A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

Tag: sand

Sacks Of Affection

Once upon a time, there was an old man by name Rao. Rao was very rich and possessed four houses and a lot of gold. Rao’s wife had died long back and he was well taken care of by his four sons.

Rao had grown old and things were going on smoothly till such time Rao fell ill following an accident. He suffered an injury in his spinal cord and was recovering very very slowly. Being an active person otherwise, Rao became very depressed with his pace of recovery and thought that he would die very soon. So one day, he called three elderly men of the village as witness and distributed all his wealth and his houses to his four sons. Unfortunately or fortunately for Rao, he did not die as he expected. He recovered to some extent but was almost bed ridden and needed help for everything.

Over the next few days, Rao realized that the attitude of his sons and daughters-in-law had changed drastically. One day, on the pretext of his room being painted, he was shifted to the verandah of the house, and was given a tattered cot to sleep on. The silver plate on which he ate was replaced by a tin plate and a small can for drinking water. The arrangement became permanent. Day by day, the quantity and quality of food and the time his family spent with him, reduced drastically.

His calls were answered after a long time and his moans of pain were ignored completely. Nobody talked to him and he was left to stare at the ceiling and be alone. Rao was completely broken inside as he never expected his sons and their families to behave thus. He had always seen them affectionate and caring and thought they respected him highly. The grandchildren were also following the behaviour of their parents.

One day, Rao’s childhood friend Shamu who lived in a town far off, came to visit him. He was terribly shocked at Rao’s pathetic condition. Rao was very happy to see Shamu and poured out his heart to him.  Shamu was overwhelmed with grief and was angered beyond measure. “Look Rao,” he said, “you have done a mistake by distributing your wealth to your children while living. Do you not know that the best way is to write a will? You could have sent word to me. I would have helped you draft a will”

“Shamu, what has happened, has happened. I cannot undo it now. I will have to be resigned to my fate” said Rao, despondently. Shamu thought for a while and whispered something in Rao’s ears. Rao looked disbelievingly at Shamu, but Shamu just nodded his head and left. The family was so indifferent that they did not notice Shamu’s coming and going.

Fifteen days later, a huge bullock cart with two bullocks having big bells hung around their necks came with a lot of jingle bangle and stopped in front of Rao’s house. Somebody with a long beard and a topi got out of the cart shouting “Rao, Oh Raoji… Raoji…” Rao’s elder son and youngest son were inside the house and they were disturbed by the noise and came out. The man looked questioningly at the sons and asked them “Is this Rao’s residence?” The sons were not very cordial. With an indifference they replied, “yes, but who are you?”

The man turned around and called out to his men on the cart, “Bete, bring the sacks down!” As the sons looked puzzled, the men brought down four sacks made of very thick material, that what was inside was not visible. The sacks were well sealed.

“Where is Rao?” the man demanded, “I have come back to repay with interest the loan I took forty years back from Rao. Thanks to him, I am a successful businessman now”. He looked around impatiently and asked, “Is Rao there or not? If he is not there I will go back with my money!” The next second both the sons bowed down with so much humility which was unseen till now and said “Arre Saab, who said our father is not there? He is very much there. Please…. Please do come…” And they led him to Rao’s presence. Rao could recognise Shamu who was in the disguise.

“I am Babulal” said Shamu. “Thank you so much sir, for your help. You may not remember, but you gave me 50 silver coins as loan forty years back, and I invested it in my new business and have become a millionaire Sir. I owe my wealth to you and so have brought the money back with interest” Saying thus he signalled at the men who brought the sacks. They brought the sacks and kept it in front of Rao. “Thank you Babulal”, said Rao, “I remember vaguely now. Thank you very much”

The elder son of Rao started, “We shall keep the money inside…” when Rao cut him short. “Let it remain underneath my bed. It is my money and I will decide on how it will be spent”, he said in a stern voice, and looking at Shamu, said, “Babulal, do me a favour. Please go to the next street and call the headman of the village with two more elders. I would like to have a witness for this money being received by me and later on after my time, there will not be a problem in distributing the money”.

The shocked sons, whose mouths had run dry at this unexpected turn, were helpless. Shamu immediately did as he was instructed and in the presence of the elders, Rao gave Babulal a receipt. Suddenly it started to rain and water was splashing from the side of the verandah and Babulal asked him, “Sir, you are so rich, why are you lying in the verandah, if there is no place inside I could take you to my place with your money just now. Should I Sir?”  And he stood bowing his head humbly.

