Tag Archives: Moral

Some Are More Equal Than Others

It was a working day. Even so the crowd at the camp was not thin.

Right then, a swanking new car sailed in. From it emerged a couple whose prosperity was so apparent despite their best efforts to appear ordinary and appropriate for the occasion.

The man in spotlessly white clothes and the lady carrying in her hand a small bagful of fruits and flowers, were readily ushered in to the Aacharya’s presence by a sishya.

For a moment, they were awestruck by the Aacharya’s radiance. As they bowed down, the sishya introduced him as a prominent merchant in the town operating a chain of stores selling saree’s. Now he was planning to set up hand and automatic looms to make his own branded products.

Thereupon the lady without a fuss quickly laid the fruits and flowers on a plate and the man, a thick envelope, offering it to the Aacharya. And the couple stepped back and did saashtanga namaskaram’s (prostrated in obeisance).

The sishya opened the envelope. Announcing ‘a check for Rs 50,000/ he dropped it into a sealed box kept for the purpose – the practice of making the contribution public was followed to avoid any unsavory imputation by anyone.

The Aachaarya, advanced in age, sat erect ignoring his mild indisposition and blessed them with akshathai’s (rice grains mingled in turmeric paste sprinkled on devotees). He called the man near and made solicitous inquiries at length about the family, his poorvaja’s (who were his forefathers, where did they hail from…) and his business, and wished them both well. Along with a few words of wisdom and advice, he said he would pray for their continued happiness, health and success of their business.

Finally the couple took leave much pleased with the special attention and grace bestowed on them by the Aacharya.

Thereafter there was a steady stream of devotees with humble offerings – they too received the kind Aacharya’s blessings and were offered fruits as prasadam’s. But none was spoken to like it was with the merchant couple.

At a point, the sishya could see the Aacharya had tired out. He brought the session to a close and helped the Aacharya retire to his place – a small room with a cot.

On the way, the Aacharya making an effort said to the sishya: ‘You don’t look your usual self – something on your mind?’

The sishya shook his head in polite negation.

‘I can read it – you’re bothered by my attention to the rich merchant couple? I’ve been observing you since morning.’

The sishya looked on silently averting the eyes of his Aacharya.

Lying down slowly on his rope cot, the Aacharya continued: ‘Yes, Rs 50,000 is a generous contribution. While neither you nor I, sanyasi’s (renounced normal worldly life), are interested personally, it’s certainly a happy situation to be in – you probably saw me perking up on hearing it – gives us, as instruments of the almighty, a little more elbow-room in helping the needy. Needless to tell you money to us per se is like dew drops on a lotus leaf, ready to be rolled off any moment.’

‘Now, coming to the part of my praying for their well-being – this probably bothers you the most…’ the Aacharya paused to catch his breath: ‘He’s probably employing a hundred or more employees in his stores. And is likely to employ more in his new venture, especially the poor weavers rendered redundant by machines. His success means livelihood to so many of these people. When I pray for his success as promised, actually I pray for the well-being of a hundred and more of his employees. I’m sure you’ve no problems with that…’

Turning on his side, away from the sishya, he muffled a weak yawn: ‘Also, perhaps, you did not hear me advising him to treat his employees fairly and generally be charitable with his wealth…I could’ve done more with them, you thought…or, may be less?’

Silence…punctuated only by his labored breathing.

It was clear there wasn’t much more to be said. The sishya stepped out noiselessly closing the door behind him.

 End

Source: A snap from TheHindu.com of the venerable late 45th Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt used here as a real-life Aacharya’s and is in no other way linked to the post.

They Also Serve Who…

The daughter in her forties and her 70-year old mother worked in the house as domestic help – the daughter cooked while the mother washed and swept the front-yard. At work, they rarely talked to each other. From their demeanor, one would never suspect they were mother and daughter living under one roof.

The daughter had grown up in her uncle’s house in Chennai while the mother had brought up her sister in the village.

It’s a sad story how her father abandoned her mother with two children while they were going some place by bus. Yes, he just disappeared at a bus stop leaving the illiterate woman in the middle of nowhere without a penny in her purse. Somehow she struggled to reach a relative’s house and find her way back with the children in tow.  The man was rumored to have moved in with another woman in the same neighborhood. With no further contact all his life, the mother went for his last rites on his demise!

As for her, she found her man cheating on her and pestering her for favors at other times. Disgusted she walked out of her marriage with her child, never to look back again.

