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Tag: guru

Little Gopal And The Cowherd

Greetings to my readers! With Janmashtami round the corner, this time I am posting a story of Krishna.

Long ago, in the present state of Odisha, there lived a poor widow Subala, with her young son. Her husband had died when the son was about a year old and she had no relatives to support her. The villagers however were very considerate and had jointly given her a small plot of land where she could cultivate some vegetables and earn a living out of selling them. They were also kind enough to look after the child when she went to the market to sell her vegetables.

This lady Subala was an ardent devotee of Krishna and believed that Krishna was taking care of her in the form of her neighbours, the villagers. Due to her deep devotion to Lord Krishna, she had named her son Gopal.
Gopal was a very loving child and very intelligent too. He endeared himself to the villagers and was their pet.

In due course Gopal grew up to be five years old, when the villagers started telling Subala that Gopal should be sent to a school for education. Subala also wished to educate young Gopal, but was reluctant as she was earning too less to send him to school.

Knowing the reason for her hesitation, the village headman said to her, “Subala, education is the only asset you can give your son and knowledge has been named as the greatest wealth in our shastras. We know you do not have enough money to send him to the city, but there is school a little farther from our village where the fee is less and the teacher teaches well. Why don’t you admit Gopal there?”

Subala was in a dilemma. Even if she put Gopal in that school which was not a gurukula, which meant he had to commute every day, she was doubtful whether she could go two times every day to leave him and bring him back from school owing to her vegetable business.

The headman read her mind and said, “Subala, in this age, the boy should start knowing what life is. One or two days it will be difficult, but Gopal, I think he will be able to go and come back himself. And if you think the distance is too much, there is a short cut through the woods by which he can reach home in a short time. Do not hesitate Subala, for the auspicious day of Vijaya Dashami is round the corner and the Guru in the school admits children only on Vijaya Dashami”

Subala had no other go but to agree. Gopal was extremely excited to know that he will be going to a school where he would get lot of friends to play with. He played with the elders here but yearned for someone of his age as a playmate but all the other boys in the village were grown up and he had not got a proper playmate yet.
At last the great day came. Subala took little Gopal by his hand and led him to the school and enrolled him there. She went back again in the evening and brought him by the short cut through the dense woods and could reach home fast. Gopal took to the new atmosphere as a fish takes to water and he eagerly looked forward every day to go to the school. He made quite a few friends and was very excited about it. Subala felt happy to see the little one happy. She thanked Lord Krishna for guiding her to take this decision.

After a few days, Gopal had gained confidence to go on his own to school. “Amma,” he said, “You don’t worry. I know the way and I will come back safe in the evening”. In those days there was no motorised transport and the fear of road accidents was not there. Nor was the fear of kidnapping. Still since he was a young boy, the mother feared he might lose his way. “No Amma, I will not lose my way. I shall go myself” said little Gopal.

Gopal went to school and when it was time to come back, he started walking through the short cut. After Vijaya Dashami, the winter sets in and the days are shorter and darkness starts setting in early in the evening. The birds were returning to their nests and were making lot of noise. The noise of the crickets and occasional hooting sound of owls was heard. Since the woods were dense some monkeys were jumping from branch to branch. Even though these were there every day, Gopal had failed to notice them in the comfort of his mother’s presence and now when he was all alone, the sounds seemed magnified. He heard the grunt of a bull and thought it was the roar of a lion, even though there were no wild animals and started running fast. He ran and ran till he reached the clearing from where his hut could be seen.

Slowing down, puffing and panting for breath, he came home to Subala who was waiting for him at the doorstep.

“Why are you panting for breath my dear?” she asked as she put her hand lovingly around him. “Did you run? And, how was school today?”

For a while, there was no reply from little Gopal.

“Amma, I will not go to school from tomorrow” said he to a shocked Subala.

“Why, my dear, what happened? Did you have any quarrel with your friends or did anyone say any harsh words to you?” she asked.

“Amma… Amma… I …am afraid to come through the woods… I think I heard a lion roar. I don’t want to go Amma, please. I am afraid to come alone in the evening. Please amma… please…”

Subala was almost in tears thinking of her helplessness. Here was this child who was so intelligent and liked school but did not want to go as he could not come back alone.

