"One Little Story"
Part I

Stories and Parables

Quoted from the Divine Discourses of
Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai Baba


| Part I-a Part I-b Part I-c |
Part I-a
Stories 1-90
ck1 - ck2 - ck3 - ck4 - ck5
Part I-b
Stories 91-180
ck6 - ck7 - ck8 - ck9 - ck10
Part I-c
Stories 181-262
ck11 - ck12 - ck13 - ck14

| ck1 - ck2 - ck3 - ck4 - ck5 || ck6  - ck7 - ck8 - ck9 - ck10 || ck11 - ck12 - ck13 - ck14 |

181. The Bangles on the Hand

Uddalaka, a contemporary of Caitanya, chose to worship the Lord as the Manifested, as Prakriti. The Creator he chose to worship through his Creation. He adored the Container for the thing contained. In short, he adored Râdhâ, or Dhara in reverse, the Prakriti aspect, the feminine principle, as Krishna, the Purusha, the inseparable Other! His yearning was so moving, his tapas was so compelling that one day, while a bangle-seller was trudging along the bank of the Sarasvatî river by the side of the village, he found a damsel washing clothes in the bathing ghat. The Lord is as anxious to assuage your pain as you are anxious to secure His grace to get rid of it. You may not know this but I know, for I feel it. She called him near and selecting many pairs of bangles, she wore them all. At last, when he asked for the cash, she said: "Oh, I forgot all about the money that is due to you, please go to the house of Uddalaka in the village; anyone will point it out to you. Ask him, tell him that his daughter purchased them and he will surely pay. Or, wait, you may tell him that he will find the cash behind the picture of Râdhâ in his shrine room".

The man took her at her word and hurried to the village and the house of her parents. Uddalaka was amazed at the tale for he had no children. In fact, he had not even married. But the bangle seller insisted on his looking behind the picture of Râdhâ because he said the girl was incapable of deceit. Uddalaka denied having ever placed any cash there. How could he use that space of all places for keeping cash? But just to satisfy the bangle seller, he peeped there and, lo, he got a knotted piece of cloth containing just the cash needed to pay for the bangles. Then, in a flash, he realised that it must have been Râdhâ Herself who had sent the man and he fell at the feet of the pedlar and ran with him to the bathing ghat, overcome with joy and thankfulness. For an instant he saw a glorious vision above the waters; the right arm of Râdhâ, with the bangles scintillating in the morning sun. He knew the arm was raised to bless him. He felt it was calling him and flew out of the mortal coil into Her lap.

182. The Cry that can Save

There is a fine story about S'iva. One dark night when S'iva and Pârvatî were journeying through the sky, they saw a man perched on the branch of a tree, about to fall on the ground through sheer exhaustion of limbs. Pârvatî pleaded on his behalf and wanted that S'iva save him; S'iva preferred that she would save him instead! Meanwhile, the fall became imminent and they decided that if while falling the man shouted "Amma", Pârvatî should hasten to arrest his fall and if he shouted, "Appa", S'iva should help and see that no bones were broken. The man fell, but he shouted neither Amma nor Appa but Ayyo! And so he had to be left alone!

183. Bear with Others

It is to measure your progress that tests are imposed. So do not flinch in the face of grief. The Lord bestows a favor when He decides to test you, for He is impressed by your achievement and wants to put upon it the seal of his approval. Rise up to the demand of the test, that is the way to please the Lord.

There was a great bhakta once who failed in the test and so could not get the certificate. Every day at noon, he used to look out for a needy guest whom he could feed lavishly. Thus he spent years and one day, a frail old figure toddled into the house and sat for the dinner. He had crossed the century mark in years. The host had the steadiness of the vow, but he did not have the discrimination to derive the fruit of that vow. Like water poured on a dry sandbed, it did not add to its fertility. His heart still remained dry though the waters of charity were poured on it every noon. The viveka-less heart drank up the charity and he was the same strict ritualist.

The decrepit guest was overwhelmed by hunger and so, as soon as the first dish was served, he swallowed a big morsel without reciting the name of God. Annoyed by his atheism, the host cursed the old man and pushed him out of doors to starve or beg in the hot sun. That night he had a dream where the Lord chastised him for the cruelty of his behavior. The Lord said: "For more than a hundred years, I nourished that man lovingly as the apple of My eye, though he never once took a single one of My many names. My dear man, could you not have suffered him for a few minutes?"