In certain sections of the society it is not uncommon to find these stories oft-repeated where the man goes off with impunity to live with another woman. No questions asked. And the woman struggles with her life working as a domestic help or as a small-time vendor selling flowers, vegetables, etc.

For some years now the mother is living with her daughter in Chennai, visiting off and on her other daughter happily married and living in Pondicherry – the one silver-lining in the story.  

How are the two getting on? The daughter like a stern-faced head-mistress and the mother like a beyond-caring errant child. According to the mother, they have their spats, mostly scripted and acted out by the daughter. She could not put her finger on what upset the daughter. She just shrugged her shoulders: ’What to do? She’s like that… I let it pass.’

After that long prelude, now to the plot, thin but deep:

One day the daughter looked a little distracted. Reason: The mother had decided to go to Pondicherry for a month to be with her other daughter.

While talking about it, she said: ‘I can’t stay without Thaayi (her mother).’ Came as a surprise. But she repeated herself twice.

When this was carried later to Thaayi while she was sweeping the dead neem leaves off the yard, her response:

‘Don’t kid with me.’

‘No. I’m not.’

She went back to her job. After a few minutes, she came back:

‘She said that? Did she say it in jest or…’

‘No, she was right earnest saying she can’t live without you in the house.’

She too appeared surprised. Surely gladdened her heart though she didn’t exactly go into a dance. May be it’ll get at least her thru the next few spats to come?

Besides the obvious moral of the story: ‘When you care about someone, say it loud and often to the person.’…there’s more to the story (with apologies to Milton John), I thought:

‘They also serve…

who carry a good word spoken,

a warm feeling expressed…

to its rightful addressee,

who wasn’t around then.’

A great opportunity, often overlooked, to bring people closer happily at no cost and with little effort!

End

Source: Mother and Daughter – hand-painted by ANJU AGRAWAL listed at fizdi.com/

Down A Two-Way Street

sam-quotespick-com

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.

End

 

 

 

Source: ‘DR. MAHESH’ (drmaheswar_2013@yahoo.com) enjoythepics@yahoogroups.com

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?’

End

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?”

uthanga

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…

End

 

 

Credits: Google Images and kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com minimally edited

 

That’s Life

Funeral.jpg

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.”

Silence…

“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.”

End

 

 

 

Source: Minimally edited from mumbairock.com/

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?’

End

 

 

 

Source: Adapted from Dina Thanthi in Tamil and image from folknet.in.

 

 

 

Teepee Etiquette

 

Reblogged from: artofmanliness.com here

teepee-1-640x804 (1)

From Google: teepee – a conical tent made of skins, cloth, or canvas on a frame of poles, used by American Indians of the Plains and Great Lakes regions.

The following excerpt on “Teepee Etiquette — The Unwritten Law of the Lodge,” was taken from The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore (1912) by Ernest Thompson Seton. Seton said he gathered these maxims on American Indian hospitality “chiefly from observations of actual practice, but in many cases from formal precept.” They’re still largely apropo for modern hosts entertaining visiting guests in their “teepee” (though your mother-in-law may disagree).

Teepee Etiquette — The Unwritten Law of the Lodge

Be hospitable.

Always assume that your guest is tired, cold, and hungry.

Always give your guest the place of honor in the lodge, and at the feast,and serve him in reasonable ways.

Never sit while your guest stands.

Go hungry rather than stint your guest.

If your guest refuses certain food, say nothing; he may be under vow.

Protect your guest as one of the family; feed his horse.

Do not trouble your guest with many questions about himself; he will tell you what he wishes you to know.

In another man’s lodge follow his customs, not your own.

Never worry your host with your troubles.

Always repay calls of courtesy; do not delay.

Give your host a little present on leaving; little presents are little courtesies and never give offense.

Say “Thank you” for every gift, however small.

Compliment your host, even if you strain the facts to do so.

Never walk between persons talking.

Never interrupt persons talking.

Let not the young speak among those much older, unless asked.

Always give place to your seniors in entering or leaving the lodge; or anywhere.

Never sit while your seniors stand.

Never force your conversation on any one.

Speak softly, especially before your elders, or in presence of strangers.

Never come between any one and the fire.

Do not stare at strangers; drop your eyes if they stare hard at you; andthis, above all, for women.

The women of the lodge are the keepers of the fire, but the men should help with the heavier sticks.

Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.

Do not talk to your mother-in-law at any time, or let her talk to you (!!!).

Be kind.

Show respect to all men, but grovel to none.

Let silence be your motto till duty bids you speak.

Thank the Great Spirit for each meal.

 …”

End