“Hey Gopala” she prayed to Lord Krishna, “please show me a way out”

Then after a few moments, composing herself, she told Gopal, “Gopal dear, I forgot to tell you about your elder brother who lives in the woods”

Gopal looked up in surprise, his eyes rolling in astonishment. “Amma, I have an elder brother? Why did you not tell me before Amma? I want to see him Amma. What is his name? How does he look like Amma?” There seemed to be no end to his questions.

Subala calmly said, “Your Bhaiya’s (elder brother) name is also Gopal my dear. He is a cowherd and and lives in the woods. He is dark complexioned and extremely beautiful, wears yellow silk, sports a peacock feather on his hair and a beautiful tilak on his forehead and always plays lovely tunes on the flute he carries. He likes grazing cattle and always is surrounded by cows and calves. But Gopal” she continued, “you can call him only in the evening when you are frightened while coming back and he will come and be with you. Now, will you be a good boy and go to school tomorrow?”

Fascinated by the mental picture he had conjured with the description his mother had given of the lovely Gopal
Bhaiya, the little Gopal shook his head affirmatively. “Yes Amma, from tomorrow, I will call Gopal Bhaiya in the evenings. I am hungry now. What have you made for me??”

Subala was at peace now as she firmly believed that her beloved Giridhari (Krishna) would take care of her little Gopal.

The next morning Gopal went to school as joyfully as he did usually as he was sure his Bhaiya would come with him in the evening. The whole night he was dreaming of Gopal Bhaiya and was eagerly looking forward to meeting him.
After school, Gopal took his bag and slate (in those days that was all one carried to school and most education was oral!!) and left in the usual route.

After a while, the woods became dark and the sounds of the owls, monkeys and birds started to become louder. Gopal was confused as he expected his Bhaiya to appear. The sounds became louder frightening little Gopal.
“Bhaiya….” Gopal called out. “Gopal Bhaiya… Gopal Bhaiya… please come Bhaiya…”

There was no response.

There was a momentary silence by the birds and monkeys on hearing Gopal’s voice but the loud chatter started again.
Gopal called out again. “Bhaiyaa…. I am frightened Bhaiyaa… Amma told me you will come. Bhaiya…” The voice was shaky and panicky.

Suddenly from somewhere behind, a soft note on the flute was heard. That was followed by the jingle of the bells. The note continued and it was so enchanting that all the other noise stopped.
Gopal looked around thrilled at the sound. He could find no one. Again as he was about to call, a young handsome boy matching the exact description his mother had given jumped down from a tree branch a few feet away.

“Why are you afraid Gopal” asked the handsome Bhaiya. “I am here with you and I will come every day and leave you at the edge of the forest”.

Gopal also saw few beautiful cows and calves that appeared from somewhere near the bushes. Gopal and the cows and calves looked all so divine and enchanting that Gopal was so happy and at peace.

“Shall we play a game of hide and seek?” asked Gopal Bhaiya.

Gopal was more than happy. They both played around the bushes gleefully with the cows and calves happily grazing the grass and after a while Gopal Bhaiya took little Gopal by his hand and left him near the edge of the forest.
Subala was not surprised when Gopal told of his Bhaiya. She knew Krishna would not let her down and everyday Gopal Bhaiya was teaching new games, telling new stories and teaching little songs to Gopal.
Gopal studied well and was a very happy child.

Every year the students of the school honoured their teacher on Guru Poornima day by bringing him expensive gifts and the Guru on his part entertained all of them to a feast in his house.

Soon Gopal’s class was abuzz with the discussion of what gift each one would be giving the guru.

“My father will give the costliest silk to our Guru and Guru Ma (wife of Guru)” said one boy.

“My father has bought pearls and rubies from the merchants coming from overseas. I will give him a box full of them” said another with pride.

“My father is going to gift our guru a pair of hefty bullocks” said one.

“And mine is going to give him a beautiful cow and calf”

“My father has reaped a good crop of paddy and I will be giving our Guru one hundred bags of paddy”

The list went on and on and on Gopal was aghast on hearing all these gifts. First of all he did not have a father and of course did not have any money to even get anything small.

The kids noticed him and one asked, “Hey Gopal, what are you going to gift to the Guru?”

“Where does your father work?” asked another.

Overcome with shame and helplessness, Gopal, with his eyes full of tears looked down and swiftly left the place.

That evening, as usual Gopal Bhaiya met him in the woods.