184. The Faith of the Disciple

In South India, in the Tamil country, there was a certain Adigal or Dasa, in a village, Thangalur by name. He had heard of the spiritual grandeur of Saint Appar and developed great admiration for him. So he built rest-houses in his name; named his children after him so that they might grow up in the halo of his glory; he donated lands and houses, all in the name of the saint he had not seen. See how faith preceded experience here. There are others who require experience before they fix their faith. The first path is more thrilling and lasting.

Well, one day by chance Appar himself walked into Thangalur for he had missed his way and had to deviate. He noticed everywhere in the town Appar rest-houses and Appar charities, and wondered how his name had preceded him. Then Adigal ran forward to his guru and took him home and prepared a grand feast for him. When his eldest son went to his garden to cut a few plantain leaves for a dinner, a snake bit him and he died on the spot. Adigal however, was not affected in the least; he covered up the corpse, heaping dry leaves upon it and proceeded with the formalities of hospitality for the long-sought guru. The guru, however, insisted on all the children of Adigal sitting around him during the meal, and he ordered the father, "Go, call every one here." Adigal did as he was commanded. He called and the dead son rose. He too came and sat for dinner with the rest. When he knew what had happened, Appar said, "Your bhakti (devotional service) is greater than my shakti" (strenght, power, might).

185. The Broom

There was an old man lying on his deathbed. I think he belonged to the Kannada country. While in his last moments he could only blabber some words, which his children could not understand; they called in a doctor and asked him to give oxygen or something so that the words might become clear. They surmised that he was announcing to them where exactly he had hidden tbe money he had earned. So, they did everything to get the words correctly. They could distinguish only one sound: Ka! So they asked whether he meant kanaka (gold), karu (calf) kanaja (granary) and kasabarke (broom) ...! When the broom was shown, his head nodded and died. So, he had to take birth later as a broom! That was his last thought!

186. Lame Excuses

Once, Krishna and His comrades went into a house and brought down the vessel of curds, when the mistress of the house came in. "Why did you come in she asked?" "My motber had a stick in her hand so I ran in here out of fear," Krishna replied. "Who are these boys?" she asked. "I brought them to bear witness to what I say", replied Krishna. "Why have you placed that vessel between your legs?", she asked in feigned anger. "So that these fellows may not get hold of the butter", was the answer. "Why do you go from house to house and eat the butter from their stores?" asked Yas'odâ. "I like only things I select and choose; I do not like to be fed", replied the boy Krishna. Krishna could not be confined to one routine. He is sarvavyapi (present everywhere, all pervading); He is bhaktavatsala (kind to devotees).

187. The Donkey Died

You must take every step in sâdhana or in samsara, only after deep deliberation and satisfying yourself that it will be for your good. Otherwise, it will be like that story of the weeping city. One day, a close female attendant of the queen came to the palace weeping in great sorrow, and so also the queen began to shed tears. Seeing the queen in tears, the entire zenana (the part of a house for the seclusion of women in India and Iran) wept and the weeping spread to the male attendants also. The king, finding the queen inconsolably sad also wept profusely in sympathy, and the sight made the entire city weep loud and nonstop. At last, one sensible fellow set in motion an inquiry, which passed through person after person until the queen herself was accosted. She said that her attendant was in sore grief, and when she, a washer woman by caste, was interrogated, she confessed that it was all due to the sudden demise of her favourite ass! When this news spread, the weeping ceased and there was widespread laughter and shame. Reason out, discriminate; do not rush to conclusions or be led away by mere hearsay.

188. The Rabbit Ran

Wherever you go, you meet only Me. I am present everywhere. Have you heard the story of the rabbit that had borrowed from Mother Earth four paise? She thought that if she moved into a new region she would be free from the obligation. So, one day she ran as fast as her legs could carry her and went far far away from the place where the amount was originally received. At last, she sat down in great relief and said to herself: "Now, no one will ask me to repay". What was her surpirse when from the ground underneath she heard a voice: "Mother Earth is right under your feet, here. You cannot escape from me, however far you run".

So too, you cannot run away from Me. I will demand good conduct, good habits, good thoughts, good company, wherever you go seeking for refuge.

189. Fear Kills

A sannyâsî once met the Cholera Goddess on the road, returning from a village where she had thinned the population. He asked her how many she had taken into her lap. She replied: "Only ten". But really speaking, the casualties were a hundred. She explained: "I killed only ten; the rest died out of fear!" Man is âtmâ-svarûpa (embodiment of the all-pervading divine Self), that is, abhayasvarûpa (embodiment of fearlessness). If he knows his real nature, he will give no room for weakness and cowardice.

