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 mumbairock.com/