“What is troubling you brother?” he asked little Gopal. “Why are you so sad and seemed to have cried? Did anyone say anything harsh to you? Did anyone beat you? Come on tell me” he said in a loving tone.

Gopal broke down. Sobbing loudly, he told Bhaiya of how everyone was going to gift the Guru something special on Guru Poornima day and how he neither had his father nor money to buy something special. “Please help me Bhaiyaa……” said he with tears streaming down his cheeks.

“Do not cry Gopal” said Bhaiya wiping Gopal’s tears with his lotus hands. “On the day of Guru Poornima, when you go to school, I shall come here and give you the gift you shall take. Now, be a cheerful boy, and let us play a word game, sit down”

Saying thus, he took out sweet berries from a knot in his upper garment. “Here, eat this. They are as sweet as you are. Come let’s play” he said.

Little Gopal totally forgot his worries and happily played and went home.

So happy was he with the assurance given by his Bhaiya that he forgot to even mention about the Guru Poornima event to his mother.

The great day came and Gopal did not realise it was Guru Poornima day. He started off to school and midway in the woods, there was his handsome brother with an enchanting smile, holding a small pot in his hands.

“Aah! Bhaiya, what gift have you brought?” Gopal asked eagerly. When he saw what was in the pot, his face fell. It was a pot of sweet smelling curds, looking fresh and creamy.

Gopal Bhaiya handed over the pot to little Gopal and looking at him said firmly, “Gopal, go and give this gift to your teacher for the feast today. Do not feel bad that this is a small gift. This is the tastiest curd your teacher would have ever tasted in his life”. Not giving any time for Gopal to respond, Bhaiya walked away and disappeared behind a huge bush.

Not knowing what to do, but bound by the stern but loving instruction of his Gopal Bhaiya, little Gopal walked fast carrying the small pot carefully.

As he reached the school, he could see many parents with their wards, dressed in their best and offering various gifts to the Guru and his wife who were seated on a decorated bench near the entrance. The gifts were being given and the children were touching the feet of the Guru and Guru Ma as a mark of respect. They were all in a line. Little Gopal who did not have any new dress was dressed as usual in clean but old clothes and he also joined the line. Some of the parents and children looked at him scornfully for he was alone and added to that carrying a small pot while they were carrying expensive gifts, fruits and sweets in large quantities in big cane baskets.
Little Gopal felt miserable to be in that line and felt as if it was ages by the time the people in the line moved forward.

At last it was little Gopal’s turn. As he faced the Guru, the expression on the Guru’s face also showed that he was disappointed with the small gift and when Gopal tried to give him the pot, he rudely said, “Hm… leave it in the kitchen. It is too big a gift to be displayed here” and when Gopal tried to touch the Guru’s feet he brushed him away much to the child’s agony.

Feeling too much ashamed, Gopal stood in a corner unnoticed by all. Finally the gifting ceremony was over and some parents gave speeches on the Guru’s greatness and then the Guru gave a thanks giving speech and invited all to be seated for lunch in the open ground which had been decorated with a shamiana or a Pandal as some call it. Banana leaves had been placed in rows and there were small mats to sit on.

All including Gopal went and sat down to eat.

Much of the sweetmeats and fruits that were gifted was served to all and the Guru Ma started serving varieties of vegetables and rice. Somehow, the vegetable dishes were spicy and some wanted curd along with it.

Out of his enthusiasm, Gopal cried out, “Guru Ma, I have brought curd for you” The Guru’s wife looked at him sarcastically and said, “Yes, you have brought enough for all of these people. I will show you how much” and with a cynical look took the small pot.

She served the first person in the row. The curd did not seem to diminish. She did not notice it and served the second and the third and so on and all were asking for more and more and more.

The curd was so tasty and everyone wanted more and more and suddenly, the lady realised that she had been serving so many people from that little pot and the level of curd was same. She was horrified. She placed the pot on the floor immediately and her face full of fear, she looked at Gopal and asked, “The curd is not reducing in spite of so many having eaten it? Have you done any black magic? Who gave you this pot huh?

The Guru was also looking angrily at Gopal and said, “You brat… you bought such a small pot of curd and now you have done black magic have you??”

Saying so, he came to screw Gopal’s ears when Gopal said pleadingly, “Guruji… please believe me. I do not know of any black magic. My elder brother Gopal Bhaiya gave me this pot in the morning as a gift to you. I really don’t know what you are saying…” and he started crying.