190. Send Them to God

Really speaking, the best way to gain happiness is to choose God as the leader and guide. Then, He will guide and guard, from the heart itself. Emperor S'ivaji once sent some persons from the court to Samartha Ramdas, his preceptor, with a large quantity of provisions - grain, clothes, sweets and vessels. Ramdas asked them: "For whom have you brought these and why?" They replied: "For you; You have no one who can provide for you, and so, S'ivaji Mahârâj has sent all this." Ramdas laughed and said: "I have Providence Itself to provide for me; God alone has no one to provide for Him. Ask S'ivaji to send these things to God!"

191. ONAM (see also Sai Baba on Onam)

This day is celebrated as the day when Emperor Bali was both humiliated and blessed by God, in the form of Vâmana Emperor of the Three Worlds. Bali called himself so, for, he had bala or power, more than anyone else. He was saturated with egoism. God came to him, while Bali was busy with a yaga, in the form and guise of a brahmin boy, and asked for a gift of just three footsteps of land. Bali told Him that he could ask for infinitely more riches and lands. But the Boy insisted on that tiny gift only. The preceptor of Bali (S'rî S'ukrâcârya) warned him about the identity and bona fides of the strange mendicant; he mentioned that He may be God Himself. This made Bali happier for, if it was true, he was so mighty that even God came to his door as a mendicant. Such was the measure of his conceit.

But, when Vâmana drew Himself up to cosmic proportions and measured the entire earth with one foot and the vast expanse of space with another foot, Bali was humbled; he offered his own head as the third footstep, and let himself be trodden into the nether world Sutala.

This day marks the day when the incarnation of Vâmana happened, in order to teach this lesson that pride meets with doom. Once the ego was thus suppressed, Bali became cleansed and God blessed him with various boons. He assured him that He would ever be his guardian. He permitted him every year, on Onam Day, to come up into the world and see for himself his empire and receive therefrom the homage of his people. So this is the festival of Vâmana's advent as well as Bali's transformation [for the stories of Vâmana and Bali see S.B. 8: 17 to 23).

192. Many Voices

When you examine your mind, you will find voices there, hold sway, not one but many counsellors with their contrariness, causing confusion. For example, no sooner have you planned to come to Puttaparthi to take the darsan of Swami, these counsellors start playing their game.

One voice advises you to start only after ascertaining whether Swami is actually present there. Another voice suggests that you can put through a call to 'so-and-so' and discover whether Swami is at Bangalore or at Puttaparthi.

A fourth lays before you alternative routes and means of transport, and causes a good deal of headache. This is the sangam, around the jangam, the sangam (group) of voices that play around the spirit of Right, trying to distract it.

Another voice might say when the others have finished: "Well, my dear man! Consider from all points of view, this desire of yours. You may go there, putting yourself to a lot of expense and bother. Think of this possibility also: "You may or may not get an 'interview' with Swami".

Another voice might intervene and say: "O, considering all the wrongs done and all the faults committed, it is very doubtful if Swami will grant you the interview". In the wake of this voice another will begin its argument of assurance. It will comfort, saying: "No! Swami is the very embodiment of compassion. He will certainly pardon all errors". This principle that guides and guards you along the spiritual path is the linga (the subtle body) that is in the centre of the consciousness clustering around the inner and outer senses.

193. Imitation

In the Bhâgavatam, there is mention of a certain Paundraka, who sought to become a possible 'imitation' of Krishna. He added unto his name the name of Krishna, viz. Vâsudeva. He announced himself as Paundraka Vâsudeva. He got made an imitation conch and an imitation cakra (wheel, out of wood) and carried them about, in his two artificial extra hands. He discovered the style which Krishna adopted while wearing His yellow silken robe and he scrupulously followed the same. He skilfully imitated the gait and gestures of Krishna. Some fools gathered around him, mistaking him to be the Lord they were seeking. His insanity finally brought about his downfall and humiliation [see also for the complete story of Paundraka S.B. 10.63].