Within a minute, the sons were ready with the soft mattress in his old cot inside and held out their hands in support to lead him to the bed. “Keep the sacks in the almirah” said Rao, “and put my bed against the almirah”. There was not a word of protest and soon Rao was in his cosy bed.

Within a matter of minutes, the household’s attitude had completely changed. Rao was offered hot food and drink and the youngest son said he would stay with the father in his room at all times to help him. Babulal took leave of Rao and went his way and Rao’s comfortable life returned to him. But Rao had learnt the lesson of how money could change people’s attitudes totally!

After a few years, Rao died a natural death due to old age and the sons did all the rituals waiting patiently to take the “money” their father had kept in the sacks in the cupboard.

I leave it to you to imagine the expressions on the sons’ faces and that of their families when they found nothing but sand and gravel in the four sacks. Ha ha ha….

Ravana Humbled Part II

Last week, we saw the story of Ravana being humbled by a God. This week we shall see the story of Ravana being humbled by a man.

Now, there was this great king by name Kartavirya Arjuna who was a really strong and powerful king. He is said to have had a thousand hands. Once he was sporting with his queens in the River Narmada in the place called Mahishmati which was his kingdom.

A little farther, Ravana was zooming around in his Pushpak with his ministers. He liked the beautiful scenery of Mahishmati and landed his aircraft near a picturesque spot on the banks of Narmada. The gushing waters and the sparkling sand gave the spot a divine ambience so much so that Ravana was enthused to make a Lingam out of the sand and perform Puja for Lord Shiva. He told his ministers to wait under the cool, shady trees and started to make a Lingam with the sand and the water. Soon, he was deep into meditation while his ministers kept guard.

Kartavirya Arjuna, who was in the river downstream, was challenged by his queens as to whether he could stop the flow of the river with his mighty hands. “No he can’t,” said one queen disbelievingly, “In fact no one can stop the Narmada.” “Of course he can!” said another. “Don’t you know that our king is the strongest?”

The argument and chatter became louder that Kartavirya decided to put an end to their speculation. He moved to the middle of the river and spread out his mighty arms which reached the two banks of the river. Slowly, the flow stopped and the river behind Kartavirya was reduced to a small puddle and the water in front of him rose and started overflowing at the banks. The queens were watching their lord with awe.

Meanwhile, the place where Ravana was sitting was slowly getting flooded and the water was inching its way to the Lingam. The ministers were surprised for they did not know the reason for this strange phenomenon. Nevertheless, they could do nothing as they feared Ravana’s wrath if they disturbed his meditation. Soon the waters of the Narmada started washing away the Lingam and Ravana opened his eyes when the water touched him.

Ravana was furious and with one angry look at his ministers, he ordered them to find out the reason for this strange behaviour of the river. “Go at once!” he yelled, angry at his prayers being disturbed. A few ministers went downstream only to find Kartavirya Arjuna holding his hands and forcing the river to flow back. Hurriedly, they ran back to Ravana with fright writ large on their faces as they had never seen such a strong person before. They reported the matter to him.

His anger fuelled further, Ravana stomped to the place where Kartavirya was and shouted, “Hey king! Whoever you are! Don’t show your might on the poor river. Fight with me valiantly!” Kartavirya looked up at Ravana amused and with a scorn said, “Welcome to my kingdom! We at Mahishmati do not refuse what is asked of us and as you have asked for a fight, so be it!

Saying so, Kartavirya Arjuna, with a thunderous roar, pounced on Ravana and rained blows on him. Ravana, being a true warrior, fought back valiantly, but was no match to Arjuna’s might. Soon, he could take it no more and fainted. Kartavirya carried Ravana to his palace.

Later during the day, Sage Pulastya, the son of Brahma and the grandfather of Ravana came to know of the happenings in Mahishmati and visited Kartavirya. Kartavirya received him with great reverence and said humbly, “O Enlightened One! How could this Kartavirya be of service to you?” Pulastya replied, “O Kartavirya! Please forgive my grandson’s arrogant attitude and set him free.”

Kartavirya agreed out of his respect for the sage and released Ravana and, after forging friendship with him, sent him back with lots of gifts. Ravana went home with his ministers, humbled once again.