“Elder brother? What elder brother? Do you have one at all? Your mother told me you are her only son, when she came to admit you. Are you lying you….” He came near with his hand raised in anger and Gopal fell at his feet. He told him the whole story of Gopal Bhaiya and his appearance and how he came every day to lead him from the woods.

The Guru could not believe Gopal’s words but the curds seemed to be the evidence of what he was saying and the curd pot was still full as it was in the beginning.

“Come on”, said the Guru, “take me to the woods and show him to me”

“But Guruji” said little Gopal innocently, “Bhaiya will come in the evening only”

“No way will I believe” said the Guru. “Then how did he come in the morning and give you this pot huh? If what you say is a lie, then you had it, understand? Come on, Hmm”

As the Guru started walking little Gopal followed helplessly praying secretly to his Bhaiya to make his appearance.
After a while the Guru asked, “Mm. Where is he? Where does he appear every day?”

“There, under that Peepul tree Guruji” replied Gopal meekly.

“Call him now!” thundered the Guruji.

“Bhaiya…. Bhaiyaa…. Gopal Bhaiyaa…” called out little Gopal in a loud voice. But there was no sign of the usual sound of flute and jingling of the bells and the sweet sandal smell that Gopal experienced every day.

The Guru was getting angrier. His eyes rolling in fury as if they may pop out at any time, he shouted, “Gopal, I know you are lying… I will…..”, so saying he came fast to hit Gopal when suddenly, the melodious sound of flute wafted in the air accompanied by the sweet scent of sandal. Both Gopal and the Guru were surprised and Gopal looked up the tree. He could see his Bhaiya on the top most branch playing the flute.

“Guruji, look on the top branch, Bhaiya is sitting and playing the flute” he said excitedly. The Guru peered through the branches but could see nothing.

“See he is climbing down” said Little Gopal and the sound of the flute came nearer. Nothing was visible to the Guru though. Little Gopal ran near the tree and seemed to be hugging his brother, but to the Guru it appeared he was hugging the thin air!

The music stopped. A sweet but firm voice spoke “I am visible to all who believe in my presence with unflinching devotion. Little Gopal believed in my presence as an infant places faith in its mother. You do not possess that faith and so I will not be visible to you but I stand by what Little Gopal has said. “

The voice continued, “Gopal from today you will be blessed with lot of courage and intelligence and a healthy and prosperous life. Take care of your mother. I will always be there when you look upon me for guidance”

The voice stopped and the sandal scent vanished. The Guru was awestruck and suddenly he realised that the little boy in front of him was physically so small but was a great soul indeed.

He mentally thanked the boy for making him realise what utter surrender and faith in God is and felt sorry that he was not mature at such an old age while Little Gopal still did not bear any hatred or ill feeling towards him. Gopal became a learned man in due course and lived a fruitful life.

This story was told by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Guru of Sri Vivekananda, to his disciples.

Five Point Everything!!

In a remote village of Rajasthan, there lived a young lad by name Bhimsingh.  Bhimsingh was a hard working lad and had lost his mother at a very young age. His father had married again, but the father had also passed away recently. It was the habit of Bhimsingh’s step mother to taunt the poor lad continuously and in fact, that was the only thing he could not tolerate. So, one day, after she taunted him a lot for some minor issue, Bhimsingh decided to leave the house and seek his fortunes elsewhere. The very next morning, before the sun was up, Bhimsingh collected a couple of his clothes which were his only belongings and started to leave.

Bhimsingh had a friend and guide in an old man who was his father’s friend and guide too. Before he left the village, Bhimsingh wanted to bid good bye to the old man whom he considered as his Guru. So, when he went to meet the old man, the man advised Bhimsingh to stay back in the village as his parental house would always be the best place to live in. But Bhimsingh was very frustrated and wanted to get out of there. He told the old man to give him advice out of his experience as this was the first time he was going out of his town alone.

“If so,” said the man, “then be it, but,” he added “Wherever you are, follow the following rules and you will be blessed.” “And what are they?” asked Bhimsingh. The old man said, “Number one; always obey your master. Number two; always speak courteously to others so that they are never hurt by your words. Number three; always be honest and hardworking. Number four; never try to act equal with people of higher status than you and lastly, whenever you get an opportunity to listen to good teachings by any one, spend some time to listen to them and register it in your mind. If you remember all these, you will be always well, wherever you are. God Bless!!”