194. His Refuge

God is the Embodiment of Compassion. He watches for a grain of goodness or humility so that He can reward it with tons of Grace. In a certain temple for S'iva, the priest had a silver basin with a hole in its base for water to drip continously. He filled it with water and hung it over the lingam (the idol of S'iva) so that the God who swallowed the poison, which would have destroyed the universe could be cooled and comforted! Even at night when the doors of the shrine were locked by the priest as he went home, the silver basin of water was in its position. So, a thief broke into the sacred apartment, his eyes were on the silver. But when he could not reach the rope that kept the basin in position, he climbed on the lingam itself in order to take the costly booty down. Even as he was standing on the holy idol, S'iva manifested Himself in all His glory before him, saying: "Son! I appreciate your surrender; you have cast on Me your entire burden!" The thief prayed that S'iva may help him to secure the silver. There was no ladder or bench or any other article on which he could climb. So, the lingam was his only refuge [see also: Lord S'iva Drinks the Poison Churned with the Mountain Mandara in S.B. 8.7].

195. Where He is Not

Once a guru sent a pupil for further guidance to a mendicant in a S'iva temple. When he reached the temple, he found a fellow reclining in the central shrine with both his legs resting on the sacred lingam. The pupil was naturally enraged at the man's insolence. When he spoke angrily against the behavior, the man said: "Please lift my legs and place them where the lingam is not." When he did so, there was a lingam under the feet in the new position. Wherever he deposited the man's legs, a lingam rose to give them rest! That was the lesson the beggar taught him - God is everywhere; win the vision to see Him so.

196. S'iva

Consider the significance of the form that S'iva has assumed for human adoration: In His neck, He has the holocaust-producing poison, halâhala, that can destroy all life in a trice. On His head, He has the sacred Ganga river, whose waters can cure all ills, here and hereafter. On His forehead, He has the eye of Fire. On His head, He has the cool comforting Moon. On His wrists, ankles, shoulders and neck, He wears deadly cobras, which live on life-giving breath of air. S'iva lives in the burial ground and the burying ghat, the Rudrabhumi as it is called - the Land of S'iva or Rudra -. The place is no area of dread; it is auspicious area, for all have to end their lives there, at the close of this life or a few more lives. S'iva is teaching you that death cannot be shunned or frightened away. It has to be gladly and bravely met.

S'iva, again, is said to go about with a begging bowl. He teaches that renunciation, detachment, indifference to good fortune or bad, these are the paths to attain Him. S'iva is known as Mrutynjaya, He who vanquishes death. And He is also the Kâmâri, the destroyer of desire. These two names show that he who destroys desire can conquer death, for desire breeds activity, activity breeds consequence, and consequence breeds bondage. Bondage results in birth and birth involves death.

Îs'vara is also symbolised in the linga form; Linga is derived from the Sanskrit root, li, meaning leeyathe, 'merges'; it is the form in which all forms merge. S'iva is the God who blesses beings with the most desirable gift of meaning in the Universe. That is the end, the death, which one should strive for, the end which S'iva can vouchsafe. Realise the God in you first; then, if you involve yourself with the material world, no harm can come to you, for you will recognise the objective world as but the Body of God. But, if you try to involve yourself with the objective world first, then you can discover God as material only. Again, you can direct your spiritual efforts in either two ways; endeavor to reach Him. Follow the commands of God, and He will be pleased to raise you up. Follow the path of inquiry and discover where He resides, and realise Him there. You can follow either means. But, reaching Him is the inescapable task of man.

S'iva means, graciousness, auspiciousness: Mangalam. He is all graciousness, ever-auspicious: Sarvamangalam. That is the reason why the epithet S'rî, which indicates these qualities, is not added to the name S'iva, S'ankara, Îs'vara etc. It is added to the names of Avatârs, for they have taken on perishable bodies for a specific purpose. They have to be distinguished from other humans, by the epithet. S'iva is eternally gracious, auspicious, mangala, and so the epithet is superfluous. S'iva is adored as the Teacher of Teachers, Dakshinamûrti. The form of S'iva is itself a great lesson in tolerance and forbearance.

The halâhala poison is hidden by Him in His throat; the beneficent Moon which all welcome, He has worn on His head. This is a lesson for man to keep away from others all harmful tendencies and to use for their benefit all useful tendencies that he can command. If one uses his skills for his own advance, and his evil propensities for putting down others, he is only taking the road to ruin.

