doesn’t return you’ll receive his penalty.’
Lamurudu answered: ‘I accept.’
The Young man left; but after two days and into the third day, there was still no sign of the Young man.
Everyone was afraid and sorry for Lamurudu who had accepted to receive the penalty of death if the man failed to return.
Just before it was time for meting out the punishment to the poor Lamurudu, the goat herdsman appeared looking very exhausted and he stood before King Obatala.
The Young man spoke up: ‘I have handed the wealth and the welfare of my sister to my uncle and I am back to receive the penalty. You may execute the penalty now.’
In great shock and surprise, Obatala said: ‘And why did you return after having a chance to escape the death penalty?’
Young man: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost integrity and the ability to fulfill promises kept.’
Obatala turned and looked at Lamurudu and asked him: ‘And why did you stand for him?’
Lamurudu responded: ‘It would then appear humanity has lost the will to do good to others.’
These words and events moved the complainant brothers who had wanted justice for their father’s death very deeply and they decided to forgive the young goat herdsman.
A furious Obatala asked: ‘Why?!!’
They said: ‘It would then appear as though forgiveness has lost place in the heart of humanity.’
Vide Jaishankar Ramachandran
There was this man who had no means of earning a living. He went out every morning into the village and sought biksha (alms) from the houses therein.
So it was this morning too as he stepped out with his joli (actually a piece of cloth folded like a pouch to hold small stuff). It held at its bottom some grains of rice put in by his wife. There was a reason for it. The householder offering biksha would be satisfied on seeing the rice he/she was not being fooled, safe in the thought someone else too saw it fit to offer it to him.
As he began his morning round, he saw a cloud of dust kicked up at a distance and also heard the rumble of wheels on the road. It was the Raja’s chariot, royal flag with the insignia fluttering atop. He was at once delighted. Finally today was his chance to seek alms from the Raja himself. So far he was always thrown out whenever he tried to gain admittance to the palace. He thought furiously about what he would ask of the Raja…this, no, that…
In a few moments, the chariot reached the point where the man was standing and, what more, it conveniently stopped by his side. Providentially his job was made easier now.
Just as he was ready to get going on his act, to his utter surprise, the Raja himself sought him out and held out a joli, his, in front of the man!
Raja: ‘Today I decided to ask and receive something from the first man I meet. It’s you. Please give me something you have!’
Well, the man just stood there in a daze for he had nothing on his person to give. Also he had only known about receiving all along. Here was the Raja of the land standing before him asking him for alms!
‘Come on, you must have something…what about the joli you’re carrying? Surely…’
He remembered he had some rice grains left in there by his wife. So he put his hand into the joli and managed to collect a handful.Then he thought it was too much. He dropped half of it back into the joli. Then again he felt he was still giving away a lot more than he should. So some more grains dropped back into the joli.
Becoming impatient, the Raja ordered him to expedite.
The man finally parted with one grain, just one.
The Raja without a demur thanked him for it and drove away.
The man was sad at what had happened. Not only he did not receive any dhaan from the Raja, he had to give away a grain of his own.
He completed his usual round and returned home.
‘Why, what happened, you look distraught?’ the wife asked him as she relieved him of the joli.
‘You know I lost a grain today…’
Wife said: ‘Why, you’re joli feels full…in fact today you seem to have collected far more than usual and you’re sad for losing a grain?’
‘But I lost a grain…’
As she ran her hands through the collected grain, she suddenly whooped in glee:
‘Look, what we got here…a grain of gold!!’
The man cried inconsolably leaving his wife nonplussed.
no attention to…
Women in the village were heading to the river for a bath.
As they were crossing a field, there upon a ridge laid a sadhu reclining with his head on a brick for height.
One of the women exclaimed, ‘Hey this sadhu is a maha gyani. Let us do pranam and seek his blessings.’
And so they did and as they went river-wards, one of the women remarked loudly: ‘You say he’s a maha gyani, yet he needed the comfort of a pillow!’
After finishing their bath, they returned the same away.
They saw the same sadhu now lying with his head resting on bare ground – he had thrown away the brick.
As they passed by, seeing this, another woman remarked: ‘You say he’s a maha gyani, yet he has an ego that gets pricked?’
The sadhu burst laughing. He got up to get back the brick lying some feet away! The lesson he had learnt early on had come back to him: ‘Let the world say what it wants, do yours.’