Bhimsingh took leave of his Guru and walked for a long distance and just before night fall, he reached the city where the King’s palace was situated. He sauntered into the market and was fascinated by the large shops selling various items from grains to vegetables, clothes to toys and all things he could imagine. He saw a tall man standing outside a shop selling grains. Bhimsingh went up to him and introduced himself and asked him for a job. The vendor looked at him from head to toe and thought for a while. Then he said, “Hmmm… You are well built, tall and sturdy. Unfortunately, I do not have any job for you, but yes, the Minister, who is my friend, has just dismissed his personal assistant only today and he wanted a replacement. Why don’t you go to him, huh? Go and tell him that I sent you.” And then, the vendor told him the directions to reach the minister’s house.

Bhimsingh was very glad and went to the minister’s house. He got the job immediately and was given a place to stay too with a decent salary and food. Bhimsingh was very very happy and settled down to his new routine. All was going on well. One day the King decided to go on a hunting expedition. Some ministers along with their assistants and soldiers, with lots of elephants and camels made their way to the forest which was a long way ahead. Bhimsingh was also in the group accompanying his master, the minister. At dusk, they reached a village at the outskirts of the forest. The group was very thirsty. Some of soldiers went to a villager’s house and asked if they could get some water.

The villager sadly shook his head and told them that there was no source of water anywhere nearby and the nearest lake was about ten kilometres away.” We all walk every day that far to bring water” he said. “However, there is a step well in our village, but a fearful, ghostly giant lives there and anyone who goes to get water there never comes back. If any one of you is brave enough, you may go there.”

The soldiers came and informed the minister of what they heard from the villager. The minister at once looked at Bhimsingh and said, “Bhim, I think you are the fittest person to go and check whether what the villager says is true or not. Take the villager along and take a couple of pots and go to the well and get us all some water as it is not possible for us to walk ten kilometres more.” Bhimsingh at once remembered the first advice of his Guru -“Always obey your master!”

“Ok Sir”, he said without saying a word of protest and off he was, carrying four pots on a horseback, the old villager accompanying him. After some distance, the villager pointed out to the step well some distance away and excused himself and hurried back. Bhimsingh got down from his horse and looked around. The well was eerie looking alright with no habitation nearby and a huge tree with lots of thorny plants and overgrowth of creepers hanging over wall of the well, hiding the little bit of sunlight there was. Praying to God, Bhimsingh stepped into the well and started climbing down. There was no evidence of any one around. He reached the bottom and saw crystal clear water. He cupped his hands and took the cool water and splashed over his face and drank some. It was so…. refreshing. Just then, there was a huge shadow above and a booming voice was heard.

Bhimsingh looked up to see a fearful sight. There was a Giant hovering around above him. The Giant had no legs and in his hand he held a skeleton. The skeleton was wrapped in a piece of cloth which seemed to be the remnant of a saree. “Who are you? And what are you doing here?????” boomed the Giant. Bhimsingh answered politely about his mission. The Giant was impatient. He said pointing at the skeleton, “Look at my wife. Isn’t she beautiful? Everyone says she looks awful ….” Saying thus, the giant broke into sobs. It appeared that the Giant’s wife was dead long back and the Giant was apparently very fond of her that he was carrying her skeleton all the time. Then once again, he boomed, “You tell me. Is she beautiful or NOT????”

Bhimsingh remembered the next advice, that he should not hurt others with his words and so he said, “Yes Sire, she is as beautiful as the moon!!” To his surprise, the Giant was so happy and said, “You are the first person who has made me happy. What do you want? I promise to grant you what you want. Do you want me to show you the dead Kings’ treasures hahahahahahaha………..” His booming laughter resonated so loudly that Bhimsingh almost slipped into the water. Then he realised that the Giant was actually offering him a deal!

Bhimsingh politely told the Giant that all he wanted was that the Giant should leave this well and go away to some other place. The Giant gladly agreed and before leaving picked the pots Bhimsingh was carrying and kept the four filled pots outside the well in a jiffy. With a Swoooosh, he left the place with the skeleton. Bhimsingh went back with the water as if nothing had happened and told the minister that there was plenty of water in the well and they could use the same. He did not mention anything about the Giant. The whole retinue was happy to have sweet cold water and the King was especially pleased at the attitude of Bhimsingh and told the minister that he was interested in hiring Bhimsingh as his personal assistant.