197. The Trial

Tyâgarâja was invited by the Mahârâja of Thanjavur, Sarfoji Mahâraj, the descendent of Sivaji, so that he may be loaded with precious gifts or nidhi! But, the poet-singer-mystic-saint took it as a trial, trying to entice him into error. He asked the question: "Is nidhi more valuable as giver of joy or, is sannidhi (divine presence) more useful for the purpose? Of course, the answer was clear. Tyâgarâja's brother who was counting on the treasure which the Mahârâja wanted to bestow on Tyâgarâja grew wild with anger at his refusal to go to the Durbar. He pushed his brother out of doors, and did not allow him to re-enter! He threw the idols, which he was worshipping, through which he had realised Râma as the indweller of everyone, into the flooded river!

Tukaram was honored by the gift of a gorgeous palanquin and caskets of jewels by Sivaji. But, Tukaram said: "Râm! I will not take my hands from off Your feet, for, I know you are waiting to escape from me the moment I release the grasp to hold anything other than Your divine feet".

When Tyâgarâja passed away, his wife kept his head on her lap, and when the saint was calling out 'Râma! Râma!' of ecstatic agony, three hot tear-drops fell from her eyes on the face of the dying Tyâgarâja. 'O, I am the property of Râma! But, you are still the property of Kâma!", Tyâgarâja exclaimed.

Sublimate the love you have for the pleasures of the world, for the objects of the world, into love for God. Do not waste even a single second in idle scandal or hollow praise. Bend your head before God, welcoming whatever be His will; then, you too can have the Lord as your guide and guard.

198. Victory is Sure

The last s'loka of the Gîtâ says:

yatra yoges'varah krishno
yatra pârtho dhanur-dharah
tatra s'rîr vijayo bhûtir
dhruvâ nîtir matir mama

"Where there is Krishna the supreme Yogî and where also there is Arjuna bearing his bow, there victory for truth and justice is assured".

in other words:

"I am convinced that wherever there is the Lord of Yoga Krishna and the son of Prithâ carrying the bow and arrows, that there opulence, victory, great power and morality are assured."

This verse assures victory not only when the Mahâbhârata Arjuna wields the bow in the presence of Krishna. Everyone of you can be Arjuna and wield the bow and achieve victory. For the bow is but the symbol of courage and faith, of high resolve and undaunted calibre. And how can you become Arjunas? Arjuna means white, pure, unsullied, without blemish. As soon as you become that and hold the bow (the Upanishads declare that the Pranava (primal sound of God) or AUM is the arrow and God is the target), Krishna is ready with His presence, for He is everywhere at every moment. There is no need to invite Him or install Him. He will answer from your very heart.

199. Go Slow

There was a middle-class household in a small town, where the wife was daily pleading with the husband to spend some little time in prayer and reverential worship of God. But the husband refused to yield, for, as he said, he had no time to spare for such pastimes which are best taken up during old age, when the process of earning and spending receives a natural setback and there will be ample leisure. The pious lady could not derive any consolation from this reply. She could only wait for some more auspicious opportunity when her advice would fall on receptive ears.

Meanwhile, the husband was affected by serious illness and he was bed-ridden for a few weeks. The doctors advised him to take some tablets thrice a day. The wife accepted the task of administering the tablets and kept them with her. However, she did not give him even one! The husband was put out by her intransigence; he demanded the tablets, but she was firm in her resolve. She said in reply to his question - 'are you conspiring to kill me!' -: "Wait, wait, why hurry to take medicine so soon? Let the illness become more serious; why all this haste? Go slow, go slow. There is enough time, as you said when I wanted you to pray and do Namasmarana". The husband realised that his stand was foolish, so he mended his ways and cured himself of both types of illness.



The picture of Râdhâ is by Vrindavan Das.
Halâhala: poison produced at the churning of the ocean and swallowed by S'iva which caused the blueness of his neck [see
S.B. 8.7 and kâlakûtha].
Kâlakûtha: ('the false, the untruth or illusion of time', 'the peak, body or summit of time') the poison also called halâhala, produced at the churning of the ocean swallowed by S'iva and causing the blueness of his neck.
Kâma: lust, avarice. The desire for more plus the unwillingness to let go because of emotional preferences.
- Term also used to indicate the regulation of desires.
- That what binds to the material world; the unregulated, undifferentiated, ignorant preference.
- The product of attachment.
Upanishads: the underlying mystery, the secret doctrine. Philosophical part of the Vedas, a hundred-eight in number meant to comprehend the personal nature of the Absolute Truth. In the Bhâgavatam they are summarized in





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