Based on a pravachan by Shri Vittaldas Maharaj
Forwarding few lines that I enjoyed reading, lightly edited subjectively:
Sometimes I feel I want to go back in time… Not to change things, but to feel a couple of things twice…
Sometimes I wish I was a baby for a while… Not to be walked in the pram but to see my mother’s smile!
Some times I wish I could go back to school… Not to become a child but to spend more time with those friends I never met after school!
Sometimes I wish I could be back in college… Not to be a rebel but to really understand what I studied!
Sometimes I wish I was a fresher at my work… Not to do less work but to recall the joy of making myself useful and being paid for it!
Sometimes I wish I could marry again all over… Not to change the partner but to enjoy her companionship more deeply!
Sometimes I wish my kids were younger…. Not because they grew fast but to tell them more stories…
Sometimes I wish I was more expressive…Not to pursue prose or poetry but to to say thanks to my kith and kin.
Sometimes I feel I still had some more time to live… Not to have a longer life but to know and do things differently…
Since the times that are gone can never come back, let’s enjoy the moments as we live them from now on, to the fullest…doing what we could and celebrate our everyday life*
Watch out! I have already lost a couple to these Donkeys:-(
Vide T R Subramanian
“A donkey was tied to a tree. One night a ghost cut the rope and released the donkey.
The donkey went and destroyed the crops in a farmer’s land. Infuriated, the farmer’s wife shot the donkey and killed it.
The donkey’s owner was devastated at the loss. In reply, he shot dead the farmer’s wife.
Angered by his wife’s death, the farmer took a sickle and killed the donkey’s owner.
The wife of the donkey’s owner got so angry that she and her sons set the farmer’s house on fire.
The farmer, looking at his house turned into ashes, went ahead and killed both the wife and children of that donkey’s owner.
Finally, when the farmer was full of regret, he asked the ghost as to why did it kill them all?
The ghost replied, “I killed nobody. I just released a donkey that was tied to a rope. It is all of you who released the devil within you which resulted into everything bad that happened.”
Today the media has become like the ghost. It keeps releasing donkeys on a daily basis.
The people foolishly take a stance and argue with one another endlessly. They end up ruining relationships, even when they know that their opinion is of little or no consequence.
Be responsible and do not react to every donkey released by media and preserve your relationship with your friends and relatives. They are too precious to lose over the donkeys released by the crooked media and politicians.“
Possibly apocryphal, as received from Rahul Mehta:
When he was 40, the renowned Bohemian novelist and short story writer FRANZ KAFKA (1883–1924), who never married and had no children, was strolling through Steglitz Park in Berlin, when he chanced upon a young girl crying her eyes out because she had lost her favorite doll.
She and Kafka looked for the doll without success. Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would look again.
The next day, when they still had not found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter “written” by the doll that said,
“Please do not cry. I have gone on a trip to see the world. I’m going to write to you about my adventures.”
Thus began a story that continued to the end of Kafka’s life.
When they would meet, Kafka read aloud his carefully composed letters of adventures and conversations about the beloved doll, which the girl found enchanting. Finally, Kafka read her a letter of the story that brought the doll back to Berlin, and he then gave her a doll he had purchased. “This does not look at all like my doll,” she said. Kafka handed her another letter that explained, “My trips, they have changed me.” The girl hugged the new doll and took it home with her.
A year later, Kafka died.
Many years later, the now grown-up girl found a letter tucked into an unnoticed crevice in the doll. The tiny letter, signed by Kafka, said,
“Everything you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end, love will return in a different way….”
Seth Godin writes:
“Belief happens when we combine community with emotion. It’s a way for us to see and understand the world, at the same time that we engage with some of the people around us. Belief is a symptom of shared connection, and community makes us human.
Reality, on the other hand, is widely experienced and consistent. Gravity doesn’t care if you believe in it or not, it’s still here. And that jar of jelly beans has the same number of beans in it, no matter how many times we count them.
When belief doesn’t match our experience of reality, stress occurs.
This stress can surprisingly make community stronger. There’s very little community among people who believe that the Earth is a sphere, no meetings or conventions of the round Earth people. That’s because you don’t need belief to know that the Earth is round.
There is a long history of building community cohesion by encouraging members to ignore the facts of the world around them.
The disconnect between what’s out there and the emotions that lead us to believe something that isn’t real can actually make a community tighter. Sometimes, the disconnect between belief and reality is precisely the point. When the disconnect gets really large and the community becomes more insulated, cults arise.
But in our modern age, this stressful disconnect between belief and reality also makes it difficult to spread the word. The outsider may be hesitant to sign up for the stress that belief in non-real things can cause…“