NANDI VISHALA – A Tale from the Jatakas

 

Once upon a time, there was a man named Buddhamitra, who owned a fine white bull which was called Nandi Vishala. The man looked after the bull with great affection and care and treated it as he would treat his own son. Nandi Vishala was very happy to work for Buddhamitra.

One day Nandi Vishala felt that he should do something good for Buddhamitra as he was taking very good care of him. The next day, as Buddhamitra was tying him to the pole in his cowshed at the end of the day, Nandi Vishala spoke. “Master”, said he. Buddhamitra turned around startled, as he had never heard Nandi Vishala speak before nor did he know that Nandi Vishala could speak. “Was it you…” Buddhamitra stuttered.

“Yes Master. You have been very kind to me all these days and I want to help you” said Nandi Vishala. Buddhamitra, still pleasantly shocked, patted Nandi Vishala and looked at him lovingly. Nandi Vishala continued and said, “Master, please go to the Headman and tell him that I shall pull a hundred loaded carts singly”. Looking at the shocked face of Buddhamitra, he continued, “Go Master, go and challenge the Headman and bet a thousand gold coins. I shall win them for you”.  Buddhamitra, over the years had saved a thousand gold coins and he was extremely happy at the thought that he would earn another thousand coins.

Buddhamitra went to the Headman and asked him whose bull was the strongest in the village. The Headman said “Undoubtedly mine” Buddhamitra nodded his head and said, “No Sir, my Nandi Vishala is the strongest. I can challenge you that he can pull a thousand loaded carts singly. I bet a thousand gold coins for this Sir!” The Headman was amused and thought Buddhamitra was off his head. “OK” said he secretly smiling at the prospect of winning a thousand gold coins.

The day was fixed and on that day, the Headman had arranged for a hundred carts filled with gravel, stones and sand and there Buddhamitra came with Nandi Vishala. All the carts were linked to one another and Nandi Vishala was yoked onto the first cart. Buddhamitra climbed on to the cart and took the whip in his hand. The very thought of going to earn a thousand coins and furthering his wealth and status made Buddhamitra feel very arrogant and high handed. In a rude voice, he commanded, “Hey you, Come on, start pulling Hmmm!” Nandi Vishala was startled at the language of his master for he had never heard him speak thus. Buddhamitra was becoming impatient, He cracked the whip and yelled, “You slow coach, start pulling eh!” Nandi Vishala was very angry. He stay put where he was and refused to move.

The Headman started laughing aloud scornfully at Buddhamitra and demanded his thousand gold coins. Buddhamitra went home and sadly parted with his savings.

Buddhamitra was dejected and angry with himself for having listened to the bull’s words. But he did not show any hatred towards Nandi Vishala. He could not sleep and was tossing and turning about. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, Buddhamitra heard Nandi Vishala’s voice from near his window. Nandi Vishala was calling out, “Master, Master…” It seemed that he had broken loose from his tether and was standing near the window. Buddhamitra sat up. There was a frustrated look on his face.

Nandi Vishala spoke on, “Master, I wanted to help you, but why did you raise your voice against me? Did I do anything wrong till now? Have I behaved badly with you or your family? Then why did you yell at me master? I have heard only your kind voice all these days. It is not late even now master… Go to the Headman again and challenge him again. But this time challenge him to a two thousand gold coins. And do not forget, I will only work for your loving words….”

Buddhamitra hesitated, but Nandi Vishala urged him again and so Buddhamitra went to the Headman again in the morning and challenged him again. The Headman was sure that Buddhamitra was out of his senses completely.

So, the next day again a hundred carts fully loaded with bags of gravel and sand and stones were assembled and Nandi Vishala was yoked to the first cart. Buddhamitra got onto the first cart. He did not take the whip. Instead, he patted on Nandi Vishala’s side and said stroking him, “Ahoy, my boy, come on, you can do it… Jai Bajrangbali…” and to the utter shock of the Headman, Nandi Vishala, with one pull started pulling the entire hundred carts. He pulled the carts for a distance of about ten metres and stopped. All the villagers who had assembled to see Buddhamitra fail again were so taken aback and clapped their hands in great happiness.

It was the turn of the Headman now to feel ashamed and he went into his house and brought a bag containing two thousand gold coins and gave it to Buddhamitra. Buddhamitra went home a happy and wise man. He had learnt now that a many things could be achieved with love rather than by using force. He went home a happy man with his Nandi Vishala.

MORAL: More things can be achieved by love than by use of force.

 

 

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