Now, Bhimsingh was the King’s personal assistant and was doing his duty always keeping advice number three in mind, to be honest and hardworking. The King was very much impressed by Bhimsingh’s sincerity and began to give him all the important tasks. Bhimsingh was also happy and was also made a part of the King’s security guards to be with him always.

The King had a wicked cousin brother who wanted to kill the King and usurp the Kingdom.  He kept planning in many ways, but due to the presence of Bhimsingh could not do anything. So he slowly became friendly with Bhimsingh and kept flattering him always. One day he offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to Bhimsingh. Bhimsingh remembered the fourth advice of the Guru and politely refused the offer telling the prince that he was not equal to them in status and hence would always prefer to be submissive.

The prince was very enraged that this plan to lure Bhimsingh did not work out and so, in a rare moment, on a day when Bhimsingh was not well and could not come for duty, slowly poisoned the mind of the King saying that Bhimsingh was really planning to kill the King and that his spies told him that he was meeting someone in the neighbouring Kingdom often to plan his strategy. The King did not believe this but the prince had bribed two ministers also to concur with his version and when the two ministers also echoed the prince’s ‘theory’, the King started suspecting Bhimsingh. The prince told the King that there should not be any delay in executing Bhimsingh and also suggested a plan for the same.

Accordingly, the King summoned the contractor who was building his new fort at the farther end of the city and told him that he should chop off the head of the person who would come the next day and ask him, “Is the work  finished yet? How much longer will it take?” The body should be buried and the head brought and shown to him. The contractor found this order very strange but if the King ordered something no questions were to be asked!

The next day, the King summoned Bhimsingh and told him to go to the new fort that was being built and ask the contractor, whether the work was finished yet and how much longer was it going to take. Bhimsingh, as usual truly and sincerely believing the King took his horse and was riding his way to the fort. On the way, while passing the Kali temple, he saw that there was a discourse going on in the lawn of the temple on “the good qualities a human being should inculcate”. Bhimsingh remembered the fifth advice of his Guru and thought he would just spend half an hour listening to the discourse and thereafter continue with his mission. The discourse was so absorbing that Bhimsingh forgot about his mission and stayed on for a full three hours there.

In the meanwhile, the wicked prince was getting increasingly impatient as he had not got news of the death of Bhimsingh. “I shall go and see for myself!” he said to himself and wore a disguise and mounted his horse and sped away in full speed to the fort. He called for the contractor and asked him, “Is the work finished yet? How much longer will it take?” He was of course meaning the work of ‘execution’ of Bhimsingh, but to his dismay, the contractor, pulled out a sword in a flash and the next moment the prince lay dead. The contractor buried the body and was taking the head to the King.

The King in the meanwhile unable to contain his curiosity, rode himself in disguise to the fort. On the way, he saw Bhimsingh who was hurriedly mounting his horse near the temple. The King was shocked and Bhimsingh recognised the King and sought pardon. The King was hesitant to tell Bhimsingh to go to the fort and therefore told him to go back to the city and he returned to the palace, only to see the contractor waiting with the Prince’s head which he alone recognised. The King was shocked and upset but could not show his feelings and told the contractor to take the head and bury it with the body. That night, on some intuition, the King thoroughly searched the Prince’s room and found all his plans of overthrowing and killing the King written in a detailed manner with instructions to his friends on what to do after Bhimsingh’s death. The King understood the truth and felt happy that the sincere Bhimsingh was not killed. He thanked the divine intervention that saved Bhimsingh and him and made Bhimsingh his minister.

Bhimsingh married a lady of equal status and lived happily ever after. He often visited the old man, his Guru, in the village and thanked him for all his words of advice which had brought him to this position.

The Rat Merchant

Long long ago, in one of the port towns of Southern India there was a young man Ramu who was poor, but intelligent. Ramu was going in the market street one day, when he saw a dead rat. The Minister of the Kingdom who was also passing by with his friend looked at the rat and commented to his friend, “An intelligent man can earn thousands of gold coins with this dead rat”. Ramu who was nearby, was puzzled by the minister’s comment but nevertheless knowing that the minister was a shrewd man, picked up the dead rat in his hand and started to go home.
On the way, he was approached by the servant of the army commander, who was out to buy some food for the Commander’s cat. “Sell me this rat”, said the man. Ramu sold the dead rat to him for the price of one gold coin. This was his first earning. He was very happy.

He went to the market and got a big earthen pot and some jaggery with the gold coin. He filled up the pot with sweet water from the stream nearby. He went to the jasmine gardens near the outskirts of the city where the farmers were plucking flowers. He had powdered the jaggery and as the farmers came out tired after the work, he offered them jaggery and water. The farmers were very happy and gave him each a handful of jasmine buds. Ramu strung the buds into garlands and went to the temple a bit far from the town. He sold the flowers to the devotees and the temple and this practice went on for few weeks until Ramu had saved eight gold coins. In the process, Ramu had befriended some people of the next town and was keeping himself aware of the developments in the city.

In the next few days, there was a severe thunderstorm and the following day after the storm had subsided, as Ramu was passing the Royal Garden, he found the Royal Gardener very upset as the garden was strewn with lot of twigs and small branches and dead leaves and the garden had to be cleaned before the next day as the king was holding a party there the next day. Ramu thought for a while and told the gardener that he could clean the garden for him if he was allowed to take all the twigs and branches. The gardener was gratified and happily agreed. Ramu then went and bought some sweets from the mithaiwala with the money he had saved over the days. He found a bunch of young boys playing nearby and told them that if they helped him clear the debris in the Royal Garden, he would reward them with the delicious sweets. The boys were overjoyed and gladly cleared the garden of the twigs and branches and leaves. Ramu gave them the sweets and collected all the twigs and branches and took it home.

The next day was very sunny and Ramu cleverly dried all the twigs and branches. The next day as he was passing by the potter’s house, as he casually enquired about his well being, he came to know that the potter was not having dry wood for baking his pots that day. Ramu immediately encashed this opportunity and sold him the dry twigs and and branches and got fifteen gold coins and ten earthen pots in return. Ramu kept some of the money safely and bought jaggery with the rest.

He now bought jaggery powder and lemon and and went to the  fields where a number of  workers were cutting the weeds and grass. He filled the pots with lime juice and  offered the workers cool lime juice after their day of hard work. They were very pleased and asked him what they could give him in return. Ramu told them that he would ask them at the opportune moment. This went on for a few days. One fine day, Ramu came to know from his friends that a merchant was coming to the city with 500 horses to be sold to the king. Ramu told his worker friends that he would take two bundles of grass from each of them that day and also requested them that they should not sell grass in the coming week. The workers agreed and each of them gave him two bundles of grass.

Over the next few days, a horse trader came with the 500 horses to the town  to sell them to the king. To the horse trader’s surprise, there was not a single grass seller to be seen in the town. But as he passed by the market, he saw Ramu sitting with a lot of grass and he was the only grass seller available. The trader, in his anxiety bought all the grass Ramu had and Ramu made a quick 1000 gold coins that day.

A few days later a ship had arrived in the port carrying lot of precious stones and perfumes. Ramu, was aware that the ship was to arrive and immediately went and met the ship owner. He told the ship owner that he would take all the goods in the ship and gave the thousand gold coins in advance. A day later, the richest merchants and nobles of the town came to know of the ship and flocked to buy the cargo. But the owner said that the whole of the cargo was booked by one Ramu!! They could buy the cargo only if Ramu permitted. They were surprised as they had not known any merchant by name Ramu. Anyway, they enquired and made their way to Ramu’s house and told him that they also wanted to purchase the goods that had arrived from abroad. Ramu acted reluctant  for a while and after some time told them that they may have to pay 200 gold coins each if he was to give up the goods. The merchants had no way but to agree and gave Ramu the coins. This way he collected 10000 gold coins.

He bought a tray full of fruits and a small silk bag in which he put the coins he had earned. He went to the minister’s house and told the security guard that he had come to meet his ‘guru’. The puzzled guard went in and conveyed the same to the minister. The minster was also puzzled as he had not ‘tutored’ any student, but called him in. Ramu went in and presented the fruits along with the gold coins and prostrated at the feet of the minister. He then told him how he overheard his comment on the dead rat few months back and how he had come a long way with the help of the dead rat.

The minister was overwhelmed at the sincerity of Ramu and that he had given so much importance  to a casual remark made by him . He praised Ramu openly and also gave back the money placed in front of him and also announced that he would give his daughter in marriage to Ramu as he was looking for a sincere, hard working, enterprising individual!!

Ramu’s life took a full U-turn and he lived a very happy life ever after.

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